July’s Program: Can Punch

In this ZX81 arcade game, punch the can before it hits you in the face.

[Can Punch 1984]I’m back to the basics for July’s program. Can Punch is a simply graphic game that will probably infuriate you more than entertain. Don’t believe me? Go try it and decide for yourself. The goal is punch the can thrown at you. Use Z to raise your fist high and . to lower it. A deceptively simple game mechanic that I dare you to master. I double dog dare you!

As noted, the game is deceptively simple. Personally, I enjoy the graphics and rhythm of the game. It plays smoothly for a basic program. The graphics are representative, although not that exciting given today’s fare. The game doesn’t rush you and the challenge starts simple enough. Each successive throw is little more wonky and random. If you make it to the sixth throw, color me impressed!

As for the program itself, Can Punch is one of my better ones. It is well laid out and easy to follow. The graphics account for much of the program’s length. The opening of the barrel is eleven lines alone. It uses arrays to display the can and fist positions. This allowed me to avoid multiple IF/THEN statements and Boolean logic print commands. The whole game mechanics of throwing the can is held in eight lines of code. Given that the hand can only be up or down, I could have simplified the player movement (line 400). However, I doubt it would have changed the overall pace of the program. Overall, it is a solid game that looks and plays well.

If you want to run this program on your Android phone or tablet you can download a compressed copy of the program to your device. You’ll need to save the .p version of the program to your device to allow Zed Ex (Beta) to run it.

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