Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my programming journey. It is hard to believe that it has been over nine years since I started writing my monthly articles. I’m nearing the end of my printouts, and thought I’d write about my ZX81 Dice Game.
I have some sort of fascination with code breaking. A byproduct of all the spy movies I watched as a kid. A friend of my would make spy cases with Lego’s, and I had to build my own of course. I had a wallet with home made credentials and so on. Code Searcher is a bit of a homage to those golden age gadgets of the 60s and 70s.
When I was a child, I remember going over to a friends house and playing Wizardry on his Apple. Leaving his house, I was super excited about the game I saw. Although my lowly ZX81 was no match, I had visions of creating my own games like it. My attempt, although a test, could have been so much more.
A bit cliche by 1985, but I was obviously still playing Frogger and the clones it spawned. With all its dodging and moving, the game is classic for good reason. Even in modern times, it has spawned the likes of Crossy Road and other in spirt games. My own attempt, called Sea Cross, finds you trying to get your family safely across the water and home. I doubt you’ll be able to.
Okay, I’ll admit that I was a Star Trek junky. As a kid, I remember eagerly waiting each week to watch reruns of the original series with my family. When 1983 rolled around, I’d watched both of the original movies and owned the comic books that bridged the two. As such, creating a Star Trek game on my ZX81 should come as no surprise.
Running platform games with simple controls were all the rage when mobile gaming got started. Although the themes varied, they all tended to have a few if only on control to them. Some made you press down and release. Others ran on their own, requiring you to press or swipe as needed. My journey into the genre began in 1985 when I wrote Bolder. It may not be popular or exciting, but does show that the concept had roots going deeper than you may realize.
For November, I found another missile defense game that I wrote a few years back. I honestly didn’t remember this one until I started to play it. Starting off a bit slow, I kept telling myself that it should speed up. And, it did! Guess, my memory isn’t that bad after all. Let’s dig into Laser Catch a bit more.
Taking a minor departure this Memorial Weekend, my ZX81 program is actually from my childhood best friend. Neighbors during our time in Italy, Jeremy and I spent a lot of time together playing with our LEGO bricks, D&D, and on our computers. U.F.O is a simple shooter game that takes a unique approach to graphics.
The eighties were a turbulent time. Political turmoil grew out of the Cold War, which wasn’t loss on this teenage programmer. The vocal leaders of the US and the USSR bubbled up often in the pop culture of the era and the esclation of war. It shouldn’t be surprising that I’d create an animation depicting that escalation.
Here it is in July and I have another one of my dodging games to share. But, this one is a little bit different. You don’t need to dodge all of them, or in this case go through all of them. Nevertheless, if you want the juicy bonus points, you need to grab as many of the blocks as you can. The twist is how the pylons change as you play.