ZX81 Computer

Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer.
It's Easy Stopping the Rain of Missiles in This ZX81 Game

I dug into some older games for Februaryís program, Missler. A simple yet effective game, Missler is a great example of programs I dealt with in the eighties. In this case, you must maneuver our anti-missile artillery in an attempt to stop the incoming barrage.

Posted Feb 24 by Steven 3 min read

Running This Trench Is Just Double Trouble

The start of the 2019 year is passing quickly, so I needed to get a game in quick. I found a short little program called Trench Runner, but to my surprise, it had two listings. So, I took advantage of the situation and am offering two ZX81 games for January.

Posted Jan 30 by Steven 6 min read

Try out This Simple and Easy ZX81 Landing Game

Over the holidays, I dug through my listings to see what was left. I still have quite a few left, but the pile is definitely smaller. I’m starting to come across games I don’t remember as much. The Monster, this month’s program, is one such game.

Posted Dec 29, 2018 by Steven 7 min read

Test if You Think Your Reflexes Are Good in This ZX81 Game

I’m running a bit late this month, but I’ll try to make it up by offering a larger game. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Eighties unless it was almost impossible to play. But, at least it looks good.

Posted Nov 30, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Just a Silly Little ZX81 Landing Game

Funny enough Lander, October’s game of the month, came out after my Lander 2 game. Weird, huh? No matter, it is a fast and sometimes difficult, sometimes easy, video game. Go give it a try, then let’s dig deeper.

Posted Oct 29, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

Good Luck Dodging Walls in This ZX81 Game

September has come to a close and I’m on the edge for getting my program of the month out. So, I chose Raceway as a simple game that is both tough and satisfying. My high score is 40. Can you beat it?

Posted Sep 30, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Can You Shoot the Asteroids before You Die

August’s game is a somewhat deceiving. On the surface, it is a simple direction shooter. Be careful, though, as those asteroids speed up. It may start out easy, but Asteroid £ Metor will frustrate you—as it did me. After you give the game the retro try, let’d dig deeper into it.

Posted Aug 26, 2018 by Steven 6 min read

Enjoy 8bit Pylons? Yes, My ZX81 Game Has Plenty!

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 donít 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.

Posted Jul 23, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Look out for the Death Maze as You Escape the Monster

I seem to like avoid the wall games. I wrote many of them over the years, inspired by other games I played like ďCavernís of Mars.Ē It isnít a surprise as the ZX81 made it pretty easy to write a vertical scroller. For Death Maze, I added a little twist. Is it enough to make the game fun to play? Letís find out.

Posted Jun 26, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

Tower of Love Was an Ambitious Idea That Failed

I had lots of ideas as a teenager. Many of them became actual programs, while others languish in my notebooks. Others made it a bit further, becoming programs on my ZX81, but never finished. A journey abandoned is still a journey. Let’s explore one such program this month: Tower of Love.

Posted May 20, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

Check out This Awesome Remake of Pole Dodge

Jim notified me earlier this month that I’d missed one of his remakes of my ZX81 programs when I blogged about them earlier. Tower Dodge for the MC-10 is Jim’s version of my updated Pole Dodge 2. Not sure how I missed it as he rewrote it back in 2014. Of course, I can’t believe I wrote mine back in 2012! Time sure flies—get the pun? Anyway, let’s dive in and see what’s new.

Posted May 17, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Quick, Stop the Bomber before It Destroys You

Wait what? Another month? Another game? You betcha! April is upon us, and pretty much over. So, to pass the time I introduce Blaster, a shooter with a twist. Use Z to move left, . to move right, and M to fire. Not the most exciting game ever, but youíll find it hard enough to spend a few minutes with it.

Posted Apr 19, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

How to Make a Bar Chart on Your ZX81

Taking a turn from games, March's program is a bit more useful. Although not as flexible as some modern programs, Bar Graph does the job. Add some data and print. What could be easier? Well, a lot.

Posted Mar 24, 2018 by Steven 6 min read

How to Make Digital Rain on Your ZX81

Iíve been wanting to create my own version of digital rain for some time. The effect is well known from the Matrix movies, which used florescent green characters. Inspired by that version, I decided to go retro and generate a black and white stream of characters using the ZX81. Let the geekiness begin.

Posted Feb 20, 2018 by Steven 6 min read

Watch This Great Remake of Flywheel on the TRS-80

While digging around my site’s SEO this morning, I ran across these great videos from Jim Gierrie. Both depict his remake of Flywheel on a a TRS-80 MC-10. He had shared in a comment on my site, but I’d missed it given how busy last year had been. I love that Jim took the concept and made it his own, exactly the purpose of this site.

Posted Jan 28, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Fight Your Way to Victory with This ZX81 Space Shooter

Nothing starts the year out better than a space shooter. The top of the printout was quite faded, so I wasn’t sure about ZTSXXSTZ when I started to type it in. But, once I got the first few bits working I realized I had something worth sharing.

Posted Jan 20, 2018 by Steven 4 min read

What Can You Do with a Simple ZX81 Animation?

Although may of my early programs were games, I spent a fair amount of time experimenting. Decemberís program, Slow Down, is one of my animation experiments. It is a straight forward sprite animation, with a twist. I used the ZX81 against itself to slow it down. If youíre ready, letís dig deeper.

Posted Dec 26, 2017 by Steven 4 min read

Star Fight Is a Simple ZX81 Shoot íEm up Game

Back in 1983, Star Wars imagery flooded my life. With the release of Return of the Jedi that year, it only fueled the inspiration of my young teenage self. So, it shouldnít come as a surprise that I would create games with that look and feel. Star Fight, this monthís program, is one such game.

Posted Nov 26, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

Windmill Is a Quick and Dirty zx81 Animation

There are a ton of windmills in Idaho. Mostly big ones for power, but you see a few smaller ones used for irrigation and wells. But, when I wrote this month’s programs I don’t remember any around where I lived in Indiana. No matter. I still wrote a simple windmill animation. And, today is the day to share it.

Posted Oct 30, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

Not to Be Defeated, Time to Get Wineskin Working Again

After upgrading to macOS High Sierra, I ran into a minor problem. Seems my WineSkin wrapper for EightyOne, my ZX81 emulator, stopped working. I have alternatives, but the screenshots I take from EightyOne are too nice to pass up. As luck would have it, there is a fix.

Posted Oct 12, 2017 by Steven 3 min read

Tabular Is My Simple and Easy ZX81 Word Processor

To date, most of my programs have been games and animations. It may come as a surprise that I also wrote a word processing program. Using a custom printer command, I designed a font that would allow you to use lowercase letters. Letís explore Septemberís program of the month to see how that worked.

Posted Sep 25, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

Quickly Avoid the Spiders in the ZX81 Game Tarantula

Tarantula, Augustís program of the month, was part of a pair of games that made me think I was a game developer. At the age of fourteen, I didnít let problems like the lack of a distribution channel tarnish my dreams. Although I didnít make it into gaming, itís still fun to look back on what could have been.

Posted Aug 30, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

How Long Can You Last against the Attack

Wanting something interesting, I struggled to find a ZX81 program to share. Plus, it was getting close to the end of the month. Digging into my old notebook, I stumbled upon Missile Defense. Although short, I expanded it into a something worth playing. Let’s dig deeper.

Posted Jul 27, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

My ZX81 Tic-Tac-Toe May Not Look Pretty, but You Can Win

As June winds down, I find myself reminiscing about writing monthís program. 34 years later, I still remember the glow of the TV as it lit the notebook in my lap. Although I have fond memories of Tic-tac-toe, time isnít as kind to it. Letís dig in.

Posted Jun 25, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

Can You Get the High Score in the Worst ZX81 Dice Game

Okay, although not the worst ever, Dice Game is pretty dull. With only two dice, no strategy, and no replay value, you might think this an odd program of the month. But for the young teenager that wrote it, it was pretty cool in 1983. Letís dig in and see why.

Posted May 28, 2017 by Steven 7 min read