ZX81 Computer


Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer.
Try to Be a Great Space Navigator Taking This Silly ZX81 Quiz

Having a healthy imagination and perchance for sci-fi, Spaceship is a bit of both. I assume I conjured up the idea as part of some playtime activity. Written in 1983, it was one of my earlier programs and lacked graphics. Yet, it was still a bit of fun.

Posted Jun 29 by Steven 5 min read

A Silly Little Code Hack For The ZX81

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.

Posted May 25 by Steven 5 min read

A Good Start To Adventure Game That Never Was

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.

Posted Apr 28 by Steven 7 min read

It’s Not Easy Surviving the Waters in This ZX81 Game

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.

Posted Mar 29 by Steven 5 min read

Resurrecting an Old Band Logo in This ZX81 Animation

The ZX81ís graphics be a lot of fun to program. Although I wasnít a big fan of the PLOT command, I do have some examples of its use. My taken on the TS logo for the rock band Twisted Sister is one one example. Like a primitive screen saver, it can be fun to watch.

Posted Feb 27 by Steven 4 min read

Play an Old Star Trek Game That Fails to Be Fun

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.

Posted Jan 25 by Steven 4 min read

Can You Run and Jump Your Way through This ZX81 Game?

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.

Posted Dec 29, 2019 by Steven 6 min read

Stop the Missiles from Destroying Your City

For November, I found another missile defense game that I wrote a few years back. I honestly didnít 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 isnít that bad after all. Letís dig into Laser Catch a bit more.

Posted Nov 20, 2019 by Steven 6 min read

You Canít Escape Death in This ZX81 Halloween Tribute

Fall weather brings colder weather, colorful trees, and Halloween! The original movie was still a classic in 1984, even if a few sequels had been released by the time I wrote this program. Lacking the chills of the movie, my Halloween tries to convey the futility of running. Michael always wins.

Posted Oct 27, 2019 by Steven 2 min read

Can You Escape the Evil Wizard in This Random ZX81 Adventure?

Closing out September, it is time for a little adventure. SLR Venture is my attempt at creating one using the ZX81ís tiny memory footprint. Although I went on to write some more complex text games, this random game does a decent job.

Posted Sep 30, 2019 by Steven 4 min read

Here Is a Simple Start to a ZX81 Drawing Program

As my programs attest to, I did a fair amount of digital drawing on my ZX81. As noted in past articles, I tended to use graph paper to design my games. Yet in 1984, I built a simple drawing program called Picture Use. Sadly, I never used it.

Posted Aug 31, 2019 by Steven 3 min read

Check out my ZX81 rendition of the US Flag

Although July nears its end, patriotism remains. From the frantic happiness of the 4th, to general love of country, July is about fireworks and Summer heat. Digging into my archives, I found a US Flag to commemorate the month.

Posted Jul 26, 2019 by Steven 2 min read

You Can Copy Your Screen with This Simple ZX81 Demo

Not all programs need to be games. And, in the case of Screen Copy, it is a demo program that ultimately became a utility. Most of us take the idea of making a screen shot for granted. Yet, back in the early í80s, the idea was uncommon. That didnít deter me.

Posted Jun 26, 2019 by Steven 4 min read

Shoot the UFOs in This Simple ZX81 Game

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.

Posted May 26, 2019 by Steven 4 min read

The World Was Doomed And This Is The Result

The eighties were a turbulent time. Political turmoil grew out of the Cold War, which wasnít 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 Iíd create an animation depicting that escalation.

Posted Apr 29, 2019 by Steven 4 min read

Hit Is a Fun and Simple ZX81 Game of Blackjack

In my youth, I often looked to real games for inspiration. Card games were one such source and one I drew from often. Some attempts, like Stud, were simple high and low games. For Marchís program, Hit tackles the more complex Blackjack, eschewing graphics to focus on gameplay.

Posted Mar 25, 2019 by Steven 5 min read

Itís 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, 2019 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, 2019 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 Iím 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

Augustís 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 youóas it did me. After you give the game the retro try, letíd 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

Wait, What Happened to All the Programs?

You may, or may not, have noticed the lack of writing on my ZX81 site. You might think I gave up, moved, on, or forgot my password. Nope to all three. Itís way worse. Iím changing things up! TL;DR: You can head over to my main site (https://www.reids4fun.

Posted Jun 27, 2018 by Steven 3 min read