ZX81 Computer


Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer, page 3.


A Silly Little Code Hack For The ZX81

Code Searcher, 1984, ZX81 screenshot by Steven Reid

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.


A Good Start To Adventure Game That Never Was

Wizardry (test), ZX81 Movement Screenshot,  Steven Reid, 1985

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.


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

Sea Cross, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 1985

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.



Play an Old Star Trek Game That Fails to Be Fun

Star Trek, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 1983

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.


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

Bolder, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 1985

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.


Stop the Missiles from Destroying Your City

Laser Catch, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 1984

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.


You Can’t Escape Death in This ZX81 Halloween Tribute

Halloween, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 1984

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.






Shoot the UFOs in This Simple ZX81 Game

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.


The World Was Doomed And This Is The Result

The World Was Doomed And This Is The Result

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.










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

Enjoy 8 bit 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 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.