ZX81 Computer

Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer., Page 5
February’s Program: Math Bash

At the one level, you can sum up most programs into three big groups: business, gaming, or educational. Most of my programs fit into one of these base categories. The standouts are generally the animation or demo programs that really have no distinct genre. Even those, however, I can lump into one of the big three without much effort. There are times when these categories get blurred and a program can fit into two or more categories. This month’s program is one of those.

Posted Feb 22, 2015 by Steven 5 min read

January’s Program: Comp. Talk

Mixing things up a bit, I thought I’d start off the new year without a game program. Instead, January’s program is Computer Talk, or Comp. Talk for short. Comp. Talk is one of several educational programs I wrote for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. Perhaps it was just the thing to do back in then. Many computer books, especially those that taught programming, had a mix of program genres. Whatever the reason, I wrote Comp. Talk as a way for the ZX81 computer to introduce itself and show a bit of what it could do.

Posted Jan 24, 2015 by Steven 2 min read

December’s Program: V Water Battle

As 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to end the year with an original program of the month. For December, that program is V Water Battle, an action game from 1984. For some reason, the title screen I created said designed instead of wrote but I did both. I was an odd duck in 1984. You use the “Z” and “.” keys to move. Use the “M” key to fire. The goal is to stop the ships from stealing the water. Miss them or get shot and its game over. Of course, they steal the water after each wave anyway to make it harder. Given that I haven’t beat it yet, the game is more difficult than it would seem. Let me know if you do!

Posted Dec 29, 2014 by Steven 3 min read

November’s Program: Maze Craze

Hope everyone in the US had a great Turkey Day (Thanksgiving) and are now enjoying the last weekend of November. I’m busy with NaNoWriMo, and a bit behind. So I give you another program from my original ZX81 site, but not yet featured here. November’s program is the month is Maze Craze. It’s not hard, but you might need to graph out the maze if you get stuck. There are actually two mazes. Can you beat them both?

Posted Nov 29, 2014 by Steven 2 min read

October’s Program: NA

Whoa, there are still almost two weeks left in the month and I have October’s program done and waiting for you. Yep, you heard right. This month is a short one called NA. The program is an action game that requires you to use “N” and “A” to try to stop a runner. The letters have significance as you use them to stop the runner. However, there is a twist, miss and the program changes the letter needed. Sounds easy right? Guess what, I still haven’t beaten it. Can you?

Posted Oct 21, 2014 by Steven 2 min read

September’s Programs: Photon ’85 and ’98

Well, the month is over and life has taken over and delayed my program of the month. For the tail end of September, I offer two programs: Photon and Photon 98. Wait, what? Yep, you heard right. I’m offering two programs this month. Sort of.  Actually they are very similar. Photon is the original program from 1985, and Photon 98 is a minor remake that cleans things up a bit.

Posted Sep 30, 2014 by Steven 2 min read

August’s Program: Cave War

August’s program is Cave War, a later program from 1985. It starts out similar to Hit Man, basically a scrolling dodge the wall game. But there is more to it than that. Once you get to the end of the tunnel, you find yourself in a cave and need to blast away at a wall to continue on. Oh, and if you hit the same spot twice, it resets. Can you make it out of the cave alive? Use “Z” and “.” to dodge the walls and “X” to blast away the ground. Good luck!

Posted Aug 24, 2014 by Steven 4 min read

July’s Program: Block £ Spear

Sorry, still no Joust. It’s not where I want it and I’ve spent July working on my novel instead. That isn't to say that I’m going to leave July without a program of the month. Instead I’ve pulled from my original site to bring you one of my favorite programs, Block £ Spear. In this game you'll find yourself at the wrong end of a knight’s spear. Fortunately, you have a shield and can easily deflect the spear by using the Z and . keys to raise or lower your shield. Sounds easy? You might be surprised.

Posted Jul 23, 2014 by Steven 3 min read

June’s Program: Monster Maker

Okay I haven’t finished my remake of Joust yet, nor did I want to wait until the last week of the month to get an article out. Instead, I offer you Monster Maker as June’s monthly program. It’s pretty straight forward and anti-climatic against the power of today’s programs. Once you load it, enter in five numbers and type your monster’s name. That’s it. The program will then display a nicely formatted monster description based on your input.

Posted Jun 08, 2014 by Steven 3 min read

May’s Program: Joust

I actually started working on May’s program of the month, Joust, about three weeks ago. My goal was to update the program to a faster and more fluid MCODER version. Sadly, things haven’t gone so well. Pressed for time, I will leave you instead with my original take on this popular arcade from the 80s.

Posted May 28, 2014 by Steven 5 min read

April’s Program: Flywheel

April has been a crazy month. I decided to try something new, pushed along by an unexpected event. I’m writing a book. I joined NaNoWriMo just after last November's event so I didn't expect to do anything until later this year. The surprise was their CampNaNoWriMo event in April. Not to waste the opportunity, I’ve been busy crafting my Sci Fi novel and am now in the final stretch to my 50,000 words goal. Add on top of that a business trip and a family trip and you'll quickly see that my ZX81 hobby gets pushed by the wayside.

Posted Apr 27, 2014 by Steven 3 min read

March’s Program: The Ball Redux

For March's program of the month, I drew inspiration from one of my older demo’s, The Ball. Like many young kids from the early eighties using BASIC, I took a stab at animating a bouncing ball. It is a a relatively easy program to write depending on how complex you want to make the math. In my case, it is very simple math, no physics involved here.

Posted Mar 29, 2014 by Steven 4 min read

February’s Program: Time

For February, I give you Time, a simple landing game with a twist. Using the Z and . keys, you maneuver your craft to each successive landing pad. If you miss the landing, keep trying but be careful. Run out of time and it’s game over! How high of a score can you amass? A fair warning, Time isn’t always fair.

Posted Feb 16, 2014 by Steven 4 min read

January’s Program: Fireball

January’s program of the month, Fireball, marks a first for me. Although I’ve used a few different methods to type in my programs, I’ve always gone back to a Windows so I could use EightyOne to generate the program files and images. However, for my birthday, my wife took me to the Apple store and I upgraded my old laptop to a shiny new MacBook Pro.

Posted Jan 05, 2014 by Steven 5 min read

December’s Program: Dollar Sign

Winter has set in and it is time to close out the year with a simple game. Dollar Sign, December’s program of the month, is that game.

Posted Dec 30, 2013 by Steven 4 min read

November’s Program: SNUNCH ML

For November, I’m looking both forwards and backwards. Although I wrote SNUNCH in 1983, I added a corrected version to my first ZX81 web page in the ’90s. SNUNCH was my early attempt at writing a PAC-MAN like game. Note that I said like, not clone. My goal was to be inspired, not to copy. Sadly, it isn’t very good, even after I fixed some of its logic flaws. Despite its flaws, I still believed it had potential and I set about updating it using MCODER II. It is this improved SNUNCH ML version that I offer as November’s program of the month.

Posted Nov 30, 2013 by Steven 7 min read

October’s Program: Space Dock

Since it’s been a few months since I’ve presented an animation program, I hereby offer October’s program of the month Space Dock. Written when the space shuttle program was in full swing, Space Dock depicts a shuttle launch for its scheduled docking to repair a satellite.

Posted Oct 19, 2013 by Steven 4 min read

Doing Some Fall Cleaning

I took a break from educating myself on z80 machine code, more on that later, to fix a few things that have bugged me about the site. They are minor and probably will go completely unnoticed by most, but I wanted to make a quick note for future reference. Hey that’s what blogs are for, right?

Posted Oct 01, 2013 by Steven 3 min read

September’s Program: S.M.P.

October’s program of the month is S.M.P. or Sinclair Memo Pad. A simple scrolling editor that allows you to take a couple of quick notes that last as long they are on-screen.

Posted Sep 21, 2013 by Steven 3 min read

ZX81 Nixie Clock

While searching for some code examples I ran across this inventive hardware expansion. Michel created a ZX81 Nixie Clock and has been kind enough to share his creation with the world through Facebook.

Posted Aug 29, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

August’s Program: Parachute

Whoa, it’s August already? Time for another program of the month. Coming your way is Parachute, a deceptively simple reflex game that uses recognizable graphics to give you an enjoyable causal gaming diversion. I’ve been staring at this program for months now as it was sitting on the top of the stack. The airplane and parachute graphics stand out prominently in the listing, making it hard not to notice. As much as I tried to ignore it, Parachute was calling me to type it in. I finally caved and obliged.

Posted Aug 08, 2013 by Steven 3 min read

No Spaces for You

I wasn’t sure in my last post how to remove the extra space from the program listings. Well, I figured it out.

Posted Aug 08, 2013 by Steven 1 min read

Updated Program Listing

Awhile back I went searching for a decent ZX81 font and ran across ZX81 VDU. I played around adding it to my site’s footer, but I really wanted to do more with it. It’s pretty good and, unlike some other fonts I found, it has all the ZX81 graphic characters. You do have to carefully choose the font size, but that is minor issue. Overall a great font that is easy to use.

Posted Aug 04, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

ZX81 Retro Gaming

I often search around the web looking to see what kind of ZX81 community still thrives. I truly expected to find a community in decline, but a surprising number of nostalgia sites are still out there. I found some dedicated to hardware, some to emulating, and others to software. Some are reference sites offering up tips and how to do things. Others simply have reviews of software from a different era. All of them interesting in their own way.

Posted Jul 25, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

July’s Program: Spiders & Flies

July is almost half over, but we still have time for our program of the month: Spiders & Flies. You play a growing Venus flytrap that is searching for flies and special bugs. Use the ZX81 arrow keys to move around: 5, 6, 7, and 8. But be careful. Don’t eat the spiders lurking about or accidentally eat yourself. It’s a super easy game so you have no excuse for not trying it out.

Posted Jul 21, 2013 by Steven 4 min read