ZX81 Computer


Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer., Page 5
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

Julyís 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. Donít eat the spiders lurking about or accidentally eat yourself. Itís a super easy game so you have no excuse for not trying it out.

Posted Jul 21, 2013 by Steven 4 min read

Juneís Program: Blast Off

Blast Off, Juneís program of the month, is a simple game that tests your typing skills. You may find it a bit easier to play on an emulator than on a real ZX81. Fortunately, you can try now! It isnít a very hard game if you are decent typist. It would also work well for those practicing their typing skills.

Posted Jun 18, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

Mayís Program: Up-Cake

Well it is getting late in the month and I didnít want to pull another last-minute update. To make things a bit interesting, I used Zed Ex on my Android tablet to enter in this monthís entry. More on that in a bit. Let me first introduce our deliciously short entry for May: Up-Cake. A fast and simple scrolling game that is easy to play and hard to lose at. My kind of game!

Posted May 19, 2013 by Steven 4 min read

Fixing My ZX81 RSS Feed

Iím doing a little Spring cleaning and ran across a little problem with my RSS feed that I failed to notice before. In some programs, the article images didnít display properly because I was using relative paths.

Posted May 05, 2013 by Steven 1 min read

Aprilís Program: Star Dodge

Late and last-minute, I present Aprilís program of the month Star Dodge. A decidedly simple game that requires you to dodge stars randomly placed on the screen. Can you get your Tie Fighter shaped ship, an inverse H, past the increasingly more dense stars? Give it a try to see.

Posted Apr 30, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

Marchís Program: Raider V

In 1984, I moved that Summer from Italy back to the US. As I was Flipping through my old printouts, I ran across one that I had marked as the last program I completed In Italy. How cool is that? Seeing this, I just had to make Raider V my program of the month for March.

Posted Mar 15, 2013 by Steven 3 min read

Februaryís Program: Enlarger

The old saying ďtime flies when youíre having funĒ is so true of late. This year started with a bang and I feel like Iíve been running ever since. It isnít that I havenít wanted to work on my old ZX81 programs, but they often take a back burner to other past times. That said, I did find some time to sit down this weekend to type in another program. For February I present you with ENLARGER.

Posted Feb 24, 2013 by Steven 3 min read

January's Program: Hit Man

Another year, another month, and now another program to celebrate 2013. Januaryís program of the month is an old one: Hit Man. From 1983, Hit Man was my attempt at creating a wall dodging program and it is a tough one to play.

Posted Jan 28, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

Decemberís Program: Thyime

December is upon us and Thyime is the last program of the month for 2012. My how quick the year has passed. Thyimeís elements include moving, shooting, a break through wall, and a moving enemy. It does all this while remaining fast. Thyime provides a decent game to close out the year.

Posted Dec 16, 2012 by Steven 2 min read

Bonkers! Redux

I couldnít help it. I updated Bonkers using MCODER II to convert the BASIC code to Machine Language. This improved the speed of the game making improving its playability. If you havenít played the 1985 version, play it first so you can appreciate the difference. If you have, now give the 2012 version a try. Better?

Posted Nov 23, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

Novemberís Program: Bonkers!

Novemberís program is Bonkers! and it may drive you crazy! Simply use the ZX81 cursor keys to move your X around the field, avoiding the Oís and their trails. Can you survive, or will you go Bonkers?

Posted Nov 19, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

Octoberís Program: PAC-MAN

Octoberís program, PAC-MAN, may leave you a bit confused. Inspired by that iconic arcade game, this version has no graphics. It does have dots, cherries and ghosts. It doesnít, however, have any pictures of those elements. Give it a try and youíll see what I mean.

Posted Oct 04, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

Septemberís Program: Runner

Septemberís program, Runner, is nostalgic for me. When I wrote this program I had moved on to my C64. My ZX81 was starting to gather dust as I was busy learning the ins and outs of my new computer. For some reason, something tugged at me to fix my ZX81 keyboard and get it running again. After transplanting the ZX81 brains into a TS1000 case, it surprisingly powered on. I wrote Runner as a test that still worked. It did. That was the last time I was able to use the computer that had been my pride and joy for the previous three years.

Posted Sep 01, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

Augustís Program: PAC-MAN Video

Wow, August flew by way faster than I expected! Here we are at the end and I finally got around to uploading the monthly program. This monthís program, PAC-MAN Video, is a bit different. Although I call it a game, it doesnít really play like one. It is totally random with a slight nod to you. Skill isn't required, just give it a try.

Posted Aug 26, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

Julyís Program: Can Punch

Iím back to the basics for Julyís program. Can Punch is a simply graphic game that will probably infuriate you more than entertain. Donít believe me? Go try it and decide for yourself. The goal is punch the can thrown at you. Use Z to raise your fist high and . to lower it. A deceptively simple game mechanic that I dare you to master. I double dog dare you!

Posted Jul 22, 2012 by Steven 2 min read

Juneís Program: Pole Dodge 2

Yes, I know Iím late. June is almost over and Iím sure my adoring fan is up in arms. I do have one fan, right? In any case, Iím breaking tradition for Juneís Program of the Month and posting a more modern program. Pole Dodge 2 is my revamped version of Aprilís program. Before I dig into the details, go play it. Itís real easy, just use the ďZĒ and ď.Ē to bank left or right. No really, go play it. I think youíll find it much more enjoyable this go round.

Posted Jun 25, 2012 by Steven 4 min read

Mayís Program: Jet Flyer

Jet Flyer is May's Program of the Month. Although a bit late, I believe it is a bit better than last month's and worth a quick try. The goal is to keep your jet on course by using the ďZĒ and ď.Ē keys to bank right or left. It isnít an overly hard game. You just need to keep the course indicator close to zero. I wonít say how close to avoid spoiling the fun.

Posted May 20, 2012 by Steven 2 min read

Aprilís Program: Pole Dodge

Pole Dodge is Aprilís Program of the Month and it is an odd one. Partially odd because I typed it in back in February, and partly because the program just doesnít play well. I know that doesnít lend well for one to give it a try, but try it you should. Why? Because the premise isnít bad. It is the execution that leaves a bit to be desired. Of course, I blame the slow hardware.

Posted Apr 01, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

Marchís Program: T.W.M.

T.W.M. is Marchís program of the month. It is a simple animation that tries to mimic a computerís destruction of its defined target. February was actually pretty prolific for me as I transcribed this and another program, as well as updated a number of older programs using MCODER. Fortunately, that means I have a few more programs available than I normally do. Of course, one is more than I normally have ready so Iím not sure that means much. Anyway, go give it a try and enjoy the animation in all its simplicity.

Posted Mar 05, 2012 by Steven 2 min read

E.T. Redux

E.T. may not have been my best game ever, but it was an interesting exercise in 1985. Loosely, and I really mean loosely, based on the Atari 2600 game, E.T. follows the exploits of the title character as he tries to find his way home. Originally written in ZX81 BASIC, I revisited E.T. to better understand how to use MCODER II. I was ultimately successful in compiling it and getting it to run. If you are adventurous, you can compare it to original version, bugs and all. Instructions for E.T. are available off my old ZX81 website.

Posted Feb 20, 2012 by Steven 5 min read

Playing Around

It isnít all programming around here! Some days it is fun to just play around. I was adding an image to my other site which led to me reviewing some of my old Flickr images.

Posted Feb 16, 2012 by Steven 1 min read

Road Hog Improved

What's this, another version of Road Hog? Yep. This is Januaryís Program converted to machine code using MCoder II. I was surprised how easy it was.

Posted Feb 14, 2012 by Steven 1 min read

Februaryís Program: Light Walls

February is upon us and that means another program of the month. This month it is another one from 1983: Light Walls. In case you hadnít guessed, it has its roots in Tron. The game requires you to steer right (ď.Ē) or left (ďzĒ) to avoid hitting the light walls. I wrote this program while a friend was over and we took turns trying beat others high scores. Who says you need color and 3D graphics to have a good time! Not convinced. Give it a try yourself and see how good your reactions are.

Posted Feb 09, 2012 by Steven 2 min read

ZX81 Emulator on Android

As more and more people turn to mobile and tablet devices for their entertainment and consumption needs, it is becoming harder to share my ZX81 preservation project. I remember how excited I was when I found a Java based emulator that would run my ZX81 programs on the web. Although Java and I havenít always gotten along, I was happy to be able to show off my programs on the go with nothing more than a browser available. To my surprise, however, Java isnít even part of the conversation when talking about those on-the-go OSís like iOS and Android. All that effort isnít of much use when a large portion of your audience canít enjoy it. Fortunately, and much to my surprise, I ran across Zed Ex (Beta) in the Android Market. You can also find it on AppBrain.com.

Posted Feb 05, 2012 by Steven 2 min read