ZX81 Computer

Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer., Page 6
June’s Program: Blast Off

Blast Off, June’s 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 isn’t 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

May’s Program: Up-Cake

Well it is getting late in the month and I didn’t 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 month’s 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

I’m 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 didn’t display properly because I was using relative paths.

Posted May 05, 2013 by Steven 1 min read

April’s Program: Star Dodge

Late and last-minute, I present April’s 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

March’s 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

February’s Program: Enlarger

The old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is so true of late. This year started with a bang and I feel like I’ve been running ever since. It isn’t that I haven’t 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. January’s 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

December’s Program: Thyime

December is upon us and Thyime is the last program of the month for 2012. My how quick the year has passed. Thyime’s 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 couldn’t 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 haven’t 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

November’s Program: Bonkers!

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

Posted Nov 19, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

October’s Program: PAC-MAN

October’s 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 doesn’t, however, have any pictures of those elements. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

Posted Oct 04, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

September’s Program: Runner

September’s 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

August’s 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 month’s program, PAC-MAN Video, is a bit different. Although I call it a game, it doesn’t 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

July’s Program: Can Punch

I’m back to the basics for July’s program. Can Punch is a simply graphic game that will probably infuriate you more than entertain. Don’t 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

June’s Program: Pole Dodge 2

Yes, I know I’m late. June is almost over and I’m sure my adoring fan is up in arms. I do have one fan, right? In any case, I’m breaking tradition for June’s Program of the Month and posting a more modern program. Pole Dodge 2 is my revamped version of April’s program. Before I dig into the details, go play it. It’s real easy, just use the “Z” and “.” to bank left or right. No really, go play it. I think you’ll find it much more enjoyable this go round.

Posted Jun 25, 2012 by Steven 4 min read

May’s 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 “Z” and “.” keys to bank right or left. It isn’t an overly hard game. You just need to keep the course indicator close to zero. I won’t say how close to avoid spoiling the fun.

Posted May 20, 2012 by Steven 2 min read

April’s Program: Pole Dodge

Pole Dodge is April’s 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 doesn’t play well. I know that doesn’t lend well for one to give it a try, but try it you should. Why? Because the premise isn’t 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

March’s Program: T.W.M.

T.W.M. is March’s program of the month. It is a simple animation that tries to mimic a computer’s 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 I’m 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 isn’t 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 January’s Program converted to machine code using MCoder II. I was surprised how easy it was.

Posted Feb 14, 2012 by Steven 1 min read

February’s 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 hadn’t guessed, it has its roots in Tron. The game requires you to steer right (“.”) or left (“z”) 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 haven’t 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 isn’t even part of the conversation when talking about those on-the-go OS’s like iOS and Android. All that effort isn’t of much use when a large portion of your audience can’t 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

January’s Program: Road Hog

Welcome to the new year! Starting off the second season of monthly programs is January's program Road Hog. Road Hog is a driving game similar to my later Flywheel game. I hesitate to call it a racing game as there is no acceleration. You just move the car left or right using the Z or . keys. The game is pretty easy due to the slow speed of the animation. Go give it a spin.

Posted Jan 14, 2012 by Steven 3 min read

A New Year of ZX81 Programs

Well, the celebration of thirty years since the introduction of the ZX81 is now over. For the last year I've been bringing you an original ZX81 program each month as a tribute to my first computer. It was a lot of fun typing in those old programs or fixing tape recordings I made back in the eighties. I even rewrote one which brought me back to those old programming days. For those that found your way here, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings about the programs. Perhaps you've learned something or I just invoked a kinship from a fellow programmer.

Posted Jan 10, 2012 by Steven 2 min read