ZX81 Computer


Showcasing monthly programs, a retro look at my my first computer., Page 2
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 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.

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. It’s way worse. I’m 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

Look out for the Death Maze as You Escape the Monster

I seem to like avoid the wall games. I wrote many of them over the years, inspired by other games I played like “Cavern’s of Mars.” It isn’t a surprise as the ZX81 made it pretty easy to write a vertical scroller. For Death Maze, I added a little twist. Is it enough to make the game fun to play? Let’s find out.

Posted Jun 26, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

Tower of Love Was an Ambitious Idea That Failed

I had lots of ideas as a teenager. Many of them became actual programs, while others languish in my notebooks. Others made it a bit further, becoming programs on my ZX81, but never finished. A journey abandoned is still a journey. Let’s explore one such program this month: Tower of Love.

Posted May 20, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

Check out This Awesome Remake of Pole Dodge

Jim notified me earlier this month that I’d missed one of his remakes of my ZX81 programs when I blogged about them earlier. Tower Dodge for the MC-10 is Jim’s version of my updated Pole Dodge 2. Not sure how I missed it as he rewrote it back in 2014. Of course, I can’t believe I wrote mine back in 2012! Time sure flies—get the pun? Anyway, let’s dive in and see what’s new.

Posted May 17, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Quick, Stop the Bomber before It Destroys You

Wait what? Another month? Another game? You betcha! April is upon us, and pretty much over. So, to pass the time I introduce Blaster, a shooter with a twist. Use Z to move left, . to move right, and M to fire. Not the most exciting game ever, but you’ll find it hard enough to spend a few minutes with it.

Posted Apr 19, 2018 by Steven 5 min read

How to Make a Bar Chart on Your ZX81

Taking a turn from games, March's program is a bit more useful. Although not as flexible as some modern programs, Bar Graph does the job. Add some data and print. What could be easier? Well, a lot.

Posted Mar 24, 2018 by Steven 6 min read

How to Make Digital Rain on Your ZX81

I’ve been wanting to create my own version of digital rain for some time. The effect is well known from the Matrix movies, which used florescent green characters. Inspired by that version, I decided to go retro and generate a black and white stream of characters using the ZX81. Let the geekiness begin.

Posted Feb 20, 2018 by Steven 6 min read

Watch This Great Remake of Flywheel on the TRS-80

While digging around my site’s SEO this morning, I ran across these great videos from Jim Gierrie. Both depict his remake of Flywheel on a a TRS-80 MC-10. He had shared in a comment on my site, but I’d missed it given how busy last year had been. I love that Jim took the concept and made it his own, exactly the purpose of this site.

Posted Jan 28, 2018 by Steven 3 min read

Fight Your Way to Victory with This ZX81 Space Shooter

Nothing starts the year out better than a space shooter. The top of the printout was quite faded, so I wasn’t sure about ZTSXXSTZ when I started to type it in. But, once I got the first few bits working I realized I had something worth sharing.

Posted Jan 20, 2018 by Steven 4 min read

What Can You Do with a Simple ZX81 Animation?

Although may of my early programs were games, I spent a fair amount of time experimenting. December’s program, Slow Down, is one of my animation experiments. It is a straight forward sprite animation, with a twist. I used the ZX81 against itself to slow it down. If you’re ready, let’s dig deeper.

Posted Dec 26, 2017 by Steven 4 min read

Star Fight Is a Simple ZX81 Shoot ’Em up Game

Back in 1983, Star Wars imagery flooded my life. With the release of Return of the Jedi that year, it only fueled the inspiration of my young teenage self. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I would create games with that look and feel. Star Fight, this month’s program, is one such game.

Posted Nov 26, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

Windmill Is a Quick and Dirty ZX81 Animation

There are a ton of windmills in Idaho. Mostly big ones for power, but you see a few smaller ones used for irrigation and wells. But, when I wrote this month’s program, I couldn’t remember any being around where I lived in Indiana. No matter. I still wrote a simple windmill animation, and today is the day to share it.

Posted Oct 30, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

Not to Be Defeated, Time to Get Wineskin Working Again

After upgrading to macOS High Sierra, I ran into a minor problem. Seems my WineSkin wrapper for EightyOne, my ZX81 emulator, stopped working. I have alternatives, but the screenshots I take from EightyOne are too nice to pass up. As luck would have it, there is a fix.

Posted Oct 12, 2017 by Steven 3 min read

Tabular Is My Simple and Easy ZX81 Word Processor

To date, most of my programs have been games and animations. It may come as a surprise that I also wrote a word processing program. Using a custom printer command, I designed a font that would allow you to use lowercase letters. Let’s explore September’s program of the month to see how that worked.

Posted Sep 25, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

Quickly Avoid the Spiders in the ZX81 Game Tarantula

Tarantula, August’s program of the month, was part of a pair of games that made me think I was a game developer. At the age of fourteen, I didn’t let problems like the lack of a distribution channel tarnish my dreams. Although I didn’t make it into gaming, it’s still fun to look back on what could have been.

Posted Aug 30, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

How Long Can You Last against the Attack

Wanting something interesting, I struggled to find a ZX81 program to share. Plus, it was getting close to the end of the month. Digging into my old notebook, I stumbled upon Missile Defense. Although short, I expanded it into a something worth playing. Let’s dig deeper.

Posted Jul 27, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

My ZX81 Tic-Tac-Toe May Not Look Pretty, but You Can Win

As June winds down, I find myself reminiscing about writing month’s program. 34 years later, I still remember the glow of the TV as it lit the notebook in my lap. Although I have fond memories of Tic-tac-toe, time isn’t as kind to it. Let’s dig in.

Posted Jun 25, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

Can You Get the High Score in the Worst ZX81 Dice Game

Okay, although not the worst ever, Dice Game is pretty dull. With only two dice, no strategy, and no replay value, you might think this an odd program of the month. But for the young teenager that wrote it, it was pretty cool in 1983. Let’s dig in and see why.

Posted May 28, 2017 by Steven 7 min read

Bringing an Old ZX81 Sketch to Life with BASIC Is Absolutely Crazy

Foreign to many developers today, I have a notepad and binder full of ideas from my ZX81 days. The notepad contains early program snippets. In contrast, I have sketches and designs crammed into a binder. Flipping through it, I landed on a Star Wars sketch that became the basis for this month’s program.

Posted Apr 30, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

Bet and Win in Stud, a Simple ZX81 Poker Game

For March’s program of the month, I offer up Stud. Written in 1984, it was my first computer card game. Calling it a card game is disingenuous as Stud is a simple high/low betting game. There are no rules or even a deck of cards. Yet simple can be fun in this random poker game.

Posted Mar 24, 2017 by Steven 3 min read

Pictures Are Pretty, How to Make a ZX81 Draw

Sometimes one function can do a lot. For February’s program, picture uses a line drawing routine to draw a pretty picture. Okay, pretty is in the eye of the beholder. But, nonetheless, it is a picture. The fun, though, is in watching it draw.

Posted Feb 25, 2017 by Steven 4 min read

Can you hack the computer and save the world?

“Agent 51, your goal is within reach, but there is a problem.” “Understand,” you reply. Professional as always, you only allow a hint of annoyance in your voice. “Explain.” “Well, the plans are in the room in front of you, but the floor is a trap. You need to deactivate it using the terminal to your right.” You look down at the screen, a singular “READY” stares back at you. “Sounds easy enough,” you reply. “It isn’t. The interface is protected and, sadly, our operative died before he could tell us the code.” “So what do I do?” “You’re going to have to hack it. Our operative left a back door into the system, if you can find it. You can do it, Agent 51.” You nod at the voice in your ear. You can do this. Play begins with imagination. Computers are great for role playing and Code IV was one of my programs that helped enable a story. As a kid, I often augmented my play using my ZX81. Although the narrative above isn’t exact, it embodies what I was thinking when I wrote this month’s ZX81 program. Fun, adventurous, and unfair, can you crack the code and disable the floor?

Posted Jan 22, 2017 by Steven 5 min read

Check Out My New Look For The Site And Programs

After a serious bout of procrastination, I updated the look of my ZX81 site to match that of my main site. In doing so, I’ve corrected the various errors that cropped up from my hosting upgrade. Clean and comfy, time to enjoy the new features this theme offers.

Posted Dec 29, 2016 by Steven 3 min read

Can you guess the right code to win?

I used to play Mastermind when I was a kid, a simple code breaking game. One player would set up a sequence of colored pegs and the other would have to guess it in a set number of turns. My version, called ZX Master Mind, has the computer creating the code. Can you guess the three numbers in sequence before your ten turns run out?

Posted Dec 22, 2016 by Steven 4 min read