11/11/2017

☆ My 80's Bedroom Coding Adventures! ☆ #Atari #Retrogaming

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When I got Atari XEGS video games system for Christmas around 1989 I was about 9 years old and I remember this feeling that I was a part of something futuristic. 

I had a computer with a keyboard, a cartridge slot, a light phaser and a tape deck that was living in my bedroom!


It was definitely a time of wonder for me as I discovered a new world of video games fun using my black and white TV..

Yes, I owned a black and white TV at the time that my mum and dad got me. Looking back it was madness but I was playing Steve Davis’ Snooker by Blue Ribbon on a Black & White TV! 

You couldn’t make it up could you!?

It wasn’t long before I got a colour TV for my Birthday and I was fully set up for the brave new world of computers. I was totally hooked even though the pack in games were woeful (Bug Hunt & Flight Simulator II).

It was the fact that these pack in games were so bad that led me and my dad to experimenting with the type in games that were included in the manual.



It was magical to think that Dad and I could take it in turns to write out this long raft of code and we would be presented with a playable video game.

Looking back on it now I think I saw my dad as a super hero at the time. Not only had he (and mum) purchased this awesome machine for me (even though I wanted a Speccy) he was also a cool enough dad to type in the games with me!

It was around the time  of the bedroom coder stories that were on BBC News and I think that these stories had maybe captured my Dad’s imagination. I remember at the time dad mentioning to me that he thought coding would be something that might interest me so maybe he was thinking of a coding future for me?

What I do know is it took us an absolute age to type up those games listings !

It was one finger typing at its best and meant that our speed and accuracy were relatively poor BUT we enjoyed it 
(sort of)

Of course we all know that in BASIC you don’t know whether that long list of incomprehensible words will work until you type that RUN command and then it throws back a syntax error in your face!

Hours of work up in smoke and for the one finger typist that would often cause the end of proceedings. But then there was the option to save your work on a tape to be revisited another day. Saving work to a tape blew my tiny 9 year old mind as I felt like James Bond as I saved my secret work to a data tape (a C-90 TDK) and then filed it in my tape cassette holder.



These were truly pioneering times for me and I wish I had kept going with BASIC and learned how to program full games of my own but I think my time being a one finger programmer left its mark on me to this day and I am still in awe of those who do make a full video game.

Maybe that’s why I respect the Indie Dev community so much and we focus heavily on these awesome dudes with the frozen pages of GamesFreezer.

One thing I do know though is that the listings in video games magazines of the time made me so excited to get the next issue!
The magazines were a double whammy of cover tape (normally with 3 or 4 demos or sometimes full games) and then as you delved deep into the pages you were presented with more games to type in.

Looking back, this was almost the Steam of its time. A repository video games that everyone with a computer could gain access to…



With that in mind I have just scoured the internet for some of the best games code listings that you can try out on your BASIC capable machines in your own homes.

Here's 5 places to go and get some awesome BASIC codes listing to type in your very own games!







Let me know how you get on and which website is your favourite.

RUN


SYNTAX ERROR


"STAY FROSTY!"