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Month: September 2018

Your first game

Your first game

Time for me to shake my fist and tell you darn kids to get off my lawn. Lets set the wayback machine to the 1980’s…

Ralph Koster shares the first video game he ever wrote as well as a great flashback to what almost everyone that wanted to learn to program did back in the 80’s and 90’s. We typed in long programs by hand from books we got at the library and computer magazines. We taught ourselves BASIC and smatterings of assembly. If you were really cool, you even tried to sell your games: which was done by copying them to a floppy, printing a dot-matrix label for it, and trying to sell it in a ziplock baggie.

I started by fiddling around with the programs I typed in to see if I could change them or make them do different things.

My very first video ‘game’ on my TSR-80 consisted of a bunch of black and white dots that would fall down from the top of the screen, and you moved your dot ‘ship’ back and forth to avoid them as the enemies rained down. They came down one at a time. Ridiculously slowly. But it was probably my very first ‘game’.

My second, more ‘real’ game was a castle adventure game. You were the sole heir of a long-lost uncle and had to search his castle to find the deed within 24 hours. It was a text adventure at its heart, but there was opening graphics. I even wrote my own graphics editor with which I drew those opening screens. I believe I still have the graph paper I used.

Anyway, for anyone who learned to program in the 80’s, Koster’s video will tug some familiar heartstrings. For you younger kids, this is how it was done back in the day…