early games

so… it’s late at night, i can’t quite sleep, and … been having some weird nostalgia semi-dreams. a few in particular harken back to the days of early 80s gaming. others had apples and ataris and commodores and TI systems. My first computer was a sinclair zx81. w00t!

my recent insomnia led me to poke around, and found a blog post from someone who’s championing ‘tiny games’. These are what we used to call ‘games’: entertainment programs that could fit in to 1k of RAM. For me, early on, that was always done in BASIC, and you couldn’t do much with BASIC (but you could with 16k of RAM – lots of fun stuff from those times, all things considered). But many people could do fascinating stuff with machine code, and you’d get interesting games, and they’d feel much like some of the examples this guy has posted.

He’s converted at least one to JavaScript, so you can play in your browser: try ‘tiny ski’ and see what you think. Except for the fact that this runs amazingly fast, this was my ‘gaming’ in the early days. And it was damn fun.

There’s youtube videos of some ZX81 games, although a) I never had any of these (I just remember seeing some in magazines but couldn’t afford to buy them) and b) none of them ever looked this clear on a CRT home TV and c) I think a couple of these were done later than the early 80s (not sure, but the graphics look ‘too good’ for what I remember possible in 1982).

and on that note, I will try to get back to sleep… zzzz….

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