Saturday, 16 March 2013

Guest Blog - a generation of games I loved

For me, it all started in the late 1970's, when my dad bought one of those home entertainment versions of Pong, with all different kinds of sports, like hockey and tennis.
We played the hell out of it, I think it's difficult to understand for kids these days how we could have so much fun with only one ball (cube) and a few lines on screen.

I was growing up with Space Invaders, Pacman, Donkey Kong, Q-Bert and Galaxians and Phoenix at the arcade machines, and I remember playing the handheld game Gunfighter at the toy department of the supermarket, until my mom came to pick me up. 

One day I got a Sinclair ZX-81, or rather the equivalent Timex 1000. We even had the same computer in our electronics class at school. So when at school, we had to put in some basic commands, to create some loop, boring stuff in my opinion.
 I was more interested in the gaming aspect of the machine, so what did I do?
I had some magazines at home, like Happy Computer (coming from Germany) and Sinclair user....or was it your Sinclair? (Don't remember exactly, memories faded).

Anyway, I took these magazines with me in class, and as the others were trying to find the key-combinations (ZX81 connaisseurs will know what I mean), I started to type in some of these listings from the mags 
20 minutes before class was ending, the whole class was gathering around my table, staring at the screen, screaming "Let me try, now it's my turn!" Even the teacher wanted to steer that.... spaceship (built from three blocks), and destroy the aliens (one block). Can you imagine? 

At home, I had an advanced version of the ZX81, the 16K expansion! that was a whole lot more than the 1K standard.
It only had one problem, when typing those programs, and before it was saved on tape (Aaahh, the mono tape recorder, with those cassette tapes, and the counter to remember where wich program was saved!), when my mom called me for supper, it could happen that when touching my desk too hard, everything was lost.

The 16K expansion didn't have the best contacts, it didn't even help cleaning them, or trying to change position.
 I also tried taping the damn thing to the computer.
 Nothing helped.
I mentioned the keys before, each key had three or four possible combinations, you had to press another key first, to get some kind of black & white combination of blocks on screen.
 Did I say press? well you couldn't really "press" a key on the keyboard, because the keys weren't really keys, and the keyboard wasn't really a keyboard also.
The keyboard is a 'touch sensitive membrane', a flexible plastic surface with the actual switches under the surface. 
Amazing when you think about it now!

GamesYouloved would like to thank, Coen Velden.  Our Guest Blogger for his RETRO gaming memories. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.