Remember Type-In Games?

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VideoGameCritic
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Remember Type-In Games?

Postby VideoGameCritic » November 23rd, 2019, 6:12 pm

When I was a kid in the early 80's I had an Atari home computer and I learned how to program on that. Computer magazines were a big deal and I would devour Antic, Analog, and Compute magazines. Back then they contained type-in programs (mostly games) which contained pages and pages of tiny, tedious number and letter strings.

I would enlist my little sister to help me. She would read off the codes and I would type them in using my patented hunt-and-peck technique. It might take about three hours to finish (!) and even then you might have to run an additional "typo" program to help locate any typing errors (there were many, and unless the code was perfect it didn't run).

So was it worth all the time and aggravation? Surprisingly, the answer is YES. These games were no joke. They feature the high-res graphics, music, and sophisticated gameplay of a commercial title (I think some were even later released commercially). I remember the first one I typed in was a wild platformer called Escape From Epsilon. So much fun! I also remember an Asteroids style game, and a dungeon crawler with heat-seeking arrows!

Here's a link to Escape from Epsilon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLtt1Yl9x7I

I would save the same to tape, and later floppy disk. I wish I still had all those games. I miss the games but I don't miss the hours of typing them in. Anybody else have similar experiences?

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zetax
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby zetax » November 23rd, 2019, 8:35 pm

Like you, I had an Atari computer (800XL), and would type in programs from Antic and ANALOG magazines. Some decent (at the time) games, as well as graphics and sound demos. Haven't dabbled with programming for a few years, though hope to give Python a try shortly.

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ASalvaro
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby ASalvaro » November 23rd, 2019, 10:15 pm

Lol yup I used to type in programs on my Atari 800xl...the worst was when I used to type in games from the Timex Sinclair Magazine on my Timex 1000 with the membrane keyboard! That was a headache..when I got my my 1st modem that was the end of typing in games

jon
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby jon » November 24th, 2019, 7:54 pm

I sure do. My brother was crazy about it. My favorite was a horse racing game that was so simple yet addictive

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Matchstick
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby Matchstick » November 24th, 2019, 10:06 pm

I'm not too proud to admit that I am a bit too young for this sort of thing, but I absolutely loooooove the concept.

If I'm understanding all of this right, these were essentially a sort of "paint-by-numbers" approach to programming? As in, all of the steps and information were laid out for you, and once you had it all inserted into place correctly, it would create a genuine game or program that you could run and play? Similar to how a paint-by-numbers set would create an actual painting when it was completed?

FusekiGames
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby FusekiGames » November 24th, 2019, 11:18 pm

Matchstick wrote:I'm not too proud to admit that I am a bit too young for this sort of thing, but I absolutely loooooove the concept.

If I'm understanding all of this right, these were essentially a sort of "paint-by-numbers" approach to programming? As in, all of the steps and information were laid out for you, and once you had it all inserted into place correctly, it would create a genuine game or program that you could run and play? Similar to how a paint-by-numbers set would create an actual painting when it was completed?


Something like that. Most of the game listings in the magazines were written in BASIC, which is a fairly simple programming language. I think it was Compute! who later published a listing for a program that converted decimal numbers to machine language operation codes (opcodes), and you just entered the decimal numbers that they listed in the editor.

If you go on archive.org, you can find some of the old magazines that VGC listed in his original post, and see some examples of these listings. My old favorite was from an old Electronic Fun magazine; a game called Destroyus. My friend Ray and I had a blast typing it in, and spending hours modifying and expanding the code of the game to do different/new things. I have a scan of the listing here somewhere...

comchia
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby comchia » January 19th, 2020, 11:36 pm

The currently ongoing games magazine Wireframe sometimes has a variation of those, with Python and Java programs that you can either type in or download. The first issue had an algorithm for Defender-esque explosions in Python. Being fresh from a classic gaming con in Orlando, I thought it was super rad.

BlasteroidAli
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby BlasteroidAli » January 25th, 2020, 12:45 am

I used to type out games in Sinclair basic. The closest thing to sinclair basic is Scatch. Sure you can make games on it but it is time consuming.
Not understanding how the code worked I found typing in the keywords did not allow for me to get the games to run. The magazine i used to try was computer and video games in the UK. The mag is now defunct.

I might go back to it with python games for a laugh. Though now typing in Java and trying to get it to do anything is the name of the game.

Everything has proven easier than Sinclair basic other than Sense which is a Scratch derivative.

bluenote
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby bluenote » January 29th, 2020, 12:02 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:When I was a kid in the early 80's I had an Atari home computer and I learned how to program on that. Computer magazines were a big deal and I would devour Antic, Analog, and Compute magazines. Back then they contained type-in programs (mostly games) which contained pages and pages of tiny, tedious number and letter strings.

I would enlist my little sister to help me. She would read off the codes and I would type them in using my patented hunt-and-peck technique. It might take about three hours to finish (!) and even then you might have to run an additional "typo" program to help locate any typing errors (there were many, and unless the code was perfect it didn't run).

So was it worth all the time and aggravation? Surprisingly, the answer is YES. These games were no joke. They feature the high-res graphics, music, and sophisticated gameplay of a commercial title (I think some were even later released commercially). I remember the first one I typed in was a wild platformer called Escape From Epsilon. So much fun! I also remember an Asteroids style game, and a dungeon crawler with heat-seeking arrows!

Here's a link to Escape from Epsilon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLtt1Yl9x7I

I would save the same to tape, and later floppy disk. I wish I still had all those games. I miss the games but I don't miss the hours of typing them in. Anybody else have similar experiences?


Wow, I had that game too! I haven't thought about it or seen it in over 35 years! Amazing! Completely removed from my memory until I clicked on that YouTube link. Thanks critic! Really weird when something like that happens

My older brother collected antic and compute and we both spent many hours typing in these games, first on our atari 400, then on the 800. Nothing could beat that feeling when after several attempts of finding your typo, then seeing the game finally run!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane critic

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MSR1701
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Re: Remember Type-In Games?

Postby MSR1701 » January 29th, 2020, 1:17 pm

Before my time, though I did try to work with some on the Atari Classics 2 DS game via the built-in Atari Basic mode. Could not wrap my head around it...

Would like to dabble in coding at some point, though not sure if type-in programs are a good tool to learn from.


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