The law – is it an ass?

During April this blog will focus on the legal environment for computer games of the 1980s. This post explains why many early computer games are “orphan works”. (An orphan work is a work which is protected by copyright, but whose rights-owner, or owners, cannot be identified and/or located.) Orphan works ... Continue Reading »

Challenge Chamber

We Want Your High Scores What was your high score? How did you share it with the world? Showcasing  gaming achievement was important for many game fans. Home computer fans had no public leader boards like those enjoyed in the arcades but  magazines once more came to the rescue of Australian micro ... Continue Reading »

Adventure Fans, Clubs and Help Columns

Help columns were a regular feature of computer magazine in the 1980s. As Adventure games were perhaps the most challenging games to play frequently leaving players stuck and unable to progress the Adventure help guru was a must for most game publications. The popularity of “The Hobbit” and ... Continue Reading »

How I got started in games – Matthew Hall – Klicktock

This is an edited transcript of Matthew Hall's presentation on "The Australian Story" panel at the Game Masters Forum, Friday 29th June 2012. Matthew runs the one man design company Klicktock. I’m a one man band developer.  I pretty much do everything myself.  And I do it from a ... Continue Reading »

Part 3: 1980s Home Brew – The Games… Carl Muller shares his remembrance of home coding

In Part 3 Carl tells us about designing his games  from making his own Smurf platformer based on a screenshot of a Colecovision Smurf game he saw published in a magazine to experimenting in sound for “Toccato”. It was a time for experimentation in what could be achieved on a micro and looking at screenshots in ... Continue Reading »

Part 2: 1980s Home Brew – Keeping up with the Commodore Carl Muller shares his remembrance of home coding

In Part 2 Carl tells us about finally getting his own computer, joining the local computer club and in how his interest in games design inspired him to learn Assembly language and dissemble games studying the works of UK designer Jeff (Yak) Minter. VIC-20 During the final term the school bought a newfangled Commodore VIC-20. This ... Continue Reading »

Part 1: 1980s Home Brew – The Beginnings A three part special where NZ designer Carl Muller shares his remembrance of home coding

 In Part 1 Carl tells us about where he first encountered computers as a child in Fiji and how he created his first games (and made his first sale) typing listings onto the display machines at his New Zealand home town’s computer shop. These are some of ... Continue Reading »

If you had access to a micro computer in the 1980s chances are you played a text adventure. You may have even written one.

The pleasures of the text Frustrated gamers playing text adventures would inevitably find themselves at some time typing a string of expletives into the hapless interface only to be rewarded by a snide comment or just more stonewalling from the game. Infuriating and often very punitive on the player the punishing ... Continue Reading »

The Life and Times of an 80’s Game Programmer – Putting it all together

How does game development back in the early 80’s compare to game development today? For starters, the computers of that era were far less powerful  and didn’t have anywhere near the graphics and audio capabilities of today’s power houses. My TRS-80 was monochrome and offered a graphic resolution of only 128 ... Continue Reading »

Early 80s games, and their huge influence on my (non-IT) career

I was never in the "gaming scene" or "gaming culture" as such. I was never a member of a software-swapping "club" nor did I spend many night and weekends gaming with my peers. Unlike many retro-gaming enthusiasts, who remember the games of their school and teenage years, by the time I ... Continue Reading »

The Life and Times of an 80’s Game Programmer – Chasing a Dream

I purchased my first computer back in the Christmas of 1980. A Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1. This computer came with 16K of RAM, which I upgraded internally to 32K. It used an 8 bit Z-80 processor running at 1.78Mhz and had a monochrome graphics capability of 128 x 48 ... Continue Reading »

‘Little’ computers

IBM released its personal computer in 1981.  Whilst this would be the system that would lead to ‘PC’ becoming a synonym for a computer sitting on a desktop, it was quite expensive.  Prices started at $1,565 (presumably USD) for a configuration without disk drives (Wikipedia).  Apples -- destined for the ... Continue Reading »

Role Playing Games Conventions in 1980s and local community

Local role playing games conventions such as Melbourne’s Arcanacon and Canberra’s Cancon were important in the 1980s in bringing together people who were interested in the emerging genre of home computer games. Steve Fawkner, author of the “Warlords” series and “Puzzlequest” games, recalls taking the first ... Continue Reading »

Microbee – a local AU computer

The Microbee was an Australian computer designed, built, and marketed by Applied Technology, in Gosford, N.S.W.  Originally released in February 1982, it was intended for the schools market but also had a wide and deep following amongst home users.  A considerable amount of software was published locally for the Microbee, ... Continue Reading »

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