• Tag Archives Atari 800
  • Family Computing (December 1983)


    Source: Family Computing – Issue Number 4 – December 1983

    Family Computing was a relatively short-lived multi-format computer magazine from the early 1980s. There were a bunch like it but most didn’t survive long. It seems magazines dedicated to one particular computer did much better which I suppose makes sense since most people probably didn’t have multiple computers of different types.

    The December 1983 issue of Family Computing includes:


    • A No-Hassle Way to Shop? – Beat the crowds and save money to boot just by pounding on your computer keys – with the right connection.
    • The Layman’s Guide to Word Processing – Best-selling author McWilliams makes even rank beginner understand why word processing has become such a popular computer application for home use.
    • A Young Girl’s Fantasy Turns to Fortune – Adventure game designer Roberta Williams turned her talents for storytelling into successful software packages published by the company she heads with her husband, Ken.
    • Buyer’s Guide to Joysticks, Paddles, And Track-Balls – All you need to know to choose the right hand controller for you and your computer.
    • Automatic Pilot – Four homeowners, who’ve turned science fiction into fact with easy-to-install home-controlling equipment, may be part of a wave of the future.
    • How to Make Your Own Computer Cover for Just a Few Dollars – It takes just a small investment of time and money – and a little sewing skill – to protect your computer.
    • Things Computer Salespeople Seldom Tell You – Asking the right questions when you buy a computer can save you hours of frustration and rage – and a bundle of money.
    • What’s A Computer? – California kids have some offbeat answers.
    • Games For Two…Or Ten – A selection of games guaranteed to gather crowds of players around the computer.
    • 10 Gifts Your Computer Wants For Christmas – If your computer makes life easier for you, don’t forget to return the favor – it’s sure to pay off for you as well.
    • How People and Machines Can Work in Harmony – Part two of a special report on ergonomics.


    • The Programmer – For enthusiasts of all levels.
    • Holiday Programs – Trim you electronic tree to music, make your own personalized wrapping paper, and divvy up holiday chores with programs for Apple, Atari, Commodore 64 and VIC-20, IBM, TI, Timex, and TRS-80 computers.
    • Puzzle – Shopper Search: Finding Mom at the department store.
    • Reader-Written Program – Writing letters in code – making your own character set.


    • What’s in Store – 14 pages of product announcements and reviews.
    • New Hardware Announcements – The latest in the field: Atari’s 1400XL, Timex’s 2000, TRS-80’s PC-4, Chalk Board’s PowerPad, and more.
    • Novelties and Notions – A compendium of computer-related items including disk punches, coloring books, calendars, computer printout greeting banners, and more.
    • Software Guide – Quick takes on two dozen new and noteworthy programs.
    • Software Reviews
    • Book Reviews


    • Editor’s Note
    • Behind the Screens – People, News, and Trends
    • Home-School Connection – Take a lesson from teachers – choose educational software the way they do.
    • Games – Giving games as gifts.
    • Home Business – A successful home accountant.
    • Computing Confidential – Addicted to computers.
    • Computing Clinic – Questions from readers.
    • Light Touch – The Man Who Bought Two Many Peripherals.
    • Basic Booth – A monthly cartoon.
    • The Primer – A multipart reference guide that appears each month.
    • Advertiser’s Index
    • Sign Off – Avoiding the “Piano Lesson Syndrome.”

    …and more!

  • Infidel (Infocom)


    Did you know that Infocom’s ‘text adventure’ games can be found on tablets and mobile devices for free? Infocom was founded 39 years ago, today and is responsible for bringing us text adventures, which were unique in terms of game play. Players are given scenarios in text form to which they must respond in written commands such as ‘go north’ or ‘use shower’ to progress. Since the games were in all text format, Infocom was able to easily release them on popular home computers like the Apple II, Atari 800, Commodore 64… Infocom’s text-based games were sold in book stores and so were their hint books (#InvisiClues), which were best-sellers in the computer books genre. Some Infocom games came with maps, invisible ink messages, or props like scratch and sniff cards that would help players solve mysteries and progress the story, which makes them interesting We not only to play, but also to collect.

    For those not familiar with Infocom, they were famous for creating a line of text-based adventure games (otherwise known and interactive fiction) in the 1980s, the first and most famous of which is Zork. Though graphics were added to later games by Infocom, for a number of years their games were purely text based. I description of the environment and what was happening was displayed on the screen and you could type phrases to performa actions. The goal was usually to accumulate points by collecting items or otherwise progressing through the game.

    The plot of Infidel involves the finding of a 5,000 year old pottery shard with hieroglyphics describing a previously unknown pyramid and great riches. Your role is to find and explore this pyramid. The plot and many of the obstacles are reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. There are 40 ways to die so good luck :).

    Infidel was Infocom’s 10th game and was released in 1983 near the height of Infocom’s popularity. Like some of their other games (Zork, Planetfall, etc.) this was originally meant to be part of a series of games (called Tales of Adventure in this case) but no others were ever made in this series. If you want to play this game, the bad news is that an original could cost you quite a bit, especially complete in the box as Infocom games typically came with lots of extra goodies. The good news is that this game like other Infocom text adventures were written in a virtual machine (Z-Machine) and was available on a huge number of platforms. It’s also available on a number of modern platforms as well.

  • Compute! (August 1981)


    Source: Compute! – Issue Number 15 – August 1981

    If you happened to be a computer owner in 1981 then Compute! would have definitely been a magazine that you would have wanted to subscribe to. The magazine lasted for more than a decade and in these early days it was exclusively covering 8-bit computers based on the 6502 processor. There were more of these than you might think.

    The August 1981 issue includes:

    • The Editor’s Notes
    • Ask The Readers
    • Computers And Society: Some Speculations On The Well-Played Game, Part II
    • The Beginner’s Page
    • Basically Useful Basic: Checking Randomness Of Random Number Generators
    • Trenton: The Original Computer Festival
    • Basic Oneliners: Minimize Code And Maximize Speed
    • Computer Assisted Instruction – Worth The Effort?
    • Wolves, Caribou, And Other Problems
    • Add A Programmable Sound Generator
    • The Carry Bit – What It Is And How It Works
    • The Floating-Point Division Routine
    • Practical Aspects Of Assembly Language: Part II
    • The Apple Gazette
      • Apple Disk Motor Control
      • Interfacing The Apple To 6500 Family Peripherals
      • A Cassette Tape Monitor For The Apple
      • Diskette Sector Space In A Greeting Program
    • The Atari Gazette
      • Restoring And Updating Data On The Atari
      • Easy Reading Of The Atari Joystick
      • Poem Writer
      • Supercube Update
      • Atari Sound Utility
      • Blockade For The Atari
      • Define A Line On The Atari
    • The OSI Gazette
      • The OSI RS232 Port And The High Speed Printer Interface
    • The Pet Gazette
      • The CBM “Fat 40” – Boon Or Bane?
      • Digital Arrayment
      • Keyword
      • CBM/PET Loading, Chaining And Overlaying
      • Converting Pet Basic Programs To ASCII Files
    • The Single Board Computer Gazette
      • The Single Board 6502
      • Nuts And Volts: Build Your Own Controllers Part II
    • New Products
    • Advertiser’s Index

    …and more!