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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

First Graphics Game Written On/For a 16-Bit Home PC 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-an-e-antique dept.
The GPI writes with a story about Scott's Space Wars, a piece of gaming history: "This game was written by the famous game author Scott Adams, who founded Adventure International, the first multimillion dollar PC game company. It was founded over 30 years ago and developed for early 8-bit home PCs, i.e. TRS-80, Apple II, Atari. Scott's Space Wars is the first graphics game that was ever written at home, for a 16-bit home computer. The original source code is available as photos of the original 1975 hand-written manuscript. The last purchaser of the manuscript paid $197,500 in 2005. A brief video shows how the game was played."
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First Graphics Game Written On/For a 16-Bit Home PC

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  • Nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday May 04, 2009 @10:45PM (#27825701) Homepage Journal

    The first computer I ever saw in person and worked on was a TRS-80 model III. I was in the 7th grade and my junior high school had a lab with a bunch of them. I can remember playing games that looked very similar to the video. This was 1982, so it was probably something different, but the same idea, using letters and symbols. We learned basic in that class and did a little bit of graphics stuff ourselves. I don't remember it all that well now, but I do know that I loved it.
     
    I enjoyed it enough that my dad bought the family a Commodore Vic-20. That was a big deal as our family didn't have a ton of money. I don't think we even owned a vcr yet at that point. I spent tons of time on that thing, and took all the classes I could get in jr. high and high school. It really was a cool time to be messing with home computers. I had a friend in the 8th grade that wrote a text adventure and was selling it out of a local computer store. He didn't make a lot but it was just fun to be able to do that kind of stuff. I'm not sure if there is a similar environment or feel like that anywhere any more. (Or more likely - it's somewhere I'm just not in it, too old to see it, etc.)

  • good memories (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retchdog (1319261) on Monday May 04, 2009 @11:17PM (#27825915) Journal

    Although utterly mediocre (at best) by comparison with the work of his contemporary Infocom, Scott Adams' adventure games, complete with typos, tacky jokes/puns, outright bugs, and illogical "solutions", were endearing in their own way.

    Spent quite some time playing Adventureland; Voodoo Castle (with the periodically exploding test tubes which you needed to wear a suit of armor to carry); and The Count on a VIC-20 with and without my family as a child, and I have many fond memories.

    > smoke cigarette
    OK. There's a coughin (sic) in the room.
    > open coffin

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Monday May 04, 2009 @11:58PM (#27826241)

    If you had an Apple II before 1974, then you had something a lot more interesting than an Apple II on your hands.

    AFAIK the only 16-bit computers outside the defense sector were at Hewlett-Packard. This is the first homebrew 16-bit machine I've seen.

  • Re:Nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:18AM (#27826383) Journal

    I'm not sure if there is a similar environment or feel like that anywhere any more. (Or more likely - it's somewhere I'm just not in it, too old to see it, etc.)

    I've been thinking about this, and I think it was so much fun because you could do anything anyone else could. Coming up with cool new ways to arrange colored text on the screen, interesting ways to use the arrow keys, new different kinds of menuing systems, if you could see it (and it often was cool), you could reproduce it. And a single person could make something very cool in little time, it was just a matter of imagining it.

    Nowadays, it takes an artist or a team of artists several months to make something cool, and only the smallest projects can be made by a single person. It is so much harder to manipulate what happens on the screen (and this is coming from a person who is an experienced programmer), and it is not as easy to change someone else's source code. You may have a cool idea, but good luck implementing it alone.

    So many things have changed. Fortunately more powerful computers make up for it.

  • Re:Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by YenTheFirst (1056960) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:51AM (#27827027) Journal

    It's not entirely the same, but I really cut my teeth on programming on a TI-83+ graphing calculator. It had a variant of BASIC, fairly simple graphics capabilities, and it was fairly easy to pick up.

    Incidentally,I think that environment was my first exposure to the ideas of open source software, too. Programs could be shared easily, by linking calculators, and being interpreted, all programs came with source. I certainly learned a bit by reading programs from other students, or downloaded from the internet.

    Also, I get a lot of the same feeling of experimentation, reproducibility, and real capability out of messing with microcontrollers, like the Arduino [arduino.cc]. I think there's really something to be said for working and playing on a relatively limited system. Limitation breeds creativity, perhaps?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:54AM (#27827059)

    I call shenanigans on the claimed $197,500 purchase price. The whois data for the web site [exoticsciences.com] says that it's controlled by Richard Adams himself. It looks like he's also the author of the Wikipedia pages about himself and his company.

    I have no problem with the guy writing about himself in the third person, but I can't bring myself to believe that he paid his brother six figures for a twelve-page program listing.

  • by cmholm (69081) <(gro.mlohiuam) (ta) (mlohmc)> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @04:25AM (#27827817) Homepage Journal

    After reading the story, this sounds like a sure-fire "Outliers" scenario. The Adams brothers lived near Cape Canaveral. Richard constructed a video camera as an adolescent, before building a custom 16-bit computer from scratch, when all of the kits were strictly 8-bit. Richard, Scott, and Eric programmed the system initially from front panel switches, until Richard build a keyboard, based on existing designs. Just as Bill Gates created Altair BASIC at what was most likely the earliest possible moment, so with the Adams brothers getting their start.

    It would be interesting to know what the family, school, and social background that gave them the shot at such an early entre into digital hacking.

  • Re:Nice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @05:38AM (#27828065)
    My son's attending college. I've instructed him to be on the lookout for starving young artists; I'm willing to pay them a small pittance to create game art for my pet project. Plus, it's an in for him to talk to potentially cute artsy chicks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @09:06AM (#27829311)

    Are you kidding? Rollins, for all of his stomp-and-burn rocker image, is one hysterical, self-deprecating motherfucker. Have you ever listened to his spoken word stuff? He's built like a brick shithouse, but he's a raging dork and he knows it. Your post, while well-written, is completely ungrounded in anything resembling fact.

  • by Scott Adams (519677) <msadams@msadams.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:38AM (#27831637)

    After reading the story, this sounds like a sure-fire "Outliers" scenario. The Adams brothers lived near Cape Canaveral. Richard constructed a video camera as an adolescent, before building a custom 16-bit computer from scratch, when all of the kits were strictly 8-bit. Richard, Scott, and Eric programmed the system initially from front panel switches, until Richard build a keyboard, based on existing designs. Just as Bill Gates created Altair BASIC at what was most likely the earliest possible moment, so with the Adams brothers getting their start.

    It would be interesting to know what the family, school, and social background that gave them the shot at such an early entre into digital hacking.

    Our Dad was a general manager of a private Aviations firm, Also sorts of neat tools and stuff in the garage and we got electronic kits in 1st and second grade to play with. Our Mom got her PHd in education when we were teens and was very actively involved in all our schooling. She never accepted anything but top notch work. For punishment we would be told we could not read books for awhile and had to do something else. When I went to highschool at N. Miami Senior high they tried an experiment and put a computer terminal in the math lab for anyone to use. It hooked up to a mainframe at U of M and I was hooked! I changed my career choice to CS from medicine and never looked back. The one toy I always wanted as a kid was my own computer! I remember learning binary in 6th grade and thinking it was pretty cool.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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