Post by Cube Inc. on Sept 28, 2022 19:16:29 GMT -7
Hah! I'm glad you got my good side!
It was remarkable to me how much fun it actually was to play a game, written in basic, running on a computer with 4k of RAM, loaded off an audio cassette and which was still both challenging and satisfying to blast those PETSCII blocks! In fact, (and I commented to the group) how exciting it was [waiting] for the next game to load. We had a tape of games someone had brought in, and for anyone unfamiliar with the C2N tape drive or with loading and saving programs to cassette, how it worked was that you would start at the beginning of a tape, and when you were ready to save a game, you'd issue a command like:
SAVE "MY GAME"
The computer would respond with "PRESS RECORD AND PLAY ON TAPE" and you'd load up a blank cassette, press REC + PLAY, and the motor on the tape drive would turn on and the computer would save the program in memory as a series of harsh, metalic-sounding noises on the cassette. When it was finished recording, the motor would automatically turn off (but you'd have to then press stop manually - it was a very interactive process back then!)
Ideally, you'd keep an index card inside the tape cover, marking the tape counter number and the position of the start of each program with its title, but if you didn't happen to do this or it was lost, etc., you could either ask the computer to load the next program it found on the tape, or you could ask it to load a specific program by name. In either case, the computer would then instruct you to "PRESS PLAY ON TAPE", and it would start playing back the tape until it found the next program, at which point it would announce the name of the program it had found.
So there we were at the meeting, with no idea what programs or games were actually on this cassette, and it was pretty suspenseful, waiting for each title to appear. It was almost like a treasure hunt, because you never knew what you were going to get next. I think we only had one game which did not want to load, we got a "? LOAD ERROR" message for that one, but the rest of them loaded and all of them ran. One was just a group of animated aliens which danced around the screen, another one played a song out of beep tones through the TV speaker, and there were a number of arcade clones of classic games, including a few variations of Space Invaders, Jupiter Lander, and a road racing game. (Not to mention the aliens game I was crushing in the picture, above!)
As Blaine said, come on down next month! You never know what will happen!