Robert Wm. Gomez's

Retrocomputing

A hodge podge of writings by me that warranted a little more gravitas than a blog post. These particular posts are all about old computers and technology like Apple ][ and Atari.

Apple ][ Assembly Language Programming

The past few weeks I have been diving into the world of assembly language programming on the Apple ][ computer. My interest in the topic stems from the recent book release of a compilation of articles on assembly language programming called Assembly Lines: The Complete Book. The articles were written by Roger Wagner and originally published in Softalk magazine back in the early eighties. This edition was edited by Chris Torrence and is available for download and purchase from a number of locations.

Now, I am pretty familiar with Applesoft Basic programming, but I was always in awe of commercially released software on the Apple ][ that ran so fast, had fancy hi-res graphics and used sounds other than the system beep. What was the secret of these mythical programs that required you to type "BRUN" in order to get them to load? The secret was machine language.

King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow on MS-DOS (6/10)

King's Quest VI - Pawn Shoppe

While this game was a pretty big improvement over KQV, it still was just too mired in Sierra adventure game brutality for me to really enjoy. There has been some attempt to make the puzzles a bit more forgiving here, including allowing for the player to take multiple paths to victory. I did alright through about the first third of the game then it just gets nasty.

Rambo: First Blood Part II on Apple ][ (5/10)

Rambo: First Blood Part II by Angelsoft

This is another game, like Dream Zone, that I owned for years (decades actually) and was never able to finish. Now, thanks to the Internet and instant walk-through availability, I finally was able to continue past the point where I was stuck nearly twenty years ago. I had originally bought this game thinking I was in for some intense, four-color, commie-killing run-and-gun action on my Apple ][+. Imagine my disappointment when I got home, popped in the disk, and discovered that this was the text adventure adaptation of the film. Having bought this game at a B. Dalton's book store in the mall, I should have known better.

Dream Zone on Apple IIgs (8/10)

Dream Zone - Town Square

Dream Zone is a graphical adventure for the Apple IIgs that I was never able to complete when it was originally released in 1988. I managed to get about a quarter of the way through the game before I was stumped by one of the game's unfair puzzles. Now, twenty years later and with a little help from the Internet, I have managed to beat the game. These pre-Craft of Adventure era games can be pretty brutal and a walk through will come in very handy. Now, this is about to get fairly spoiler-y so if you want give the game a try before I go on, you can play Dream Zone in your browser right now. It's worth trying out.

Haunted House Text Adventure

Type 'HELP' for a list of verbs.

Back in the late 80s, I learned much about computer programming from this book: Write Your Own Adventure Programs For Your Microcomputer. This is the same book that I used as a guide when creating Malfunction for my Apple IIgs back in 1988.

King's Quest V - Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder on MS-DOS (5/10)

King's Quest V - Warning: This game will suck.

Despite their flaws, I have enjoyed playing all the games in the King's Quest series up until now (I,II,III & IV). Unfortunately, I can't say that I liked King's Quest V.

King's Quest V - The Fortune TellerThis is a game that I have apparently owned for Macintosh for years, but never knew it.  When I tried to install it on my ancient Mac Power PC it would not run and then promptly sold the game off on eBay (I think I got thirty bucks for it). I still wanted to the play the game, especially after finally completing King's Quest IV. So, when it went on sale at GOG.com I promptly purchased it as part of a KQ 4-7 bundle for $3.99 (I'm still up $26.01!).