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Let's Play Weird and Obscure Atari 8-Bit Games written in BASIC! (Mark W's Old Games on a Weekday)


NeonPeon

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I streamed this last Wednesday. BASICally, I explored some ancient, obscure Atari 8-Bit games written in the BASIC language, and a blast doing so!

 

Since doing that stream, I've been inspired to delve into the source code to one of my favorite BASIC games as a kid - and the first game I played on this stream - 1982's Gambler, published by SoftSide.

 

I learned of this amazing tool - https://html-preview.github.io/?url=https://raw.githubusercontent.com/rossumur/esp_8_bit/master/atr_image_explorer.htm - in which you can simply drag and drop an Atari image (various formats supported) and lo and behold, I was able to get at the Gambler source that way. (I was able to just LIST it in Altirra as well but wasn't sure how to extract the text.) Also, that page functions pretty well as an editor. Although I can copy/paste the code into a modern editor for a modern PC, it's not so easy to work with the special ATASCII characters in Sublime Text or what have you. (Now that I'm writing this, I wonder if EMacs might have an ATASCII module or otherwise support it out of the box??) So, I've found working with that page itself at an editor does the job well enough!

 

As I spend time trying to grok the source, dusting off mental cobwebs regarding how Atari BASIC works (including flipping through this reference) as I go, I've found that simply adding some blank lines and REM statements go a long way in making the code more readable. Ultimately the source code isn't quite as long and complicated as I initially anticipated., but this technique helps it to look less like a big blob of junk. (I definitely work on bigger and more complicated Java programs at work!) Yet it will still take some time to get a handle on.

 

Anyway long story short, I thought it might make for a fun live stream to do some live coding to add a new feature or two to this 42 year old BASIC game! Wouldn't that be fun? I guess it depends on your definition of fun. To ME it's a fun idea, at least. :)

 

So stay tuned for that! Probably won't happen this Wednesday but hopefully in not too long from now. :)

 

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Edited by NeonPeon

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