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Entry 2015: Alligator Swamp

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No, I started with the VIC-20 but remember the Sharp models from computer magazines at the time (1983-84). Also in more recent times browsing scanned Japanese computer magazines from those days, I realize how important brand Sharp was on its home market, with NEC and a bit of Fujitsu. The fact that Nintendo went into agreement with Sharp for production capacity and in return Sharp was the only manufacturer who were licensed to use Famicom technology in some of their own products (and got to release Mario games for their own computers, post the US "crash") also says something about their impact.




Very interesting indeed. As many other seminal enterprises during the early days of computing, Sharp does not get enough attention in the annals of history; in spite of their significant contributions. Thanks for sharing. :)



It strikes me now that in the original game, keys 1-4 move the monkey to the left at different speeds and 6-9 move it to the right. While the Intellivision doesn't have an analogue stick, I suppose this blends in well with smoother movement, if one would be able to accelerate the monkey sideways the longer you hold the direction. Eventually I will try some different implementations and see what feels best.


That can be implemented on the Intellivision, and in fact I believe some games do exactly that. All you have to do is keep a counter of how long the disc was held, in frames. Alternatively, you can keep a counter and increment the velocity after a pre-determined number of cycles occur. In crappy pseudo-code:

// Constant values
cycles_to_wait = ??;
acceleration   = ??;

count = 0;
velocity = 0;

while (game_cycle) {
  // Handle disc press
  if (disc_pressed == true) {

    // If the threshold is met, accelerate
    if (count % cycles_to_wait) {
      velocity += acceleration;

    // Keep counting

  // Handle disc release
  } else if (disc_press == false) {
    // Stop or decelerate and reset counter
    velocity = 0;
    count = 0;

This can give the game a more natural feel, although I still think that a smoother parabolic trajectory is the most important thing.



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In the mean time, I found a YouTube recording of the Sharp game:


The PET port reduces the number of trees from 3 to 2, but adds tree trunks:

I love these kind of digital archaeology posts, The PET was the first computer I ever touched, way back when I was around 12 or 13. Mostly played Space Trek or whatever it was called. Thanks.

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  • 1 year later...

I just submitted the latest version to the competition email. It adds a score counter, lives, diving turtles, alternating levels and some silly sounds, but none of the polishing elements. We'll see if I keep working on this after the compo has ended. It means comments still are welcome, but I won't do anything about them right now.





Is this the latest version?



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  • 2 years later...

I haven't touched a byte of this old entry, but I just found a scanned issue of PCW 12/1980. The Sharp MZ-80K listing is on page 140 and is credited to Norman Webster from Sharp UK which explains why it says "Listing courtesy of Sharp Electronics". He had a MZ-80K game called Bouncing Ball published already in PCW 11/1980, possibly due to his position at Sharp. I have found he was a radio amateur with the call sign G8TMS and also worked on a solution to have the MZ-80K transmit and receive radio teleprinter signals.




Exactly who A.P. Todd and D.S. Todd were and which improvements they made to Norman's listing in July 1981, I haven't checked.  In the Sharp Club April-June 1981 there also is a Bill Murray credited for this very same game... (most probably not related to Ghostbusters, and a French forum seems to have mistaken David "8-bit Guy" Murray for Bill.

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  • 5 weeks later...

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