Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson Eight – Multiple Graphics Modes and Marquee Text

By Mikey Walters

In Lesson Seven, we learned how to draw Space Assault’s title screen, complete with theme music generated by Atari BASIC’s SOUND statement, and through the course of this series, we’ve covered nearly the complete source code of the game. Appropriately, the last section of code to discuss is the “game over” screen, which uses yet another powerful feature of the Atari Home Computer to combine multiple graphics modes…

Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson Six – Enemies and Earthquakes

By Mikey Walters

In Lesson Five, we learned about Space Assault’s “main loop” and how game events quickly occur in succession to give the appearance of happening simultaneously. We also handled the actions of our human player, such as moving the crosshair via joystick and firing the Fission Gun Tower. Now it’s time to give the Clovis Aliens their due, so let’s code their relentless, earthshaking attack!

Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson Five – Take Aim and Fire

By Mikey Walters

In Lesson Four, we experienced a crash course in manipulating Atari computer memory, specifically to initialize and control Player/Missile Graphics, and we learned how to move our players across the playfield. With those powerful techniques under our belt, this lesson is action-packed! Not only will we cover joystick control, but also how to fire the mighty Fission Gun Tower…

‘Star Wars: Escape from Death Star Game’, 1977

During the holiday season of 1977, kids were desperate for Star Wars toys. Unfortunately, Kenner couldn’t ramp up toy production fast enough (leading to a groundbreaking marketing maneuver: the Early Bird Certificate Package), so there were very few Star Wars-related items available for parents to put under the Christmas tree…

Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson One – Programmer Kids and Plotting Stars

By Mikey Walters

When someone chooses a computer to purchase today, they usually consider only what the computer can do based on available software. They’re thinking about what games they can play, what kinds of entertainment media they can enjoy, and how fast they can access the web. But in the 8-bit home computer boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, choosing a new computer was based largely on what kind of software you wanted to create yourself…