View Full Version : Some Vintage BASIC games from the 70s.

August 30th, 2014, 06:05 PM
I was converting some 9-track tapes and discovered one that didn't have much useful stuff on it, but I did find some character (can't say "ASCII"; this was 6-bit charcter codes, definitely not ASCII) art. I don't know if that's useful on contemporary machines because it pretty much depends on continuous-form tractor-feed paper--and some is lots wider than 80 characters. Think IBM 1403-type printer.

At any rate, from 1977, here are some BASIC games for your enjoyment. Originally from a CDC CYBER 70 system. On request, I can furnish the character art.

I'm sure you'll recognize them.

August 31st, 2014, 01:07 PM
Thanks Chuck, I'll try them on my SBC6120.,..

September 1st, 2014, 09:57 PM
Always fun to see old BASIC games - thanks for sharing, Chuck!

September 2nd, 2014, 08:55 AM
Do let me know if you get the games to run!

Here is some ASCII art. The file PIC describes what's in the second file, PICTR. Sadly, I don't have the printing program for the art, however, I do remember this stuff--in terms of programs, it's ancient. Consider that some of it was worked out when Jayne Mansfield was still a hot item (she died in 1967). PICTR is basically a card deck, with, I think, only the first 72 columns of each card being used. The output would be on a 120-column continuous form line printer, printing over the perforations.

I think the cards are in pairs--the first card occupies the first 72 columns of a line, and the second, the remainder. In any case, the program that prints this stuff was probably very simple, as none of these pictures appears to use special techniques such as overstrike.

So have fun tinkering with this stuff and let me know how it comes out.

Al Kossow
September 2nd, 2014, 02:12 PM
Here is some ASCII art.

They sure got around. I read in a bunch of decks last year with many of these off a Univac 1005

The BIG one of Spock holding the model of the Enterprise is still my favorite.

September 2nd, 2014, 03:02 PM
That's some excellent line-printer art, that is :D

September 4th, 2014, 08:17 AM
Chuck, nice resurrection and collection of vintage game software. When I started in the early 70s, between the school computer [Honeywell1646] and the home[brew] computers. One thing which I strangely recalled with the mainframe variety of the BASIC language that there was never a 'GET' type[real-time] of command statement for keyboard input. I can't recall at the moment if we were also missing this with FORTRAN IV. Unless I'm mistaken, this only existed on the home[brew] computers starting in the 70s [maybe in later years it wasn't the case] between the Altair, Imsai and then others, such as the Apple][. I could already use the escape code commands to format the terminal screen - similar to the old Nasa mission control systems. This together with the option to add assembly/machine code embedded in the code to allow even a joystick interface, and later versions had built-in commands. So it made these text games more realistic to a certain extent. Being able to make changes in real-time such as move the Enterprise to another quadrant or even change the engine thrust on the Lunar Lander made the text version of the games more appealing. The SOL20 software had several good examples with this method too.

On the ascii art, I remember reading how at the start of the 20th century somebody had the idea of using typewriters to make this. I can't find the exact link but this one is more recent and has some interesting artwork. This definitely would've required more patience than wire-wrapping a backplane :)

September 4th, 2014, 08:34 AM
Dan, that business about the real-time keystroke read probably extended across the mainframe world--it was, IIRC, present on a few minicomputers, however. Consider that, for years, CRT terminals were out of the cost range for the average user--the common input device was a teletype. All of this was obtained from a CDC Cyber 70 tape.

On the high end, there were some exceptions--consider PLATO, various flight simulation and high-end graphics--but those weren't available to most users.

I note in the character art file that there are one or two "noise" characters in the file, shifting lines.

There was also some rather better printer art that used a mix of characters and printer overstrike capabilities (remember "+" as the first character in a FORTRAN print line to perform that? and remember what happened if you forgot to leave a space as the first character in the print line?. Happy days...) The Mona Lisa picture comes to mind.

September 4th, 2014, 09:48 AM
I've never seen overstrike used with printer ascii art before - that was a bit before my time, I think (I'm 36). I used to love ASCII art on the BBS's, however. It always amazed me how detailed some of these artworks could be, and how much time/planning they had to have taken. Of course, I tend to think that about all art - it's something that I can't even pretend that I can do, so it's a wonderful mystery to me :)

Along those lines though... typewriter art, (https://www.google.com/search?q=typewriter+art&biw=1920&bih=930&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=jKUIVNTbCsWXgwSM4IKwCw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ) banging out pictures using various regular typewriter fonts and overstrike. I always thought that was rather cool as well. Similarly, the 73-yr old guy who uses Excel to "paint" (http://www.boredpanda.com/73-year-old-excel-paintings-tatsuo-horiuchi/) - that one will blow you away!