Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 29 / OCTOBER 1982 / PAGE 139

In addition to Jim's review here, see Marlene Pratto's review of CURSOR, issues 23 through 28, on p. 136, along with complete ordering information.

Book Review:

PET Fun And Games

Jim Butterfield

Associate Editor

CURSOR magazine has been notable for several reasons. It's not a paper publication; the magazine is issued on cassette tape containing a "cover program" and five other PET/CBM programs. The programs are entertaining and of very high quality. And the price is surprisingly low.

CURSOR'S programs haven't been exclusively games; a number of serious applications and utilities have been included over the years. But it's the games we remember best, and many of the CURSOR games have been memorable.

While CURSOR magazine ceased production with issue 30, back issues can still be obtained, and CURSOR may be making the transition from magazine to software house. Your dealer may stock the back issues or you may write CURSOR magazine at the address given in the book's Introduction.

Tape To Paper

If you can get the programs on tape, why bother with the book? After all, you can list the programs yourself. Well, the book is quite inexpensive. It is a collection of many "favorite" programs all in one place. And the program listings are useful for study. It's handy to have the game and its instructions in an easy-to-find location.

Since the book is limited to BASIC programs, some of CURSOR's excellent machine language programs are not included. No worry: there's quite enough good material here to keep the reader busy and entertained. I must confess that I miss some of the classics that are too big to fit into the book: Ken Morley's "Phuzzy" and "Wuzzy" stories, for example.

Users who have both tape and book versions of a program may notice slight differences. These are usually small, cosmetic, and of no great importance.

The Games

If the book were called "PET Exercises, Simulations, and Challenges," it might enjoy more appeal in the educational community. The word "games" seems to be taboo in some quarters. Yet games are what they are, and they're great fun.

The back cover of the book claims that 30 games and puzzles are included. I count 31. Thirteen of them are written by Glen Fisher, one of the book's editors. The remaining 18 are by various contributors. I wish that the authors' names had been included in the table of contents. There's no easy way to find a given author's programs. I would also have liked to see a cross-reference to the particular CURSOR issue which carried the game.

The games are divided into six sections: Action Games, Puzzles, Games of Risk, Games of Strategy, Games of Chance, and Games for Fun. These sections are somewhat arbitrary. Many games could be listed in any of several divisions.

Some are old standbys. Reversi and Master Mind, for example, are well known in many versions: ancient, computer, and commercial. Others are new, witty, and well suited to computers. RATRUN and FIRE, for example, are nicely animated and play well.

There are many styles of games. Some are action, some thoughtful. Some have the computer as an active player; in others, the computer just enforces the rules. Some are involved with handling words and numbers, others with graphic objects. You'll get a good cross section with this book.

PET Fun and Games: Selected CURSOR Programs.
by Ron Jeffries and Glen Fisher
Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 171 pages