Three Game Modules For The TI
Last year, a young man named Michael Brouthers left his job at Texas
Instruments in Dallas and boldly began a venture to develop game
software for the TI home computer, a market that he felt was ready to
blossom. When TI announced the $100 rebate on the 99/4A, the market for
the machine did indeed grow rapidly.
Until now, Texas Instruments has been the only
source of software packaged in the convenient Command Module, which TI
invented for the 99/4. The module can contain ROM or GROM chips which
contain a program (usually written in Assembler or GPL), and, in the
case of TI's Mini-Memory Module, the cartridge can be used to add RAM
to the console.
The main advantages to using program modules are:
• Ease of use. A person needs no peripheral devices
programming knowledge; just plug in the module and turn on the computer.
• Security. Programs cannot be copied or pirated
easily since they reside in GROM or ROM chips. This also prevents
accidental erasure of the program.
• Memory. An application program in a module takes
little or no console memory (RAM), so the computer's memory is
available for data storage.
Using most third-party game software for the TI
requires either Extended BASIC, Memory Expansion, Mini-Memory,
Editor/Assembler, cassette or disk.
Now, Funware has introduced a line of game modules, Henhouse, Rabbit Trail, and Video Vegas, for the 99/4A. All use
the sprite graphics capability of the TI.
In Henhouse, you have five
prolific chickens that lay eggs which roll down into five chutes. Each
time a chute fills with eggs, you must take them to your truck without
dropping them, all the while watching for wolves and poachers.
You get points for each poacher you shoot. Birds fly
overhead, and you get points for shooting them, too. You play, using
joysticks or the keyboard, until a wolf gets in the henhouse or you
break six eggs.
The game may not seem as fast as some of the space
or maze games in the arcades, but there are enough distractions that it
requires concentration and the ability to do several things at once. It
is simple enough to be enjoyed by users of all ages. The retail price
This game is a cross between the Donkey
Kong and Frogger type
games. You are a hungry bunny who must hop along the trails and burrow
through tunnels in search of carrots. You must not be eaten by a weasel
or a hawk, be run over by a speeding car, or get caught in a trap.
Eating all the carrots without being caught advances
you to the next level. You receive bonus points based on how fast you
complete the level. If you are quick (as a rabbit should be), you may
earn "bonus bunnies."
Each of the seven levels presents a more challenging
screen. If you complete all seven screens, the game repeats from the
first screen but with increased difficulty. Funware says that so far no
one has been able to get higher than 24 screens, but to make it even
that far would be an accomplishment.
Because of the graduated levels of difficulty, this
game is suitable for both beginners and experienced game players. The
keyboard may be used, but joysticks are recommended. The retail price
for the module is $42.95.
Anyone who has been to Las Vegas recently knows that some of the slot
machines have been replaced by video versions. These operate like the
mechanical ones except that the figures (bells, bars, cherries, lemons,
etc.) are displayed on a video screen that simulates the rotating
cylinders on a conventional slot machine.
Such is Video
Vegas, a slot machine game that allows you to place $l, $2, or
$3 bets by merely pressing keys on the computer console. This is not
nearly as tiring as pulling those, big levers in Vegas.
The color graphics of the figures are excellent; in
fact, they look better than the graphics on some of the machines in
Vegas and are a good example of the high-resolution pictures that can
be drawn on the 99/4A.
There is nothing challenging about the module, which
sells for $29.95, but people who like to play the slots will enjoy it.
Funware prefers that its modules be purchased from
software dealers, rather than by mail order from the company.
405 N. Bowser
Richardson, TX 75081