Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 40 / SEPTEMBER 1983 / PAGE 181

Three Game Modules For The TI

Steve Davis

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 or 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 up 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 is $39.95.

Rabbit Trail
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.

Video Vegas
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.

Rabbit Trail
Video Vegas
405 N. Bowser
Building A
Richardson, TX 75081