Gamestape 1 For The Timex/Sinclair
Arthur B. Hunkins
Melbourne House produces remarkably high quality software for the Timex/Sinclair. In this review, we'll look at an excellent package, Gamestape 1, which contains 11 games for the 1/2K Timex/Sinclair. All programs run in 1K, and – what is really remarkable – all but one are in BASIC. (Thus, ten of the eleven are listable, and serve as an excellent source of ideas for economical, imaginative, simple game and graphics programming.)
Educators will particularly enjoy their use of PEEK, INKEY$, CODE, SCROLL, PRINT AT, RND, AND, and OR. (This tape is worth purchasing as a tutorial alone.) Nonetheless, the primary purpose is fun, and fun there is. I will evaluate the games on a scale of one to ten, with ten being high. Parenthetically, it is a real joy to play games that don't take over five minutes to load and then freeze up. Also, the tape exhibits no LOAD problems.
Klingons – 9. Ram as many of the oncoming fleet of 200 Klingons as you can. Pay particular attention to the high-score motherships. Good for hand-eye coordination. Self-competitive scoring.
Crash Landing – 5. A Lunar Lander without graphics – cockpit readout only. Requires patience and time. Program bombs with error message if you crash.
Simon – 6. Flashing sequences of four colors (names) that must be repeated by responding with first letters (within 30 seconds).
Artist – 8. Simple, quarter-square drawing program that can dump the screen to a printer. Positioning is by cursor control arrows and quarter-square diagonals. All keys repeat, and you can erase as well as draw, reposition, or clear screen.
UFO – 7. Fire at stationary aliens from a moving spaceship. 100 points possible; penalties for going off the screen and missing. Spaceship goes faster as game progresses. Good for hand-eye coordination.
Code – 9. Version of Master-mind – guess a four-digit number in ten tries (number of tries can easily be changed in program). Each digit is different, and program cannot handle responses that contain repeat digits. Challenging.
Asteroids – 3. Dodge asteroids by maneuvering right or left; continues until you crash. Self-competitive scoring. Simple and somewhat boring, except for youngsters developing hand-eye coordination. Autorun.
Bomber – 6. Bomb ten dams. Runs shorten as your aim gets better. Highly repetitive, but represents a more complex hand-eye coordination challenge.
Kaleidoscope – 5. Typical symmetrical quarter-square graphics in center of screen. Interest limited by quarter-square graphics. Program demonstrates effective use of PLOT and UNPLOT (erase) to achieve pattern. Autorun.
Guillotine – 10. Version of Hangman. You get ten wrong guesses as the guillotine is built; at the tenth wrong guess, your head gets chopped off. This is the only two-player game; one player has to furnish the word. When a correct letter is guessed, all occurrences of it are filled in. The program accepts words as long as antidisestablishmentarianism. Simple yet effective graphics.
Breakout – 10. This is the real winner, and the only program in machine language. Most programs on the Timex/Sinclair are turtle-slow – not this one. Three speeds and two bat sizes may be selected. I challenge any Breakout pro to achieve a respectable score at the most difficult level. About half of the time my score was zero. It's a major challenge just to get in position to hit the first ball. On the other hand, at the lowest level, any beginner should be able to compile a respectable score.
Gamestape 1 includes an insert which gives adequate instructions. With only 1K, expect simple, functional (and in BASIC, slow) graphics – nothing fancy. This package is a real bargain at $14.95.
Melbourne House Software, Inc.
333 E. 46th St.
New York, NY 10017