Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 75 / AUGUST 1986 / PAGE 38


Daniel Aven

Stretched high above the circus arena, the tightrope beckons. Can you walk all the way across the rope without falling into the net? This interesting program is both an arcade game and a typing tutor. The original version was written for the Commodore 64 and also works on the Commodore 128 in 64 mode. We've added new versions for the Apple, IBM PC/PCjr, Amiga, and Atari 400, 800, XL, and XE computers. The Commodore 64 version requires a joystick. The IBM PC/PCjr version requires a color /graphics card and BASICA for the PC, and Cartridge BASIC for the PCjr. The Amiga version requires 512K of memory and Amiga BASIC. The Atari version requires at least 32K of memory and a joystick. The Apple version works with either a joystick or game paddles.

Arms outstretched, you venture cautiously onto the tightrope. The rope quivers for a moment, then steadies. Far below, in a packed circus tent, the crowd roars its encouragement Don't worry, there's a safety net below, But you won't entertain the onlookers—or earn points in this game—by falling into the net. Your first few steps are hesitant, but with practice your progress becomes more sure. After what seems an eternity, you reach the other side. After cheering its approval, the crowd cries out for a repeat performance.

"Tightrope" combines a novel game idea and realistic animation with an educational goal. You can play it either as an arcade game or as a typing tutor. In game mode, the object is to walk all the way across the tightrope without falling into the net. In tutorial mode, you must watch for a letter to appear next to the acrobat's head, and type it on the keyboard before time runs out.

Type in and save a copy of Tightrope, referring to the special instructions for your computer. When you run the program, it asks you to choose between a game of skill and a typing tutorial.

A Delicate Balance

If you choose the game of skill, your goal is simple: Move the animated acrobat all the way across the tightrope without falling into the net. As the acrobat walks along, you'll occasionally begin to fall to one side or the other. But there's always time to recover your balance by pushing the joystick (or keyboard controls in some versions) in the opposite direction of the fall. If you countermove just enough to regain your balance, all is well and the acrobat begins to walk again. If you move too far in the opposite direction, the teetering starts all over again.

It's a delicate balancing act, and it grows more difficult each time you make it across the rope. When you succeed in reaching the opposite side, you advance to the next skill level. At each higher level, it becomes more and more difficult to keep your balance.

If you lose your balance completely, the acrobat falls to the safety net and bounces a few times before coming to rest. At this point you can try again at the same level or return to the main menu to choose a different game.

Your score is based on how far you get before falling. Each successful step is worth a certain number of points, and this value increases at higher levels. In addition, bonus points are awarded for rapid progress; the faster you move across the rope, the higher the bonus.

Typing Tutor

In the tutorial version of Tightrope, the object is the same—move the acrobat across the rope without falling—but different means are used to keep your balance.

When you see a character appear next to the acrobat's head, that's your cue to press the corresponding key on the keyboard. If you type the correct letter, the acrobat straightens up. If you press the wrong key, a buzzer sounds and the acrobat teeters even more.

To remain on the rope, you must continue to type the same letters that appear on the screen. In other respects, the tutorial version of Tightrope is the same as the skill game.

“Tightrope” for the Commodore 64, an amusing and educational game.

Commodore 64/128 Version

This version of Tightrope requires a joystick plugged into port 2, After you finish walking across the rope, you must repeat the performance while riding a unicycle. At successive skill levels, the acrobat alternates between walking and riding the unicycle.

Atari Version

Tightrope for the Atari requires a joystick plugged into port 1 and at least 32K of Random Access Memory (RAM). Move the joystick right or left to balance the acrobat.

IBM PC/PCjr Version

This version of Tightrope requires a color/graphics card and BASICA for the PC, or Cartridge BASIC for the PCjr. Play the game with keyboard controls: Press the Z key to move left (your left, not the acrobat's), and the slash (/) key to move right.

Amiga Version

Tightrope for the Amiga requires at least 512K of RAM. When typing the program listed below, do not type in the left-arrow symbol at the end of each line; it's there only to show you where the line ends (we deliberately chose a character that's not available from the Amiga's keyboard). Instead, wherever you see a left-arrow in the Amiga listing, press RETURN.

The Amiga game uses the same keyboard controls as the IBM PC/PCjr version: Press Z to move left and the slash (/) key to move right.

Apple II Version

The Apple version of Tightrope works with either a joystick or game paddles and runs on any Apple II-series computer with either ProDOS or DOS 3.3.

"Tightrope" for Atari 400, 800, XL, and XE computers.

IBM PC/PCjr version of "Tightrope."

Amiga "Tightrope" requires 512K of memory and uses keyboard controls.

This version of "Tightrope" runs on all Apple II computers using either a joystick or game paddles.