In the Public Domain
by Stephen Groll
It is the year 1993. Scientists have developed a new type of germ warfare called Microids. This deadly combination of genetic engineering and submicroscopic electronics has produced an almost indestructible man-made microbe. The advantage of these microbes is that their behavior and movement can be controlled by humans.
The first series of Microids was only partially successful. They were deadly and able to reproduce themselves, but they remain totally uncontrollable and thus very dangerous.
The only hope of ridding mankind of this cursed infection was to develop an advanced Microid which could be controlled and used as an antimicrobiotic. One such Microid has been developed, the Series Two Microid.
The first version of the game is called Multiplying Microids and is described below.
You view the Microids under a powerful, electronic microscope. Note that the stationary, yellow, starshaped objects are the terrible Series One Microids. The blue, moving Microid is the new, semicontrollable Series Two Microid.
The Series Two has a will of its own, but it can be contolled to some extent using the microid repellers. The light-green, pointed probes at the top, bottom, and sides of the screen will flash red when the joystick is moved in their directions. When any of these probes are activated the series Two will move in a general direction away from the side of the screen with the flashing probe.
Your task is to maneuver the Series Two to touch the top and the bottom edge of the yellow Microids so that it will consume them. Do not let it touch the left side or the right side or it will mate with the Series One and another yellow Microid will appear on the screen.
There is one other important means of control. If you press the joystick button, the blue moving Microid will turn green. When the Series Two is green it will eat the yellow Microids from either side and it will mate at the tops and bottoms.
Once all the yellow Microids are cleared off the screen, maneuver the Series Two back into the Microid cage (the box in the center of the screen). This must be done before your points, displayed upper lefthand corner, reach zero. Whatever points are left at the end of a round will be added to your score, which is displayed in the upper right-hand corner.
Each new round begins with one more yellow Microid. The game will end if the points reach zero before you clear the screen and get the Series Two back in the cage.
The second version of the game is called Flip Flop Microids. In this version the moving Microid will eat the yellow Microids as it passes over them from any of the four sides, leaving behind a red marker. If the moving Microid passes over the red marker, the yellow Microid will reappear.
The object again is to clear all the yellow Microids offthe screen and maneuver the moving Microid into the cage before the points reach zero. Each round adds another yellow Microid to the challenge.
In this version pressing and holding the joystick button will slow the fast-moving Microid down making it easier to maneuver. But use this option sparingly as it will use up your points much faster.
To select the version you want to play, type RUN, then press the joystick button when the desired version appears on the screen. When the game ends, press the joystick button and game-version display will reappear.
Stephen Groll, a parent and Baptist clergyman, is a self-taught programmer on the ATARI 400. Microids is his first graphics game.