Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 2, NO. 7 / OCTOBER 1983



Classic color game in assembler


Requires 32K RAM

Many game players will be familiar with the two-player guessing game in which one player secretly picks several colors and arranges them in a certain order while the other player tries to guess the colors and the order in the fewest number of tries.

I tried to figure out how to make a solitaire version, and the only way I could do it was with a computer. At any rate, my game MAXTER MIND, is the result. I originally wrote it in assembly language, using Synassembler, then translated back to Atari's Assembler-Editor syntax for the convenience of ANTIC's readers. The code is reasonably short and simple, a good opportunity for assembly language beginners to examine an interesting program.

The program requires 32K and its run address is $7810. If you want to save it on an AUTORUN.SYS file, go to DOS menu item K and save it as


The little face I use as a marker in the game is a redefined character.

The rules of MAXTER MIND are:

- The computer picks five different colors (from among eight) and arranges them in order, left to right.

- You cannot see the correct order until the game ends.

- The game ends when you have guessed the right order, or after you have guessed eleven times.

- Each "turn" consists of five selections you make with the joystick, followed by [RETURN].

- To start a new game press [START].

- If you give up, [OPTION] will end the game and show the answer.

- Move the joystick left or right to position the cursor (purple face) over the color you want for the rightmost position; press the trigger to confirm that choice.

- Repeat this process to select the remaining four colors.

- To rescind one or more choices press the spacebar.

- Any given color can only be used once per line, and a "click" indicates attempts at illegal entries.

- After each [RETURN] the computer displays clues (red or green bars) to inform you of the correctness of your choices.

- Each red bar means that one color in the line is correct, but in the wrong position.

- Each green bar means that both position and color of one choice are correct.

- When all colors are in the right position, the computer shows its matching series.

On the average, it takes about six or seven turns to solve the puzzle. I have done it in as few as four turns, but luck plays a large role. After playing awhile you will learn how to improve your guesses by analyzing previous turns and their results.

Bob Polin is a recent ATARI programmer who never learned BASIC. He started out in assembly language, which he taught himself using Atari's Assembler Editor cartridge and the book Your ATARI Assembler, by Inman and Inman. He switched to the Synassembler, from Synapse Software in order to write BlueMax, a three-dimensional straft, bomb and dodge game recently released by Synapse (see Product Reviews).

Executable: MAXMIND.OBJ Download

Source code: MAXMIND.ASM Download / View