Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 12 / APRIL 1988

Game of the Month

1040 Terminator

Escape from the "simplifled" tax maze

1040 Terminator screenRush frantically through the maze of new "simplified" income tax laws, grabbing deductions and dodging through loopholes to escape the dreaded auditing android. This BASIC program works on 8-bit Atari computers with at least 48K memory, disk or cassette.

Hmm. . . seems like only a year ago that you last came in contact with those jolly folks at the Internal Revenue Service. How time flies when you're in the middle-income tax bracket!

Once again you hippity-hopped down to that well-known accounting firm, Ed and Martha's Discount Tax Service, only to find that Ed is on the lam-charged with tax evasion. And Martha now runs a folk-dancing school for wayward rodents. You can't afford to take your taxes anywhere else, so you'll just have to do them yourself. Blecch!

You must be meticulous in filling out your IRS forms to avoid going into debt from tax payments or, like poor old Ed, requiring an operation carried out by a competent cosmetic surgeon. You must carefully navigate the maze of new simplified (ha,ha) tax laws, collecting as much money as you can. You must also use the few remaining tax loopholes to avoid the IRS auditor who has been assigned to your case.

Perhaps you could take some comfort in knowing that you're going through the same trauma as every other American-except Ed. But my conscience forces me to warn you that, unlike most people, you aren't being hounded by just any old IRS auditor. Because you have come under suspicion, as a longtime client of Ed and Martha's Discount Tax Service, the IRS sent their toughest field agent after you-the 1040 Terminator.


Is the Terminator human? Nobody knows. All I can say is that you'd better keep your hands and feet away from his mouth and don't stop running. The Terminator never gives up. He can't be stopped and he'll keep chasing you until he catches you. That's his job and the rumor is that he never loses an audit.

Take on the Terminator by typing in Listing 1, TERMINAT.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it.

If you have trouble typing the special characters in line 1760, don't type them in. Listing 2 will create them for you. Type in Listing 2, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy. When you RUN Listing 2, it creates these hard-to-type lines and stores them in a file called LINES.LST.

To merge the two programs, disk users LOAD "D:.BAS" and then ENTER "D:LINES.LST" Cassette users: CLOAD Listing 1, then insert the separate cassette used for Listing 2 and ENTER "C: ". Remember to SAVE the completed program before you RUN it.

And don't worry about typing the data in lines 600-1720. It's not anywhere as difficult as it might look. These lines are merely different combinations of the same five characters: ampersand [&], space [], inverse number sign [#], inverse [CONTROL] [D] and inverse [CONTROL] [E].

Plug a joystick into port 1 and, at the title screen, press the button to start the action. 1040 Terminator is not too complicated, just intense. You're in a maze and your goal is to pick up all the dollar signs without being caught by the Terminator. If you get all the dollar signs, then you advance to the next screen. If you finish all five screens, you win the game, the Terminator is retired and Uncle Sam gives you a big fat simulated refund!

The Terminator is fast and tireless. But he just runs around the maze randomly, changing direction each time he bumps into something. He's like a chicken with his legs cut off. No, that's not quite right. Anyway, you only have two lives so if he catches you twice, you're history.


As if all this great action and exciting storyline wasn't enough, the game has another feature. Naturally, you know that the only way to avoid the IRS auditor is via tax loopholes. As it happens, each maze has several strategically placed loopholes.

These loopholes are turnstiles which you can go through-but fortunately, they block the Terminator! This gives you quite a tactical advantage over him. Use the loopholes wisely though, or you may outsmart yourself and wind up right back in the clutches of the Terminator.

Stephen Stout of Everett, Washington wrote last month's Adventure Creation Kit as well as Diamond Dave (Antic, August 1987).

Listing 1: TERMINAT.BAS Download

Listing 2: LINES.BAS(not needed)