Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 8, NO. 4 / AUGUST 1989


Atar-I Ching

The Computer of Changes fortells your fate. By Patrick Harvey

Let your faithful Atari "tell your fortune" and answer your questions about the future with this month's Super Disk Bonus, Atar-I Ching.

The I Ching is a most ancient Chinese fortune-telling system. In China its users have ranged from carnival fakes to generals and emperors. Its advice was used in everything from deciding what crop to plant to deciding military strategy.

Like many other traditional fortune-telling devices such as the Tarot cards, the I Ching is based on using "organized randomness" to try tapping into the underlying trends in the universe. Like most such devices, the key is in how you interpret the results, rather than the actual results themselves.

In one form of the I Ching, the user shakes numbered sticks in a container until one falls to the ground. Atar-I Ching simulates today's most widely used method--tossing three coins to create a set of lines. Depending on the number of coins that land with heads or tails up (ancient Chinese coins were inscribed on only one side and blank on the other) the line will be Yin, Yang, moving Yin or moving Yang. This is done six times to produce a "hexagram."

Yang lines are solid and Yin lines are broken. If there are any moving lines (all three coins are the same) a second hexagram will be drawn by changing the moving lines.


Atar-I Ching will wait for you to mentally form your question and achieve the properly blank, receptive state of mind. The BASIC file is on this month's Antic Disk as ICHING.BAS and can be started by selecting it from the main menu. Then "toss the coins" by pressing the [SPACEBAR] three times.

Using the Atari's random number generator, the coins are tossed to determine a hexagram. Like binary code, six lines of either yin or yang provide 64 distinct hexagrams.

Based on the text associated with each of the hexagrams and component trigrams, plus your own intuitive understanding of the question, you can develop a forecast of future events. As the I Ching texts tend to be very vague, this can require a lot of imagination.

Atar-I Ching is a colorful, atmospheric program written by Patrick Harvey of Mountain View, California. This is his first Antic publication and he's a computer engineer doing customer training for National Semiconductor's 32-bit microprocessors.

Admittedly, Atar-I Ching is not quite as long as most of the other Super Disk Bonus programs that appear in Antic. However, the listing does include many lines crammed with interpretive text, which would be particularly time-consuming to type.

Your August 1989 Antic Disk-- featuring Atar-I Ching as well as every type-in program from this issue--will be shipped to you within 24 hours after your order is received. Just phone Toll-Free to the Antic Disk Desk at (800) 234-7001. The monthly disk is only $5.95 (plus $2 for shipping and handling) on your Visa or MasterCard. Or mail a $5.95 check (plus $2 shipping and handling) to Antic Disk Desk, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Listing: ICHING.BAS Download