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The 10,000th Ping will be published on May 24, 2027. Paul will be just about 50 years old.

June 15th, 2007

Programs I Wrote As a Kid

I got into programming pretty early. In fifth grade, as noted in that Ping, I wrote a program called “The Mating Game,” an unfortunately titled application that randomly paired up boys and girls in the class. And that was it. But people loved it.

Here are some other programs I remember writing as a kid, and which still exist on floppy disks in the basement:

  • Tackle, Smash, Kill! – This was a great football game, if I do say so myself. It was very simple and twisted football’s rules pretty significantly. On offense, you had the option of passing or running and on defense you could defend against a run or defend against a pass. That’s it. And you had four downs to make it the length of the entire field. Oh, and occasionally, a player would get killed. That’s when the graphics kicked in (HI-RES!) of blood squirting all over the field (really just random red lines appeared on the screen). The game ended when all the players on one of the teams had died. Sweet.
  • Copy Master – This was one of the nerdier programs I wrote. It would use the dual-disk drive on an Apple IIe and do a sector-by-sector copy of a disk. While it was pretty slow, it had a neat interface that sort of emulated Copy II+ and in some cases was able to copy copy-protected games that Copy II+ choked on.
  • MacMichael’s Online Modem Service – I wrote this report on Egypt in seventh grade in the nerdiest way possible: Apple II BASIC. It only emulated a “modem service” (like CompuServe) by slowing down the display speed of the characters. I got a good grade on it, but I remember it didn’t run properly on my teacher’s almost-Apple-compatible Ace.
  • A weather program I forget the name of – I was a mini-weather geek in the early days, so I wrote a program that took a series of inputs and predicted the weather for the next day. Its algorithms were based on theories and formulas in an old hardback book on weather that I had. It did a pretty darn good job, assuming you knew whether the barometer was rising or falling. And I remember it asked, “Is there a ring around the moon?” If there was, you know what that means.
  • Reverse – I wrote about this game before and still wish someone would take on the job of translating it to a Flash app.

I could go for a quick game of Reverse or Tackle, Smash, Kill! right about now. How ’bout you?

Posted in Childhood Memories, Technology, Weather

Dave Walls June 15, 2007, 8:50 pm

I could go for some of that right now, but something tells me that it doesn’t support online multiplayer. Just a hunch.

Ryan June 15, 2007, 8:57 pm

Only if you have a 1200 baud modem that supports KERMIT.

Dave Walls June 16, 2007, 4:18 am

Hrm — Let me see…what’s the telnet address?

Paul June 16, 2007, 3:38 pm

I think I’ve forgotten most of the programs I’ve written. As you may recall, my programs were published regularly in Loadstar and Loadstar 128.

A couple I can remember, though, include Budgetmeister 128 (pretty nice basic checkbook program – mentioned on the Loadstar Ping) and Doctor Crypto (text decoding game). I was also asked to write a political campaign game, which didn’t pan out, as well as a program which could store a database of your clothing and suggest outfits. Really!

I’ll have to dig up my old contracts someday. I’m sure there are many more I’ve just plain forgotten.

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