The games of IBM’s QBASIC

QBASIC Gorillas

I’m always amazed by my mind’s ability to lose memories completely, only to have them return vividly back to life when confronted with something from my past. Such as my memories of QBASIC, a programming language released by IBM and provided free in the early 90’s as part of MS-DOS 5.

I hadn’t forgotten about QBASIC, thanks in part to a game that I would eventually remake, called Nibbles. This snake game, supplied as an example game with the language, had me hooked for hours at school. Once I had completed the game, I would go on to spend many more hours playing with the code and introducing news maps and features. This was my introduction to coding and, since that is now my career, I owe it a great debt!

The memory that I had forgotten was of a second example game called Gorillas, a title which had you and another player throwing exploding bananas at each other across a city scape. Whilst this game didn’t occupy as much of my time as Nibbles, it certainly had an impact on my future gaming choices – I consider Amiga classics Scorched Tanks and Worms: The Directors Cut, both of a very similar nature to Gorillas, to be amongst my favourite ever games!

Move through time 20 years and you would find me writing my first and only game – Snake Club – a game that shares the same genes as QBASIC Nibbles, but this time written in a Delphi-like language called GML. Below is a quick video for basic training in my game, showing the similarities and proving how those wasted hours at school did at least bear some fruit!

Avoid the Noid (C64/PC)

Earlier today Christopher Tupa posted a short post warning people to Avoid the Noid. Completely coincidentally, I was digging through some old Commodore 64 diskettes this even and ran across this game. The Noid is harder to avoid than I had imagined!

Here’s a bit of gameplay I found on YouTube from the less colorful MS-DOS version of the game. Good luck avoiding that Noid!

original thinkpad

The Original IBM ThinkPad was a Paper Notepad

I love when I find out fun facts about items I had up to that point not really considered. I have owned and worked on IBM ThinkPads for years and never once thought about their origins. Yesterday I was doing a search on IBM when I came across an older post at A Continuous Lean called, The Original IBM ThinkPad. It has wonderful photos and tells how the IBM ThinkPad got its start as a humble Paper Notepad giveaway that would inspire the name of their line of laptops.

original thinkpad

Photo from A Continuous Lean

[more] The Original IBM ThinkPad

Unboxing the IBM PCjr

I appreciate all the nice comments I got after the video unboxing of some PCjr games. So, I decided to unbox the PCjr itself to see if it still runs.? The video reveals if the PCjr survived 18 years in storage.

About the IBM PCjr:

Announced November 1, 1983, and first shipped in late January 1984, the PCjr?nicknamed “Peanut” before its debut[2]?came in two models: the 4860-004, with 64 KB of memory, priced at US$669 (equivalent to $1,589 in present-day terms); and the 4860-067, with 128 KB of memory and a 360 KB 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, priced at US$1,269 (equivalent to $3,015 in present-day terms). It was manufactured for IBM in Lewisburg, Tennessee by Teledyne. The PCjr promised a high degree of compatibility with the IBM PC, which was already a popular business computer, in addition to offering built-in color graphics and 3 voice sound that was better than the standard PC speaker sound and color graphics of the standard IBM PC and compatibles of the day. The PCjr is also the first PC compatible machine that supports page flipping for graphics operation. Since the PCjr uses system RAM to store video content and the location of this storage area can be changed, it could perform flicker-free animation and other effects that were either difficult or impossible to produce on contemporary PC clones.