Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bubble Bobble

Yesterday I mentioned that I have a bunch of old computers in the storage room and promised to show them to my girl. I also promised that we'll look inside them. So today, when she was a bit reluctant to do her violin homework I promised that we'll have a look at the old computers after she's done with the violin. She started playing the violin immediately!

Meanwhile I dragged an old Commodore 64 from the storage room. Then we assembled it together. You have to plug in the power cord, the floppy disk drive (the infamous 1541 unit) and the joysticks (Tac 2 of course). Finally you have to plug the s-video and audio cables to the TV. I asked her whether she thinks if you can connect to the Internet with this device and she guessed right. The net didn't exist when this machine was designed.

She wanted to see how this computer is programmed so I showed a simple basic program involving the easily accessible graphical symbols on the keyboard.

What a beautiful bird! Then I started trying to do some for-loops and animations but failed miserably. The girls grew anxious and wanted to see (or even code!) games. So I gave up with the Commodore Basic and found the Bubble Bobble floppy disk. It was fun to see how she struggled to insert the disc into the disc drive. With some instructions, she succeeded of course.

Then it was time to

    LOAD "$", 8

And see what's on the disc. Bubble Bobble seemed to be there as promised on the cover. So

    LOAD "BUB*",8,1

It did take quite a while to load it of course and we had a brief discussion on what old computers are like. I had to admit that you never know whether the game will eventually load and work as expected. But in a couple of minutes the game had loaded!

She typed


And then some weird ASCII graphics happened and in a while we were playing Bubble Bobble. And in fact, the girls are still playing it and they love it. You have to appreciate a game that ages this well!

Maybe we'll get to Commodore Basic coding next time. It's pretty fun indeed, with the graphical symbols easily available on the keyboard. The downside is of course that it's pretty verbose and the editor is weird. But she already manages vim so it shoulnd't be an issue. Good times!

No comments:

Post a Comment