Steel Survivor: an IBM XT Tale

Steel Survivor: an IBM XT Tale

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This month actually marks the IBM 5160's 35th birthday, so why not show off my working (and pretty much complete) specimen.  This is one of the later models: half-height floppy drive + ST-225 hard drive, 640K motherboard (fully populated), last BIOS revision (05/86).  The latest date code on the chips is 8649, so this machine was made shortly before the XT was discontinued altogether.  I received this from Trixter, truly a gentleman and a scholar, along with a separate box of stuff to round it out: an IBM PC/XT keyboard, a joystick, some software/games (including a boxed IBM PC-DOS 3. ...
Happy 35th birthday, IBM PC!

Happy 35th birthday, IBM PC!

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August 12, 1981 introduced us to the IBM PC, and to PC-DOS along with it. The latter included extensions for the machine's ROM BASIC, plus a slew of demonstration programs proudly showing off these indispensable capabilities: 4-color graphics and 1-bit beeper sound. One of them in particular went on to live in certain infamy as Bill Gates' first (and only) direct personal contribution to video game history: the inimitable DONKEY. ...
Olympiad: IBM Prototype Fonts Unearthed

Olympiad: IBM Prototype Fonts Unearthed

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My Ultimate Oldschool PC Font Pack got some pretty cool responses, and one of them contained something quite unexpected: a set of files transferred from twenty-five 5.25" floppies, containing internal snapshots of font development done at IBM around 1984. These prototype fonts were designed specifically for a project codenamed Olympiad.  Familiar?  Probably not, but it came to light a couple years later as the IBM 6150 AKA the RT PC, a RISC workstation and grandaddy of the PowerPC architecture. ...
So-called "IBM" Freeware Games from the Early '80s

So-called "IBM" Freeware Games from the Early '80s

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(...and the Cryptic Code Conundrum) This is a question I've already raised in the usual suspect places, but without much success, so here it is again on the off chance that anybody knows anything. Going through compilations of very early BBS-fodder for the IBM PC (shareware, freeware, public domain), I frequently see this bunch of games and programs that seem to have a few things in common: ...
101 Monochrome Mazes: Why Not Color?

101 Monochrome Mazes: Why Not Color?

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[ Note: this post is here to supplement a discussion on MobyGames, because it's simply easier to present the info in this format.  Plus, it'll stay accessible in case someone needs a source for the trivia later on, because nobody expects the Spanish Mobyite Inquisition. ;-) ] One Hundred and One Monochrome Mazes was a 1983 IBM release, part of its 'Personally Developed Software' line of PC titles created by outside authors. ...
Arithmetic Games Set 1: a Peek into One of the First-Ever IBM PC Games

Arithmetic Games Set 1: a Peek into One of the First-Ever IBM PC Games

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For whatever reason, I'm a sucker for "firsts", and the earliest games on the IBM PC platform hold special interest for me, with an extra touch of morbid curiosity reserved for stuff like BASIC games (and for IBM's own offerings). Thus, I was quite intrigued when I recently came across something that answers all these criteria: a disk dump of Arithmetic Games Set 1, developed by Science Research Associates, Inc. ...
Shamus Keyboard Woes Explained

Shamus Keyboard Woes Explained

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My previous post contains copious amounts of whinging about the keyboard controls in this game, but as it turns out, the issue isn't with the game as such - it's about the environment.  Recently it was pointed out to me that Shamus uses a buffered input routine (it isn't the BIOS INT 9 handler, but a custom handler that similarly buffers keystrokes), and as such, it's sensitive to the typematic rate and delay set for the keyboard. ...
The Mazes of Shamus - IBM PC Version

The Mazes of Shamus - IBM PC Version

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I recently revisited an old post on Vintage Computing & Gaming about the Atari 800 version of Shamus, which pretty much maps out the entire game for you.  It turns out that the IBM PC version has quite a few differences when it comes to the level maps, so for those of you who actually got to know the game through the PC port (like myself), this post might prove vaguely interesting. ...