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. ...
Keen 4 Mystery Code Demystified

Keen 4 Mystery Code Demystified

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In my post on Keen 4 I mentioned a seemingly-unused routine in v1.4-CGA, which I ended up using as patch space for my own code.  Having no idea what it was for, I consulted the sources for Keen Dreams, and found that it looked an awful lot like a KDR routine which caches level data - specifically, CA_CacheMarks in ID_CA.C.  At some point during Keen 4's initialization, a single pointer gets set to this code; but immediately afterwards the address is replaced so this function is never executed. ...
Yet another 16-color CGA makeover: Keen 5

Yet another 16-color CGA makeover: Keen 5

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After giving Keen 4's CGA version a 16-color composite overhaul, I figured I'd have a go at the next episode, since the code has nearly everything in common with Keen 4, and the composite enhancements detailed in my previous post could be applied without too many essential changes (other than different offsets/addresses, of course).  Let's strap this one to the rack then: As before, the distribution is a runtime in-memory patch (using CK5PATCH) and you'll need the original KEEN5 CGA files (v1. ...
Dopefish goes NTSC: Commander Keen 4 Composite CGA Patch Notes

Dopefish goes NTSC: Commander Keen 4 Composite CGA Patch Notes

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If you're just landing here at random and wondering about the title: this is a 16-color 'remaster' of the original CGA version of Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle, with code patched and graphics redrawn and reworked to take optimal advantage of CGA's composite output capabilities. For more info (plus the download link), see the VOGONS thread - all sorts of cool stuff in there, like videos recorded from real hardware, and a DOSBox build patched with some useful additions for running this. ...
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: ...
Getting Optimal Apple ][ Screenshots w/NTSC Emulation

Getting Optimal Apple ][ Screenshots w/NTSC Emulation

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A while ago over at MobyGames, AppleWin NTSC was recommended (okay, by me) for obtaining Apple ][ shots.  However, it's a bit of a pain to use, since the built-in screenshot function doesn't work.  Also the NTSC output is still not *quite* ideal (there's some ghosting/ringing going on, and black/white areas are somewhat 'noisy'). Thankfully Michaelangel007 has provided a newer build which addresses both of these issues.  The full discussion is on github, but here's a quick-start guide to make your lives easier and your screenshots better: ...
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. ...