Tag Archives: user interface

Introduction to my MERLIN handheld electronic game from 1978

I created this short teaser video to introduce you to my MERLIN handheld electronic game that I played with when I was 8 years old. It still works!

And if that short 1.5 minute teaser left you wanting more, then you’re in luck! You can also watch a 23 minute detailed walk-through version where I spend time explaining and playing each of the 6 games!

Here’s the classic Merlin commercial from 1978! If you were alive then, you will surely remember it! Good luck getting this ear-worm of a jingle out of your head!

“Merlin is a computer with personality! Plays 6 different games! Talks with 20 sounds!” I love the marketing creativity!

And here is commercial number 2 from 1980! They used the same ear-worm of a jingle with different lyrics.

Merlin was invented by former NASA employee Bob Doyle. I think he may have created this website called TheElectronicWizard.com which has an awesome interactive Merlin app which actually lets you play with Merlin right in your web browser! Incredible!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

Introduction to my 2-XL toy robot from 1978

I created this 20 minute video to introduce you to my 2-XL toy robot that I played with when I was 8 years old.  It still works!

Apparently the manufacturer is pronounced “meego”. Oops!

Here’s the website that I got the image of the internals of an 8-track tape from that I used in the video.

And here is a full resolution map of the 2-XL General Information user experience (click thumbnail):

map-720p-2

I love this 2-XL commercial!  “Can be used to play any 8-track cartridges!  Teenagers love it!”

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

My Apple IIe: A simple text based arcade game in Applesoft Basic

apple-second-logo-rainbow-bitten

If we type this simple 8 line Applesoft Basic program into my working Apple IIe computer, we will end up with a cool little text based arcade game!  Watch the video below to see the game in action!

This small Applesoft Basic program was published in one of my Beagle Bros Apple Software Catalogs from 1987 (volume 0, number 10).  This little program was credited as being submitted by Beagle Bros customer Tim Boehme, who received a box of Beagle Bros magnetic write protect tabs for his efforts!

Wow!  Write protect tabs!  Amazing!  🙂

Applesoft Basic

Applesoft Basic is the programming language of all the early Apple computers and was provided in ROM (memory) to make it available to the user without the need for a startup disk or the need to load it into memory from a cassette tape.

Applesoft Basic was actually created by Microsoft for Apple.  Hence the name.  It is interpreted and not compiled, so it is not very fast.  And it can throw syntax errors at runtime if it’s unable to interpret a line of code.

One sort of funny feature of Applesoft Basic is that variable names are only significant to 2 letters, although it allows more.  So if you initialize a variable named “KURT” to a value of 10, you can PRINT the variable “KU” and also the variable “KURT” and also the variable “KUPP” and they will all three show a value of 10.  They are all three pointing to the exact same memory location.

applesoft-iia

Code

Here’s the source code:

10 REM "MUNCH THE SNAILS!"
20 TEXT: HOME: H = 20: PRINT CHR$ (21): POKE 35,22
30 K = PEEK (49152): ON K < 128 GOTO 40: H = H + (K = 149) - (K = 136)
40 POKE 49168,0: IF RND (1) * 10 < 1 THEN VTAB 20: HTAB RND (1) * 20 + 10: PRINT "@": GOTO 70
50 VTAB 22: HTAB RND (1) * 39 + 1: PRINT CHR$ (46)
60 IF PEEK (1535 + H) = 192 THEN S = S + 1: VTAB 5: HTAB H: PRINT "#"; CHR$ (7): VTAB 23: PRINT "MUNCHED: ";S: GOTO 80
70 VTAB 5: HTAB H: PRINT "V"
80 T = T + 1: IF S < 10 THEN 30
90 TEXT: VTAB 23: PRINT S;" SNAILS MUNCHED IN ";T;" SNAIL SECONDS.": END

Emulators

If you don’t have a working Apple IIe of your own to try your Applesoft code on, you can first try it in a JavaScript implementation of Applesoft Basic.  There are some things that this emulator cannot do, though.  It’s just not terribly robust.

A very robust option is the standalone Apple II emulator program that you can install onto your Windows computer.  It’s called AppleWin.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the Github page and download the latest release.  It’s in a zip file, so just unzip it and run the executable.

Once it starts, just click on the floppy disk 1 icon and choose the master disk file that comes installed with the emulator.  Then reboot with the Apple button and it will boot to Applesoft Basic.  Or, you can download ROMs for various Apple games and programs from the Internet and boot those instead.  It emulates the speed of the processor, so it’s a very realistic emulation of the Apple IIe.  Including several monitor types to choose from.

Thanks

I hope you found this post informative and/or entertaining!  Thanks for your interest!  And feel free to leave comments or questions below!

Thanks,
Kurt

Sans BPA Free?

I know what the word “sans” means.  I also know what the word “free” means.  So what does this label mean that I saw recently on the side of this coffee mug?  This coffee mug is very proudly not free of BPA?

sans_bpa_free

Typically when a label repeats a word in a different language, it it a smaller or italic font or is underneath the English version.  This is an odd choice, to me.  Plus, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans hear the word “sans” enough to know what it means and many people who see this label will not realize that the word “sans” in there for Spanish speaking readers.

I just thought this label layout was an odd choice.  Feel free to discuss below in the comments.

My awesome video game watch from 1981 – Nelsonic Space Attacker

This watch was made in 1981, so I was probably 11 or 12 when I first got it.  It’s a Space Attacker video game watch from a company called Nelsonic.  I loved this watch and so did just about everyone I encountered … both kids and adults alike.  This watch made the junior high version of me pretty popular!  Ha!  🙂

Nelsonic space attacker video game watch

(click for full size)

Nelsonic space attacker video game watch - close up

(click for full size)

The game is quite addictive for as simple as it is.  It’s basically a simplified version of Space Invaders.  One button changes the direction of the cannon launcher and the other button fires.  The invading space ships march across the screen and get closer if you don’t shoot them down.  They shoot at you too.

Here is a video that someone posted of the game on their watch:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1gwNYObNPo

This watch is built very well and it stood up to lots of junior high abuse. Please leave a comment below if you remember playing with my video game watch in junior high!

Here is a nice web article on the watch, complete with a tear down:


http://watches.gafortiby.com/watch/Nelsonic_Space_Attacker_Game_watch/

Thanks,
Kurt