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ATARI 800XL COMPUTER

   Back in 1984, I bought an Atari 800XL Computer and an Atari 1010 Recorder. Awhile later, I bought an Atari 1050 Disk Drive and an Atari 1020 Color Plotter. After teaching myself Atari BASIC and player-missile graphics, I wrote my first video game, 'Laser Defense'.



L.D. Title Screen

Laser Defense



   Laser Defense is a single screen game that provides 'cobalt blue shields' for both the 'alien ships' and the multi-gigawatt laser installation. For more information see the directions screens.

   My next game was inspired by the scifi books of Fred Saberhagen and is titled Berserker Quest.



B.Q. Title Screen


Berserker Quest
(initial screen)



   Berserker Quest is a multi-screen game that involves fighting sentinel satellites, evading guided missiles and traversing asteroid fields. The ultimate goal is to reach the Berserker and destroy it. You begin the game by leaving the heavy carrier - S.S. Drednaut , in the destroyer - Defiant , and then fighting a random assortment of orbiting satellites, missiles and asteroids until you take on the Berserker.

   My next idea was to create a pre-quel to Laser Defense, which I called Laser Defense 2 (the bad old days).



LFP - Laser
Firing Platform

Laser Defense 2
(The Bad Old Days)



   This game occurs before the development of cobalt defense shields, the terra-forming of Mars, and the copying of our laser technology by the aliens. In this case, you fight the aliens with LFPs, that traverse a vast network of railroad-like metal rails and bridges. These rails also carry the energy to fire the laser beams on the LFPs. Thus your ability to fight is hampered when the aliens destroy precious miles of rail and bridge.

   A futuristic sequel to Laser Defense was my goal for my next video game - Photon Defense.



P.D. Title Screen

Photon Defense



    This game replaces lasers with photon torpedoes - (nostalgically named after the Star Trek weapon, but in fact microscopic black holes filled with laserlight). Thus, you fight alien attackers with photon cannons while the cobalt defense shields protect superconductor energy loop pods. The pods provide energy storage for the defense shields and for the manufacture of photon torpedoes. The aliens are attempting to destroy the pods so they can safely dock and steal the photon cannon technology.

   In Berserker Quest, you can travel through multiple screens in one direction, toward the Berserker; the goal of my next game was to be able to travel in any direction through multiple screens. Thats when I created Starbase Alpha or "Save Starbase Alpha".



S.A. Title Screen
          

Starbase Alpha
(initial screen)



   In Starbase Alpha, you are being attacked by multi-warhead missiles that are materializing out of hyper-space from an unknown source. To defend your Starbase, you seek out and destroy the missiles with the destroyer, S.S. Vindicator. Needless to say, the farther from the base you are when you destroy the missile, the better. The long-range subspace radar is your invaluable tool for detecting the missiles, which can 'pop out' of hyperspace from any direction. During a lull in the missile attack, you will have a chance to find and destroy the source of the missiles. Three successful missile hits on Starbase Alpha is usually enough to render it uninhabitable.


   Sources: The Atari 800XL computer from 1984 and all the peripheral gear are still working like brand new; knock on wood! The software images were loaded into the computer from the original 5 inch floppy disks through the 1050 disk drive and then video captured from the 800XL's composite video output. This Website was created entirely with a WebTV set top box.


   WebTV Features: At the bottom of this page, above the 'audio' and 'fire' buttons you will see cool multi-colored audioscopes. These are oscilloscope-like graphics that respond to music and sound on the page. Another feature is the ability to create custom-designed E-Mail using HTML in the signature box. Check out some examples below.



   Rant: WebTV was a great idea and then Microsoft bought it. Microsoft keeps adding features to attract new casual users, while dropping features enjoyed by dedicated and expert users. Beware! WebTV or MSNTV is an example of what will happen to computing if Microsoft ever gets a practical OS/Browser monopoly.

    Credits: In the mid-80's, when I wrote these video games, Antic Magazine was a vital resource for learning Atari BASIC and getting machine-language subroutines to speed up my BASIC code. All video captured images and most gifs used on this website were much improved in appearance thanks to the Net4TV MagickStudio website. Custom made gifs were enhanced at Angelfire's GIFWorks. Aid in writing the HTML was gotten from Cannonball's HTML Tutorial and numerous WebTV HTML-Help newsgroups.


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