Demo of Star fighter game @ Melbourne Super 80 User Meeting
The Melbourne user group would meet each month to share and support other people interested in the Super 80 and later on some other Z80 like devices such as the TRS80 or Microbee.
Most of the people that came, had found out quickly that without the help from other people with an interest for home computers and what couldn’t be done with them. That these costly pieces if electronics were just no comparison to the completed devices in the market that had software for them. In some ways though it was also a strength that pushed people with to much time on there hands to do things that we wouldn’t believe possible with such devices today.
In the image you can see what seems like a simple game that you just played. In fact you had to spend months coding it, using audio tapes to store it on. Writing everything from the keyboard routine to the sound and random number generator for stars. It took a good 20+ min to start and load the game. If you assembled the computer the way Dick Smith Electronics intended (With Integrated Chip Sockets) then even a bump of the table could crash the whole thing and you have to start loading all over again.
To do what you see in the photo took a single user considerable effort. On the table you can just make out the Zilog machine code definition Hand book (next to the tape player). It listed every function the Zilog Z80 CPU had and what it did. The Super 80 Bible as it was and by the time you had been programming in machine code for a couple of years, you could read the numbers directly without referring to the book. The Matrix was far to complicated ….. 😀