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I wrote a lot of games over the 80’s… Most are lost, gone, or just fond memories – likely thrown away on C90 cassettes where I would have saved them. Long play cassettes always had a bad habit of stretching, and then you’d get that whole “wobble” in the audio making it almost impossible to load. So – into the trash they’d go…

As I’m archiving away, I’ll manage to find a few of these once-lost projects still recoverable (from C10 or C20 cassettes) – and Gemrun is one of them. I wrote this in 1987 over a week while staying at a friends place. His parents let me use an old 20″ Black and White TV set, and off I went.

I still have the Assembler code in a print out – which is faded, and is something like 5+ meters long (its small 6″ wide thermal paper). I will try and scan it some time… I’m sure I can probably recover a lot of the faded print, but at 5m – that’s a lot of scanning! 😮

If anything, this was the largest machine code project I did, and one where I actually *completed* the project. Most my completed games in the past were written mostly in basic (and occasionally some small machine code functions).

Onto the game…

It was inspired by Boulderdash, and in this game you simply had to collect a certain number of gems and get back to the exit (usually at the start location in the game) to go to the next level. As you would dig, you would dislodge earth under boulders which would then fall down and fill the empty areas of the map.

When you got enough gems, sometimes you’d be completely trapped and not be able to return. Unfortunately the only way to end it is to press the Space key and lose a life. Keys to play are on the menu screen (1,Q,I,P and Space)

If you want to play this with an emulator (ZXSpin, Spectaculator, etc), its available zipped up (a .z80 snapshot, plus PDF of the map) on my google drive:

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