After Hours

State of the art gaming circa 1979

Thirty years ago, graphics such as this were astounding on a home computer. My how times have changed. Check out what gaming looked like at the end of the 1970's.

Thirty years ago, graphics such as this were astounding on a home computer. My how times have changed. Check out what gaming looked like at the end of the 1970s.

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Recently, I pointed out the TRS-80 Model I Basic Emulator site where you can relive what it was like to program a computer with only 4Kb of RAM. Forget .NET, object-oriented programming, or Visual Anything.

Here's a video showing just what you could do with all that power. You could create a gaming masterpiece like Dancing Demon! Although it might look rather ridiculous by today's standards, it was actually pretty astounding for the time and... people actually paid money for this.

Follow the Dancing Demon

The concept behind the game is pretty simple. Actually, what you see is pretty much it.  The computer-generated demon does a little jig across your machine. You could create your own dance routine if you wanted by using some built-in coding. You could also generate your own "music" for the demon to dance to as well.

Naturally all you get is a series of beeps. The program allowed you to create two "octaves" of notes. They were basically a high note and a low note. No life-like reproductions here.

From the manual, the story line goes as follows:

Deep in the confines of Pluto's vast and terrible underworld lies a great hall for feasting and merry-making...

Once a millenium, however, the guardians of this foul dwelling place take pity on their woeful guests... The celebration begins with a week of continual eating. The excitement mounts as the big moment draws near -- the real entertainment.

For months the Chief Guardian Committee has been auditioning acts, in hopes of finding just one creature with a minimal degree of talent. Most of the demons and beasts could barely say their own names, let alone sing or dance. Yet, one had been selected. And he was rumored to be something special.

"Minimal degree of talent" indeed.

You can find out more about Dancing Demon by going to the Dancing Demon Web site. There you can find out more information about it and download a copy of the game. I've left the Related Videos from YouTube in the video stream so you can check out other TRS-80 games from the 70s.

10 comments
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

I found a video showing an early video game for the TRS-80 Model I called Dancing Demon. You'll find it on Classics Rock: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=180 State of the art in 1979, it's beyond primitive today. But, that's just how far things have come. The first game I bout was an Infocom version of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. It was an interactive fiction game, so there wasn't any graphics at all to it. It was fun nonetheless and had a lot of Douglas Adam's humor in it. What was the first video game you shelled out money for?

Tink!
Tink!

I'm still young and can't remember that far - it's all a blur. I vaguely remember Apple Invaders - a mono-color computer version of Space Invaders. My first computer was a Franklin 2000 and I don't remember playing any games on it. We got an Apple IIGS after that. I did play MasterType. A video game that taught you to type. Not sure when I started, but I was typing 40-60 wpm by the time I hit grade school. Kids today can't believe that we had to insert disks for each program we wanted to run. Infocom games were the rage when I was growing up. At least in my household. My brother had a gazillion of them. I owned 2. Then there was King's Quest. :D

GSG
GSG

You also had to have a boot disk. Insert disk, turn on machine, wait forever for it to boot and pray your floppy isn't jacked up. Insert word processing disk, and launch program. Remove disk, insert blank disk that you hopefully remembered to format. Oh, and it's your last disk, so pray yet again that it's not jacked up. Save, reinsert program disk, and continue with your document. Repeat for each save. And don't forget to make a bazillion copies because those 5 1/4" floppies were incredibly easy to destroy.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

I never had a single game console only computers. I had to load an analog tape for 10 minutes for each game. And then, about 9 1/2 minutes into loading, I would get a 'Syntax Error 48'. Without fail, almost all the time!!! :( Aghhhhh!!! :D :D

User94327
User94327

My 1st computer was an Atari 400. I just love playing the game Star Raiders. It was during the Star Wars era and the ships resembled Tie Fighters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X22nv1UOgw

Oni1copycat
Oni1copycat

Tron as being the first game i can remember buying . I wanted to be the cool biker lol.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

The first game I ponied up on was Treasure Island on the Commodore Plus 4 in 1985. :) I would have been about 11 then, so it probably took all of my savings to buy that analog tape. :D Edited to add: Did you check out the related videos John? That Alien Taxi game is too funny!! :D

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

No... I missed that one. That is pretty funny, but at the time, wow! That would have been endless hours of fun I bet. :)

Pozole
Pozole

Had one of these, spent hours as a kid playing Pong and it seemed so fun at the time!

flounder_pdx
flounder_pdx

Try 'splaining one to todays teenager!! Good for a bunch of laughs.... When I asked my 16 year old if he knew what Pong was, he answered that of course he did...he has played it on the Internet... NO NO NO NO NO I replied...and then proceeded to describe the console to him...it took a bit for him to grab the concept that it had ONE game on it and that was all... Great fun still to be had.... (of course...I wish I still had that thing...could sell it for a small fortune on E-Bay)