Hac-Man Won the Retrochallenge!Posted: August 30, 2012
Hac-Man is a clone and a recreation of a game I originally wrote on my high school’s minicomputer 30 years ago. I’m delighted that I was able to get back into retrocomputing, considering I had to throw out almost all of my old computer and electronics history.
Though I’m very much future-focused (and sometimes depressed for it), I always loved reading old technical books and magazines and I love it more so when I can run old software and old operating systems like DEC RSTS/E. I am not done with my retro explorations—I have a whole file share on my home server with hundreds of megabytes of nothing but emulators and system images, most of which I haven’t even had time to yet touch. (It was this system that hosted the RSTS/E instance from which I developed the game, since I could work on it at my desk and at my laptop during lunch breaks.)
Hac-Man the game is completely finished now; I’ve thought about making it available to download as a complete system, but it’s hard to do as there are very few terminal emulators that will work for Hac-Man, other than TeraTerm. Kermit 95 is another possibility for a terminal emulator—it has recently been open-sourced—but from reading about the code, it sounds like quite a fixer-upper that I know I won’t have the time for.
I’d like to recreate my game in QuickBasic. QB64 seems to be a very ingenious, well-developed reinvention of this classic BASIC interpreter and compiler. I could create a very nice looking, if retro, Hac-Man, and this is what I’ll probably do if I ever have time.
The final tally: Hac-Man is contained in two RSTS/E BASIC-PLUS programs, each of them weighing in at 20K and 400 lines each, and I spent roughly 50 hours in July working on the project.
Here’s the final, final video:
This’ll be my last retro entry for a little while, as I am forced back to the present by SATV and Microsoft.