Vintage Computing and Gaming

Vintage Computing and Gaming

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This is my first post of 2010 on the Developer blog, so let me first wish you all a Happy New Year!

At the end of 2009 I had the opportunity to enjoy some computer industry nostalgia.  My first computer was the Jupiter ACE, a machine made by Jupiter Cantab Ltd., one of perhaps 15 UK companies at that time trying to build and market computers.  It was a machine inspired by the Sinclair computers, but was different in that it used a language called FORTH.  Most machines at the time were either programmed in some form of BASIC, or directly in machine code.  FORTH was designed originally as an operating system for radio telescopes, and has some very interesting characteristics.  I loved FORTH and I loved my Jupiter ACE.

As it turns out I was not the only one to love my ACE.  If you look at the Jupiter ACE Resource Site ( you will see that a small team of enthusiasts are trying to save every detail of the hardware and software that they still can.  As it happened, I still have some Jupiter ACE software on cassette tape, and the good people at the Jupiter ACE Resource Site were able to read the information in from the tape (which was 20+ years old) and recover the software.  

The result is that they were able to resurrect a game called “Snake” that I wrote at the time.  In a rather interesting juxtaposition of old and new technology, you are now able to use YouTube to see what my game looked like.  Take a look here:

Obviously the technology looks very crude compared to today’s games like the Xbox, but I’m pleased to have my small contribution to games recorded in history.

Snake screenshot





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  • Great game.

    I remember when I was 13. A friend had an ATARI computer but not tape recorder. Every weekend we copied small Basic programs for small stuff like money exchange or drawing a circule. Some weekends we re-write the same code just to see it work again. That was fun for us!

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