The TRS‑80 Micro Computer Technical Reference Handbook (catalog number 26–2103), more commonly called the TRS‑80 Technical Reference Handbook (even in the Radio Shack catalog), was the official technical reference manual for the TRS‑80 Model I. The first edition, which cost $9.95, was printed in 1978. A second edition, revised to reflect later updates to the Model I, was printed in 1982 (one year after the Model I was discontinued).
The TRS‑80 Technical Reference Handbook was intended to serve several purposes:
- It includes the full schematics for the Model I.
- It describes, in detail, exactly how the Model I works.
- It provides steps to troubleshoot a faulty Model I.
- It includes information needed to design hardware add-ons for the Model I.
One of the most popular columns in the TRS‑80 magazine 80 Microcomputing wasn’t about the TRS‑80 at all. In fact, despite appearing to be a news column, it wasn’t about real products or companies. It was “News From Kitchen Table Software, Inc.”, a very amusing humor column introduced by David Busch in the July 1981 issue.
“News From Kitchen Table Software” followed the fictional company Kitchen Table, Inc. (also known as KTI), described as “United States’ largest fictitious supplier of space-age computer products.” Kitchen Table was founded by the equally fictitious Scott Nolan Hollerith.
Adventure games were some of the earliest games written for computers and they were incredibly popular at the beginning of the microcomputer revolution. Despite this popularity, there were only a handful of books that showed how adventure games worked in detail or how to write one. In my opinion, the best book of this type was Writing BASIC Adventure Programs for the TRS-80 by Frank DaCosta. Published in 1982 by TAB Books, Writing BASIC Adventure Programs for the TRS‑80 describes two different types of adventure games, with full listings that the reader could type in to the computer. (Both programs were also available through the mail from the author for $19.95 on either disk or tape.)
DaCosta devotes the main part of the book (the first ten chapters) to Basements and Beasties, a classic text adventure in the mold of William Crowther’s original Adventure. After describing how an adventure game works in general, DaCosta lays out the framework needed for a text adventure.