Articles in the "Software" Category

TRSDOS for the Model I

TRSDOS, referred to as DOS in some early references, was Radio Shack’s official disk operating system for the Model I. The name stood for Tandy Radio Shack Disk Operating System. It was bundled with Radio Shack’s floppy disk upgrade, but it could also be purchased separately.

Frogger

Although there were many Frogger adaptations for the TRS-80, this Cornsoft Group version was licensed by Sega and was the “official” Frogger. The premise of Frogger is simple. The goal is to guide as many frogs as possible back to their homes, crossing a busy road and dangerous river in the process.

The TRS-80 version of Frogger offers the choice of five difficulty levels and an option to play background music. The famous theme music, taken from the Japanese children’s song “Inu No Omawarisan”, is the same as used in the original arcade version. Most TRS-80 games played music during title screens and sound effects during the game. Frogger was one of the few to also play background music during the game, not an easy feat on a computer with no sound controller.

Outhouse

Outhouse is probably the TRS-80 game with the most bizarre premise. It was written by J. Weaver Jr. (Factory Programming) and distributed by Soft Sector Marketing. Outhouse was later rewritten for the Color Computer by the same author, but sold through Computer Shack.

T80-FS1 Flight Simulator

The T80-FS1 Flight Simulator was a groundbreaking simulation program for the TRS-80, written by Bruce Artwick and released by SubLOGIC in February 1980. It was based on A2-FS1, the original Apple II version of the Flight Simulator, also written by Bruce Artwick and released a few months earlier. From the introduction to the T80-FS1 user’s manual:

The T80-FS1 is the second version of the FS1 program. Feedback from users of our initial Apple II version of FS1 has been used extensively in the TRS-80 version. Selectable downward view, bomb sights, visible enemy gun blasts, and a “simulation reset” command were all added to the FS1 since the introduction of the Apple II FS1. The T80-FS1 also has slightly higher frame projection rate than the Apple version.

Nukliex

Nukliex was written in 1984 by Dennis Lo, and released through JMG Software International. Although the game’s title screen identifies itself as “Nukliex”, it was always advertised as “Nucliex”.

When you start Nukliex, you can select a difficulty level between 1 and 10. You control a ship located at the bottom of the screen that fires shots toward the top. Asteroids and aliens attack you from above. This is pretty standard for most games of this type. But unlike other games, you can also move your ship not just side to side but also up and down. Your ship also has a shield that will protect it when you press the ENTER key. The shield takes time to regenerate itself, so you need to use it sparingly.

Apple Panic

Apple Panic was based on the arcade game Space Panic, released by Universal in 1980. The original version was written for the Apple II by Ben Serki in 1981 and sold by Brøderbund Software. There were also versions of Apple Panic sold for the Atari 400/800 and the IBM PC (both written by Olaf Lubeck) and for the Commodore VIC-20 (by Creative Software). The TRS-80 version was written by Yves Lempereur in 1982 and published by Funsoft, the fifth of nine games that he wrote for the TRS-80.

Galaxy Invasion Plus

Galaxy Invasion Plus was an update to Galaxy Invasion with a few new features added. An important difference from the older game is the voices. The speech include “Galaxy Invasion” (at the title screen), “Prepare to die, human!” (as the game starts), and “Game over, Player 1” (when the game ends). Other phrases that are used include: “You’re dead!”, “Flagship alert!”, and “Extra ship!” If you achieve a high score, the game says, “Great Score, Player 1”. But if you beat the top score, it says “Super Score, Player 1”. The speech is very clear and one of the best examples of voice in a TRS-80 game.

Weerd

Weerd was written by Arthur Gleckler and released in 1982. It was the final TRS-80 game released by Big Five Software, and only one of two not written by Bill Hogue. Weerd was released near the very end of the TRS-80 game market.

Defense Command

Defense Command was the last TRS-80 game written by Bill Hogue. It was very loosely based by the arcade game Defender, which Williams Electronics released in 1980.

Defense Command has the best and clearest voices of any Big Five Software game. It also has very clever graphics and transitions between different screens. In my opinion, Defense Command is the most impressive of the Big Five Software games for the TRS-80.

Stellar Escort

Stellar Escort was written by Jeff Zinn, and it was the first game distributed by Big Five Software that wasn’t written by Bill Hogue. Stellar Escort has a very distinctive look because of the flashy transition effects when changing screens. There is always something in movement on the screen. Stellar Escort has a number of sound effects, but no music or voices.