Matthew Reed's

Monty Plays Monopoly

Monty Plays Monopoly was a “computer opponent program” that allowed a TRS-80 owner to play the popular Monopoly board game. There were two TRS-80 versions of Monty Plays Monopoly:

  • The original 1980 version by Ritam Corporation of Fairfield, Iowa, which was available for the 16K cassette and 32K disk Model I. This version was distributed by Personal Software. (Personal Software, later renamed VisiCorp, was better known for their VisiCalc spreadsheet.) Ritam also sold a version for the Apple II for both cassette and disk.
  • Ritam Corporation also licensed Monty Plays Monopoly through Personal Software to Tandy Corporation. This version (catalog number 26-1952) cost $34.95 and was released in 1982. It was only available for the 32K disk Model III. This is the most common TRS-80 version.

Unlike later Monopoly programs, Monty Plays Monopoly wasn’t designed to replace the board game but to supplement it. In fact, it requires “the board and all the equipment that comes with the game”, according to the manual.

(Read more...)

Introduction to TRS-80 Graphics

Introduction to TRS-80 Graphics (catalog number 62-2063), also known as TRS-80 Graphics, was a book describing how to make best use of the block graphics of the TRS-80 Model I. It was written by Don Inman and cost $5.95 from Radio Shack. Like many of the books sold by Radio Shack, there were two editions of the book with two different covers: one was sold by Radio Shack and the other was sold by dilithium Press. (The name dilithium was intentionally lowercase.) Other than the covers, the books were identical.

The focus of Introduction to TRS-80 Graphics was entirely on “understanding the graphics capabilities of the TRS-80 computer using Level I BASIC.” As the book stated: “No attempt is made to teach programming in BASIC.” A dilithium Press advertisement described it this way:

For those who want to do more with graphics, this excellent self-instruction text provides a complete introduction to the basics of graphics programming using dozens of examples.

(Read more...)


T-BUG (catalog number 26-2001), also known as TBUG, was a machine language monitor and debugger for the TRS-80 Model I. It cost $14.95 and came on a cassette with separate versions for Level I and Level II BASIC. (The T-BUG debugger shouldn’t be confused with the Tandy Business Users Group, which was also known as T-BUG.)

Described by some as the “standard” TRS-80 debugger, T-BUG provided an inexpensive way for TRS-80 owners to learn about and experiment with assembly language. Most books about TRS-80 assembly language, such as Earles L. McCaul’s TRS-80 Assembly Language Made Simple and William Barden’s TRS-80 Assembly Language Programming, assumed that the reader owned T-BUG.

(Read more...)

TRS-80 Mailgram

TRS-80 Mailgram (catalog number 26-1564) was a software package that allowed sending Western Union Mailgram messages directly from a TRS-80 Model I or Model III. It was introduced in late 1979 and cost $39.95, not including a Western Union account (which cost an additional $50.00) and per message fees.

The Mailgram service was introduced by Western Union in 1970. Mailgram worked by transferring digital messages to a location closer to the recipient, printing them out, and then mailing them using the postal mail. The process was described this way in a Western Union advertisement from a 1972 Life magazine:

Just call a number shown below (toll-free from most phones). Western Union will transmit your message electronically to a post office near your addressee. And the next business day your Mailgram will be delivered by regular letter carrier.

(Read more...)

80 Micro's Review Guide

80 Micro (originally 80 Microcomputing) was the most popular of the TRS-80 magazines. The book 80 Micro’s Review Guide collected over 500 reviews that were published in 80 Micro during its first three years (1980 to 1983). The reviews (which were abridged) were divided into three broad categories: software, hardware, and books. They were further divided into 27 finer categories, such as word processor, disk drives, and modems.

The back cover stated:

The reviews are taken from the pages of 80 Micro magazine, the leading source of information in the TRS-80 world. Authors include some of the most knowledgeable people in microcomputing, including William Barden, Dan Robinson, Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, Terry Kepner, and Jake Commander.

(Read more...)

Tiny Pascal

Tiny Pascal, also known as “Tiny” Pascal, was a popular programming language for microcomputers. It was created by Kin-Man Chung and Herbert Yuen in 1978 and first described in a three-part series of articles published in BYTE. There were at least four different versions of Tiny Pascal for the TRS-80, although the version sold by Radio Shack was the most popular.

Tiny Pascal was a subset of the programming language Pascal. It contained most of the features of Pascal but was small enough to run well on a cassette-based TRS-80. Tiny Pascal was often used to teach Pascal programming and the Radio Shack catalog described it as a “great introduction to structured programming.”

The first version of Tiny Pascal appeared in a three-part series of articles in BYTE titled “A ‘Tiny’ Pascal Compiler.”

(Read more...)

The TRS-80 Telephone Interface

The TRS-80 Telephone Interface was the first modem that Radio Shack sold for the TRS-80 Model I. According to the product introduction in the November 1978 issue of the TRS-80 Microcomputer News:

Data communications can materially expand your computing horizons. It means you can communicate with large “data base” computers, using your TRS-80 as an intelligent peripheral.

There were two versions of the Telephone Interface: the $149.00 Telephone Interface I (catalog number 26-1170) which was introduced in 1978 and the $199.00 Telephone Interface II (catalog number 26-1171) which replaced it in 1979.

(Read more...)

The TRS-80 System Carrying Case Set

The TRS-80 System Carrying Case Set (catalog number 26-500), also known as the Model I Carrying Case Set, was Radio Shack’s solution for transporting a TRS-80 Model I. It was introduced in late 1978 for a price of $69.95. Radio Shack increased the price to $75.00 on July 1, 1980 except for a brief sale price of $39.95 that ended December 31, 1980.

Although the Model I wasn’t a portable computer (by any stretch of the imagination), people often needed to move a Model I to a new location. For example, many people kept their Model I at work during the week and brought it back home for the weekend.

The TRS-80 System Carrying Case Set was two cases designed to hand transport a Model I keyboard unit, video display, and associated parts.

(Read more...)