Matthew Reed's TRS-80.org


Bill Hogue

Bill Hogue is arguably the most famous of the TRS-80 game programmers. The games he wrote for Big Five Software, the company he established with Jeff Konyu, rank among the best ever created for the TRS-80.

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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.

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Funsoft

Funsoft, Inc., based in Agoura, California, was a game publisher which sold five games for the TRS-80. All five were written by Yves Lempereur, and were among the best available for the TRS-80.

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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.

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Big Five Software

The names Big Five Software and Bill Hogue were legendary in the field of TRS-80 games. Bill Hogue and Jeff Konyu created Big Five Software in order to market their TRS-80 games. Two early Big Five Software games, Super Nova and Galaxy Invasion, redefined the way TRS-80 games looked and acted and influenced the games that followed. For many, the final Big Five Software game for the TRS-80 marked the end of the TRS-80 game market.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cosmic Fighter

Cosmic Fighter was loosely based on Astro Fighter, which was released by Data East in 1980. In many ways, Cosmic Fighter looks similar to Galaxy Invasion. However, the similarities are superficial and the games are very different. Your goal in Cosmic Fighter is to shoot the aliens as they descend from the top of the screen. Unlike Galaxy Invasion, you have a limited fuel supply which is used up as you move and shoot. A gauge at the top of the screen indicates how much fuel you have left. Your ship can be destroyed either by hitting an alien or shot or by simply running out of fuel. You are not likely to run out of fuel in the earlier levels of the game, but it does becomes an increasing problem in the later levels.

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Attack Force

Many people remember the distinctive prelude to Attack Force, which was obviously inspired by the opening to the The Outer Limits television show. The final part of the prelude takes the video screen out of focus and makes a buzzing sound (without any audio amplifier attached). This effect is created by rapidly switching between normal and double-wide video mode, destabilizing the video synchronization on a Model I or III. The Model 4 features a more robust video system and the video just becomes fuzzy. The buzzing sound is created by rapidly toggling the cassette relay.

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