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1980's Anschuetz/Weisgerber/Anschuetz BASIC Games Release!

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My name is Robert Anschuetz. Together with my brother Eric Anschuetz and friend John Weisgerber, we wrote 3 Atari BASIC games that were published in 1985 in Antic magazine (Kooky's Quest (Feb. 1985), Overflow (July 1985), and Robot Dungeon (Nov. 1985, Antic Disk Bonus).



In addition to these three games, we also submitted and sold two games to Compute! Magazine that were never published (Kooky Klimber and Night Rescue). We also wrote several other games that were never offered for publication.



We are now releasing all of these games to the Public Domain with the hope that the Atari 8-Bit community will take a look at them, and perhaps they can be added to the Holmes or TOSEC archives for preservation. Again, these are not new games, but they are new to the Atari 8-Bit community. Many of these games really pushed the envelope at the time for what could be done in Atari BASIC, including bi-directional smooth scrolling, assembly language subroutines, parallax scrolling, cut scenes, attract modes, display-list tricks, interleaved-displays, etc.



In conjunction with the release of these games, we have written a short article that describes how we got together as a team to write these programs, along with game instructions, and development notes. This article gives a really good insight into what it was like in the 1980's to discover the hidden programming secrets of the Atari computers during many late-night programming sessions.



All of these games were written for an Atari 400/800 with 48K RAM (most run with less) and BASIC. An Atari 800XL configuration should run all of these games with no problem. Each game is saved to an individual ATR file, which also includes an AUTORUN.SYS that automatically runs the game at coldstart bootup. One note, after the games start, almost all of them require a lengthy initialization process. Even after the "Press Start to Begin", some require another minute of initialization before the game actually starts.



As part of this release, we updated one of our old games called "Alien Assault" because it only ran with a cassette system. It now works fine with a disk. Included in the zip file are both versions. We are also re-releasing a 2017 version of the game "Robot Dungeon" that was originally published as an Antic Disk Bonus in November 1985. The original game had 3 levels of 400 rooms. This newer update cuts the size of the levels way down and makes the game winnable (the cut scene at the end is worth seeing!). The user can create mazes of any size from 5x5 to 20x20. The ATR comes with three 5x5 levels (25 rooms per level) (use the filename D:DUNJIN.DAT to load the maze). We have also added a cheat so you can walk through interior walls and not be killed by monsters.



​Attachments include the "Anschuetz/Weisgberber/Anschuetz Atari 8-Bit Programming Saga" as well as a zip file containing all the ATRs that can be run with an emulator. Again, remember to have BASIC turned on and Coldboot to auto-run these games. And be patient during initialization!



We hope that you enjoy this release of "new old stock" games! And if anyone can submit these to the Atari repositories, please do so!



Sincerely,


​Robert Anschuetz / Eric Anschuetz / John Weisgerber

Atari 8-Bit Game Programs - Anschuetz-Wesigerber-Anschuetz.pdf

AWA ATR Floppy Disk Images.zip

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Looking forward to playing these. I started to add these to the Atarimania.com database. Thank you for posting these and all the work you did not only back-in-the-day but also the modern updates.

 

Allan

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I think kookey's quest is one of very few big ANTIC programs that I was excited enough about to manually all type in!! I was so happy later on to acquire many other ANTIC type-in programs on disk, or download or something.

 

Looking forward to trying out your other games!

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Love it :)

 

Thank you very much for sharing.

 

And many thanks for the PDF. I love to read the stories. And nice to see the listings. The PDF is worth to be printed to a book!

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Hello Robert

 

Where are you from?

 

You names sound German, that's why.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Edited by Mathy

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Thank you for sharing your history and for releasing this impressive documentation. I read through it and envy you for your perseverance in doing all this. I tried programming action games but did not persevere when I got stuck in a programming "hole".

 

While it must have taken you quite some time to program, looking back from 30 years later it is still impressive how little code, just 2 or three pages of two-column print were sufficient to have a nice game! (Maybe it's even more impressive that you could make sense of your code 30 years later and improve on it ;)).

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Thanks for all of the downloads and positive comments! We're very happy to share the memories and programs, and are grateful that there is still an active Atari 8-Bit community that we can share them with.

 

@Allan - Thanks so much for posting them to Atarimania. If you play just one game, try Night Rescue. After the long initialization, it is really a nicely playable game that still holds up!

@Mathy - We are from the United States, but our grandparents came here from Germany. Wir sprechen ein bisschen Deutsch!

@slx - I am also impressed that so little code can produce a full game. But then I look at the 10-line BASIC contest and I can't believe what people can do with far less.

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Hello Robert

 

We are from the United States, but our grandparents came here from Germany. Wir sprechen ein bisschen Deutsch!

 

I suspected something like that.

 

If you were living in Germany, you might have been able to come to the Fujiama in two weeks.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Thank you Robert, Eric and John and anyone else involved, its very kind of you to release your games to PD and I look forward to having a play in the next minutes..

 

Paul.

 

Edit:

 

Just had a sample play of all the disks, really impressed, some of the games are not my type but they had been done with great craft, Hi five to the lot of you!

 

And that PDF, WOW....Seriously good, going back to read more of it...

 

Thank You!

Edited by Mclaneinc
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This is great stuff. It's like a book that I would actually purchase on my Kindle or Soft-cover. Think about a self publish on Amazon.

This slice in time is needed by many of us, as we experienced many of the same things that lead to our own careers in technology.

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This is great; I'm teaching a class on 80s Computer Games at NYU this fall, I just discovered this 40 minutes ago, and I'm already certain it's going to be a key text/set of games for the "Programming in BASIC" week. Incredibly valuable stuff, basically being handed to me on a meticulously shined silver platter.

Edited by spooneye
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This is great; I'm teaching a class on 80s Computer Games at NYU this fall, I just discovered this 40 minutes ago, and I'm already certain it's going to be a key text/set of games for the "Programming in BASIC" week. Incredibly valuable stuff, basically being handed to me on a meticulously shined silver platter.

 

 

I so wish I could audit that class.

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Oh, I doubt you'd learn much new, material-wise, since it's a broad survey—I'm putting a lot of work into it, but it's more on the order of finding the minute to quote from one of your podcasts or the 2 paragraphs to pull from a 10,000 word Jimmy Maher epic that function adequately as a quick synecdoche, before the ticking clock forces me onto the next topic. Now, seeing how a dozen or so 20-25 year olds interact with the material, that you'd probably learn as much as I do from. :)

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Robert emailed me with some fun updated and new documents!

 

"After the Podcast last summer, my brother and I got the Atari out of the attic and started playing with it again. We were able to find about 4 more games we wrote on the backside of a floppy that we hadn't previously archived.

 

I updated our PDF document (now version 4.0) that describes our games. I have added several new sections to it since I first forwarded it to you. The new picture on the cover page is our Atari computer collection that had been hiding in the attic for 30 years. You might be interested in reading the 2 pages in the section called "Phreaks and Pirates" that I had previously withheld from the public posting of the document.

An exciting discovery for us was that not only did we find our computer hardware and floppies (which still worked), we also found all of our game development notes in the attic. I scanned in every page (252!) and created a PDF document. "

With his permission, I uploaded these documents to Internet Archive. At https://archive.org/details/AnschuetzWesigerberAnschuetzDevelopmentNotesyou will find two PDFs: version 4.0 of their great document describing their games, and a new PDF with scans of their original development notes.

 

Also from Robert:

 

"We decided that it would be a good idea to film some commentary of programming recollections and gameplay as we played with each and every Atari BASIC game that we wrote as teenagers in the 1980's. We were playing them again for the first time in 30 years, and it was like rediscovering old friends! The video below is a result of that effort."

 

 

-Kevin

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Robert emailed me with some fun updated and new documents!

 

"After the Podcast last summer, my brother and I got the Atari out of the attic and started playing with it again. We were able to find about 4 more games we wrote on the backside of a floppy that we hadn't previously archived.

 

I updated our PDF document (now version 4.0) that describes our games. I have added several new sections to it since I first forwarded it to you. The new picture on the cover page is our Atari computer collection that had been hiding in the attic for 30 years. You might be interested in reading the 2 pages in the section called "Phreaks and Pirates" that I had previously withheld from the public posting of the document.

An exciting discovery for us was that not only did we find our computer hardware and floppies (which still worked), we also found all of our game development notes in the attic. I scanned in every page (252!) and created a PDF document. "

With his permission, I uploaded these documents to Internet Archive. At https://archive.org/details/AnschuetzWesigerberAnschuetzDevelopmentNotesyou will find two PDFs: version 4.0 of their great document describing their games, and a new PDF with scans of their original development notes.

 

Also from Robert:

 

"We decided that it would be a good idea to film some commentary of programming recollections and gameplay as we played with each and every Atari BASIC game that we wrote as teenagers in the 1980's. We were playing them again for the first time in 30 years, and it was like rediscovering old friends! The video below is a result of that effort."

 

 

-Kevin

Did you upload the disk images somewhere?

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Did you upload the disk images somewhere?

 

 

Robert told me:

 

"All of our BASIC games are uploaded as separate ATRs on the AtariMania.com site. Here is a link to all of our Anschuetz/Weisgerber/Anschuetz games...

The newly recovered games that we found on Side B of one of our 5 1/4" floppies include these four games: Alien Assault, Ramses' Revenge, Piracy, and Phoenix. All of the other games were dumped to a PC way back in about 2000 with SIO2PC, but only a few were posted to Atarimania prior to 2017. Now they are all archived and posted."
-Kevin
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