Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cover to Cover: Adventure International Spring 1981 Catalog (pp. 21-22)

We're continuing our page-by-page review of the Spring 1981 Adventure International catalog. Scott Adams' pioneering computer software company was founded to publish his classic adventure games, but marketed many types of products.

Page 22 wraps up the Galactic Saga description spilling over from the previous page, and presents several other science-fiction titles -- having a real working computer in the home and loving sci-fi went hand-in-hand for a lot of people:

Zossed in Space (With Graphics, even) was written by Jyym L. Pearson, best known for the Other Ventures series, and appears to be another game in the Star Trek simulation sweepstakes, one of many attempts to convert and improve the classic mainframe space game.  Star Scout sounds more like Atari's 1979 Star Raiders, and Lance Micklus' Star Trek 3.5 was yet another improvement to his classic adaptation, bearing a true rarity for the time -- an official Star Trek license from Paramount Pictures.

Page 22 presents a paid advertisement from an independent company - Soft Sector Marketing, a Michigan-based producer of documentation and utilities for Radio Shack's TRS-80 home computers:

Utilities date a lot more quickly than games do -- an old classic game may still be entertaining, but most such tools fall into disuse in the post-hardware emulation era.  In these modern times when a computer operating system lacking API documentation is commercially non-viable, it's easy to forget that the TRS-80 Model III ROM routines were completely undocumented.  And in the days when every hobbyist needed to know a little bit of programming, $22.50 was a small price to pay for the unofficial but valuable information in SSM's MOD III ROM COMMENTED book.  I have no idea what "chain files" were, to be honest -- my guess is they were used to work around inherent file size limitations or compilation/assembly challenges -- but it appears that Chain Maker was a utility for the popular NEWDOS/80 operating system allowing the creation of such, perhaps restoring a missing feature found in Tandy's official TRS-DOS.

Tomorrow, a few more pages...


  1. Zossed in Space was not related to Star Trek in any way (I think the ad was trying to point this out). Today it would be called an 'endless scrolling space shooter' or similar. I can't remember which direction the screen scrolled (it's been about 32 years!) but I remember it was very difficult, even by yesteryear's standards.

    1. Thanks for the firsthand information! I was reading "this is not a typical 'Star Trek' type game" to mean that it WAS a 'Star Trek' type game, just not a typical one. We're spoiled by screenshots and trailers these days, marketing had some serious handicaps (or advantages I imagine) when the title and the text had to carry the load.