Type-in listings were commonplace for the 8-bit home computers, thanks to the fact that most of them booted into some variant of BASIC. And the Atari 8-bit was no exception.
More ambitious programmers would compose games in machine code or assembly language, then convert their programs into DATA statements that could be read by a BASIC program to generate an executable file on a cassette or floppy disk. Into Deep is probably one of the most ambitious examples I’ve ever seen in this regard, and it shows in the final quality.
Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Type-in listings were a key part of 8-bit home computer culture, both in Europe and across the pond in the States.
The quality of games varied wildly, but it was always an interesting and satisfying experience to type something in to the computer’s BASIC interpreter, save it to a disk or cassette and have something you could enjoy at any time — just like something you’d bought from a shop.
Here’s an example from the latter days of Atari User magazine; a machine code type-in known as Maniac Mover. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
One of the best things about the 8-bit age was the prolific public domain scene, with many high-quality pieces of software being published in listing format in magazines.
One US publication that was particularly prolific in this regard was ANALOG (Atari Newsletter And Lots Of Games), which regularly published commercial-quality machine code programs for readers to type in, save to disk or cassette and enjoy at their leisure.
Today’s game hails from those hallowed pages. I give you Bacterion! The Plague of 2369. Nice.
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.