Sunday, June 05, 2011

Computer wargaming ... is easy?

Tandy TRS 80

The title of this post was the title of an article by Stuart Asquith in "Wargaming: presenting all aspects of the Hobby" (1985). At the time he wrote that article we'd moved past the kit built TRS-80 (illustrated above) and into the age of BBC, Commodore 64, Apple 2e and the early IBM PC's. Asquith saw the main role of computers as an adjunct to tabletop gaming rule mathematics, spent a lot of time putting his rules into BASIC code, thought there was a role for computers in this aspect of the hobby. He was pretty excited at the prospect of being able to link computers together to hundreds of "K's" of processing power and looked forward to the future.

It is particularly heartening to note that one of his group's first two projects was to 'computerise' their Spanish Civil War rules (a point which I missed at the time). Good to see that SCW and interwar period gamers were at the front of the wave, even in 1985!

Needless to say, I report the above after finding a copy of said magazine in my 'archive' of the era. Lots of other goodies also, including a 1980 'Breakout' magazine "Dedicated to the future of gaming with computers". I'll read and report when I find the thing again (as I already filed it away in a fit of organisedness).

When that was published, we were building our first PC's at school instead of going to sports (true geekness). Hence the picture of the TRS 80. It had an onboard memory of 4Kb and used a audio-tape and tape deck for data storage. You had to program your own game for it. I was very proud the following year when 'taught' the computer to 'teach itself' how to play noughts and crosses (tic tac toe).

Ah, memories...

No comments: