March 29, 2012

King's Quest V - Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder

The Wikipedia Article about this game says that is came out in November 1990. Dunno about that. All I can say is that my girlfriend had it on her DOS computer at her home, when I was in the IDF, and later in Kibbutz Hannaton.
That means we played it over weekends and holidays (though not on Shabbat...). I think she got it for me for my 21st birthday, so late 1991. I'm pretty sure we finished it almost exactly a year later, just the day before Yom Kippur 1992.
So back in the day we were devoted to point and click adventure games, and also it was so much harder to find the answers to the riddles. I do remember that we did have some way to find the answers, especially to the end part, where you have to turn to all sorts of animals. I just can't, for the life of me, remember how we had that, because there was no internet at the time.
It had cost 120 NIS at the time, which is something like 40$ today, not bad for a year of entertainment...

March 22, 2012

MS DOS Can Set You Free

Just so everyone will know what I'm talking about. DOS - stands for Disk Operating System, and MS stands for Microsoft.
So back in the 1990s all computers came with DOS (Here in Israel litarally all of them came with MS-DOS, but I guess in the US some other flavors such as DR-DOS were at least a little popular...)
Truth of the Matter, I didn't know a lot of DOS, only something like three commands:
  1. DIR meant directory, it showed you all the files (and directories) in a certain directory (now it's called a folder).
  2. CD meant Change Directory. CD.. meant go up one level in the file structure.
  3. Writing the name of an .exe file (something like rayman.exe) ran that file
  4. Oh, and RM removed files, but I was always too scared to use it...
So back in the day, anyone who knew as much as I did could infer the entire file structure of the computer in a few minutes. Sure, there were no impressive icons, and the resolution was not that of the New iPad, but can anyone tell what the file structure of that is?
Kind of makes you wander about Big Brother...

March 13, 2012

Back is 1986 CP/M Was Too Cool For Me

I've already written here before about my Commodore 128. I don't really remember the store I bought it from, only that it looked more like vegetable store than, say, an iStore.
I also don't remember exactly how much it had cost. I think it was something like 300 Canadian dollars. BTW, oddly enough a lot of my Canadian friends did not own computers, and the school certainly didn't (besides the management and the Librarian's computer for the book catalog).
This Commodore 128 came with a floppy disk drive, and I remember I could buy a hard disk for another 300 (Canadian) dollars or so and CP/M for another 300. 
I seriously considered all of this, but I decided against it. I had a little money of my own at the time, but this all seemed like too much, and I had no clear use for it.
Which starts to make my point. DOS was a seriously good invention!

March 7, 2012

Press Play On Tape

So last week I told you all about my first experiences with a computer working on DOS. But let me back up a little. I bet many people reading this do not know that DOS stands for Disk Operating System, and as I said last week I have been working with that since late 1991. So what did we do before that?
My first computer was a ZX Spectrum (picture below, because it looks kinda cool). My friend Tzachi, who died about 15 years ago, thus far too young, had a Commodore 64 (BTW, C-64 still finds it on Google, yay!).
Both the ZX Spectrum, and the C-64 worked with Audio Cassette Tapes (maybe I should put in a picture of one of these guys too, but in the mean time, Google it).
My ZX spectrum had a whopping 48K of RAM and the C-64 had, well 64.
So if we wanted to play a game we put a cassette in the player, and the computer 'heard' the program (sort of like the old modems).
This was a computer without a Disk Operating System, or indeed a Disk. It knew just one program when you turned it on, usually some version of BASIC. This meant that in order to LOAD your program you had to LOAD it, so we all knew BASIC (or at least the LOAD command).
In those good old days, illegal copying of programs was done with a double cassette tape...
So anyway, one fall day in 1984 me and Tzachi went up to his apartment and we told the computer to LOAD something (I think it was Fort Apocalypse). Whenever you told that to the C-64, it said: 'press play on tape'. so we pressed play on some other tape, and listened to some music. We thought it was funny.