ZX Spectrum Games Code Club Book

Anyone who owned a ZX Spectrum in the 80's or 90's, surely must have had a bash at programming in BASIC. Who could resist a quick type-in from a magazine or book to show what your humble hands could do in the space of half hour? Or two hours. Or three. I guess it depends on how long the program was or indeed how long it took for you to learn how to make the required commands pop-up. (Extend Mode held with Caps Shift was the bane of my life)

Commands on the keys! Genius!
If you had the 16K or 48K model, of course you were helped out by having all the commands on the keys for you (clever Sir Clive) though you still had to get the combinations correct. Though that said, these were easily mastered after a few days or weeks of being locked away in your bedroom not talking to anyone for what was, well in my case, 90% of the duration of my summer holidays from school. Yes, I loved my Spectrum more than my friends. I hope I'm not alone. Though not as alone as I was during my school holidays.

Enough negativity! Programming your Spectrum was amazing, even if it just entailed you making your name flash in the middle of the screen, changing the colour of the text - throwing a BEEP command in there was taking it to another level! The pinnacle of your BASIC programming career though would always be going to your local shop which had computer set up (they used to have them in the 80's) and filling the screen with obscenities.

Retro Hunter - Can't make it to Play Expo in person? Bring it to your home! (After typing it in, of course!)

A lot of programmers mastered the art of BASIC programming and moved onto machine code (argh! Scary!) though for the amateurs among us, there was a frustration that you couldn't take it further and create your own game that you had created by yourself. This is where the 'ZX Spectrum Games Code Club' book comes in.

Takeaway Ted. Five of each, please!
The book includes twenty BASIC games for you to type-in and enjoy. After each program, the book explains in great detail, how each element of the game works. This includes explaining what each BASIC command means and how it is reflected on the screen, or indeed if it is something that works away in the background.

Earn some Insignia in this game. Sorry, though that said Astra Invaders.
Having the program broken up and explained like this is an ideal way of getting your head around programming, expanding your knowledge of programming and indeed even set you on your way of creating your own programs. What you will notice is that the further you go along, the more you learn as the breakdown of the code will only be relevant to the new code and techniques used. No one needs to be told twenty times what 'PRINT AT' means. With this progressive nature, you will find the book pulls you along to learn more and keeps you interested as you go along.

You are also encouraged to make amendments to the games contained within the book so you can see for yourself how changes will impact the game. Excellent! (though slightly changing something and claiming it as yours, is not encouraged. Ahem!)

Rachel Riley never looked so good.
Whether you're completely new to programming, looking to improve your BASIC knowledge, or indeed just want to refresh your memory, everything is catered for here. From a personal level, I never got much further than INPUT commands asking people what their names were, how old they were and then insulting them needlessly. Well, it's what you did when you were 12,  right? (Just me?) I always wanted to advance my knowledge and programming skills but the books around then, that I could find anyway, just consisted of pages of programs which were typed in with you not really knowing what you were doing.

Don't make the chicky angry! Too late :(

Of course, you knew what you were doing, though I mean in a way where you weren't exactly sure which part of the program did what, and how changing something slightly may look, or indeed actually work (5: Out of Screen - ring any bells to anyone?). You really did need to someone to point out and talk through every in minute detail so really knew what was going on. This is what the book aims for and acheives. Which means, if you're anything like me, you can sit in your room on your own with no disturbances and without having to talk to anyone - bonus!

Solar C5 Race - Sir Clive would be proud
With a games list that includes Flappy Bird, Breakout, Solar C5 race (above), The Numbers Game (see above - Countdown homage), Textrix (you can probably guess that one) Mini Pong and many others, you have a whole plethora of games to play with and plenty of genres to choose from.
Of course, they can be programmed on your original Speccy or by using any number of emulators out there that are available for PC/MAC or Android/iOS devices (you can't really beat using a Speccy though).

Sound like your thing? Good, as it's available now! Click here to get your copy;


Enjoy! - Article by Florinthedwarf

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