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December 1983


Dragon 32

"Vroooom Vroooom! Rev-up for a fast and furious race track challenge in your turbo-charged Dragon special. Streak down the road overtaking all the opposition. How far can you get without crashing?

This game has a couple options for the player. You choose the number of lives you have and the speed. All that a over and a hi-score feature too! Will you score the fastest lap - step on the gas and find out!"

In the early 80’s computers were for hobbyists, rather than game players, and before cassettes started appearing in shops a common way to distribute games was via Type-In listings in books and magazines. On the ZX81, with it’s 1K of memory, that may have been ok, but as computer memory increased to 32k it seemed a little ridiculous as it would take hours to type them in. The nature of coding was incredibly unforgiving and it was so easy to make small typing errors rendering all the time spent wasted. The built-in compilers had poor error checking and it was hard to track down the errors. However, this was the way a lot of early game developers learnt how to write code. It was through typing them in and debugging them that we learnt to code in BASIC.

Since there were few listings for the relatively unpopular Dragon 32 we had purchased, we thought this was a gap in the market and wrote our own. We were very pleased it was published by the leading all-format games magazine of the day, Computer and Video Games. They took almost a year to publish it, by which time we didn’t even own the Dragon 32 as we’d traded it in to help buy a BBC Micro. They paid us £10 for it, although it took two chase letters and 5 months after publication to receive it!

Interestingly, since we were intending the game to be published as a listing, we had sent it to them typed on paper. Thanks must go to our mum who produced this from handwritten code on her old fashioned typewriter (when Tipex was used instead of a delete key!) as we couldn’t afford a printer. Years later someone said to us, ‘Why didn’t you just send it to them on a tape, that would have saved them having to type it in too!’. Good point!

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