#1 - March/April 1984
Computer News (ECN) is published bi-monthly by Sage Enterprises. Current
Subscription Rate: $12.00 per year (6 issues). Send all correspondence
(subscriptions, ads, reviews, articles and products) to:
Rt. 2, Box
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as it is): Editor - Darrell R. Sage, Associate - Shirley Sage
Ramblings From The Ridge
by Darrell Sage, Editor
This is the premiere edition of your
newsletter. I would like
to welcome you personally to Expandable Computer News (ECN). To those
who are our charter subscribers we would like to say thanks. We hope
that you will
be pleased with your newsletter. one of the things you can do to make
our effort a
success is to write to us. Send us your comments and suggestions.
Elsewhere in this issue you will find
submitting reviews of products, programs and articles which you have
written. Because of our efforts to keep this publication as inexpensive
as possible, we cannot
pay you for your contributions. We will however attempt to publish
everything that you
send in so that you will be rewarded by seeing your name in print. As
continues to grow, we will select some of you to become regular
persons will be supplied with new products for review or be given a
by-line in the
newsletter. At some point we hope to be able to pay a fee to our
goal is to serve you. We want to make you aware of new products as soon
are available and we want to tell you whether or not they are worth
your money. We
recognize that different people like different things so if you like a
product that we
didn't, tell us.
We urge companies whose products are reviewed
respond to our comments and those of our readers. We also urge these
to consider the reviews when designing or modifying software. The best
way to sell a
product and stay in business is to listen to the buying public. If we
do make a mistake
we will correct it but we plan on making it clear if a product is bad.
After all, this
newsletter is for users.
A few words about our title and subtitle are in
spent a good deal of time trying to develop a title for this newsletter
accurately reflect what we are all about. Many of our early ideas
focused on Adam
and Eden. Most of these were too restrictive or did not convey the fact
that this is a
computer newsletter. Then we began thinking about Colecovision and its
expendability. We felt that those computers that are the most adaptable
expandable are the most likely to succeed in the home market. The more
about it the more we liked the idea of expandability. Finally one
morning around 6
A.M. it came to me just like it appears on the cover sheet. The
subtitle was added to
convey several things, one of which is our independence. We feel that
it is important
that our independence from manufacturers be stressed. While initially
our focus will
be on the Adam, we did not want to start off by restricting ourselves
solely to that
product. In this industry it is difficult to imagine what tomorrow will
Since I am the editor of this newsletter it is
appropriate that you know a little bit about me and how I got started
in this business. I have been involved with one aspect or another of
data processing since 1968. In
some ways that makes me an old timer. Much of my experience has been in
design and programming of specific applications. My experience includes
language programming as well as applications languages such as Fortran,
others. I have not had any formal training in data processing or
many ways I feel this lack of training is an advantage. I have been
able to look at
specific applications more from the user's standpoint than from that of
analyst's or programmer's. In many ways that is what led me to become
publishing a newsletter for the Adam.
I have seen a lot of software that just did not
account the needs of the user. It was inflexible. The user had to
tailor his application
to the software rather than being able to tailor the software to a
specific need. Hackers have been much maligned in recent times. I am
often unsure what some
people consider to be a "hacker." Nevertheless, I have seen software
that was highly
structured, well documented and thoroughly explained that was totally
the other hand, I have also seen programs written by hackers that were
would be the first to say document your programs, but make sure it does
needed first. If that makes me a hacker then so be it.
My goal is to bring the mystery and wonder of
to you in a useable fashion. I also want to make sure that you are
aware of what a
product does and how well it works before you buy it. We will also try
to find ways to
fix problems that develop with products you have bought.
We feel that the review section of the
newsletter will make
your subscription more than worthwhile. Company magazines and magazines
supported primarily through advertising revenues are simply not as
likely to give an
honest review of a product that makes them a living. We feel strongly
users need a source of information and assistance to turn to other than
manufacturer. The inspiration for our effort came largely from a
similar magazine for
Commodore computers. The MIDNIGHT SOFTWARE GAZETTE is the best
independent newsletter for Commodore products that I am aware of. If
you also own
a Commodore computer I urge you to subscribe to their magazine. You
subscription information listed at the end of this article.
While reviews will be a major part of our
effort, we intend
to provide you with a good deal more. There will be articles on
techniques, new developments, ready-to-run fully tested programs, news
computer manufacturers and their products, news about products for the
including products from independent third-party companies, news about
and about available public domain software.
The Midnight Software Gazette is published
Midnite Software, Inc. Subscription rates are $23 US per year. For
more information contact Jim & Debbie Oldfield at:
MIDNIGHT Subscription Office
Mt. Zion, Illinois 62549
Telephone: (217) 864-5320
by Darrell R. Sage
In case you did not know, West Hartford,
where Coleco is located. This article will therefore deal primarily
with news from and
about Coleco and its computer and video game products.
Though rumored to be in development for some
Adam was first shown at the summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last
June. At that point an actual working production model did not appear
to exist. For some
time prior to that event the company had been hyping the Colecovision
unit on its
expandability and a soon to be announced keyboard attachment.
Coleco announced and began advertising the super game pack expansion
module. This module contained expansion memory for the Colecovision
game unit and a high
speed tape drive which at that point consisted of the Exatron stringy
stringy floppy or wafer tape drive consists of a continuous loop tape
system. It was
believed that the super game module would become a major part of the
component. In the meantime the stringy floppy was coming under some
its apparent lack of reliability. The company, Exatron, had been
marketing its devices
for the Commodore Vic-20 and other computer systems. All at once it
disappear from the market.
Because of the problems that were developing
stringy floppy, Coleco began to seek other solutions for its data
storage device. Unfortunately this appears to have taken place right
before Adam appeared at the
summer CES. Shortly thereafter Coleco announced that it would delay
the super game expansion module and direct its efforts to the Adam. In
order for the
company to take advantage of the upcoming Christmas season it had to
working prototype in a very short time. Initially the company hoped to
the Adam in August.
The data storage problem was partly resolved by
to the current digital data pack drive. This device uses an expensive
tape cassette and operates with a directory in much the same manner as
Later Coleco intends to introduce a disk drive
help reduce the cost of developing and marketing software. Disks cost
less thin data packs and extra data packs are nearly impossible to
obtain at this
Colecovision found that its problems were not
completely. They still had to pass FCC requirements before the Adam
could go into
production. Rumor has it that final approval did not come until late
October 1983. Such a late start had a major impact on production and
delivery of the Adam in time
for Christmas. Nevertheless the company did make the effort and ended
freighting large numbers of Adams to retailers.
At the 1984 Winter Consumer Electronics Show,
officials indicated that the company was only able to produce 95,000
Adams in 1983. They went on to say that they would have the capacity to
produce as many as
140,000 Adams a month in 1984. It is unfortunate that there has been so
misinformation about the Adam floating around and being reported by the
other mass media. One account I saw indicated that the expansion module
the Adam would not be produced at all until 1984. We received ours in
1983 as did others. There were also a number of accounts printed that
indicated-there were problems with the hardware. One account indicated
word processor could only store one page of text at a time in memory.
This of course
is not true. We are NOT in this business to sell the Adam, but we will
try to provide
you with factual information. So far we think the Adam is a great
little machine. I
suspect many of the rumors may have been started by the competition or
due to the press's general ignorance about computers.
Coleco is generally keeping quiet about what it
is to now. They have indicated that they obtained the rights to
"Dragon's Lair". The possibility of
a video disk interface or a low cost video disk player compatible with
the Adam are
among alternatives currently being explored. We will try to keep you
posted on any
developments. There is still no word on disk drives. We hope they have
soon and go for some kind of a standard format. Return
What About The
by Darrell R. Sage
This column will be dedicated to covering
the rest of the industry. I have been watching the industry for some
time and have a
few introductory comments that I would like to make.
I feel that the market for home and personal
composed of several overlapping buying groups. These groups differ
of the price differences but also in how they view the product. It is
that has led to the success of some products and the failure of others.
Radio Shack TRS-80
One of the first buying groups to arise was
lower end commercial and business buyers. Such consumers bought Apples,
Radio Shack TRS-80s, IBM PCs and other computers in that price range
business applications. The group immediately above them had been used
data processing support from main frame computers and mini-computers.
has turned to IBM PCs, Apple's Lisa, and a variety of other computers
promoted for heavy business applications. Directly below these two
groups are people
who could afford Apples, Radio Shack TRS-80s, and other computers for a
applications including game playing. The cost of machines in this
hindered general expansion into the larger home market.
Soon lower priced computers like the Atari
Commodore 64 and Vic-20s, Texas Instrument's 99/4A, and lower priced
computers began moving into the upper income home market. These
used heavily for game playing and were still perceived by the general
expensive toys even though most of them were fairly powerful machines
for the price. The price cuts made by Commodore greatly broadened the
base of this buying group
and forced price cuts by the competition. The result of this price war
led to the
withdrawal of Texas Instruments from the home market with major
financial losses. Atari also took it on the chin but did not withdraw.
I really think TI and Atari misjudged the
buying public. Their losses were partly due to poor marketing and
partly to greed. Commodore
marketed a good product with low priced peripherals while the other
charged ridiculous prices for cables, expansion boxes, peripherals and
while trying to compete in the broader market that Commodore was
creating. Ultimately Atari had to retrench and retool developing an
improved XL series. Atari
also began marketing software for their competitors' machines. I still
about Atari's approach to marketing and look for them to eventually get
out of the
hardware end of the business altogether.
How does the Adam fit into all of this? Well, I
although its market will certainly overlap with that of the Commodore
64 and Atari XL
series it really is being focused at a new group of buyers. I really do
not think that the
Adam will be in major competition with Commodore. I think their markets
will differ. Adam will probably be more in competition with Atari, who
doesn't seem to know who
its market is, the Aquarius, and computers yet to come. I really
believe that the Adam
is moving to a new market area and that Coleco has done an excellent
identifying that market and following an appropriate market strategy.
If none of this makes any sense, I apologize.
What I am
trying to say is I think Adam will do well unless someone else goes
after the same
market in a better and cheaper way.
On to the news, rumor and gossip.
Rumor - The founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell, may be trying to team
Australian publisher Rupert Murdoch who is trying to acquire Warner,
company of Atari.
● Mattel has sold all rights to the Aquarius to Radofin Electronics.
● Warning - The British invasion of computers may come before the
Japanese. Some of the British products look pretty good.
● Commodore's sales doubled last year. The company plans to introduce
"touch-screen" this spring and has a couple of new computers ready for
introduction. If the new 264 and V364 compete directly with the C-64. I
think it will be a big mistake
for the company. I think they ought to go after the IBM PC Jr.
Atari will be marketing home versions of arcade games developed by
Bushnell's company as well as part of a line of robots.
● Sinclair has announced the QL computer priced at about $550. The QL
is supposed to be a 128k thirty-two bit machine.
Sinclair QL Computer
The current plan is
to market it by "mail order?" Even though it is supposed to compete with Adam, I
will have to wait and see.
● I am still not sure who the IBM PC Jr. will be competing with. I
really suspect it
will compete more with the IBM PC and maybe Radio Shack and Apple.
● Actually it
doesn't look like a very good idea to me. A full fledged Jr. will cost
as much as some
of the IBM PC look-alikes.
● Leading Edge is marketing a PC that is compatible with most PC
peripherals. The Leading Edge PC comes with monitor, 128k, seven
disk drives, DOS, Basic, word processor, internal clock, etc. all for
● Radio Shack has announced the Model 2000. This computer is another
competitor with 128k, two disk drives, 16 bit processor and more for
● Jack Tramiel, founder and president of Commodore, announced his
president and member of the board of directors. We will try to watch
the impact of his
retirement and report it here.
● Mattel has sold the rights to the Intellivision and has
entirely from the
videogame and electronics market. 20th Century Fox has discontinued
video game cartridges. Commodore has delayed indefinitely the
introduction of the
recently announced 264 and 364 computers. Timex has decided to
marketing Sinclair computers. Milton Bradley had dropped production of
video game system developed by GCE. The failure of the Vextrex appears
been due to inadequate promotion and support for a quality product.
IBM, IBM PC & IBM PC Jr. are registered
of International Business Machines. Apple & Lisa are registered
trademarks of Apple
Computers, Inc. Atari & Atari XL are registered trademarks of
Atari, Inc. Commodore
64 and Vic-20 are registered trademarks of Commodore Business Machines,
Inc. Mattel & Aquarius are registered trademarks of Mattel, Inc.
Leading Edge is a
trademark of Leading Edge Products, Inc. TRS-80 and Radio Shack are
of the Radio Shack division of Tandy Corp. Texas Instruments and TI
trademarks of Texas Instruments, Inc. Return to
Click HERE to download all the programs below
in .dsk format.
Each issue of this newsletter will provide you
number of program listings of fully tested and debugged programs ready
for you to
enter and run on your Adam computer. Unlike some magazines we will
proofread our program listings before they go into print.
If you have programs that you have written and
to share them with others, just send them in. Include a little
information about yourself
and we will test your programs and print the best ones here. Please, do
not send us
any programs written by someone else or taken from a magazine or book.
In addition to our program listings we will
line-by-line explanation of the program so that you can use the
information provided to
learn more about writing your own programs. This issue's programs will
some of the graphics capabilities of the Adam. Return
Graphics Demo 1
1 REM GRAPHICS DEMO
10 FOR i=1 TO 42
20 HCOLOR=1 + INT(i/3)
40 ROT = 0
50 DRAW 1 AT 125, 100
60 FOR j = 1 TO 1000
70 NEXT j
75 NEXT i
5 sets high
mode. Sounds complex but it simply means that each dot on the screen
controlled to draw pictures or whatever you want. Line 10 is the start
of a loop that
will be carried out 42 times. The program will run from line 10 down
through line 75 at
which point the program will return to line 10 and begin again until it
has done that 42
times. Line 20 sets the color of the dots that will be drawn using the
value of 1 is added to the integer value of i (from line 10) divided by
3. This means
that the color value will range from 1 to 15.
Line 30 sets the scale value to the value of i
range from 1 to 42. The scale value determines the size of the line or
object that will
be drawn. Line 40 determines the angle at which the line or object will
be drawn. A
line or object can be rotated over 64 different positions.
Line 50 instructs the computer to draw shape 1,
starting at column 125 and row 100. Line 60 starts a delay loop that
ends at line
Delay loops are used to slow down graphics so
can see the changes as they occur. Line 75 is the end of the loop
started at line 10. Line 80 turns off the high resolution graphics
screen and returns to text format. As this
program executes a series of ever increasing squares will be drawn on
the screen. In
addition the color of the new squares will change.
Graphics Demo 2
1 REM Graphics Demo 2
10 FOR J=1 TO 1000
15 FOR i=1 TO 64
20 K=INT(i/4) + 1
25 IF K > 15 THEN K=15
30 IF K = 4 THEN K=15
50 ROT = 0 +i-1
60 DRAW 1 AT 125, 100
70 NEXT i
75 NEXT j
line 5 the high resolution graphics mode
is turned on. In line 10 a loop is started that will be repeated 1000
times. In line 15 a
loop is started that will be executed 64 times. This loop will start
over every time the
loop at line 10 repeats. Line 20 sets the value of K to the integer
value of i divided by
four. Since K is used to set the color value and color values must
range from 0 to 15
then line 25 is necessary to prevent K from becoming larger than 15.
Line 30 is used
to change K when it equals four because 4 is black and will erase the
picture we are
trying to draw. Any color other than 15 could have been chosen. Line 35
color value to K and line 40 sets the scale value to 20.
In line 50 the object will be rotated as the
value of i
changes from 1 to 64. Line 60 draws the square just like in the first
70 and 75 are the end of the loops which started at lines 15 and 10.
Line 80 restores
This program draws a square of one color then
additional squares at different rotations. The colors of the squares
once a rotation is completed the process is started all over and
repeated for a total of
1000 times. Return to
Graphics Demo 3
1 REM Graphics Demo 3
20 T = 0
30 T = T + 1
40 L = 0
50 IF T > 15 THEN 180
60 FOR J = 1 TO 4
70 M = 31 - T
80 FOR i = 1 TO 16
90 K = T
110 IF i< = 8 THEN M=M-1
120 IF i > 8 THEN M=M+1
130 SCALE = M
135 L = L + 1
140 ROT = 0 + L - 1
150 DRAW 1 AT 125, 100
160 NEXT i
170 NEXT j
175 GOTO 30
program is a variation of program #2
only there is a lot more going on in this one. I hope you will be able
to follow the
discussion because this program contains a lot of tricks that will be
helpful in writing
your own programs.
Line 10 turns on high resolution graphics. Line
20 sets T
equal to 0. Line 30 adds 1 to T. Line 40 sets L equal to 0. Line 50
checks to see if T
is greater than 15. Of course right now T is only 1 but it will
increase as the program
runs. When T gets bigger than 15 the program skips to line 180. At line
60 a loop is
started. In line 70 M is made equal to 31 minus T. On the first pass
this would be a
value of 30. In line 80 another loop is started. At line 90 K is made
equal to T. In line
100 the color value is set to K.
In line 110 i is checked to see if it is less
than or equal to
8; if it is then 1 is subtracted from M. In line 120 i is checked to
see if it is greater than
8; if it is then 1 is added to M. In line 130 the scale value is made
equal to M. What
we are doing in lines 110 to 130 is adjusting the size of the object
depending on the rotation of the object. In program #2 you will recall
that the square
we drew became bigger as it was rotated; in this program we are
attempting to keep
the square approximately the same size throughout its rotation.
In line 135 one is added to L which will be
used to control
the rotation in line 140. L will actually vary from one to sixty-four
for each of the
fifteen colors we will cycle the program through. In addition since M
is being reduced
at line 70 by the value of T the square will be made smaller each time
a new color is
selected. Lines 160 and 170 end loops starting at lines 80 and 60. Line
175 acts like
a loop sending the program back to line 30 where the value of T will be
one again. This will go on until T is bigger than 15 (line 50). The
program will then
terminate at line 180 with the text mode being restored.
This program draws a square of one color
rotates it while
changing its size. When one rotation is completed the color is changed
and a smaller
square is rotated through a cycle in the center of the larger one. This
will go on until
all of the 15 colors have been used. The color that has a value of 0 is
not used since
that is the same color as the screen, black.
month we will have more programs for you to try out. Experiment a
little with these
three and see what happens. Return to
Review: Bringing ADAM
by D. Sage
We, like the rest of you, bought our Adam and
bring it home and put it together. For a while it looked like our Adam
would not get
here. If you believe everything you read in the newspapers then you
certain that Coleco was having trouble delivering Adams. We ordered the
module for our Colecovision through a catalogue. On December 17 Adam
only three days after the delivery date we had been given. Coleco
been air freighting large numbers of Adams in order to insure delivery
We were naturally eager to get our Adam
running, but at the same time we wanted to keep track of any problems
encounter in the process. What follows is a discussion of those events.
The Adam we ordered was expansion module #3 for
Colecovision video game system. The first thing we did was to carefully
"set-up manual" and the inserts and special labels included with the
of limited space, our computer room is already overflowing, we decided
joystick attachment for the keyboard was really more of a nuisance than
The keyboard has easy to use cursor controls
enclosed instructions never seemed to explain the purpose of the
joystick. In reality
the joystick can be used for cursor control and as a numeric keypad. I
prefer not to
use it for those purposes. If you do not touch type and need to enter a
lot of numbers
then you may find it to be of some value.
Overall the assembly went rather well. I really
"system interlock tray" is an excellent idea. One thing that should be
pointed out is
that the instructions say to turn off the on/off switch on the
Colecovision game system;
they should also say the switch should never be turned on. I suggest
that it be taped
so that it stays off. Another thing you should do, if you have not, is
to write down the
serial numbers for all the components. I would also suggest that you
write down each
item's model number. If you ever need service for your Adam you will
need to have this information easily available. I could never
understand why serial
numbers are always hidden.
After much checking and rechecking, Adam was
assembled and ready to go. We turned on the power and there on our
the electronic typewriter screen. The manual says a title screen will
appear first but it
never did. If anyone has ever seen the title screen we would like to
know what it
tried out the electronic typewriter and it
work fine. Next we tried the "SmartWRITER" word processor. It also
well. We then turned off Adam, inserted a game cartridge in the
Colecovision unit and
turned on Adam. Much to our surprise the electronic typewriter
careful consideration we pressed the game cartridge reset button and
that solved the
problem. One word of caution is in order. ALWAYS turn off Adam before
removing game cartridges.
next test was the operation of the data-drive and a
"super game pack" that came with Adam. Adam was turned on, the digital
was inserted and the computer reset button was pressed. The game loaded
everything worked fine except that our reset-button sticks and has to
Most of the first week Adam was with us we
with the word processor. All generally went well. The word processor is
feature, so much so that Adam would be a bargain with that feature
alone. The only
problem that occurred while using the word processor was a locked up
problem forced us to press the reset button and reload our document
from the digital
data drive. We have not had any printer problems since that incident.
bring up one point, ALWAYS periodically copy your work to a data pack
ALWAYS copy it before using the printer. This is a good practice on any
You should probably try to get some extra data
you can make backup copies on separate packs. From my own experience,
if it is
not backed up at least twice on separate tapes it is not backed up
safely. A data pack
can fail or be damaged quite accidentally.
We were disappointed that Coleco did not
ribbons and print wheels are compatible with Adam. Some Diablo (HyType
wheels seem to work well. If you are aware of other printer supplies
compatible with Adam just let us know and we will pass the information
If you ever try to replace a print wheel be
careful. When you tip the mechanism backwards it may catch on the
roller and hang
up. Before tipping the print wheel mechanism back be sure that the
print wheel is all
of the way on. When reinstalling the print wheel be careful to align
the wheel correctly
and place it on firmly. Oh yes, in case you didn't notice, the printer
is very loud. Don't
worry its supposed to be loud.
In conclusion I would like to say that I am
pleased with Adam. The problems encountered had more to do with the
than the computer itself. Coleco has done a relatively good job insofar
as this review
has gone. We will have more next issue. If you have had any interesting
setting up your Adam write them down and send them in. In order to
comments, cautions and tips we have repeated them in the list below.
Turn off Adam
before inserting or removing cartridges.
Start cartridges by pressing the
game cartridge reset button
Do not put digital data packs in the drive before it is
Remove digital data packs from the drive before turning the
Keep data packs away from Adam when not in the drive, away
from televisions, speakers, magnets, and any other source of electromagnetic
radiation. When in
If you have expansion module #3 tape the on/off switch on
your Colecovision to
Periodically backup any files or programs on a data pack.
Use caution in changing print wheels.
You may use Diablo HyType I print wheels in place of the one
If you are unable to obtain replacement ribbons, call
Coleco's toll free hotline
Keep small objects, paper clips, bobbie pins, etc. away from
Adam or they may be
accidentally dropped into the components.
Keep food, drink and pets away from Adam.
Product Review: WICO
Joystick/Keypad for Colecovision
by D. Sage
Manufacturer: Wico Corp.
Warranty: One Year
The WICO Command Control Joystick/Keypad is
manufactured by WICO Corp., Consumer Products Div., 6400 W. Gross Point
Niles, Illinois 60648 and carries a one year warranty.
As most of you probably know by now the
came with your Colecovision are good for some games and terrible with
others. In an
attempt to resolve this we will be trying out a number of joysticks
produced by other
manufacturers. This month we selected the WICO Command Control
Joystick/Keypad. This joystick comes ready to plug in to your
The joystick is arranged differently than
WICO has the keypad on top and a joystick-rather than a disk on the end
There are two sets of "fire" buttons located on each side of the keypad
additional fire button in the end of the joystick. The product seems to
durable. The fire buttons on the side do not give any sensory feedback
pressed. They don't click and you can't tell for sure whether or not
you have released
them. They appear to be molded plastic that bends slightly when
pressed. The only
way I could tell if they were working was by the action on the screen.
In order to hold
onto the joystick I often found myself pressing the buttons. In games
where you can
have continuous fire this is not so bad, but in games where you have to
button each time it was a problem.
I used the WICO joystick to play SUBROC,
BUCK ROGERS, and LADYBUG. With Ladybug the response of the joystick was
about the same as with the Coleco joystick. There did seem to be
delayed response to the joystick movement.
With Subroc the WICO seemed to function a great
better than the Coleco joystick. I was able to increase my score
any discomfort. Playing Buck Rogers was a real killer. Since this game
use of both fire buttons, not only do you have to hold on to the
joystick but you also
had to use those funny fire buttons. This soon caused my left hand to
The WICO seems to be a poor choice for games
require using fire buttons other than the one on the joystick itself.
With Popeye the
joystick definitely is an improvement, although there still seems to be
problem with response.
Overall I find it difficult to make a
recommendation on this
product. As with most joysticks I keep getting the impression that none
manufacturers ever really try to play games with them. They should have
natural feel in your hand. I have tried other WICO joysticks and have
liked the feel
and response. If you have tried this particular model and had different
results let us
know. As it stands now I would not recommend it.
Popeye is a registered trademark of King
Syndicated, Inc. SUBROC is a trademark of Sega Enterprises, Inc. Buck
Rogers is a
trademark of the Dille Family
Trust. Lady Bug is a trademark of Universal Co., Ltd. Return to
Product Review: Subroc
by D. Sage
Warranty: 90 days
While Coleco could not reproduce the 3-D effect
by the arcade version of Subroc they nevertheless have done an
admirable job. This
cartridge is a shoot-em-up first person space and underwater game. You
crosshairs on your screen in order to sight in the oncoming enemy space
Flying saucers and submarines move both left
across your line of fire. The submarines fire torpedoes at you which
can be evaded
by taking flight. The enemy spacecraft fire at you at differing rates
depending on the
type of ship and the round. You also encounter mines that either have
to be blasted
In addition to the attackers there are a number
craft that float by periodically. Shooting these will gain you
additional points. The
graphics are relatively good. Oncoming craft get larger as they
objects may appear simultaneously on the screen giving you plenty to
worry about. The colors do tend to appear a little washed out.
This game qets quite difficult in the higher
you find that about all you can do is deflect on-coming shots. As you
higher rounds it is probably best to stay in the air ignoring the
submarines. You can
still blast the bonus craft as they pass by. The command plane that
appears at the
end of each round is relatively easy to knock off if you get it early.
because if you miss it early you gain fewer points and it becomes quite
difficult to hit
as it moves out of your range of fire while still blasting at you.
Subroc carries Coleco's standard 90-day
warranty. I have
never had a Coleco cartridge fail and like most such cartridges if used
will last a long time. If you like first-person blasting games this
cartridge is worth
having. I like it and would recommend it.
Subroc and Sega are trademarks of Sega
Inc. Return to
Product Review: Popeye
by D. Sage
Manufacturer: Parker Brothers
Warranty: 180 days
Popeye is a video game cartridge produced by
Brothers for the Colecovision/Adam system, Parker Brothers cartridges
carry a 180
day replacement warranty.
If you enjoyed Donkey Kong or any of the other
games, you will probably like Popeye. Parker Brothers has done another
in this version for Colecovision.
The theme is rather simple, Olive drops hearts,
letters depending on the screen and Popeye must catch all the ones for
while avoiding Brutus and objects thrown by the Sea Hag. Popeye has one
spinach available for each round that he can use to deck Brutus. You,
control Popeye's movement and can make him punch the bottles using the
In the third level there are also vultures to avoid.
There are three screens that repeat provided
you make it
through the first three rounds. The first screen shows Popeye's and
Olive's houses on
opposite sides at the top of the screen. The rest of the screen is
composed of steps
and walkways. The second screen has a building as a background with
levels. In addition there is a seesaw that Popeye can jump on. If he
enough he can catch Sweet Pea and gain extra points. The third screen
is a boat
which makes up a series of levels. I like all the screens but the
second one is really
a lot of fun.
I really liked this game. The graphics are
good, the music
is good and the game play is a lot of fun. I recommend it very
strongly. If you
disagree write and tell everyone why.
Popeye is a registered trademark of and is
King Features Syndicate, Inc. Parker Bros. is a registered trademark of
Inc. Return to
by The Staff
We have been gradually going through the Basic
for the Adam and testing several features to see if and how they work.
operating system for the data pack drive appeared to be very similar to
the one used
by Apple for its disk drives, we thought we would test the file storage
The first problem we encountered dealt with the
data pack drive and Basic. After loading Basic and then removing that
data pack and
inserting a blank data pack we would get I/O errors anytime we
attempted to access
the drive. This problem was solved simply by opening and closing the
data pack drive
During our tests we also identified a problem
version of Basic that we have. The problem is not a major one and we
developed a fix for it., In order to find out if you have a problem it
is necessary for you
to write a data file to your blank digital data pack. Enter the program
below, save it
and then run it. Click HERE to download these
programs in .dsk format for the ADAMem Emulator.
10 rem *write a data file*
30 PRINT ds$; "OPEN TESTFL"
40 PRINT ds$; "WRITE TESTFL"
50 PRINT "Mary"
60 PRINT "had"
70 PRINT "a"
80 PRINT "little"
90 PRINT "lamb"
100 PRINT ds$;"CLOSE TESTFL"
110 PRINT "FINISHED"
After you have entered, saved and
run this program
enter the next program and save it.
10 rem *read a data file*
30 PRINT ds$;"OPEN TESTFL"
40 PRINT ds$;"READ TESTFL"
50 FOR x=1 to 5
60 INPUT n$(x)
70 NEXT x
90 PRINT ds$;"CLOSE TESTFL"
100 FOR j=1 to 5
110 PRINT n$(j)
120 NEXT j
program has been entered and saved, run it. If
you get any question marks (?) on the screen you have a problem. In our
would be 5 question marks printed on one line immediately preceding the
text. If you
did not get any question marks everything is all right, but if you did
insert the following
line in the second program:
Now run the program again. Your screen should clear and the text, "Mary
had a little lamb," should be printed without any preceding question
While this is not a serious problem it
to be fixed. If you are interested in finding out where the question
marks come from
then read on.
Normally when you use an "INPUT" statement to
data from the keyboard there will be a prompting question mark on the
normally checks to see if the "INPUT" statement is looking for keyboard
or file input. In case of keyboard input the question mark is sent to
temporary storage called a
buffer and then is sent to the screen for display. You would then enter
is necessary. Normally if the "INPUT" statement is looking for input
from a data file
there would be no question mark generated and no prompt of any kind on
the screen. Instead the next data record from the data file would be
read by the input
In the case of our version of Basic for the
Adam, the input
statement is generating a question mark and placing it in the screen
buffer. For every
"INPUT" statement executed an additional question mark is being placed
in the buffer. None of these question marks appear on the screen until
the next "PRINT" statement
The buffer is then output to the screen and
"PRINT" statement at line 80 in the second program causes the question
marks to be
output on the screen. The new line 85 clears the screen and anything in
Our solution does not alter the actual data it
rid of the excess garbage. Return to
Public Domain Software
We here at ECN intend to establish a public
program library. All of the programs we develop for the newsletter will
available to you on digital data packs. In addition we will be writing
specifically for the library. other programs currently in the public
domain for other
computer systems may also be converted for the Adam.
Our goal is to make the programs in this
to you at as low a cost as possible. Charges will be limited to the
cost of the media
(digital data packs), shipping, and staff time necessary to copy the
progress will be reported in this column along with an index of the
contents of the
library. Unfortunately extra digital data packs are very scarce at this
time. We will not
be able to begin distributing public domain software until digital data
available at quantity prices. If you wish to contribute a program to
the library, simply
follow the guidelines for program submission indicated elsewhere in
this issue. Return to
User Group News
Do you often find yourself with lots of
questions and no
one to turn to for the answers? Why not start a user group? A user
group is a good
way to bring together other Adam owners. Even if you still can't find
someone with an
answer to your question at least you will be able to share your
others. Often as a group you will be able to find a solution.
How do you start a user group? First find a
you can meet. You will-need some place where you can set up an Adam.
run an ad in your local paper. We will also be happy to advertise your
group in our
This column will include a list of such groups.
We will also
include any news that these groups wish to share with others. Just let
us know what
you have been doing and we will print it here. Return
The following companies are currently known to
software and other products for the Adam/Colecovision. We cannot
quality of the software or product in any way but can only report its
availability. This is
not intended to represent a complete list of all companies. If you are
aware of others
let us know.
Sirius Software, 10364 Rockingham Dr.,
Sacramento, CA 95827
MicroLab, Inc., 2699 Skokie Valley Road,
Highland Park, Il 60035
Parker Bros., Beverly, MA 01915
Atari, Inc., P. 0. Box 2943, So. San
Francisco, CA 94080
CBS Software, One Fawcett Place, Greenwich,
Interphase Technologies, Inc., 6391-F
Westminster Hwy, Richmond, B.C.,
Imagic, 981 University Ave., Los Gatos, CA
N.A.P. Consumer Electronics Corp., P. 0.
Box 6950, Knoxville, TN 37914
Sierra On-Line, Sierra On-Line Bldg.,
Coarsegold, CA 93614
Spinnaker Software Corp., 215 First St.,
Cambridge, MA 02142
Discwasher, 1407 No. Providence Rd.,
Columbia, MO 65205
WICO Corp., Consumer Division, 6400 W. Gross
Point Rd., Niles, IL 60648
Return to Top
Format for Submission of Product Reviews. Product reviews submitted for
use in our
newsletter should include the following information:
1. Your Name
2. Your address and hone number
3. Product name
4. Manufacturer's name and address
5. System requirements (i.e. data pack drive, printer, etc.)
6. Media (cartridge, data pack, etc.)
7. Warranty details
8. Description of product
9. Discuss quality of documentation and instructions
10. Positive comments
11. Negative comments
12. Suggestions for improvement
13. How much have you used product?
14. Your experience level with computers
15. Why you bought the product
16. Where you bought the product
17. Rate on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is a complete waste and 10 means
should own it
18. Include a signed statement giving us permission to print your
review in our
newsletter. If you are under 21 have a parent sign the statement.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION OF PROGRAMS
1. Name, address and phone number
2. Send a printed program listing
3. Send a copy of the program on a data pack if at all possible. 'we
will copy the
program and return the data pack by first class mail
4. Send a written description of the program telling what it does any
on how to use it.
5. Send us a brief biographical sketch. Tell us why you wrote the
program, how long
you have had a computer, etc.
6. All accompanying materials should be typed and double spaced.
7. Include on a separate sheet a statement giving us permission to
print your program
in our newsletter. You will retain all rights to the program. Any such
should be signed by you or a parent if you are under 21.
8. Indicate whether or not you wish to make the program available to
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION OF ARTICLES
1. Articles should be typed and double spaced.
2. All articles should include a title.
3. Each page should include your name and the title of the article in
the upper right
4. All articles should be accompanied by a statement giving us
permission to print the
article in our newsletter. An adult must sign if you are under 21.
5. 'All articles should be accompanied by a brief biographical sketch.
Make sure you
include your full name, address and phone number.
6. Articles should be between one and four typewritten (double spaced)
pages long. Longer articles may be submitted but are likely to be
edited substantially because of
our space limitations.
7. If you wish your materials returned, please enclose a return
envelope with sufficient
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