After doing some work on the City Media project in Marseille I wandered upstairs into Isabelle Arvers‘ Game Heros / Pixellissme exhibit. There I found a lonely Amstrad with Locomotive Basic waiting for someone to design something. I never knew the Amstrad, but I was quickly able to build this little thingy (30 minutes tops), with the only constraint being that the code had to fit on one screen. It’s not the most elegant code, for example I couldn’t figure out how to bitmask, hence all the OR commands.
I’m amazed at how robust the Amstrad was, some 25 years later. Since BASIC is installed in the ROM, you just have to turn it on and away you go, with the given extra of recording onto a cassette player which ironically probably stores its’ data longer than my CD-Roms I can’t read anymore. Apparently the Amstrad has some easy to access PEEK and POKE for getting sound and graphics going, but I didn’t have the time to fiddle around with it. I’ll have to get myself one and see what I can do with it. The PAPER and PEN commands are easy to learn with a totally cool list of the color table written right there on the device. What does that say about a machine that has the color codes screened directly onto the case?
Archéopterix was there maintaining the exhibit and was worried this little improvisation would dissapear, but actually that’s the whole fun of it. Just code it old-skool : type it back in and press RUN