Adventures With The Atari Review | Personal Computer News - Everygamegoing

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Adventures With The Atari
By Reston
Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Personal Computer News #063

Atari owners have long been privileged to enjoy some of the best adventures available for home micros - happy to revel in the wit and logic of such classics as the Scott Adams series and Infocom's complex brain-stretchers.

But there's always been a nagging frustration for would-be puzzle setters who bought the machine for its game playing rather than as a hacker's training ground. How, they wonder, can they emulate the skills of the adventure programmer without getting a mortgage for a 300-piece weekly part-work on 'Basic For Idiots' or an Open University course?

Well, help is at hand in Jack Hardy's superbly set-out guide to DIY adventure creation. It has much to commend it and only one thing against - the price. But that will come as little surprise to Atari owners.

However, this is worth the money. The book provides an easily understood explanation of the steps involved in adventure writing before taking the reader through six programs - two each in Atari Basic, Pilot and Microsoft - resulting in more than acceptable text and graphics adventures.

But the real attraction comes in two linked programs - both Basic - which allow the most inexperienced programmer to design and create elaborate adventures with a few keystrokes and as much imagination as can be fitted into the liberal constraints of the framework provided.

The only snag with these utilities is that they are disk-based, though the theory will help cassette users too.

All programs in the book are broken down into working subsections, allowing easy understanding of each phase, and the style is clear with good use of diagrams and flow-charts. The last part gives useful hints on improving the techniques.

Overall, it is an excellent buy - fun and instructive. So, 'get book; examine book; go Atari' - and give Scott Adams something to worry about.

Bryan Skinner