(Xmas Eve) Pull your mind out of the ground and into the grind.

I think the best Xmas I ever had was the one where I got my ZX Spectrum +. I can still remember the huge plastic bags full of pirated games which "Santa" had done for me as well as the slick "modern" look which my new ZX Spectrum + had. Unlike the more famous design classic which featured rubber keys mine was the more corporate version*. It had no apparent extra processing power, just a tougher case and no rubber keys. And a built in cooler to stop it overheating, something which used to be a major problem in the early days of home computing.

Ahh happy days.

I'll never forget my first foray into the world of programming. I decided to write a Dungeons and Dragons style text adventure. You know those old ones which would describe where you were and then ask you what you wanted to do. You'd reply with things like "HIT ORC" to attack the Orc which was in your face or "N" for go north.

Mainly it would reply to you with things like "I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT COMMAND". But occasionally you'd be off and rolling. The most famous text adventure I'm aware of is The Hobbit. Here's a link to a flash version of that game.

To cut a long story short I spent about a month making this text adventure game with loads of different rooms in it and quite a complex storyline. All the programming was done in BASIC and it took ages for the thing to load up once I'd finished it. Then I took it round to my mate Matthew's house and loaded it up for its big debut. He accidently pressed ENTER rather than typing in what he wanted to do at the first set of choices. It skipped on to the correct choice. I realised as he pressed ENTER over and over again that there was a major bug in the game, you could complete the whole thing by just pressing ENTER. I'd forgotten to put a flush route on the options**. The problem would take weeks to fix!

That was it, there my career as a game programmer ended. I was totally gutted. Not gutted that it was over but gutted that I'd buggered it up.


*I don't have it anymore. I do however own one of the rubber keys ones. It's a lovely machine which never fails to f#ck up even the most basic of tasks for me.

**According to another mate of mine at the time. I have no real idea what that means in English but I know how I buggered it up.


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