Monday, January 17, 2011

Kill the Smurfs

Back when dinosaurs called Apple //e and Apple //c computers roamed the earth... along with Amigas and who knows what all else, I thought I'd like to be a programmer.

Then I found out all the math involved, and while I was good at math, I was not a fan of it. I mean, every year they'd start off talking about sets, but never seem to do anything with them, which was very irritating. Also, everyone else seemed to take so long to "get it" and I'd get bored and distracted and the next then you know I'd missed out on about ten important things.

Most importantly, there was all the homework that was required if you wanted a decent grade.

Anyway, I've dabbled in the world of programming. Nothing recent, mind you, and nothing more advanced that a couple of games in BASIC or some neat screen-saver-looking things in LOGO. I probably still have the disk that contained my Yahtzee program on it (I don't know that it will still be any good or still on there twenty-five-plus years later). I loved writing that program. I loved figuring out how to make it do the things I needed it to do. (I have a similar feeling whenever I make a complicated spreadsheet in Excel.)

I made a game called "Kill the Smurfs" as well. It wasn't anything fancy. A "Smurf" hopped across the bottom of the screen to a mushroom house, and a boulder was placed up at the top of the screen at some randomly-selected position. Your job was to hit the space bar at the right time so the boulder would smoosh the Smurf.

Yeah, that was it.

Give me a break. It was my first game.

I added to it over time. I tried different things with it. And I always meant to "complete" it at some point...

I'll get right on that.

Brad Graham and I worked on a couple of game ideas together. I remember one was based on Mark Twain's characters. I can't remember if the Alice in Wonderland game I got pretty close to completing started as an idea we had or what.

So it's 2011. At the in-service the other day, the coach that could be blamed for saving my life by "making" me go to the hospital back in 2005 tells me his college-aged son has authored an online game (at, to be precise) and that it's reached something like number four on the "popular" list there.

I went to check it out, not sure what to expect. I mean, I didn't expect something like my "Kill the Smurfs", but I certainly didn't expect something as cool as what I found. (Note: You may not find it as cool as I do, but if you're familiar with any of my work in BASIC, you'd have to say it's way cooler than that!)

So go check it out. I'm stuck at Level 14, mostly because I stink at throwing the darts or whatever while I'm leaping.

It makes me wonder how "Kill the Smurfs" turned out in those quantum realities where I stuck with it...

No comments: