Casual Photos: Boxed Dragon and TRS-80 Software

Bill Loguidice's picture

As a sequel of sorts, I have more casual iPhone photos of boxed Dragon (Tano Dragon, Dragon 32/64) software, as well as TRS-80 software, including an improbable official conversion of Sega's classic Zaxxon arcade game. See below:

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The TRS-80 versions of Frogger and Zaxxon, and the Dragon versions of Editor/Assembler (Dream Cassette), Graphic Animator, Quest, Flag, Typing Tutor and School Maze.

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Chris Kennedy
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Zaxxon

Bill -

How well does Zaxxon play on the TRS-80? How does it compare to the Atari XE version in terms of speed and overall gameplay?

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Bill Loguidice
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Frogger and Zaxxon in their B&W no sound glory
Chris Kennedy wrote:

Bill -

How well does Zaxxon play on the TRS-80? How does it compare to the Atari XE version in terms of speed and overall gameplay?

Probably about as badly as two different versions of a game can compare. I actually still have my TRS-80 set up, so I'll try to take some video of them in action for you guys.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Frogger and Zaxxon for the TRS-80?!?!?

No pressure, Bill, since I'm sure you have a lot on your plate, but I would love to see some video of these games.

I thought I'd seen it all on the TRS-80, but I can't recall ever seeing or playing a licensed arcade translation for the platform. And I certainly never knew ports of "Frogger" and "Zaxxon" were made for the TRS-80!

There were many knock-offs of arcade games that were surprisingly good and exciting for the TRS-80. Adventure International's "Eliminator" was a very fun and graphically excellent clone of Defender. And then you have the "Big Five" games, which were considered the pinnacle of gaming excellence for the TRS-80. There was "Scarfman," a Pacman knockoff that was otherwise excellent, but had a fatal gameplay flaw in that you can easily beat the game by just eating the power pills and clearing the maze while the ghosts stayed vulnerable for much too long (who playtested this game?).

The screenshots of Frogger and Zaxxon on the back of the boxes (in the pictures you provided) look surprisingly good. I can imagine that Frogger could be competently ported, but I can't imagine how Zaxxon would play on the TRS-80.

Here's a video of "Scarfman" that someone was kind enough to upload on YouTube. Believe it or not, this primitive-looking game was considered a technical success for the TRS-80, despite being too easy to play.

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Mark Vergeer
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I would love to see those TRS-80 games in operation!

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Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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yakumo9275
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Joined: 12/26/2006
ooh quest? sounds like a

ooh quest? sounds like a crpg.. probably a bad text adventure tho...

-- Stu --

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Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
Quest
yakumo9275 wrote:

ooh quest? sounds like a crpg.. probably a bad text adventure tho...

No, it's a strange mixture of RPG and strategy, perhaps single-key driven.

The tape image that can be downloaded at a Dragon webarchive contains a single 13 K BASIC file with several interesting text strings. All very primitive. Example for an "atmospheric" setting: "THE DREADED MORLOCK'S TOWER!" and here's the complete victory text: "YOU'VE CONQUERED THE FORCES OF EVIL! ALL HAIL THE VICTOR!!!!".
If that isn't incentive...
There's also some party (or rather: army) managment and item handling including buying stuff. I couldn't see anything related to saving the progress, though.

I think it's more or less identical with this game here as the Dragon is very similar to the CoCo 1:
http://nitros9.lcurtisboyle.com/quest.html

The reason why I suspect that is because the Dragon tape contains a BASIC program that contains this copyrights notice: "COPYRIGHT 1981 R.J.RETELLE" and "AARDVARK TECHNICAL SERVICES".
"R." stands for Robert/Bob (Retelle) and their company was also known as "Aardvark-80", "Aardvark Software" and "Aardvark Action Software". He and Rodger Olsen programmed some other more or less simply RPGs like "Dungeons of Magdarr", "The Search for Magdarr" and "Wizard's Tower" for the C64 and also several smallish text adventures similar to the Scott Adams stuff. Nearly everything was made in BASIC (perhaps compiled).

Later they tried their hands on action-oriented stuff like a Pac-Man-clone ("Pactron"), a Galaga-clone ("Zalaga"), a Pengo-clone ("Chilly-Willy") and a game with similarities to Kaboom! ("Catch 'Em"). Their most interesting stuff might be "Bagitman" but when you see screenshot of that game you also see a lot you've already seen in other games.

I also found a 3D pool game called "Sharkey's 3D Pool" or "Maltese Joe's 3D Pool" credited to "Aardvark Software" (published by Firebird) which may have been the first of it's kind.

take care,
Calibrator

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Bill Loguidice
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CoCo = Dragon = CoCo = ?
Calibrator wrote:

I think it's more or less identical with this game here as the Dragon is very similar to the CoCo 1:
http://nitros9.lcurtisboyle.com/quest.html

You're probably right as apparently quite a few CoCo games were "ported" to the Dragon and just given different names. I don't know off-hand how many truly original Dragon titles there were, and I'd certainly be curious among the lot I've acquired over the years to do a full comparison (assuming it's not already been done).

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Hammer
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Wow - never seen those before

I had a TRS-80 Model 1 (and 3, and 4) back in the day, and I've never seen those Zaxxon and Frogger games. I'm amazed that they were ported to the TRS-80...I can pretty much imagine what they would look like in action...

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