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Reproduced March 26 2002 with permission from Larry Anderson of PortCommodore.com
*** BEWARE *** Some games in this archive do contain the 'killer POKE' (see the PET FAQ) if you have a 4000 series large-screen PET, you should scan the listings for any pokes to 59458 and REMOVE THEM before running the game, if you run a game and the screen messes up (like the vertical hold just died) turn off the machine immediately! Prolonged use in this mode will damage video circuitry. You have been warned!
One program in this archive I know that has this POKE is JOUST
The screen shots of selections from the PET Game Archive were made possible with VICE the Commodore 8-Bit Emulator, which currently is available for Microsoft DOS/Windows systems and UNIX, there is a Mac version of VICE but it only supports the 64 mode.
Many people would lead you to believe that without a 'programmable' character set the PET was not suited for nice game graphics, these shots are from many of the games I have enjoyed on the PET since I was introduced to them in 1980.
Not much in the way of graphics, but I am always impressed by this Darth Vader shot at the intro. D.S.A. is probably one of my most favorite text adventures, good for beginners & intermediate adventurers and a nice diversion for pros. MISER (Cursor) is the best introductory adventure on the PET.
The 'Tunnel Vision' portion of Tunnel Vision is to go through a maze (in machine language fast 3-D!) and locate the exit, I had 'automatic display of maze location' activated to show I was not having much luck exiting during this game.
The other half of Tunnel Vision is Kat & Mouse, which shows a top view of the maze and you try to reach the exit while avoiding the relentless Cat that's zipping through the maze looking for you. Both are fast and fun!
This was my introduction to true PET arcade excitement, ML fast the this version re-created the arcade game in as much as having the demo mode, etc. Some of our schools computers had problems with the A, 4 and 6 keys as a result of too much playing of this game.
We also had a competition with Space Invaders for our School's computer club, the winner, Alvin Adams, won an equally cool Creative Computing's 'I'd rather be playing Spacewar' Tee Shirt.
Many early 64 games were orignally PET game in that the character set and screen size were for the most part the same, usually they added color and sound on the 64 ones to make them more sellable.
Even the non-arcade games had some good graphics designs, like this one from the popular Cursor tape magazine. Cursor was a bi-monthly publication which included about 6 to 8 programs on tape and a small newwsletter, if you want a taste of Cursor games for use on the 64, look for the book Commodore 64 Fun & Games published by Osborne/McGraw Hill, which includes a selection of popular Cursor favorites colorized and many with sound.
I have noticed some of the early PET games were translated to IBM BASIC in the first years of the PC, as the charcter display properties are very similar between the two machines.
Lunar Lander emplyed bits of animation such as the thrust under the LEM and altitude indicator to make it stand apart from all the other text based landing simulations, other adaptations had options where you could try to land on any planet on the Solar System, I doubt you could make it safely on Jupiter.
Another classic, artillery, besides being a great 2-player game helped you understand such concepts as angles, velocity, gravity, and contributing factors to those (in this case, wind direction). Many games wern't as sophisticated to calculate (or graphically display) the angles, etc and it made it all that much more challenging for the players to do it themselves.
The player on the left is about to barely survive a near miss from the player on the right.
I always have a soft spot for this Chutes and Ladders adaptation, up to three can play (two humans and the PET). It looks like Jane (the diamond) has gotten a lead with the help of a ladder, PET is still on the first level and isn't getting too far.
There were many educational programs produced for the PET as it was primarily bought by schools during it's production, from pre-school games all the way up to college subjects could be found for the PET.
OURANOS! (Cursor) aka Weather War
Note the inverted screen, and changed case letters, these were two popular methods for cheap effects, a simple set switching POKE did the letters and a 30 or so byte ML routine inverted the screen instantly. If you are epileptic, some old games flash quite a bit so be wary of this fact if you play alone.
But don’t think in Ouranos that the players are left to their own devices; besides the ever changing wind, Mother Nature randomly takes her turn (usually missing), this time she happens to do some work on the Hatfield residence with hail. The weapons on Ouranos are Rain, Hail, Tornado and Lightning.
The PET was well suited for 'left-right' invader games like this and Space invaders, as with character graphics there was not too much fine movement and only 25 lines on the screen, it never seemed a limitation to the owner as the programmers were able to adapt to the computer's limitations and advantages.
Besides text adventures There were a few graphic adventures following more the rules of the role-playing quest Dungeon & Dragons. I died pretty quick on this excursion by a Grue, good thing too, as the map revealed another grue, two nubius', a wyvern, a snake and four mighty dragons!
A later more exciting 64 adaptation of this game is 'Sword of Fargoal' by Automated Simulations (later called Epyx).
Some of the first games released for the PET (such as this one) were better than later ones to follow, Commodore's 'Black Jack' and 'Draw Poker' are two of the best in their category for the PET.
Or intrepid ballon carrying dude has knocked down another AFO 'Ship of Mystery' in this 'Wonderful Game' (translations of the Japanese title screen) and has bonked the alien to show who's the boss. Great animation all in BASIC, good for PET programmers.
Don't think that all the PET (and other Commodore 8-bit) games came from the U.S. Many came from Europe and also from Japan as Commodore got the jump on the competition and started international sales years before many of the other microcomputer companies.
A good variation of the Centipede game.
Not all PET games were all that good, some threw together bad code and/or gameplay and charged alot for it (ome company comes to mind) stated the author of Millipede, which prompted him to 'show everyone I can do better than that' and did so with several great games for the PET, VIC and Commodore 64.
Back then, anyone had a good chance of making it in the computer game business with just a good understanding of just BASIC and/or ML and a little money, now you need to understand a couple high performance languages, be a graphics expert, as well as have a few great game ideas to even be noticed.
Some Games were extraordinary in their adaptation, such as this one which duplicated Exidy's Star Fire so much as having the 'heads-up tracking indicators' pop up when a ship was in your sights. Probably the only drawback to this game was no sound.
Many PET games didn't have sound as it was not designed into the original hardware, some crafty owners soon devised a sound 'port' by adjusting the serial handshake port's data signal with varying speed and patterns which gave the PET decent sound capabilities (as good as an early IBMs).
I was suprized to see an Asteroids game on the PET, which for the longest time I could only find available variations on the Atari 400/800 and Apple ][ computers. But it proves the determination of the PET programmer. Screen graphics limitations make this game a little more clunkier to play then most, but still a good pastime.
Even such non-participatory sports, like Horcerace here, had quality animation sequences to spice up the gameplay and excitement (BTW, Jimmy won as horse #2 pulled ahead at the last second)
By about 1981 color became an important factor in influencing computer buying decisions and the PET was not capable of it (at least never for sale, there were reports of a 'Color PET' prototype). Commodore's answer was the VIC-20, which had the BASIC of the PET with color and sound but sacrificing the large screen and large memory of the PET. It wasn't until 1982 when the Commodore 64 and P500 were introduced was the environment of the PET duplicated and enhanced in Color and had gorgeous sound.
Lastly, but no way least, is another milestone for the PET; a real-time semi-arcade Star Trek Game (when I snapped this screen my ship was constantly getting pummeled by the four klingons' weapons). Fast paced action that does not pause.