Floppy backup and some GwBasic programs

This week my brother brought back all the remaining floppies we had at home for the purposes of backing them up. So I’ve been quite busy this weekend imaging disks and copying data. I have in the process discovered some interesting software that I forgot we had, and some I didn’t know we had. I found quite a bit of GwBasic software created by myself and my older brother. I had something like 200 odd disks to copy so it will take some time to sort the data out.

That’s not all I did fortunately, otherwise this would have been quite the short post! Before the disks came I had time to re-write a few GWBasic games that I remembered from books I read in the school library as a child. BASIC used to be a very prolific language with a interpreter on pretty much every platform, quite often in ROM. Much software was written with it including a lot of commercial software and corporate databases. There were also books and magazines abound filled with source code for various platforms.

It was a common thing for people to acquire BASIC programs from magazines or books during the 80’s. The only way to get these programs into your machine was commonly typing them in, which could end up error prone and was time consuming. Still it was quite enjoyable once you got your program running. My problem was that there was little to no source code available specifically for GwBasic where I lived.

Fortunately there were a couple of programs generic enough that did work. The ones I re-made recently were called Ghost Guzzler and Down-hill Skiing.

Ghost Guzzler

Ghost Guzzler

Ghost Guzzler is a simple game in which you have a number (a ghost) travelling across the screen towards your number. Your job is to “guzzle” the ghost before it reaches you by changing your number to match the ghost and pressing the guzzle key. I made some changes to the original. I added some proper timing code so the game is not too fast, and speed up the game as you play.

Down-hill Skiing

Down-hill Skiing

Down-hill Skiing is another pretty simple game. You’re simply skiing down a slope and need to stay on the ski run. The run will skift left and right randomly as in the original, but I added varying width to it as well. Like Ghost Guzzler it needed to have proper timing code added. This program is interesting as it uses the text scrolling features of the machine to give the illusion of movement down the hill.

Both of these programs were quite enjoyable to code, and only took about an hour to code each. It was quite a nostalgic process for me as I often spent many afternoons experimenting and coding. Now having a backup of all my old floppies in a new and better form I will revisit a few more programs.

Space Escape

Space Escape

I did this in part because of finding a website dedicated to GwBasic. The author had similarily looked on the net as I have in the past and not found much in the way of programs or information specific to this interpreter. He has posted some nifty information about his history with GwBasic, but most notably has written a new game for it called Space Escape. It shows what could be accomplished with the interpreter with relatively simple code. You can find his site here.

11 Responses to “Floppy backup and some GwBasic programs”

  1. February 10, 2018 at 5:14 am

    Hello, Sparcie and Neil!

    Any chance to get these files?
    hoghead.zip (HogHead Island)
    spacescd.exe (Space Escape! EGA)
    spacescc.exe (Space Escape! CGA)

    Thank you!

  2. 5 andyfox12
    December 31, 2022 at 6:58 am

    Is there any other way to download these files?

    hoghead.zip (HogHead Island)
    spacescd.exe (Space Escape! EGA)
    spacescc.exe (Space Escape! CGA)

    Best regards!

    • December 31, 2022 at 1:07 pm

      Hi, Unfortunately it seems those files aren’t available anymore. Someone did take over running gw-basic.com, but they only got was already available on the internet archive. Whilst the executables for space escape aren’t available you can get the source code from gw-basic.com, so you could compile your own or use an interpreter to play that game. Hoghead island on the other hand doesn’t have anything available.

      If you’re interested in old basic code there are some other sources I can also recommend, the main one being Rob Hageman’s hoard of gwbasic.


  3. January 2, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    It should be fairly straight forward to compile the EGA version with QuickBASIC, just load the source and compile it. I think the CGA version had different source code that isn’t available, the EGA one could be modified if you have time and the know how. I’d stick with using QuickBASIC to compile it as getting the older compiler to work is a pain.

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