The Awesome HP 9845
I worked for NASA back in the early 1980s, where I had access to an HP 9845A/B desktop computer.
For its era, it was an awesome machine: 560 x 455 monochrome graphics, a fast, onboard interpreted BASIC, dual tape drives, a built-in thermal printer, plotter/digitizer tablet, and two external 8″ floppy disk drives, with an astonishing 256K each (the twin cabinets on the left of the picture below, each almost as big as the HP!). Our machine was decked out with a bunch of additional ROMs, boosting the machine’s capabilities even further. Of course, the $70,000 price tag might have been a bit excessive for the average consumer….
Without going into the gritty details, I will mention only that our boss allowed me and a friend to work on the machine after-hours, doing whatever we wanted. What we wanted, of course, was games. (The experience we gained showed up in our technical software, which is probably why he was so tolerant.) We just wished we could have talked into upgrading to the HP 9845C–with the color display!
Anyway, this web site is dedicated to the old HP. And to Brad.
Some of our games:
- Lunar Lander Simulator: More simulator than game. It featured navigation failures/degradation, engine failures, fuel leaks/loss, computer malfunctions, etc. It pretty much required two people (pilot and systems). Surviving required both analytical thinking and quick reactions. I rewrote the game a few years ago, using exact copies of the original graphics, into C++ for the PC. (More…)
- Baseball: The American classic! Customizable teams and players. One person selected pitch and controlled the defense; the other guessed which pitch (which varied how far you hit the ball) and controlled the baserunners. Lifetime stats were kept for each player. This game even featured crowd movement in the stands!
- One-on-One: I loved this game. Both people create players according to the skills they choose and play against each other. Included real (and random) officiating–just like the real thing.
- Star Trek: An exact recreation of the USS Enterprise and her systems. Okay, maybe not: but you did have to control navigation, life support, sensors, and weapons, all while under attack from pesky Romulans and Klingons.(More…)
- Sub Hunt: The was the precursor to Search & Destroy. Find and sink the sub before he does the same to your fleet (and you!).
- Jets & Tanks: Two games here: tank vs. tank or F-16 vs. tank. (More…)
- Auto Racing: Grand Prix or Drag Race. More often than not, Grand Prix became Demolition Derby.
- Cards: Solitaire or Blackjack–name your game.
- Others: We had numerous other games in various stages of completion, before our career paths went in different directions: shooting gallery (pictured), where you shot at vehicles from every other game (including Klingon battlecruisers!), Mastermind, and probably others I’m forgetting.
Here’s to you, Brad.
Copyright 2002-2010 T.L. Burlison
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