Red 5, standing by

Next up is Softape’s Star Wars and Space Maze, written by Bob Bishop. Again we find that the tape’s cover doesn’t quite match. In nearly everything I’ve seen, the relevant game is referred to as Star Wars, but on the cover it’s called Star Warriors, and on the tape case, Star-Wars. If it were today, the name on the cover would certainly just be a thinly veiled attempt to keep lawyers away, but I don’t think could have been the rationale in 1979, since it’s still called Star Wars in the catalogs I’ve seen. Or whatever year it’s from, since it is given as 1977 in the program listing, 1978 on the tape case, and 1979 on the splash screen. In any event, here’s the tape.

Star wars tape

Space maze tape

Star warriors cover

As with other tapes, I’ve created both WAV and AIFF files, and the AIFF files load with the default settings in Virtual II, and I’ve created DSK versions that load up the Integer BASIC ROMs and then run the program as it was loaded from tape. Nothing fancy, there’s no copy protection to contend with.

Probably not surprisingly, there are actually a number of different games called Star Wars on the Apple II platform alone. I’ll put screenshots of this one below. Apple Computer Inc. also had a cassette with a game called Starwars, which is kind of like a souped-up version of this one (and written by somebody else). Softape also has a different game called Star Wars included on Module 8 of their Instant Library, but that game is a lo-res version (and is as far as I can tell, practically impossible). The plot of all of these is basically the same, however. Maneuver a TIE fighter into your crosshairs and shoot it.

Star wars splash

Star wars play

Star wars game over

It’s even possible to read through the program to see how it works. I haven’t really done this, though. And even though the skeleton of the program is visible in Integer BASIC, a lot of the action takes place in calls to routines written directly in machine language code hidden within the BASIC program.

Star wars list

The game on the other side, Space Maze, seems to be a result of having written Star Wars and deciding that some of the elements could be recycled. In this game, you seem to have gone over to the Dark Side, and are now driving the TIE fighter. Your goal is to move it through a maze without hitting the walls, scored by how quickly you accomplish this feat. The instructions on the screen suggest this was initially a game to be played with paddles, which I imagine would be even more difficult than it would be with a joystick.

Space maze splash

Space maze ready

Space maze midpoint

Space maze 82sec

I can’t say the game play really holds up, I probably won’t be spending a lot of time playing either of these in the future. But it is an interesting bit of history anyway, as people were just beginning to explore what these machines could do.

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