Spoiler: A happy home life in the making

Old cassettes continue to show up at my door, today we’ll look briefly at Ancient Tarot from Programma International.

Ancient tarot tape

In the Spring 1980 Programma catalog on the Brutal Deluxe Programma site, this is listed as “Tarot Cards” (AP122), which matches the splash screen, but on the tape itself and in the running program, it calls itself “Ancient Tarot”.

If you wish to join in the enlightenment, I have created AIFF and Wave files, though I have only tested the AIFF file. The AIFF file loads without incident in Virtual ][. Since this is written in Integer BASIC, the DSK version (designed to be run on a 64K II+ or later) will load the language card, then load the Ancient Tarot program as if it had been loaded from tape.

I don’t have any materials for this apart from the tape itself. I have no reason to think that there ever was much else, though perhaps there was a tape cover once. Long gone if so, I’m sure.

This is actually quite large for a cassette tape program, occupying almost 24K on the tape, but it contains a lot of uncompressed text. As is common, the procedure for loading it is to drop to the monitor and load starting at the keyboard buffer, 200.6000R. This allows the tape to “autostart”—the keyboard buffer is stuffed with “220G”, the splash screen loads into the screen buffer, the rest of the program loads into the BASIC area, and then execution begins at 0220. This program is essentially just written in Integer BASIC, and it can be listed if this is interesting to you.

Tarot splash

Once the program starts up, you are asked whether you’d like instructions. We would, thank you, yes.

Tarot intro

Then follows two screens of text, which really aren’t instructions at all, but more of a justification of how a computerized tarot reader could still give you accurate results.

Tarot instructions1

Tarot instructions2

Once the instructions have been displayed, you are taken to the screen where you wait until you feel the time is right. The random number generator is (I am presuming, but probably correctly) seeded based on the number of microseconds it takes you to press a key.

Tarot randomize

When I felt the time was right, I pressed a key and my unique results were displayed:

Tarot result 1

After this summary, each of the past, present, and outlook were interpreted, based on the cards that came up. In my past, apparently, unexpected good luck came my way, and my accomplishments are admirable (but lest I get caught up in them, I am reminded that further such accomplishments will require work). There was that one time I found a $20 bill in a parking lot, maybe that was the unexpected good luck to which it refers.

Tarot result 2

Presently, I seem to be undergoing some changes in my way of life. Perhaps I’m sleeping more?

Tarot result 3

My outlook tells me I can look forward to a new beginning, a breakthrough in spiritual understanding, with wealth, prestige, prosperity, and a happy home life in the making. I’ve recently discovered that most of the things I’ve scanned using my scanner’s default settings were compressed more than I wanted them to be and show artifacts, and I’m on the verge of deciding that I need to scan basically everything over again. A new beginning indeed! And scanning does provide lots of time for contemplation. And it keeps me at work a bit longer, where I prosper and gain wealth, and that’s not always completely detrimental to the happiness of home life. This thing may be on to something.

Tarot result 4

You can if you like, continue to gather information about your past, present, and outlook, without limit. But I’m happy enough with the results I got, so I’ll stick.

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