Space War, Road Race Game. Wow.

One of the tapes I recently got was this one. On the front it says “Road Race Game”, copyright “WOW”. Ok. I’m appropriately awed.

Wow road race tape

Flipping it over, I saw that the other side contains “Space War” and that “WOW” is short for “Wise Owl Workshop”.

Wow space war tape

I’d never heard of Wise Owl Workshop before. And Google barely has either. There are a couple of passing references to them, but they seem mostly unknown to the internet, and not really represented at all in online software image collections. So, it’s actually kind of likely that this tape hardly exists anywhere else, and that the images I made of it are the first to hit the internet. WOW seems to have written some education and science related software for Apple II, TRS-80, C64, some on tape, some on disk. The fact that they just used a standard data cassette with a typewritten label stuck on it suggests to me that they were a pretty small operation. At least at the time they were distributing this tape.

Anyway, on to the programs. Below are WAV and AIFF files, and I’ve tested the AIFF files in Virtual II. The DSK files below are for use if you just want to play the games without monkeying around with the tape interface.

In Space War, you can play against another player or not, and you can either be shooting at the other player, or the “stars” between you.

Space war start

In two-player mode, each player is controlled by a paddle, and you shoot horizontally, either missing entirely, or hitting the other player or a star in the way. In “shoot the stars” mode, you just shoot at the stars.

Space war play

In two-player mode, this has the potential to be kind of engaging, I suppose.

Road Race Game is a road race game. When you start it up you are presented with some options. The course complexity I believe controls how sharp and frequent the zigs and zags are. If you choose the standard course, I assume you get the same course each time, and otherwise the zigs and zags are randomized. I have not tested these hypotheses very thoroughly but it seems true and sensible.

Road race start

You control a car with the paddles. Paddle 0 controls the horizontal position and paddle 1 controls the throttle. Button 0 applies the brake, and button 1 just ends the game. If you don’t end the game intentionally, it seems to end after 2 minutes (after the clock reaches 120). The goal is to keep the car between the posts, which zig and zag, and points are awarded for progressing and taken away (quickly) for being off the track. The game is a bit like Night Driver, though more primitive. It doesn’t seem like a very hard game, though I didn’t spend much time playing it.

Road race play

Anyway, another tape saved for posterity, though I don’t expect posterity will really spend much time playing either of these games. Still, somebody put work into writing them, and now that work is at least not lost.

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , .