All posts by troypress

Colossal Cave Adventure 101

Colossal Cave 101

When my 11-year old wanted to learn to program last spring, I got him a book on writing games in JavaScript. It had the source code for four games, but my son found it difficult. Four games?! A far cry from the 101 BASIC Computer Games that was my go-to (ahem) when I was his age, programming a TRS-80 Model I.

So I looked at a number of different BASIC implementations for his iPod Touch, eventually landing on LowRes Coder, which turns an iOS device into an 8-bit microcomputer circa 1979. I jokingly describe it as “turning your iPhone into an Apple II”, but – having programmed an Apple II – I can tell you that LowRes Coder is a lot more powerful. While it lacks functions and procedures (GOSUB rules the day here), it has a rich variety of sprite commands. And, thanks to the Internet, people can easily share their BASIC programs with one another without having to retype them or, shudder, load them from cassette. The point of it being “low resolution” is that no one has to worry about the quality of their art: the fun is in making the games.

And my son found, as I did before him, that it is easy to write BASIC programs. Loving math, he’s written a number of math programs, and of course some graphical experiments, and an adventure game.

The sample adventure program that he based his game on, though, was menu-based, and his aspirations went beyond that. So a few weekends ago I ported Colossal Cave to LowRes Coder, streamlining it for BASIC and adding random maps. While it has a two-word parser system, it’s driven by INKEY$, so selecting the first letter shows the entire word: no guess-the-verb problems here.

The app is free if you’re just going to play other people’s games. Here’s Colossal Cave Adventure 101. (And here’s my card game inspired by Colossal Cave.)

 

 

The Cult of the New: Preferences for New Board Games

The “cult of the new” is the obsession with new titles, which makes hobbyist gaming much like the movie industry. The online site, Yucata.de, offers free online games with human players. Here are the plays averaged across 111 games, relative to when each game was first introduced to the community. You can see that a new game peaks in 3 months, then gradually declines to half its peak after 2 years, dropping only slightly after that for the next 3 to 5 years.

Plays of Tabletop Games on Yucata.de In First Months of Release

Year Month Plays
0 1 394
0 2 1252
0 3 1434
0 4 1265
0 5 1137
0 6 1043
0 7 980
0 8 933
0 9 894
0 10 935
0 11 877

Plays of Tabletop Games on Yucata.de In First Years of Release

Year Month Plays
1 12 847
2 24 716
3 36 671
4 48 665
5 60 596
6 72 618
7 84 571
8 96 617

Source: Analysis of Yucata.de Play Data

Because new games are made available at once to all players, this data from Yucata removes the delay of the adoption curve typical of selling games through retail. In the real world, people have to learn about the game, read reviews, play it with friends, then buy it, then find time to play it. Yucata presents a clearer picture of the embrace and abandonment of games.

This cult of the new makes it hard for new games to breakthrough and sell on an ongoing basis.

To supplement this behavioral data, Researchscape surveyed online consumers to ask whether they preferred to play a game they had played before or one new to them. About a quarter of respondents had no preference, regardless of type of game. However, the least novelty was desired in card games, the most in video games: 3.4 times as many consumers want to play a familiar card game as a new card game, 2.6 times for a familiar board game vs. a new on, and just 1.4 times for video games.

Which card/board/video game would you prefer to play, one that you had played before or one new to you?

Card game Board game Video game
Familiar : New 3.4 2.6 1.4
One played before 38% 32% 13%
One new to me 11% 13% 9%
No preference 25% 26% 24%
Don’t play card/board/video games 25% 29% 54%

Sample Size: One-Question Polls; 115-262 responses; weighted by age,
gender, and/or region

This is an excerpt from a free Researchscape ebook, which you can download now: “Boardgame Concepts to Crowdfund: Dynamics of Tabletop Games”.

Last Game Played – Board Game Survey Results

Researchscape conducted a series of one-question polls as background research to its survey of Kickstarter backers.

In a poll conducted March 23, 2016, half the U.S. online consumers interviewed had played a game this year: 18% in the past week, 17% within the past month, and 16% earlier in the year. The other half had played in 2015 or earlier or couldn’t recall.

How long has it been since you played a card game or board game? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Option

Response
%

Cumulative
%

Within past week

18%

18%

Within past month

17%

35%

Earlier this year

16%

50%

2015

9%

59%

2014

3%

62%

2013 or earlier

7%

69%

Don’t know

31%

100%

Sample: Poll; 418; weighted by age, gender

When asked in a separate poll to distinguish whether their last game played was a card game or board game (an admittedly fuzzy distinction), 46% of players had played a card game, 25% a board game, and 29% couldn’t recall.

What is the last game that you’ve played? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Option

Response
%

Cumulative
%

Card game

46%

46%

Board game

25%

71%

Don’t know

29%

100%

Sample: Poll; 407; weighted by age, gender

The most commonly played card game is poker, played by 12.6% of respondents (not counting the 1.6% who named Texas Holdem). Uno is a distant second, at 9.4%. The family of rummy games was third in popularity, mentioned by 6.4% of respondents (variants mentioned included Gin Rummy, Progressive Rummy, Aggravation Rummy, and 500 Rummy).

The most commonly played board game is Monopoly, dominating its category at 33.2% of respondents. A distant second is The Game of Life, at 5.8%, followed by Scrabble at 5.2%.

What is the last card game that you’ve played? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Rank

Option

Response

1

Poker

12.6%

2

Uno

9.4%

3

Rummy

6.4%

4

Spades

5.4%

5

Solitaire

5.2%

6

Blackjack

5.0%

7

Cards Against Humanity

3.8%

8

Go Fish

3.2%

9

Euchre

3.0%

10

Hearts

2.4%

11

Pitch

2.2%

12

Cribbage

1.8%

12

Phase 10

1.8%

14

Texas Holdem

1.6%

15

War

1.4%

16

Canasta

1.2%

17

Apples to Apples

0.8%

17

Magic: The Gathering

0.8%

17

Rook

0.8%

17

Skip Bo

0.8%

17

Spoons

0.8%

22

Bridge

0.6%

22

King

0.6%

22

Old Maid

0.6%

22

Speed

0.6%

Never played cards

4.2%

Sample: Poll; 599

What is the last board game that you’ve played? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Rank

Option

Response

1

Monopoly

33.2%

2

The Game of Life

5.8%

3

Scrabble

5.2%

4

Candyland

3.5%

5

Catan

3.3%

5

Sorry

3.3%

7

Chess

3.2%

8

Checkers

2.7%

9

Risk

2.5%

10

Trivial Pursuit

1.7%

11

Apples to Apples

1.5%

11

Cards Against Humanity

1.5%

11

Yahtzee

1.5%

13

Clue

1.2%

14

Trouble

1.0%

15

Ticket to Ride

0.8%

15

Uno

0.8%

17

Pictionary

0.7%

17

Rummikub

0.7%

17

Sequence

0.7%

20

Backgammon

0.5%

20

Battleship

0.5%

20

Chutes and Ladders

0.5%

20

Cranium

0.5%

20

Cribbage

0.5%

Never played a board game

5.8%

Sample: Poll; 599

Despite the proliferation of brand tie-ins and thematic knock offs, the classic, original edition of Monopoly is the primary version of Monopoly played, by 70.4% of respondents. The most popular tie-ins were Star Wars (mentioned by 2.1%) and Disney (mentioned by 1.1%). Monopoly Electronic Banking was the only specialty edition mentioned by at least 1% of respondents (1.1%). Over 40 editions were mentioned, including opoly games (not licensed from Hasbro).

Monopoly Editions Played

Back To The Future Millionaire
Beach Body Monopoly Cards
Bible Monopoly City
Buildings Monopoly Millionaire
Christmas NFL
Cleveland Nintendo
Deal Pokemon
Disney Red Sox
Doctor Who Rolling Stones
Dogopoly Satanism
Dr. Who Simpsons
Electronic Banking Soccer
Girl Monopoly SpongeBob
Hard Rock Star Trek
Harry Potter Star Wars
Horses Steelers
Irish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Las Vegas The Nightmare Before Christmas
Marvel Comics Toy Story
Michigan Vegas

Sample: Poll; 378

This is an excerpt from a free Researchscape ebook, which you can download now: “Boardgame Concepts to Crowdfund: Dynamics of Tabletop Games”.

First Commercial Software for TRS-80 in a Decade: Perseus SurveySolutions for TRS-80

BRAINTREE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 1, 1998–Perseus today announced the immediate availability of a new version of Perseus SurveySolutions written specifically for the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I. “When we realized that no new software had been developed for the TRS-80 Model I in at least a decade, we felt compelled to re-open the market window,” said Richard Nadler, President of Perseus Development Corp. “The TRS-80 is an exciting platform for us, given its installed base. While some software companies were started in the garage, we’re the first to develop software for computers that are often left in the garage.”

Perseus SurveySolutions for TRS-80 is available directly from Perseus Development Corp. for $179. For a limited time only, the new product comes with a bundled copy of Perseus SurveySolutions for the Web, which is the first survey software to be Microsoft Office compatible and is the only survey software to use an intuitive word-processor interface. Requiring a Windows PC, SurveySolutions for the Web allows you to do Web and e-mail surveys over the Internet. Unlike the TRS-80 edition, the Web edition offers full charting and presentations, report writing and questionnaire libraries and wizards.

SurveySolutions for TRS-80 supports a nostalgic command line interface and can be used to enter and tabulate survey results, with the number of questionnaires you can process limited only by RAM. You can enter 30 questionnaires for a system with 4K RAM and several hundred questionnaires for 16K RAM. Perseus SurveySolutions for the TRS-80 can support up to 50 questions per survey, where every question is a multiple-choice, single-response style question. To conserve RAM, you do not enter the text of the questionnaire into the system.

“We’re taking backward compatibility to a new level,” commented Jeffrey Henning, Chief Technology Officer for Perseus Development Corp. “Supporting the TRS-80 just emphasizes Perseus’ commitment to different platforms. On the client side, we already support Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows NT. On the server side, we support any Unix or NT server that can run either Perl or Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions.”

With this spirit of the Web in mind, Perseus Development Corp. is making the full source code of the TRS-80 edition available from its Web site. Users can download the source code for SurveySolutions for TRS-80 from http://www.perseus.com/trs-80/, along with a free trial version of the bundled SurveySolutions for the Web. For more information, please contact Jeffrey Henning at 781-848-8100 x 550 or by e-mail at jhenning@perseus.com.

Perseus Development Corporation was founded in 1991 by professionals in the software development and survey research fields. The company’s survey software is used worldwide by over a thousand organizations.

Perseus Development and SurveySolutions are trademarks of Perseus Development Corp. in the USA and other countries. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Perseus Development Corp.

Jeffrey Henning, 781/848-8100 x 550

jhenning@perseus.com

The Curse of Crna Gora

History on his head
He wore a black mountain kapa
Black border, red blood center, white war braid

Black for Kosovo Polje, swarming with Turks
Red for Kosovo Polje, bleeding his fathers’ blood
White for the wars and the strength of his cause

A millenium halved in war
A mountaineer in love with hate
A warrior from Crna Gora

Italians had swarmed over the border
Had stolen the capitol of Cetinje
Now he guides his men for the black mountain

“A friend can cross the karst in 6 hours,
a foe – maybe never,” his ancient boast
Yet Turks, Italians and he face the same curse.

No longer black, the mountain is bone-grey,
Limestone, melting in the rain,
Sagging into the face of a skull.