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Wednesday, November 30th, 2005: I have rolled the old news off to the archive page, but that's not what has prompted a CoCo Quest news update for the first time in five year. The big news is, Brian Palmer has sent me a copy of my game Monster Mash, written and self-published (as "Biware Enterprises") in 1990. We only sold half a dozen copies, if I recall. This jogged my memory that this (and perhaps some of the others I still need) may not have been submitted to T&D at all. Although I'm amazed that Brian had a copy, I'm more worried now that Gnome Quest 3, Space Ace (aka Space Race), and The Entity may be gone forever.

      At any rate, I have added Monster Mash to a new 9th disk in the download section. I'll probably update this later, to include more games (maybe even some new stuff -- I'm kind of inspired by this new discovery) and a .BAS program with documentation for the game. I don't remember the story, exactly. I believe the character is Kerwin. Play using a Joystick. Left and right moves him, Up + Button to jump, Down + Button to shoot a fireball (or something), and Button (maybe Up + Button -- it isn't easy to tell using a mouse with an emulator, and I haven't loaded it on my real CoCo3 yet) while standing directly in front of a door to enter. The P key will pause the game. That's about all I can remember. I think you have to collect ten bags of gold scattered in and around the castle in order to enter a "locked" door to the final confrontation. Maybe I'll be able to find the original manual if I dig around in old boxes long enough, but I doubt it. I won't spoil the identity of the ending boss for you.

      The game features black bats, flying mummies, and sliding pumpkins. The game covers dozens of screens (seemingly more than I remember), and enough hearts (lives) are provided that it's really playable (but challenging). I'm kind of surprised that it's fairly well-designed. The initial screen load takes a few seconds (black the whole time), as does each transition between screens, but it's really not too bad. I think the game was originally distributed with a freeware RAM Disk program (anyway, one was on the .DSK image from Brian), but it didn't seem to work with the emulator, and I figured the benefit would be negligible anyway. I removed it, for this new download.

Monday, September 25th, 2000: As promised, the adventure maps are online. Get to them using the Sidebar List. Eight are maps for games I never got around to actually programming. Police Cadet 5 is the only map to an actual game. Each map has a page of its own, for easy viewing. I have the original scans which are HUGE (showing in much more detail), but they aren't online due to their size. This is how I wrote adventure games. I'd map them out, thinking through all the puzzles on paper, then use the map as a guide to begin programming the game.

Sunday, September 24th, 2000: In playing some of these games myself, I realized that the version of Police Cadet 5 (on Disk#7 in the download area) I sent to T&D had a bug! Well, not so much as a bug, but some debugging code left in, which I forgot to remove. As a result, you start in the wrong room, with a large part of the quest already “solved” (a helper robot is with you, which shouldn't be until later). Believe it or not, I actually still had the original MAP to this game, so I was able to figure out what the starting room should have been and fix it! I've updated Disk#7 plus the ZIP file, so be sure that if you plan to play or redistribute this game, you get the updated version!

I am going to scan in the map to Police Cadet 5 and put it online soon. You'll see how I “created” text adventures more than a decade ago, by laying it all out on paper, thinking it through, and creating the “map” of the game. I'm excited that I still have it! I don't have any maps I used to create the other text adventures on these disks, but I have several for adventures I had planned to write but never did (Fortes Fortuna Juvat, Island of the Last Dragon, The Search for Merlin, Time Key 1, Time Key 2, Time Doors, In Search of the Lightning Man, and Ambassador to Dellon).

I have a mostly-finished Windows-based graphic adventure engine (visit the SAGE site), and I might use these long-lost, never-written might-have-beens as my first projects with the SAGE system! As you can imagine, I'm a much better programer than I was as a teenager 12 years ago. :) My recent adventure games (Interactive Fiction) for IBM/PC compatibles understand more synonyms for verbs and nouns, pronouns, multiple commands, undo, scrollback, and more. For instance, in my old COCO games, you might do something like this, with each command being a separate statement:


With SAGE (and with some of my recent adventures such as Lunatix), this could be expressed (if you wanted) on just one command line as:


I spent a while playing “Silence Syndrome” (on Disk#3) a few days ago. As long as you remember that I rarely implemented very many synonyms back then, it's actually pretty fun! Back then, if "DIG HOLE" didn't work, you had better try "DIG WITH SHOVEL" and "DIG GROUND" and "DIG HERE" (and whatever else you could think of) before giving up, because I always parsed commands in such a limited way. So, if you get into playing any of the adventures on these CoCo disks, keep that in mind. Just because "GET IN CAR" or "GO INSIDE CAR" doesn't work, "ENTER CAR" might.

Those of you interested in Text Adventures, but don't like the limiting and frustrating work involved in playing some of my old ones, check out today's adventures (Interactive Fiction). There are virtual machines available to run the old Infocom games on almost any platform (Unix, Mac, Acorn, IBM, you name it). Also, a healthy following is still active, and new text adventures (good ones, using adventure-specific programming languages) are readily available. Try the newsgroup for more info, or the archive for the best place to find modern Interactive Fiction.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2000: I want to give a big thanks to “Newson” for tipping me off to a program called “Screen Thief” which will capture VGA images where Windows itself wouldn't. This has allowed me to add screenshots (shrunken ones, at any rate) of my CoCo 3 games. Thanks!

For those of you wanting to download individual disk images without grabbing the whole ZIP file, I realize that only 1, 3, and 5 seem to download correctly. I've checked everything, and nothing differs on the server or the way they were uploaded. You should, though, be able to get them if you right-click on the download link, then select to “save” the individual .dsk file.

Tuesday, September 19th, 2000: After 6 months, I've compiled 5 more disks of my games, which were formerly distributed by T&D Subscription Software. Most of these are CoCo3 games, with a few CoCo2 games I didn't have at the time I made the first 3 disk images. That's a total of 8 full disks of games for your CoCo2 or CoCo3 system! Grab them from the downloads section now! Unfortunately, the CoCo3 emulator doesn't run graphics in a window, so I'm unable to take any screen shots at this time. If you know a solution for this, let me know!

I'm still missing some of my last (and best) games, such as Space Ace, Monster Mash, The Entity, and Gnome Quest 3. I'm afraid maybe T&D stopped publishing before they got around to including those final games, which is sad, since they're my best. I have a needed section, if anybody might know where to locate these long lost favorites.

I want to thank the people who have emailed me saying they remember playing my games 10 years ago and are enjoying them again! Also, a big thanks to the person who sent a large set of T&D 5.25" disks and to the person who sent a CD of disk images (although the CD won't read for some reason).

If you're interested in checking out my more recent non-CoCo projects, check out the Prowler Productions home page at Visit Lunatix Online, our upcoming StarLock Sci-Fi RPG, and my Stand-alone games page. I'm especially proud of The Insanity Circle, a DOS-based graphic/text adventure game that's lightyears beyond my CoCo adventures.

Thursday, March 16th, 2000: Thanks to John Riddle, I now have T&D issues up to #121 (except #119 is still missing). I've found most of the games I wrote, including most of the CoCo 3 games and what I think must be the last of the CoCo 2 games I wrote. I don't have enough remaining CoCo 2 games to fill a fourth disk, so I'll wait until my CoCo 3 arrives and fill the rest of the disk with CoCo 3 stuff (and I have plenty more for several CoCo 3 disks). If you can help provide the games/issues I'm still missing, I'd appreciate it!

I removed the CoCo web ring. I tried repeatedly to contact the person who runs it and never received an answer. Looks like the Web Ring is dead.

Monday, March 13th, 2000: Thanks to Mike Moore, I've now recovered all the T&D issues which may contain my games except for those in this list (if you have any of those, please email me). Thanks Mike!!! I've been able to fill a third disk (msnyder3.dsk) for download. The games on this disk are all for CoCo2. It didn't have space for "Snow Ski" and an "Adventure Tutorial" (not a game), and I may still be missing a few games from those missing issues. Also, I haven't released any of the dozens CoCo 3 games yet -- I'll do that as soon as the CoCo 3 I ordered arrives.

I joined the CoCo Web Ring at the beginning of the month. I haven't been added to the rotation, nor have I received a reply to emails I sent asking for permission to change the "box" to better suit my site (currently it's at the very bottom of this page). If I don't hear back soon, I guess I'll have to remove it altogether. :(

Tuesday, March 7th, 2000: Here's great news! Mike Moore, Dave Deiter, and Paul De Marni have provided quite a few of the T&D issues which contained my games. Although I'm still missing quite a few still (see the list), I now have enough to package two disks for download. Thanks! More is on the way. Tiler Tex Part 1 (a pac-man style video game) wasn't included due to lack of space (I'll put it on the next disk I release) and Police Cadet #4 (part 4 of a text adventure series) has not been included because appearently it doesn't run correctly (runs out of memory). Also, there are quite a few CoCo3 games I haven't included because I haven't been able to test them yet (I'm waiting on a CoCo3 I ordered from Ebay to arrive).

Also, thanks to Robert Gault for providing some info on the CoCo2 video memory area. This info has allowed me to begin work on a new CoCo2 game which I'll announce soon (provided it ever sees the light of day). It will be a freebie too - something simple but fun. It's possible I'll continue by working on something new for the CoCo3 -- but nothing definite. Prowler Productions has traditionally thrived in providing content for niche markets. :)

Saturday, March 4th, 2000: I'm getting some good leads! A couple are currently working with me to provide some of the issues up to #116. With their permission, I plan to add a "thanks" section to give recognition to everybody who has helped. If you have any T&D software and would like to help fill in my gaps, see the list of issues I still need. This is not an attempt to pirate anything. I have permission from Tom Dykema of the former T&D Software to extract the games I wrote from those issues so they may be released to the public.

I've had the misfortune of encountering the latest form of elitism over the past day or two. This site raised a fair amount of criticizm in the bit.listserv.coco newsgroup because it wasn't designed with the 1280x1024 user in mind (and because I forgot some important ALT tags on navigational images, which was simply an oversight). I would have thought users of such a high resolution would simply expect everything to be much smaller -- that's the point of higher resolutions, right? It seems that to demand that all sites be capable of large display on such resolutions kind of defeats the point of using the higher resolution. Anyway, I do want people who use non-standard resolutions to be able to view the page so I've redisigned it to look larger yet still keep my original asthetic concept. I hope this has resolved the "issue."

Friday, March 3rd, 2000: All I can do now is wait and hope I'm able to find those old games of mine. In the meantime, I'm adding more to this site (knowing Perl/CGI is a great thing) including links to other COCO sites and a randomizer script that changes the tiny game screenshots on the navigation bar at every page refresh. I also need to fix a bug in my text hit counter (I just whipped it together last night) so that it's a little smarter about counting visits.

I had a crazy idea. I was wondering if, by some chance, there is still any kind of a market for new COCO games. Granted, the ones I wrote a decade ago (the T&D ones) aren't impressive overall. I was learning. I was getting started. I've had years of experience since then (I'm now a professional programmer) and thought maybe -- just maybe -- I could take a little time from my other projects to work on something new for the COCO. I've put up a poll (on the left-side navigation bar) with the question "would you buy a new COCO game?" It's just a thought. :)

Thursday, March 2nd, 2000: This is my site, and welcome to it. Unless you know me from my more recent (non-COCO) projects (such as Lunatix Online, Web Solitaire, The Insanity Circle, and others) you probably won't remember me. I wrote dozens and dozens of games for the TRS-80 COCO 2 and 3 from 1987 to 1991. T&D Subscription Software was nice enough to purchase the programs from me to publish on their monthly disk and cassette issues. I attempted to independently market a couple of my games once I had gained more experience (such as "The Entity," a large text adventure game). This didn't work so, if I recall, I sold the games to T&D. I also had (for a brief time) three games distributed through SportsWARE (Eldus, Gnome Quest 1, and Gnome Quest 2) but they went out of business so I sold those to T&D as well.

Now, more than a decade later, I'm trying to find all those games so they can be released to the public. Tom Dykema (who owns the copyrights) was nice enough to give me permission to do this. All that remains now is to relocate all those T&D disks (my own copies are long since gone) so I can build disk sets that contain my games.

I'm very excited about this. I've already dealt with several people who've been good enough to provide me with a few of the issues, but I still need many more to find everything. Now, most of my games (especially the earlier ones) aren't impressive. In fact, many of them downright suck. For instance, I loaded Hostage, Police Cadet 1, The Genesis Project, and Rodoc for the first time in over a decade. These are text adventures that consist mainly of forcing the player to read my mind or die -- in which case the game restarts and you have to sit through 30-second title screens. What was I thinking? My spelling was horrible as well, which makes reading the text an interesting experience.

My later games, if I remember correctly, did get better (when I started writing COCO 3 action/adventure games). I still wrote in BASIC but used the CBASIC (if I recall) compiler (I remember paying $150.00 to buy it -- very good thing) to make machine language binary executables so they'd run faster and source code would no longer be distributed. In particular, it seems like two of my finest games may have been Space Race (aka Space Ace) and Monster Mash. I'm dying to get my hands on those again, and release them to the public.

I've launched this site to obtain and distribute as many of my own COCO games as I can find, but I'd be more than happy to list links to other COCO sites too (and post other COCO news). My company (Prowler Productions) runs a high-traffic suite of sites which includes online gaming, Dink Smallwood D-Mods, and more. Our company home page is at I wouldn't be surprised if a few people who've never heard of the COCO become interested simply because of our other products. :)

I've found a handful of my games (maybe 10 or 12 of them), but I'm hoping to get a larger collection (and soon) before I package them together in .dsk file downloads. To see which T&D disks I still need, click here.