In December, I posted about the demise of Creative Computing in December 1985. And in the item, I said I found that out while researching something else.
Well, here it is.
In January 1976, Creative Computing published code for the computer game Chase, or Robots as it’s sometimes known. It was not a new game at that point. Its creator is unknown, but the game dates as far back as 1971 or even 1970, making it fifty years old.
In Chase, you are a human being chased by robots that are trying to kill you. Why are they trying to kill you? Be. . .because they are, that’s why! You can move in eight cardinal directions or (if you have any available) teleport to another location. And with each move, the robots will move ever closer towards you. In the screen capture of the version I play on Ubuntu (seen above), you have two teleport options if they get too close: randomly (which may get you killed, but unlimited use) or safe teleport (up to ten per level).
Your goal is to kill all the robots on each level, either by luring them to crash into each other or into piles of broken robots. If you are strategic, you can use collisions to create walls and safe spaces. If you feel you are in a safe place (see image above, bottom left), you can hit “last stand” (or “wait for robots”) and the remaining robots will charge at you. For every robot destroyed via “last stand”, you gain one safe teleport, up to a maximum of ten. This is the only way to earn them.
Chase is a simple but fun game, one of those programs people learn when they start out programming because it teaches array handling, keyboard inputs, modding, and other important skills.
As it turns out, Chase may be the most influential computer game in history. It has three distinct family trees of descendants with more than a hundred games resulting from it.
Below the fold is the first of the three family trees. Two more posts will come soon.