Thursday, May 24, 2007

Summer Break - My Own Company

When I was about 14 I decided to create my own company to create video games. I didn't even own a computer, but I spent a lot of time at NEECO, and they let me use theirs. The machine I targeted was the Commodore VIC-20, and I thought I was being clever when I came up with the name VinkSoft.

The game I created was a simple simulation of flying through an asteroid field. You needed to shoot the asteroids to destroy them or else they would hit your ship. It probably took a couple of dozen hours to create this game. The graphics on the VIC-20 were all done by creating custom graphics characters. Sound was pretty easy with the computer's built-in 3 voice tone generator and white noise generator. The actual BASIC code for the program wasn't very big because it all had to fit in 3.5K of RAM. The game was fast enough in BASIC that it didn't need any machine code routines.

My plan was to sell the software at NEECO, and the sales guys there agreed to do it. The software would be in a ziplock bag with some artwork and a cassette tape. A lot of software was sold this way back then. My father helped me with the artwork. He's pretty good at drawing sharp graphics, which makes sense because he spent thousands of hours drawing things at a drafting table.

So the sales guys at NEECO put the software on the wall (2 copies) with all the rest of the stuff there. Within a couple of days they had sold one! Unfortunately the owner of the company had not cleared this clandestine operation and when he found out he had my remaining copy pulled. I don't think they even gave it back to me.

The things we kids did during summer break. ;-)

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