There are some people out there who, if you tell them that it’s “impossible” to do something, will do their best to do it anyway — and often prove that original naysayer completely wrong.
Such was the case with Livewire, a type-in machine code listing for Atari 8-bit that came about when ANALOG magazine’s Tom Hudson overheard someone saying that it would be possible to do a good version of Tempest on the Atari 8-bit. Challenge, as they say, accepted — and overcome with aplomb.
As we’ve seen numerous times on the Atari A to Z series to date, an important part of computing history in the 8-bit era in particular is type-in listings in magazines.
The American ANALOG magazine specialised in lengthy, technically impressive type-in machine code listings, often by Kyle Peacock and Tom Hudson. If you’d spend the time and effort required to type these in (or buy the issue’s companion disk), you’d end up with a rather good game for your troubles. And here’s just one of many examples: Fire Bug.
One of the best things about the 8-bit age was the prolific public domain scene, with many high-quality pieces of software being published in listing format in magazines.
One US publication that was particularly prolific in this regard was ANALOG (Atari Newsletter And Lots Of Games), which regularly published commercial-quality machine code programs for readers to type in, save to disk or cassette and enjoy at their leisure.
Today’s game hails from those hallowed pages. I give you Bacterion! The Plague of 2369. Nice.