Program like it’s 1980!

Just for fun, let’s pretend it is the summer of 1980, and you just walked in to a Radio Shack and saw the brand new TRS-80 Color Computer. Unlike the original TRS-80 Model I, this thing could hook up to a color television (instead of a monitor) and display colors and make sound! Amazing.

If you picked one up (and a cable to hook up a cassette recorder for loading and saving programs), what would you do with it? I propose a fun challenge to find out.


Your program can use any modern knowledge, but must run on a stock 1980 4K CoCo running Color BASIC 1.0.

That’s it. However, certain things would not be possible to create ON that machine. For instance, the EDTASM assembler ROM Pak required at least 16K, so any assembly language written on a 4K CoCo had to be hand assembled (somehow). If someone actually does that, it should be noted and given special consideration.

I propose the entries will be created in one of the following ways:

Native versus Expanded versus Cross Hosted – a program could be written on an actual 4K CoCo (native), or on a more expanded CoCo (16K CoCo 1, 512K CoCo 3, etc.), or compiled using PC/Mac/Linux cross compiler tools.

Real versus Emulated – likewise, the coding could be done on a real CoCo, or a virtual one in an emulator.

Ultimately, doing it actually on a native 4K real CoCo would be the only way it could have been done in 1980, but if someone wants to participate using an emulated one that is fine (but it will be noted, just so we can congratulate someone for actually still having a 4K CoCo around that never got upgraded).

More impressive things could probably be done using a later environment (EDTASM on a larger CoCo rather that native hand compiling), or using PC tools. That’s a different type of development, but ultimately, all should run on a stock 4K CoCo.

If you might want to follow this as we figure out how to approach it (or participate), details will be at the CoCoPedia wiki. In coming weeks I will make updates as we figure out more to this challenge:

One thought on “Program like it’s 1980!

  1. Pingback: 4K CoCo Programming Challenge update | Sub-Etha Software

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