Steve Bjork’s TRS-80 Model 1 days

Steven Robert Bork (SRB Software) was such an iconic name in the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer community. Seeing his name on title screens of games etched it into my memory more than any other game author I can recall.

Recently, Roger Taylor spent over $6700 to acquire some of Bjorks software source code (disks and printouts) from an auction house. He has been discovering some interesting things, such as internal development tools Steve used as well as unfinished and unreleased programs. The archive goes back to Steve’s TRS-80 Model 1 days in the late 1970s.

One year before Steve wrote Popcorn for the CoCo, he had Space Ball for the Model 1:

I had also heard mentions of some multi-voice software music program he wrote. This was Soft Music:

I do not know how to use it, but when I figure it out, I will make a longer video of it. There appears to be several disks of songs available on a TRS-80 archive site, but I do not know how to get them in to the emulator yet.

There is also a Space Balls 2 which seems to be the same except for a countdown before the next ball drops.

Still a mystery is Galactic Fighter (not to be confused with a completely different game by that name released for the CoCo in 1984 by a different author). In a 2007 interview, Bjork described his Galatic Fighter game as similar to Galaxian, but predating it by three months. I see Galaxian listed as a September/November 1979 game, but I do not know when it was released in the USA. Wikipedia says Galaxian was the highest grossing game of 1980. I did manage to find this screenshot:

Roger Taylor has disks for this game, but is still working on safely getting them preserved and, hopefully, in a form that can run in an emulator.

Also during my research were two BASIC programs by Bjork – Perpetual Calendar and Bio-Rhythm. These appeared in a cassette tape collection called People’s Software./

Here is a link to the source of Perpetual Calendar that is supposed to be runnable in a web emulator, but I could not figure out how to start it:

And here is Bio-Rhythm on the same emulator site:

I do not know the date these were published, and do not see a date in the source listing. There may be a date in one of the other programs in the collection that might give us a clue.

Steve also created PEN BASIC, a program that added commands to the TRS-80 Model 1 for using a light pen device. I have heard him mention that he worked on a light pen, but never knew anything about it. Here is an ad mentioning it:

I also found a magazine article that goes in to details on the commands that PEN BASIC provides, and discusses how to use it.

And there is more to still be located… I see references to other things he created in the TRS-80 Model 1 days that I have yet to go searching for.

But one thing I have discovered is that Steve was known outside the pages of Color Computer magazines such as Rainbow. I find him referenced in articles in magazines of the day I had heard of (such as K-Power) and plenty I had never heard of (such as Softline and Today). There are some interviews, quotes, and a number of game reviews that mention his name as the author.

I now have a list of questions I wish I could ask Steve. When we were hanging out in Southern California, the subject of CoCo stuff would inevitably come up from time to time, but I wish I had dug deeper and learned more about some of his other works.

To be continued…

One thought on “Steve Bjork’s TRS-80 Model 1 days

  1. Luis Fernandez

    Incredible, although I thought I would give these things to the community, it was a significant expense, thank you


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