The BBC Master is a thirty-year-old microcomputer from Acorn that was popular in school and homes throughout the late eighties. Use of the BBC computers is as synonymous with the eighties as with hoola-hoops, denim jackets, He-man, Saved by the Bell and Margret Thatcher. This computer truly is a relic of the cold war.
The Master was an improvement on the original BBC model 'B' in that it provided a mighty 128KiB of RAM, enough to power the high-resolution graphics modes available on both hardware and still have available space for your program.
|My BBC Master (running Acornsoft Elite) with disc drive, Raspberry Pi and modern PC.|
And so, with social life cancelled, I have spent the weekend exploring what my 'beeb' can do.
The package included a dozen or so games on disc, including Repton, Elite and (possible the greatest of all...) Baron.
|The murderous 8-bit skeleton army from Baron.|
The internals of the machine also contain a couple of games: Acorn's own 'Pac Man' clone 'Snapper' and 'Chuckie Egg'. They never made 'Chuckie Egg' the movie, which is a shame, as the late, great, David Bowie would have made an excellent killer-duck boss.
ROMS include among others:
- VIEW (Acorn's word-processor)
- ViewSheet (Acorn's spreadsheet program)
- EDIT (Text and programming-code editor)
- CMOS RAM (battery powered Y2K-fixed settings and internal clock)
If the BBC Master is going to earn it's position as pride of place on my desk, then I want to turn the computer into an everyday productivity machine. Playing old games for nostalgia's sake is fun, however I can do that using emulation.
So I intend to write a suite of programs for everyday use.
First of all a note-taking/list app. Then a calculator program and finally an alarm clock/calendar app.
The BBC Master has no access to the network and only a 200K disc for storage. Also I don't have access to a library of program code - everything has to be coded in the original beeb BASIC.
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