In the early days (we’re talking 80s here, folks) of the home personal computer, storage media was a new – if not rare – thing for the average home programmer.  This was especially true if you were a teenager, one who couldn’t afford the $100-$200 for a tape drive (this was pre-floppy disk, never mind 3-1/4″ or hard drives). Times were hard, but damned if we didn’t make do with whatever we could.

It was, however, a boom market for computer magazines, several (if not most) of which were centered around a specific computing platform.   These magazines would publish program code as articles, which their readers could then manually type into their home computers (ah, the days before uploading and the internet!) and execute from there.

I cut my programming teeth on the Tandy (a Radio Shack brand) TRS-80 Color Computer. Don’t laugh, we associate Radio Shack with budget brands now but at the time, the TRS-80 was one of the leading personal and business computer manufacturers (until IBM pushed them into obscurity).   This meant that my magazine of choice was The Rainbow Magazine, published monthly from 1981-1993.

I was able to get two programs published in Rainbow; one in 1986, the other in 1988.  I can look back at them now and chuckle; in all honesty, they weren’t very good. But for a teenaged kid back then, I was thrilled to see my name in print and have a (miniscule) check that said I had been published, gods bless my innocent heart.

I’ve linked PDF copies of the actual magazine articles, listing the programs and their descriptions. One is an adventure side-scroller I named “Treasure Quest“, and the other a version of the board game Othello I called “Flip It“.

"Treasure Quest", Nov. 1986 "Flip It", May 1988