Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Accessory Shop


This The Accessory Shop ad is from page 47 of issue #48 of New Atari User magazine.

New Atari User magazine was a British publication that started out as Page 6, then became Page 6 Atari User, then finally, New Atari User. It was published between 1982 and 1998, and covered both the Atari 8-bit and the Atari ST lines of computers.

The ad states: 

"Books for the Atari 8-bit computers are now becoming very difficult to obtain with almost all the Compute! titles now out of print so we are very pleased to have been able to secure a supply of some of the early British books covering the XL/XE range. Don't be put off by the low prices, we are only passing along the enormous savings we have been able to obtain. All these books are brand new and most are shrink wrapped so you will find them of top quality. If you are interested in programming with your Atari almost all of these books will help in some way and at these prices you can afford to experiment!"

The bargain books listed in the ad include:

How many of these books have you read?

I'd like to read Atari Adventures: A Guide to Playing and Writing Adventures by Tony Bridge, but I haven't come across a copy of it as of yet, as it doesn't appear to be in any of the usual online archives such as atarimania, or archive.org. It is available for purchase on a few used books sites, but it is priced quite high. Note, it has recently been scanned and uploaded.

I do have three of the The Accessory Shop ad books on my bookshelf, Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer - Techniques For Intelligent Games, Atari Games & Recreation, and Inside Atari BASIC.

Of the three books, Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer - Techniques For Intelligent Games by John White, is the most interesting.

While White's book doesn't try to teach programming, per se, there are many programming examples throughout the 130+ page book. He does attempt to teach techniques and algorithms for array/grid-based strategy games, such as Noughts and Crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe), Chess, Warp Trog, etc., in Atari BASIC. 

Chapter 8 / Book Openings
Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer
John White / Sunshine Books (1983)

Chapter 8 / Book Openings
Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer
John White / Sunshine Books (1983)

White does cover topics such as setting up the game board, evaluating moves, searching techniques, programming the computer player, etc. There are a few complete examples such as Noughts and Crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe) and Warp Trog, and many more programs that contain enough code to get you thinking.

You can find the Atari BASIC source code from the book on this Atari 8-bit disk image. Some of the more interesting examples are:
  • C5P6.BAS - While most of the programs in the book use keyboard entry, this example moves a cursor around a game board using the joystick.
  • C6P4.BAS - Hexapawn, a simple game on a 3 by 3 game board.
  • C7P1.BAS - Noughts and Crosses (Tic-Tac-Toe).
  • C7P2.BAS - Race!, a simulation of the game Ludo.
  • C8P1.BAS - Chess Book Openings.
  • C13P1.BAS - Warp Trog strategy game.
*If you find any bugs in these program, please let me know and I'll update the code.

Chapter 13 / Warp Trog
Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer
John White / Sunshine Books (1983)

John White authored many other works on chess, games, and programming, including:
If you are interested in strategy games, there is a lot of interesting content in White's book and articles worth reading. 

On December 12, 2020, ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast published ANTIC Interview 401 - John F. White: Writing Strategy Games On Your Atari Computer & Superquerg. It is amazing, information packed email-exchange interview brought to life by being read by Kay Savetz and Victor Marland (reading White's parts).  

On December 14, 2020, Allan Bushman scanned and uploaded Atari Adventures: A Guide To Playing And Writing Adventures by Tony Bridge to archive.org.


  1. Thanks! Inspiring stuff. The Antic interview is indeed interesting as well. I hope to take some time this Christmas to read and try out some things on the Altirra emulator.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Thank you for your comments. I'm glad you found it interesting.