Omega Battle and the STD Phone Call

Back in the ear­ly 80s, I was “pub­lished” for the first time.

I think I was about 12 years old.

It all began when I wrote a com­put­er game called “Omega Bat­tle” for the Dick Smith Wiz­zard.  Now lets not get too excit­ed – the game was almost impos­si­ble to play and incred­i­bly BASIC (par­don the pun).

Omega Bat­tle Screen Shot

My moth­er thought the idea of me writ­ing a com­put­er game was sim­ply won­der­ful and prompt­ly took me to Dick Smith Elec­tron­ics in Tigh­es Hill to ped­dle my wares.

The man­ag­er was enthu­si­as­tic on my behalf, and went out the back and made a phone call.  He then hand­ed me a piece of paper with a phone num­ber on it, and told me to call a par­tic­u­lar fel­low in head office who would love to dis­cuss my com­put­er game.

Now here was the kick­er:  This was a Syd­ney phone num­ber, and we were in New­cas­tle.  That meant an STD Phone Call.

Back then, this was a big deal.

These days, most peo­ple would not blink an eye­lid no mat­ter what num­ber they were call­ing or whether they would be charged by the sec­ond or not.  In those days, the STD pips (sev­er­al lit­tle beeps at the begin­ning of the call) meant the clock was tick­ing.

And hav­ing an area code meant so many dig­its to dial, or fin­ger into the rotary dialer!  I am even now feel­ing breath­less just think­ing about it.

My resource­ful moth­er though, had a cun­ning plan.  We were vis­it­ing my Uncle Alan in Glen­field in a cou­ple of weeks, so we could make the phone call then – a local call.

Imag­ine wait­ing a cou­ple of weeks for some­thing so excit­ing to save a cou­ple of bucks.  How­ev­er, back then STD phone calls were so mys­te­ri­ous and omi­nous that one would not want to risk mak­ing one in case your next bill arrived with some huge bank break­ing fig­ure.

Any­way, I made the phone call at Uncle Alan’s and was offered $150 for the rights for Dick Smith Elec­tron­ics to own and sell the game for a peri­od of 24 months.  Pret­ty freakin’ amaz­ing stuff and I still have the let­ter of offer today.

The game went on to be pub­lished in the Dick Smith Wiz­zard Sec­ond Book of Pro­grams.  I often won­dered if any­one actu­al­ly went and typed in all 300+ lines of code to play the game.

I was also stunned recent­ly to find that some­one had writ­ten an emu­la­tor for Win­dows that allows you to run Dick Smith Wiz­zard pro­grams on your PC, and you can actu­al­ly down­load and play Omega Bat­tle.  Luck­i­ly for me my junior self had cod­ed my name into the game on Line 80, which was sub­se­quent­ly picked up by Google and allowed me to stum­ble across it via a van­i­ty search.

To be hon­est my inspi­ra­tion in writ­ing this arti­cle was not about the his­to­ry of Omega Bat­tle, but to remind those of the long for­got­ten days and fam­i­ly fear of the dread­ed STD phone call.

(and for those who have nev­er heard the acronym used in this way, STD means a long dis­tance phone call)

 

- — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - — - -

OMEGA BATTLE

Can you hold off the invad­ing saucers? You only have 50 shots to destroy the aliens that appear at ran­dom on the screen. Be care­ful not to run into any that appear at ground lev­el, the col­li­sion will destroy you!

1    CHAR1,18181818BDBDFF81
2    CHAR8,0000181818
3    CHAR100,0000007E
4    CHAR101,00101010101010
5    CHAR30,42BDA55A5AA5BD42
6    CHAR2,1818183C7EFF5AA5
7    CHAR3,42FFFFFFFF244281
8    CHAR4,181818187E7EDBDB
9    CHAR5,1818995A3C3C5A99
10   CHAR6,1818995A3CFF3CC3
11   CHAR104,FFFCF0E0C0C08080
12   B=23
13   GOSUB7000
14   COLOR1,6,1
15   COLOR2,16,1
16   COLOR16,10,1
17   CHAR105,FF3F0F0703030101
18   CHAR106,01010303070F3FFF
19   CHAR107,8080C0C0E0F0FCFF
20   COLOR4,7,1
25   COLOR13,12,7
26   COLOR17,14,1
27   X=4
28   Y=4
29   COLOR14,7,1
30   COLOR5,16,1
31   CHAR32,00008000000010
32   CHAR91,894A2CF81F345291
35   GOSUB6000
36   T=48
37   S=48
38   P=1
40   A=16
41   H=16
42   N=18
45   CLS
50   PLOTA,23,1
60   GOSUB4000
65   REM
70   REM >  OMEGA BATTLE  <
75   REM
80   REM > BY BILL BOVILL <
85   REM
99   COLOR12,8,1
100  J=JOY(1)
101  COLOR16,10,1
102  IFE>3THENGOSUB9200
103  IFRND(0)<10THENGOSUB9000
104  CHAR120,3C7EFF5A5AFF7E3C
106  IFH=AANDN=BTHEN9500
110  IFJ=7THEN1000
120  IFJ=3THEN2000
130  IFJOY(3)>0THEN3000
141  COLOR16,8,1
150  COLOR5,RND(2)+14,1
160  CHAR120,3C7EFFA5A5FF7E3C
200  GOTO100
1000 A=A-1
1001 CHAR120,3C7EFFA5A5FF7E3C
1005 IFA=3THENA=4
1010 PLOTA,B,1
1011 PLOTA+1,B,32
1020 GOTO100
2000 A=A+1
2001 CHAR120,3C7EFFA5A5FF7E3C
2005 IFA=31THENA=30
2010 PLOTA,B,1
2011 PLOTA-1,B,32
2020 GOTO100
3000 M=M+1
3005 IFV=99THENRETURN
3006 FORF=21TO10STEP-1
3007 IFM=50THEN9500
3008 IFF=NANDA=HTHEN9900
3009 IFF=YANDA=XTHENGOSUB5600
3010 PLOTA,F,8
3011 PLOTA,F+1,32
3020 NEXT
3025 PLOTA,10,30
3026 PLOTA,10,32
3027 B=23
3028 IFI=1THENGOSUB9000
3029 I=0
3030 GOTO100
4000 FORC=2TO32
4010 PLOTC,24,100
4015 PLOTC,1,100
4020 NEXT
4021 PLOT3,23,107
4022 PLOT31,23,106
4030 FORC=24TO1STEP-1
4040 PLOT32,C,101
4045 PLOT2,C,101
4050 NEXT
4060 PLOT3,2,104
4070 PLOT31,2,105
4500 RETURN
5000 PRINT"THERE ARE THREE LEVELS OF"
5005 PRINT
5010 PRINT"DIFICULTY:-"
5015 PRINT
5016 PRINT
5020 PRINT"1 - BEGINNER."
5025 FORJ=1TO3
5030 PRINT
5035 NEXT
5040 PRINT"2 - AMATEUR."
5045 FORJ=1TO3
5050 PRINT
5055 NEXT
5060 PRINT"3 - PROFESSIONAL."
5065 FORJ=1TO3
5070 PRINT
5075 NEXT
5080 PRINT">WHICH LEVEL?";
5085 D=49
5090 PLOT16,24,D
5095 IFJOY(3)>0THEN5130
5100 IFJOY(1)>0THEN5300
5110 GOTO5095
5130 D=D+1
5135 IFD=52THEND=49
5140 PLOT16,24,D
5145 GOTO5095
5300 IFD=49THENO=100
5310 IFD=50THENO=50
5320 IFO=51THENO=20
5490 PRINT
5500 RETURN
5600 X=RND(26)+2
5605 Y=4
5610 E=-10
5615 T=T+1
5616 S=S-1
5617 GOSUB9900
5620 RETURN
6000 PRINT"1 >  < ASTROSMASHER"
6010 PRINT
6020 PRINT"2 >  < SPACESHOOTER"
6030 PRINT
6031 PRINT"3 >  < CREEPYCRAWLER"
6032 PRINT
6033 PRINT"4 >  < SPACEDOOBER"
6034 PRINT
6035 PRINT"5 >  < SPACEPROBE I"
6036 PRINT
6037 PRINT"6 >  < SPACEPROBE II"
6039 PRINT
6040 PRINT"WHAT IS YOUR STARSHIP CHOICE";
6041 D=49
6045 PLOT32,24,49
6046 PLOT31,24,63
6050 REM
6051 IFJOY(3)>0THEN6056
6053 COLOR5,RND(2)+14,1
6054 IFJOY(1)>0THEN6060
6055 GOTO6051
6056 D=D+1
6057 IFD=55THEN6041
6058 PLOT32,24,D
6059 GOTO6051
6060 IFD=49THENRETURN
6070 IFD=50THEN6100
6080 IFD=51THEN6200
6081 IFD=52THEN6300
6082 IFD=53THEN6400
6083 IFD=54THEN6500
6089 CLS
6090 GOTO6000
6100 CHAR1,1818183C7EFF5AA5
6105 CHAR8,000000001818
6110 RETURN
6200 CHAR1,42FFFFFFFF244281
6210 CHAR8,000000424242
6220 RETURN
6300 CHAR1,181818187E7EDBDB
6310 CHAR8,00081C1C0808081C
6320 RETURN
6400 CHAR1,1818995A3C3C5A99
6410 CHAR8,0000000000181881
6420 RETURN
6500 CHAR1,1818995A3CFF3CC3
6510 CHAR8,00000000001C081C
6520 RETURN
7000 CLS
7010 FORA=6TO16
7020 COLORA,7,1
7030 NEXT
7095 PRINT"  ";
7100 PRINT"     >OMEGA BATTLE<"
7110 FORA=1TO3
7120 PRINT
7130 NEXT
7131 GOSUB8100
7132 GOSUB8000
7134 CLS
7135 GOSUB5000
7136 CLS
7140 PRINT" YOU CAN CHOOSE WHICH"
7150 PRINT
7160 PRINT" SPACESHIP YOU WANT BY"
7170 PRINT
7180 PRINT" SELECTING ITS NUMBER WITH"
7190 PRINT
7200 PRINT" THE FIRE-BUTTON"
7210 PRINT
7500 RETURN
8000 REM > MUSIC <
8005 FORF=1TO3
8010 SOUND2;3,5;3,14;3
8020 NEXT
8040 SOUND2;2,4;2,13;2
8050 SOUND2;0,6;0,15;0
8060 SOUND2;3,5;3,14;3
8070 SOUND2;2,4;2,13;2
8080 SOUND2;0,6;0,15;0
8090 SOUND2;6,5;6,14;6
8091 FORN=1TO100
8092 NEXT
8095 RETURN
8100 PRINT"YOU HAVE 50 SHOTS AT THE EN-"
8105 PRINT
8110 PRINT"EMY.ON YOUR 50TH SHOT YOU "
8115 PRINT
8120 PRINT"WILL BE DESTROYED.AVOID GRO-"
8125 PRINT
8130 PRINT"UND LEVEL ALIENS,THEY WILL"
8135 PRINT 8140
PRINT"DESTROY YOU ON CONTACT,"
8145 PRINT
8200 RETURN
9000 REM > ALIEN HYPERSPACE <
9005 CHAR120,003C7E7E7E7E3C
9010 CHAR120,0000183C3C18
9020 CHAR120,0000001818
9030 CHAR120,
9050 PLOTH,N,32
9060 H=RND(25)+5
9070 N=RND(15)+8
9080 IFRND(4)=3THENN=23
9090 PLOTH,N,120
9091 CHAR120,00000018
9092 CHAR120,0000183C3C18
9093 CHAR120,003C7E7E7E7E3C
9094 CHAR120,3C7EFFA5A5FF7E3C
9095 I=0
9100 E=E+1 9110 IFE=20THEN9200
9120 RETURN
9200 REM> S M A R T B O M B <
9205 PLOTX,Y,91
9220 PLOTX,Y,32
9230 IFX=AANDY=BTHEN9500
9240 IFXATHENX=X-1
9260 IFYBTHENY=Y-1
9280 RETURN
9500 PLOTA,B,30
9501 FORQ=1TO5
9505 COLOR4,7,1
9506 COLOR4,1,1
9507 COLOR4,10,1
9508 COLOR4,1,1
9509 COLOR4,9,1
9510 COLOR4,1,1
9511 V=99
9520 NEXT
9521 FORQ=NTO23
9522 PLOTH,Q,120
9523 PLOTH,Q-1,32
9524 NEXT
9530 IFT>52THEN9630
9531 FORQ=1TO10
9532 CHAR32,
9533 CHAR32,AA55AA55AA55AA55
9534 NEXT
9535 FORQ=1TO8
9536 COLORQ,1,1
9537 NEXT
9538 FORQ=12TO16
9539 COLORQ,1,1
9540 NEXT
9541 SOUND2;4,5;4,14;4
9542 SOUND2;3,5;3,14;3
9543 SOUND2;1,5;1,14;1
9544 SOUND2;4,5;4,14;4
9545 SOUND2;3,9;3,17;3
9546 SOUND2;1,7;1,16;1
9547 SOUND2;3,7;3,16;3
9548 SOUND2;1,5;1,14;1
9549 SOUND2;3,5;3,14;3
9550 DATA80,76,65,78,69,84,32,73,83,32,68,69,65,68
9551 SOUND2,1,4,1,12,1
9552 SOUND2;7,5;7,14;7
9560 FORK=10TO23
9570 READF
9580 PLOTK,14,F
9590 NEXT
9591 IFJOY(1)=0THEN9591
9595 CLS
9600 RUN
9630 DATA80,76,65,78,69,84,32,73,83,32,83,65,86,69,68
9640 FORK=9TO23
9650 READF
9660 PLOTK,14,F
9670 NEXT
9671 FORA=1TO10
9672 S=RND(30)+1
9673 SOUNDS;0,S+1;0,S-1;0
9674 NEXT
9680 IFJOY(1)=0THEN9680
9685 CLS
9690 RUN
9900 REM
9905 S=S+1
9910 IFS=58THENT=T+1
9911 IFS=58THENS=48
9915 IFT=58THEN9550
9920 PLOT4,2,T
9930 PLOT5,2,S
9940 PLOT6,2,48
9945 IFE=-10THENRETURN
9950 I=I+1
9960 PLOTH,N+1,32
9982 PLOTH,N,30
9983 PLOTH,N,32
9988 F=10
9990 NEXTF
9998 GOSUB9000
9999 GOTO100