I was given a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 for Christmas in 1986 because at the time it was one of the cheapest computers on the market. It had a full 64K of RAM, Color Basic 1.2, and Extended Color Basic 1.1. I began learning and writing programs for it from the supplied userís manual. It became apparent rather quickly that writing programs took a long time and I needed a mechanism to save my work. I was not given the recommended cassette recorder for the CoCo because we could not afford it. Therefore, I used a cassette recorder we already had and built my own cable harness to save programs to cassette. With the ability to save my work, I began writing my own programs and saving them over the course of the following spring. By June of 1987, I had become quite adept to writing software in BASIC. By 1988, I did everything I could to write decent games in BASIC but knew that I needed an assembler to write machine code programs that will run faster.
I learned digital electronics in 1988 in high school which I later found to be useful in learning and mastering machine code programming on the Edtasm+ (given to me for Christmas of that year). I began tinkering and writing machine code programs and subroutines throughout 1989. Began studying and unraveling the BASIC interpreter using it (did not have access to BASIC unraveled book) and I must admit that I learned quite a bit about it and the machine for someone who had limited information from outside sources (no subscription to The Rainbow). By December of 1988 I took my first job and with the money I made, I rebuilt the cassette cable harness (using parts bought from Radio Shack) and bought a more suitable cassette recorder (also from Radio Shack). I did that along with fixing the cassette port on the computer because my original jury rigged harness damaged it mechanically.
In addition to the cassette recorder and parts for the
rebuilt cassette port and wiring harness, I also bought three joysticks for the
computer. I had wanted to save up
the money to buy a disk drive but I ended up not doing so for one reason or
another. This was something that I
ended up regretting later because by the time I was serious in purchasing one,
Radio Shack had stopped carrying them.
By 1991, I became proficient enough in ML programming to write two simple games using it. I also enhanced an earlier game that was written entirely in BASIC by adding a dash of ML subroutines. Only two of those three games survive to this day as I accidently overwrote the third one (much to my dismay). One of the two that survived was written entirely in assembly (a monumental feat for me back then). I also began rewriting one of my games entirely in assembly and in the process further enhanced its design by doubling the size of the game world and adding other new features. This was my most ambitious project yet but unfortunately I never completed it. By 1993, I had begun to move on to the PC world and eventually purchasing a PC in 1994 for college. That pretty much closed the chapter of my days of working with the Color Computer 2.
I still had a passing interest in it over the years and I guess the nostalgia brought me here. I wonder if I can do something with that old computer now. I played my old games and programs (in emulation) on that CoCo recently using MESS on my PC and fondly remembered the days when computers were simple and fun.
Here are the programs that I
wrote for the Color Computer 2 between the years 1986 and 1991.