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December 6, 2012 10:55 AM   Subscribe

This is a video of a game which replicates Portal's physics system in 2 dimensions on the TI-83 graphic calculator. The game was developed by a 20 year old student studying game design. A download link is available here.
posted by codacorolla (22 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
The 83 and other TI calcs are criminally underrated as app platforms. I remember downloading all kinds of games, utilities and what not that made my IT-83 the first and only portable console I have owned (never got into gameboys).
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:15 AM on December 6, 2012


Man I thought it was impressive when I drew the Mighty Mighty Bosstones bulldog on mine while failing Calc.
posted by SharkParty at 11:25 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Shit yeah, the TI-83 is a great platform. And while we're at it, how about fuckin' VCRs? Mine has a wicked sweet clock app on the lock screen, it even lets you set the time yourself!
posted by invitapriore at 11:38 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


But in all seriousness I do remember being delighted with how (relatively for the time and technology) easy it was to put all manner of little utilities on the TI-83. My comment above is just largely a result of my frustration at the time with just how little they seemed to change with advances (like, decades' worth, I wasn't asking for the latest and greatest by any means) in computing technology. In light of that this dude's game is pretty impressive.
posted by invitapriore at 11:38 AM on December 6, 2012


This is so bizarrely incredible. Dang.
posted by Buckt at 11:48 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a freshman I played games on the TI-83.
As a sophomore I wrote games on the TI-83 (pong, snake. Not crazy stuff like this).
As a junior I passed physics because I wrote programs that solved all the equations I could never memorize. That was probably cheating for school but I'll be darned if it wasn't good real world practice.
posted by jermsplan at 12:01 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's awesome! But given how absurdly overpriced those calculators are (wtf 1980s technology for $90?!), I really don't like the idea of encouraging it as a gaming platform.

Emulation, on the other hand...
posted by spiderskull at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really don't like the idea of encouraging it as a gaming platform.

Because that's what this post is about. Encouraging the TI-89 as a gaming platform.
posted by Legomancer at 12:23 PM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


But what other system can you buy if you want to play Portal?
posted by straight at 12:32 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is with that MUSIC?
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 12:47 PM on December 6, 2012


What's with that music.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2012


But given how absurdly overpriced those calculators are (wtf 1980s technology for $90?!), I really don't like the idea of encouraging it as a gaming platform.

I don't know if it's any different now then when I was in high school, but back then you bought a TI-8x because your calculus class required it, and you wrote/played games on it because you were bored in class and a TI-8x was the only gaming platform that could possibly get away with using in front of the teacher.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:25 PM on December 6, 2012


When I was in high school I spent many, many hours typing code directly into my TI-85. Mostly I was working on a space-based trading game, involving shuttling resources around between planets in the solar system and avoiding space pirates. This was intended to be the game-mechanical bit of an epic space adaptation of treasure island. Eventually, the concept outgrew the calculator and I started programming on a computer, in Pascal. I then spent like two months adapting the results in an astrophysics paper which gave a time-model of the solar system, so that I could accurately* place the planets as the player ship shuttled around the system.

Then I got distracted by other things. In retrospect, teenage-me wasn't all that great at project management.

* - The results in the paper were only supposed to be good for about 25 years, but the idea of the game was to be set in like 2100. So the accuracy was a ways off, but the main idea was to have the planets moving around at realistic intervals.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:28 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


But given how absurdly overpriced those calculators are (wtf 1980s technology for $90?!)

Absurd is nowhere near a strong enough term. A Nexus 7 is thousands of times more capable for only twice the price. Fun fact: The TI-8x series of graphing calculators run on Z80 processors, most of them clocked at 6 MHz.

Z80s! The processor that ran the Pac-Man arcade game runs your graphing calculator. Throw in a screen that wouldn't be out of place on the original Gameboy and the same kind of crappy push buttons you can only get away with on a calculator.

For that, retail, you can expect to pay $150. Texas Instruments makes a goddamn fortune on these things. At this point I'd be surprised if it cost them more than $10 to put together.

Although... doing some searching, it seems they now make calculators with such modern amenities as color screens, reasonable storage and with a graphical OS, and not for much more money, although for any purpose other than being a purposely limited calculating device that exists to prevent students from getting too much use from the modern age they live in it's still kind of meh.
posted by JHarris at 2:53 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


The 83 and other TI calcs are criminally underrated as app platforms.

The main problem is that you need a working knowledge of z80 assembler to actually write anything speedy for them. Coding in z80 is hard and a complete change of pace from coding for basically anything else.

I will give TI credit: it's a neigh indestructible device. Fun fact: the TI link port and the camera-remote port for some Canon cameras are the same thing, and you can trigger the shutter using a BASIC script on the calculator.

I once hacked together a half-working way to send data between the TI and an Arduino. Not sure what I planned to use it for, but it did briefly work.

People have built IR links, multi-calc links, working Telnet clients, USB drivers, music players, Gameboy emulators (okay, that's on the TI-89), and more absolutely insane things for the TI-83/84+.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:38 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The most addictive and extremely simple TI-calc game: Aspirin.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:42 PM on December 6, 2012


Well, this is way better than my quadratic equation script featuring ASCII art .

I still have a TI-82, a TI-85 and the serial interface cable for them somewhere around here.

Good times.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:02 PM on December 6, 2012


The Z80! I did not realize that the TI calculators had the same processor as the beloved TRS-80 and TIMEX-Sinclair 1000s of my youth!
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:19 PM on December 6, 2012


Coding in z80 is hard and a complete change of pace from coding for basically anything else.

I am intrigued. My own assembly/machine code experience is in 6502/10. How is Z80 coding different?
posted by JHarris at 10:45 PM on December 6, 2012


Carly Fiorina, I will never forgive you.
posted by pashdown at 6:36 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


My own assembly/machine code experience is in 6502/10. How is Z80 coding different?

Ditto this question. I always considered 6502 coding as an exercise in discipline -- with just 3 registers you really had to think through what you wanted to keep in A / X / Y and what you wanted to spill to/from memory.

(And FWIW adult me finds MIPS assembly somewhat reminiscent of that teenage 6510 experience. More registers, but a similarly constrained instruction set. I wonder if old Z80 hackers see similar resonances in x86.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:03 PM on December 7, 2012


Carly Fiorina, I will never forgive you.

Carly Fiorina sure is a nauseating human being
posted by homunculus at 2:04 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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