Opening graphics and title music – an obvious choice for those of us in the Apollo generation.

August’s coding project was an implementation of a Moonlander game in S-BASIC for the Sharp MZ-700. It was inspired by a version created by @electron_greg for the Commodore PET and 64 – which in turn drew its inspiration from a 26 line BASIC program published by Usborne in 1982. There’s a free copy of their ‘Spacegames’ book available for download – their text-only Moonlander game is on page 12.

MZ-700 Moonlander. The engine on the lander lights up when fuel is being burned.

The Usborne version allowed a burn of up to 30 units of fuel. However, my version limits your choice to between 1 and 9 units at any time by holding down the appropriate number key, making it trickier to manage.

A choice of landing sites is available. These range from the easy (Rhea) to the almost impossible (Mars). The ‘real’ acceleration due to gravity is used – meaning that if you burn off all of your fuel in one hit approaching Rhea, it will take many minutes before you finally crash land on the surface. What goes up …

Rhea – easy; Mars – impossibly difficult!

If you make a good landing, a tune recognizable to all Sharp MZ-80K owners accompanies the raising of the flag.

A successful landing. A true Ode to Joy.

You can download this version of the game (.wav and .mzf formats) from my Sharp MZ-700 github repository. Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

Not all missions are successful.

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