When my dad bought a C64 (that's what we call the Commodore 64 in Germany) in the late 1980s, I didn't do a lot of programming to be honest, but I believe it was still an important point for my programming future.
I did write a few multiplication-table games and managed to do some sprites I could move around on the screen and detect collisions. Not really anything that would count as a game...
Then in the mid 90s we had a school course on programming, mostly with TurboPascal and I wrote my first game for MS-DOS - Pentris.
That changed when I ported Pentris to HTML5 with some help in 2017, see below. That motivated me to revisit some of those earlier games and make them accessibe for mobile phones and PCs. So my old 8-puzzle game got reborn in 2018 as PuzzlePusher
1995 Pentris, Hextris, Pentomino executables for MS DOS and DOSbox Download zip
It all started in 1995 when in our programming class at school we programmed a Turbo Pascal version of the boardgame "Pentomino", a puzzle game similar to Tangram,
but using playing pieces that consist of five (greek: penta) squares, connected via their edges, called pentominoes. Our teacher provided us with some object-oriented functions to move, rotate and mirror the twelve possible pentominos, the rest was upon us.
Their similarity to the tetrominoes used in Tetris(tm) sparked my creativity and so, after having finished the boardgame simulation, I worked on my own game, a Tetris clone with a twist: Mirroring! I remember it took me a lot of work, it was by far the most ambitious programming I had done until that point.
I learned a lot in the process and enjoyed playing it, as did my friends. The added mirroring function transformed the game to something very different that stayed fascinating after many games.
As the years went by, computers got faster and the Turbo Pascal game was running too fast in Windows' DOS mode.
In 2006, I managed to use my old DOS copy of Turbo Pascal to change the timing and use the game for a few more years. Then, with modern Windows, the old DOS executable no longer worked.
So I didn't play for years - until I thought "Hey, I wonder if there is a DOS emulator for PC?" and googled it. Of course there is: DOSBox!
For several months, I enjoyed playing Pentris in DOSBox, but I wanted a more accessible version, something that other people could experience easily.
So after some more googling, I found the excellent HTML5 Tetris by Robert Eisele.
Pentris and the other HTML5 variants you see above would not have been possible without his work, but there was still enough headache involved in modifying the game to what you see on this page.
Thank you to all of my friends who have helped me test this.
Originally a very simple 8-puzzle version in the late 90s, it now has multiple images with varying difficulty, different degrees of shuffling,
keyboard, mouse and touch support and a number of other helpful features. Great if you have a few minutes to waste and want to train your 2D pattern recognition.
Slide Puzzles like this are used in Computer Science to teach
algorithms for optimisation
and artificial intelligence.
The card game Set is a fast game of pattern recognition. 81 cards have symbols printed on them.
These have four features: Number, colour, shape, shading. A "set" is any combination of three cards where each feature is either identical or different for the three cards.
We played this game a lot around the year 2000 and because practice makes perfect, I came up with a very basic one-person simulation to practise.
I brought this back as a fast-paced solitaire (or team) puzzle game in 2019, it's nothing like the original, but some of the original code is still there!
Rally Spaceway [review][video]
is a a top-down racing game and was one of the most fun games on the C64 (and Atari). I took inspiration from that and moved it into space.
Early on in the development, I realised that by adding some physics variables, I was able to create other game styles - specifically a Lunar Lander mode
and a Skramble mode - with a platformer mode coming soon. My plan is to make as much of it playable on a mobile device, but this is a challenge,
because the user interface is so different. You can experience the game while I am developing it!
My levels for Doom II
Jumping Jack Flash  download zip
DM/Duel map, needs jump-enabled source-port, ZDoom tested
Love it or hate it, Doom is one of the most seminal video games ever made. Besides playing the game, creating maps for Doom is a fun exercise. Its "2.5D" world means it is three dimensional, but every x-y coordinate can only have one z-level, unless you circumvent the game's restrictions.
Despite this rather big restriction by modern standards, it allows map designers to create intricate detailed worlds that can be claustrophobically narrow
or breathtakingly wide. Map design has come a long way since the mid 90s and I cannot claim that any of my maps are special (not even by 1999's standard), but it does feel special that
anybody can use a map editor and the game will render these virtual worlds for you.
I created and released one map in 2000 using the DCK3.62 editor and in 2017 finished a second map which I had started in 1999, using GZDoomBuilder. (Thank you Loveless_TV and the twitch community for your support!)
The advancements in editing are phenomenal - I am happy that I got to experience the DCK (Doom Construction Kit) process, but the variants of DoomBuilder available today make the entry hurdles so much easier - if you are at all interested, give it a go.
Here are some of my favourites:
Boulder Dash →
My first game addiction and still one of my absolute favourite games with a basically perfect re-edition.
Perfect rendition of the classic C64 game.
An almost perfect modern lunar lander, automatic zooming is a help when landing but annoying or deadly when flying past terrain features.
Platform side scroller. Stunning graphics and sound, with its own game engine and level editor, but the user interface takes some getting used to. Zoom the page to have a larger playing field.