Byte (December 1981)


Cover of the December 1981 issue of Byte

The December 1981 issue of Byte magazine weighs it at around 548 pages. All the more impressive when you consider that this issue was published only a few months after the IBM PC introduced. At this time, in the business world, if you were using a computer it was probably CP/M based or something custom. At home you would have been using a TRS-80, Apple II, Atari, PET or VIC-20. This issue includes:


  • The Coinless Arcade - A look at some of the newest games for computers available including Dino Wars (TRS-80 Color Computer), Voyage of the Valkyrie (TRS-80, Apple II), Space Warrior (Apple II), Apple Panic (Apple II), Galactic Empire (Atari 400/800), Olympic Decathlon (Apple II, TRS-80), Gorgon (Apple II), Raster Blaster (Apple II), Missile Command (Atari 400/800), International Grand Prix (Apple II), Snoggle (Apple II), Gobbler (Apple II), VIC Super Lander (VIC-20), Star Thief (Apple II), Eastern Front (Atari 400/800), Ultima (Apple II), and Asylum (TRS-80).

  • Build a Touch Tone Decoder for Remote Control - A detailed guide to building both a DTMF-encoding circuit (basically the same as the dial-pad on a touch-tone phone) and a decoder that can be used for control purposes.

  • Color Computer from A to D, Make Your Computer "See" and "Feel" Better - The first in a series of articles on the TRS-80 Model I, Model II, and Color Computer. This article includes instructions for using the Joystick port on the Color Computer to collect data such as temperature, light intensity, and other data (up to four channels at once).

  • The Atari Tutorial, Part 4: Display-List - Part four in a series of technical articles on Atari computers. This part focuses on display-list interrupts.

  • How to Build a Maze - A method for generating a traditional maze with one starting point, one ending point, with all locations reachable from the start, and only one path from start to finish.

  • Toward a Structured 6809 Assembly Language, Part 2: Implementing a Structured Assembler - Part 2 in a series on creating a structured assembly language for 6809 CPUs. The first part involved creating a set of structured control statements. This part implements a structured assembler.

  • MIKBUG and the TRS-80, Part I - Part 1 of a series on building a programming system for the MEK 6800 D1 (Motorola 6800 evaluation kit). This part focuses on creating a cross-assembler for the Motorola 6800 on the TRS-80.

Table of Contents from the December 1981 issue of Byte


  • Robotwar - A game in which you program robots to fight each other on the Apple II.

  • BYTE's Arcade - A review of Olympic Decathlon for the TRS-80 and Apple II, a comparison of two Missile Command clones (ABM and Missile Defense both for the Apple II), a review of Gorgon (Defender Clone) for the Apple II, and a review of Commbat (a strategy game designed to play against another player over a modem) for the TRS-80).

  • alphaSyntauri Music Synthesizer - A combination hardware/software music synthesizer for the Apple II.

  • Battle of the Asteroids - A comparison of various Asteroids clones including Planetoids (Apple II), Super Nova (TRS-80), Apple-oids (Apple II), The Asteroids Field (Apple II), Meteroids in Space (Apple II), Bubbles (Apple II), and Asteron (Apple II).