Compute! (December 1983)

in #retrocomputing4 months ago (edited)

Cover of the December 1983 issue of Compute!

Compute was a popular multi-format magazine published throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. It was oriented towards the home user and covered the popular computers of the day. The December 1983 issue includes:


  • The Home Office - How computers can be used to do your job at home.

  • The Christmas of the Computer? - Christmas 1983 was expected to be a huge year for the home computer industry. In 1983 Coleco introduced the Adam (which failed miserably), Atari introduced the 600XL and 800XL along with a few other models that ended up being cancelled, Commodore slashed prices on the VIC-20 and Commodore 64, the first rumors of the PCJr appear, among others.

  • Calorie Cop - A type-in program for the Apple II, VIC-20, Commodore 64, TI-99/4A and Color Computer that calculates your calorie output based on activity and other inputs.

  • Paycheck Analysis - This type-in program for the VIC-20, Commodore 64, PET, Atari 8-bit, TI-99/4A, Apple II, Color Computer and Timex/Sinclair will analyze your paycheck for accuracy and project future take-home pay based on a variety of variables including base salary, cost of living, overtime, various deductions and more.

Education and Recreation

  • Nightflyer - A type-in game for the Atari 8-bit and Apple II that simulates landing a plane at night.

  • Space Thief - A type-in two-player game for the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 in which you must smuggle energy pods from your opponent.

  • Chopperoids - A type-in game for the Atari 8-bit that is sort of a cross between Asteroids and Choplifter.


  • Millionaire - A stock market simulation game for the Atari 400/800, Commodore 64, Apple II and other computers.

  • The Witness - Another interactive fiction title from Infocom for a wide variety of computers, this one featuring a murder mystery.

  • MAC/64 - An improved macro assembler for Atari 8-bit computers

  • Stellar Triumph - A two-player space combat game for the Commodore 64. A bit like asteroids but with two players and without the asteroids. However, the game is very configurable with the ability to change the amount of fule, whether or not the ships have intertia, gravity, and a variety of other parameters.

Table of Contents from the December 1983 issue of Compute!

Columns and Departments

  • The Editor's Notes - A look at the competition in the computer market in the upcoming year.

  • Readers' Feedback - Letters from readers about disks, cassettes and temperature tolerances; a shortage of 1541 disk drives for the Commodore 64; viewing 1541 disk drive ROM; Atari XL features; dual joysticks on the TI-99/4A, Atari disk drive RAM requirements; and much more.

  • Computers and Society: High Tech, High Touch, and 1984 - An interesting perspective on the year 1984 and George Orwell's 1984.

  • The Beginner's Page: Zones of Unpredictability, Part 2 - Part two of a series on random numbers.

  • The World Inside the Computer: Winnie the Pooh's Alphabet Adventures - A 4-year old's adventure with a new computer. A pretty detailed look at the NEC Trek/PC-6001A computer and the Disney software available for it.

  • Learning with Computers - An overview of the book Learning with Logo.

  • On the Road with Fed D'Ignazio: The Electronic Chalkboards: The BBC and the PowerPad - A look at the BBC computer, particularly for education use. The BBC never really had success in the U.S. Also, a look at the PowerPad which was a large tablet input device that could be used as a touch pad, art tool, or even as a reconfigurable keyboard with overlays.

  • Friends of the Turtle: A Turtle Resource Update - A look at some of the books and other resources available for Logo and Turtle graphics.

The Journal

  • SuperBASIC 64 - A type-in program to add 37 new commands to the Commodore 64's built-in BASIC.

  • List and Scroll for the VIC and 64 - A type-in utility program that formats listings of BASIC programs, e.g. makes each statement appear on a separate line, indents FOR-NEXT and IF-THEN statements, etc.

  • Commodore Files for Beginners, Part 2 - Part two of a series of articles on files for the Commodore 64. This part covers creating files programatically, checking for errors, reading files programatically, and more.

  • Art Museum - A Commodore 64 and VIC-20 type-in program that lets you create and save art created with the special graphics characters that are part of the character set and are printed on the keys.

  • Bitmap Graphics on the 64 - A tutorial on bitmap graphics for the Commodore 64, including how such graphics are mapped in memory.

  • Atari Screenbyter - A graphics utility that lets you create screen displays in a variety of graphics modes.

  • Disk Explorer for Commodore - A type-in program that allows you to display a disassembly of the 1541's machine language instructions as well as a hex dump of the RAM and ROM.

  • The Hidden Pitfalls of Computer Arithmetic - A look at how you can get "wrong" results, including things like rounding errors.

Back cover of the December 1983 issue of Compute!

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