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Exploring the oddities and almost-classics of the TRS-80

While the TRS-80 was a relatively short-lived and underpowered computer compared to its contemporaries, it burned brightly for that period -- and with some very strange games, as showcased today by Gamasutra.
While the TRS-80 was a relatively short-lived and underpowered computer compared to its contemporaries, it burned brightly for that period -- and with some very strange games, as showcased today by Gamasutra. One of the best-loved classics for the system -- look at the YouTube comments on the video above -- turns out to be The Dancing Demon, by Leo Christopherson. The computer, released in 1977 -- the same year as the Apple II -- was not capable of color, and its graphics look especially primitive today. But Dancing Demon's animation made a strong impression on the system's fans -- a fan base it grew thanks to its ubiquity and affordability; it was sold across the U.S. in Radio Shack stores. "Leo Christopherson was one of the most talented animators working on the TRS-80, adapting to the system's limited graphics to create appealing characters with fluid movement and considerable personality," writes Dale Dobson in today's Gamasutra feature, an overview of the early personal computer's game library. "Dancing Demon was not really a game, but a fun creativity tool -- users could enter music, note by note, and arrange choreography to go along with it, stringing together a series of canned dance steps to put a tap-dancing demon through his paces." "A wacky and unique entry in the annals of early computer gaming, Dancing Demon stayed in active release for years, issued by three different publishers -- including a stint as an official Radio Shack release. The full overview, which takes in early computer's classics and oddities, is live now on Gamasutra.

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