Feeds

(Back) into The Valley

Remembering a BASIC coding classic from 1982

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

We all had a lot of fun, tweaking the code to cheat and just playing the game the proper way.

The Valley - logo

What are you... Barbarian or Wizard?

Time went by and other kids moved on to different, more visually exciting games, but I always kept the Boots C15 cassette I kept The Valley on near to hand. Dragon games were more expensive and less exciting than their Spectrum equivalents, so I didn't have a lot else to play. Only Ken Kalish's Doom-before-its time Phantom Slayer got as much screen time.

But The Valley got me really programming. A Frogger clone came first, with 6809 machine code routines Poke'd into place to handle the side-scrolling logs and lorries.

The Valley - screens

Screen magic: text-as-graphics in glorious monochrome

And I carried on playing it. Until A levels took up almost all of my free time. Then University.

Computing Today was long gone, but I never stopped thinking about The Valley. It never ocurred to me not to hack into the Amstrad PCW 8256 I bought up to type up my third-year Physics project.

I came back to The Valley many years later only to find that old Boots C15 tape was long lost - though I still have the Dragon 32, Phantom Slayer, a fiendish Donkey Kong clone and a few other titles, all of which still load and run. I occasionally get it out for my son, who's young enough still not to dismiss the ancient four-colour blocky graphics out of hand.

The Valley - player

IT professionals, take up your swords...

I pondered coding it up for Mac OS X, but without the listing I'd not only be re-inventing the wheel but producing a hybrid of recollection and guesswork. It would be a Valley, but not the Valley.

Since I couldn't remember the name of the publication The Valley first appeared in, Google proved unhelpful.

Until a couple of weeks ago, when I came across Fraser Charlton's Valley memorial page, complete with a version written in BBC Basic, a Windows runtime of BBC port, and some scans of the original pages - it's where I got the pictures from for this article.

Fraser's now a Consultant Pathologist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne, but he still remembers The Valley fondly. I do too, and I suspect we're not alone.

Right, last one to Vounim's Lair is a wuss... ®

I'd like to thank Fraser for not only posting the sample scans and BBC Basic code, but also agreeing to my cheeky request to scan in the entire listing.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.