The massive spread of “drug wars”, from your calculator to your phone

It Late nineties, sixth period. You’re sitting in the back of the classroom, barely listening to your second algebra lesson, fiddling with your school’s TI-82 graphing calculator. The only account you actually learn is that cocaine costs more than acid, and heroin can be very profitable in Coney Island.

Before everyone had cell phones, discover millions of teens across the country drug wars, a simple game about buying and selling drugs across New York City neighborhoods while dodging Officer Hardas (yes, that’s his name) and his deputies, thieves, or anyone else who tried to stop you from supplying contraband chemicals to hungry customers. You have 30 days to buy low and sell high to earn as much cash as possible, or at least enough to pay off the loan term.

Next year drug wars He will be 40 years old. In that time, it has evolved from a DOS game into a calculator game, a web browser game, and – more recently – a smartphone app, sometimes known as doping wars While that.

“The number of game ports still amazes me,” John E. Dell, the original game author, says in an interview with WIRED.

Dell Books First Edition of drug wars On his TRS-80 for his sophomore computer class he said he recently played a game at his friend’s house that involved buying and selling merchandise at fluctuating prices. Del said he can’t remember which game, but it probably is pole. He decided to adapt this style of play to one that includes the products of cuteness, speed, herbs, acid, heroin and cocaine.

Dell’s teacher reluctantly gave him an A on the assignment.

“I can vividly remember him putting a sulky face on paper,” Dale said. “He didn’t like it.”

Dell later rewrote the game in DOS and uploaded it to the bulletin board system (BBS), which was the way computer users in the 1980s communicated, shared files, or played games online.

After high school, Dell forgot the game and enrolled in the US Naval Academy, where he studied computer science when he began his military career.

drug wars It continued to evolve as it was reprogrammed into an actual BBS game. It was also adapted to early Windows versions, but this was in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when computers were often reserved for the rich and/or geeks.

drug wars It really spread (sometime before that word was used to describe anything but pathogens) when it appeared on the TI-82 graphing calculator – the same device that would be found in any high school advanced math class during the 1990s and 2000s .

Rewritten by Jonathan Mayer drug wars on his graphing calculator in 1993. Meyer, who was a sophomore in high school, shared the game with his friends using a homemade cable that allowed him to connect his graphing calculator to his computer. From there it spread among his friends, and then throughout the school.

“I knew it was a hit when I walked past the math class and saw the teacher playing it alone on the instrument displaying the calculator screen on the overhead monitor,” Meyer said in an email.

Meyer explained that he, like many of his peers, was drawn to the game because of the prohibited nature of the drug content at the time. It didn’t hurt that the game’s simplicity was easy to understand even for the most casual gamers.

“All credit should be given to the original programmer for designing the original great game in the DOS version,” Meyer said, referring to Dell. “I drew a few other things and did some games myself, but none of them became viral sensations.”

Meyer was a mechanical engineering student at Georgia Tech when he learned that one of his former high school classmates had modified his original software, added his own name to it, and uploaded it to one of his more recent primitive file-sharing sites. the nineties.

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