I Played That! #8: Campaign Manager (C64)

Today’s entry isn’t so much about the game itself but the games around it. Compute! magazine was an invaluable resource for a nerd like me. Every month it came out with articles and tutorials on how to really learn how to program your computer. It gave clear instructions and examples that could really help one become a programmer. I, of course, mostly ignored all that and just focused on the games. It also had source code for games that you could type in, and I did. The games weren’t usually that great but hey, more games. Compute! also published Compute’s Gazette, a similar magazine that focused solely on Commodore computers. Again, this was a fantastic way to really learn programming and again: more games!

One of these games in particular was Campaign Manager, a political election simulator featured in issue 14 (August, 1984) of Compute’s Gazette (PDF link). My friend Mark was visiting and we both wanted to play this thing, so we began typing it in. Campaign Manager was written in machine language, and Compute! had developed a program to help type those in, since they were essentially just numbers. Here’s one page of the Campaign Manager code:

That’s one page out of nine. It’s in MLX code, a special machine language entry program that Compute! used to make entry easier and error-free. That’s a lot of typing, and soon both of us were exhausted, since neither of us was much of a typist. We somehow roped my mom into helping us key this monster in and eventually it was done and we were playing.

I can’t tell you much about the game itself. It was pretty in-depth for the time, and I know Mark and I played a bunch of it. After he left I played it a few times on my own, but since it was a two-player game, that wasn’t much fun.

It’s the most memorable of the Compute! games for me, though the magazine also at one point had a Commodore 64 word processor called Speed Script that I got a lot of use out of. I distinctly remember using Speed Script to type up a book report on Frank Herbert’s Dune. I got a B on it.

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