I Played That! #25: Conqueror (TRS-80)

Either my memory has failed me or the Internet has.

In high school, the GT (Gifted and Talented) room was where we hung out. GT at my school was a joke; we didn’t do anything in there except goof off, with little to no structured activities. We had some tools at our disposal, though, one of which was a TRS-80 Model III.

There were a few games we played on it. One was some kind of Risk-like wargame. Another was called, I think, Conqueror.

The only trace I can find of Conqueror is from archives of “CLOAD” magazine, a newsletter about programming on the TRS-80. These were simple, free games, which lines up with my memories. But apart from tables of contents, I can’t find any discussion or screen shots of the games themselves to see if the Conqueror they mention is the one I remember. Let’s assume it is.

Conqueror was a dead simple game. You were a gun at the bottom of the screen, and you could move horizontally and fire. Alien spacecraft would zip along the top of the screen and you had to shoot them. They would shoot at you, but if you shot one of their missiles it would eliminate it.

The only challenge was to your patience. This was proven when, one morning, before school, someone — I don’t remember who, but I don’t think it was me — loaded up Conqueror and set a stapler on the space bar (the “fire” button). Then they walked away. When we returned at lunch the stapler had racked up a score so high it had gone into scientific notation. It simply fired constantly, eliminating aliens and their missiles. And it could have gone on that way forever.

The stapler was declared the King of Conqueror and given all rights and privileges of that title.

Not long afterwards, a sequel to Conqueror showed up. I don’t remember its name, but it was identical except for one detail: when you shot an alien, it would fall out of the sky and you had to dodge its indestructible corpse. The stapler sucked at this game and would die right out of the gate.

The “gifted and talented” kids had triumphed over their would-be mechanical master.

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