Media: Type-in

Hardware theme

Distributed as printed computer code intended to be manually typed into computer software capable of running and/or compiling it.


The first video game about Media: Type-in was released in 1973.

Creative Computing, Creative Computing Software and Usborne Publishing has published most of these games

Very early computers did not come with pre-written computer readable media. Users where given printed code of applications and operating systems in the product documentation. Sometimes they even got keyboards to type it in instead of toggling in binary code using switches. So, toggle/type in operating system, toggle/type in a programming language, toggle/type the game's code, then play. Gamers were not spared this task just because the game could be purchased on punch tape, cassette, or magnetic disk media. Their system would need an OS and application typed in so that the system could use the peripheral that interfaced with the media. Also, the programming language of the game was still needed in many cases. This is why many of these ancient games could be purchased in a box from a store and dispute having a 5.25" disk inside or an audio cassette containing the standalone game ready to be run, the included manual would also have the game's code printed in it.

Later, programs were printed in magazines or books and meant to be manually typed in to a computer capable of running and/or compiling it. This was generally not strictly necessary as it had been before since the publishers could mail media as well as their printed material. But, the type-in process was valued as a learning experience for the user. Even the least experienced computer user was likely to learn something about a program by typing it in that could not be learned by simply running it. They would also be better equipped to modify the program. Many printed materials emphasized this learning aspect by going into great detail about how the game logic functioned.

Another advantage of a type-in game is the ability to port it to a platform not directly supported by the publisher. In the early days of gaming, publishers of type-in games generally expected or even encouraged this. Supporting versions for dozens of computer systems was just not in their business model. They could, for example, sell their Atari 400/Commodore VIC-20/Apple][ game to PET, TRS-80, Nascom, Sorcerer, and Ohio Scientific users because there were some users willing to alter the game's code make the game work for them. Some type-in code for game distributed on digital media required very minor alterations amounting to dozen or so bytes and a publisher would note these specific changes with the code (rather than publish and support their game for the other system).

These days, usually due to copyright difficulties, some games can only be distributed as printed computer code. Most of the time it is much older games that fall into this category.

Parent group



Ohio Scientific 175
Apple II E 107
Altair 8800 84
TRS-80 53
Atari 400/800 20
Tandy Coco 19
VIC-20 19
Commodore PET 18
Electron 11
C64 11
Apple I 8
ZX Spectrum 7
Dragon32 6
North Star Computers 6
Amstrad CPC 5
C16/Plus4 3
Sharp MZ 2
NEC PC8001 2
MICRO 7 - FM7 2
Sol-20 2
TI99 2
Atari 2600 1
Atari ST 1
NEC PC6001 1
TI Calculators 1
Linux 1

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