Commodore

A Complete Guide to CURSOR Tape Software

“What is CURSOR all about? It is a monthly magazine that comes to you as a cassette with five programs for your PET. Our philosphy is simple: CURSOR is a high-volume, low mark-up means of distributing high quality software for the PET. We make only a small profit on each subscription, and we think (hope?) that many people will subscribe.”
—Excerpted from Notes for CURSOR #1

Logo of CURSOR Magazine: an arrow wrapped around the word CURSOR.

CURSOR

CURSOR was a tape magazine for the Commodore PET that ran from July 1978 to May 1982. Each month (with a bit of schedule slippage), subscribers would receive a cassette with a "cover" program and five or six other programs that they could LOAD and RUN on their PETs, along with a short flyer containing a table of contents for the cassette, documentation for the month's programs, and miscellaneous editorial musings.

In the early 1980s, most of the schools in my region had at least one model of Commodore PET—usually the 2001-N or the 4016. Many of the programs we'd load from tape started up with CURSOR's standard title screen but I had no idea that CURSOR was a monthly tape magazine. None of these tapes had the original labels on them; they must have been copies of the originals, and almost certainly unauthorized copies. Piracy was a big problem for CURSOR.

In this guide, I look at each of the programs on the CURSOR tapes, with screenshots and commentary for each one. I also provide a link to a PRG version of each program, in case you want to download a single file and try it in an emulator. The "original file name" that I show is the filename as it appears on the archival D64s. As far as I know, there are no images of the original tapes online. We can't know for certain what those files were called, but it's probably reasonable to assume that the names given in the flyers are what actually appeared on each tape.

I am not hosting the full archive of CURSOR resources on this site. If you'd like a complete collection, I recommend visiting Bo Zimmerman's FTP archive for D64 images of all 30 tapes and archive.org for all 30 flyers in one PDF.

WARNING: with any PET software, there is a small possibility that the programmer has deployed the killer POKE to speed up the display. I have not tested every program on real hardware! Although the killer POKE may not be as scary as its reputation suggests, real PETs are getting older every day; straining the video hardware of these antique systems may not be the best idea. It's always prudent to be cautious when running unfamiliar programs.

Table of Contents

  • CURSOR #1 (July 1978) – BRICK, WANDER, SHARK, PLOT, and TYPER
  • CURSOR #2 (August 1978) – RACE, ZAP, GUESS, EST, and MAD
  • CURSOR #3 (September 1978) – BAR, DOTS, QUIX!, FLASH, and CARDS
  • CURSOR #4 (October 1978) – BOP, CALC, CLOCK!, INP, and CED
  • CURSOR #5 (November/December 1978) – HANOI, SHOOT, BSHIP, FACE, and HMAN
  • CURSOR #6 (January 1979) – BOX, BJACK, PACK, LIST, and CEDPR
  • CURSOR #7 (February 1979) – PRICER, SOUND!, MIND, FBALL, and PAPER
  • CURSOR #8 (March 1979) – REVERS!, DBOOK, SPACE!, MAZE, ADD, and X
  • CURSOR #9 (April 1979) – YAHTZEE!, SLOT, FLIP, CIRCLE, and GAMMON
  • CURSOR #10 (May 1979) – TITRATE, FINANCE, COURSE, ASM, and READER
  • CURSOR #11 (June 1979) – DEMON!, HI CALC, WIPEOUT, PEG, and STATES
  • CURSOR #12 (July 1979) – CANYON, GAUSS!, PICKUP, PIEGRAM, and FLIGHT!
  • CURSOR #13 (August/September 1979) – RATRUN, CARS, FERRY!, LEAP, and TCARD
  • CURSOR #14 (October 1979) – MATCH, SEARCH, BAT!, MORSE!, COPS, and COMING
  • CURSOR #15 (November/December 1979) – DUNGEON, FIFTEEN, GOMOKU, EVEREST, and HAWAII!
  • CURSOR Program Index by Category