Contents of the MLOTRA.DOC file
MicroLink Personal Computer Users' Group
v1.2, Copyright 1989, Bob Lancaster
Do you remember Simon?
Simon was a hand-held electronic game, introduced in the mid
1970's. In it, you were challenged to reproduce an ever-growing
sequence of flashing lights and musical tones, using four colored
Its great success and simplicity spawned a huge number of
imitators, and was largely responsible for the hand-held electronic
game craze which continues to this day.
Otra (from the spanish "otra vez", or "one more time") is a
computerized memory game in the spirit of Simon.
Otra will run on any IBM PC/AT/XT/PS2 or close clone thereof, with
at least 100k of memory available after DOS is loaded.
Although the game looks best when played on a color monitor, it
plays just fine on a monochrome. (If you are using a monochrome or
composite monitor with a color graphics card, please see "Black And
White Mode" in the Games Parameters section below)
A Microsoft-compatible mouse, can be used. (Remember to load your
mouse driver before loading Otra).
If you run across a configuration on which the game will not run,
please let me know (address at end of this file)!
Microsoft Mouse Support
Monochrome/Composite monitor support
Top Ten Scores file
Statistics on multiple games
In Otra, you are shown a group of nine panels in a three by three
grouping, as shown in figure 1.
| + + | | 7 | 8 | 9 |
| + + | | 4 | 5 | 6 |
| + + | | 1 | 2 | 3 |
Figure 1 Figure 2
At the beginning of a round, one of these panels will flash
briefly, and, if the Sound Mode is on, a tone will play (See Sound
Mode in COMMANDS AND TOGGLES section of this file).
You must then repeat that "sequence" by pressing the correct key on
the numeric keypad of your keyboard. Figure 2 shows how the keys
correspond to the panels.
If you repeat the sequence correctly, the computer replays the
sequence, adding one more panel.
This continues, with you repeating an increasingly long sequence of
panels, until you make a mistake, or you complete the sequence.
Each round plays a little faster, and has a longer sequence of
panels to complete!
Points are accumulated for every correct panel, and bonus points
are given for completing a sequence. At the end of four rounds,
high score wins!
At the start of each turn, you are shown:
Your current score
Number of panels in the round
Points per panel in this round
Bonus points for a perfect round
After the round is over, you are awarded points based on the number
of panels in the longest sequence you correctly repeated. For
example, in round two, panels are worth two points. If you
correctly repeated a sequence of seven panels, you would earn
fourteen points (seven panels X two points each).
If you complete the entire sequence for the round (for example,
fifteen panels in round two), you are given bonus points.
STARTING THE GAME
At this point, you should be able to play the game, and get a feel
for it. You can read the rest of this document now at your leisure
to clarify points, and to explain some of the features you might
not understand your first few times through the game.
So, make sure you are in DOS, and type "MLOTRA" (without the
quotes) and press return. Follow the prompts, and enjoy!
Otra can be played either using the keyboard or a Microsoft-
The legend (the last line on the screen) always contains a list
of keys that are valid at any point in the game, along with a
one-word description of their function. (See "COMMANDS" below)
Most of the keys listed on the bottom line of the screen can be
entered via the mouse by pointing to the command and clicking
the left button of the mouse. (If you are new to mice,
"clicking" something means to place the mouse cursor on it and
press the appropriate button, in this case, the left.)
Also, boxes higher on the screen with messages such as "Press
return for next player" will allow you to click the box itself
to continue, rather than the command at the bottom of the
When selecting the panels to replay in a sequence, clicking a
panel will select it.
So, experiment with the mouse, and see what works. I think it's
fairly straightforward, but would appreciate any feedback on
ways you think it could be improved (address at end of file).
COMMANDS AND TOGGLES
A number of commands and toggles are available to enhance play, or
to allow you to tailor the game a little to suit your taste.
Alphabetically, these are:
A (AllScores command)
This displays a scorecard of all players, to compare how
everyone is doing in relation to each other. The highest
score(s) are emphasized with a flashing arrow.
B (BossKey command)
This displays a phony DOS screen. I'll explain for you honest
folks: this key is used when you are playing the game on company
time, and the boss suddenly appears. To return to the game, key
OK at the phony DOS prompt.
Esc (Exit command)
Use this key to end MLOtra before the game is over.
F (Fast Mode toggle)
If you just want to play the game, and not look at some of the
"animation" (such as the moving panels), turning the Fast Mode
on will do it. NOTE: This does not cause the sequence of panels
to show any faster.
Defaults to "No", showing all animation.
I (Program Info)
Displays information about the program and the author.
N (Next Prompt toggle)
This allows you to get rid of the "Press return for so-and-so's
turn" message, which some folks find annoying.
Defaults to "Yes", allowing the message to show.
O (Otra vez, or "repeat")
This gives you the ability to replay a sequence, but only once
P (Numbered Panel toggle)
This allows you to have numbers display in the panels instead
of the colored squares.
Defaults to "No", displaying colored blocks.
R (Round Prompt toggle)
This allows you to get rid of the "Round" message, which some
folks find annoying.
Defaults to "Yes", allowing the message to show.
S (Sound Mode toggle)
This allows you to turn on and off the sounds produced by the
game, which some folks find annoying.
Defaults to "Yes", producing sound.
T (TopTen scores command)
Displays the highest ten scores achieved on your machine. (This
information is stored in the file MLOTRA.SCR. To clear the top
ten, delete the file.)
COMMAND LINE PARAMETERS
In the section above, several options are referred to as "toggles".
This simply means that they can be in a "Yes" or "No" state.
(Note that the state of these toggles can be determined by looking
at the legend appearing at the bottom of your screen. If the
toggle description there begins with a capital letter, the toggle
is in a "Yes" state. For example, if a legend reads "Sound fast",
the sound toggle is set to "yes", and the fast toggle is set to
Each of them has a "default", which is the state (either yes or no)
in which they start out when Otra begins.
I set the defaults to the way I felt was best, but you may think
If you find yourself always changing one or more of the toggles
each time you play, you might want to set them on the DOS command
Any toggle can be flipped to the opposite of its default (Fast Mode
= "Yes", for example) by keying the toggle's letter following the
program name (MLOTRA) when you start up the game.
So, if you wanted to set "Round Prompt" to No, and Numbered Panels
Mode to "Yes" (the opposites of their defaults), at DOS you would
"MLOTRA R P"
...without the quotes, followed by the Return key. Be careful that
you leave a space between MLOTRA and the toggle(s), or DOS won't
recognize what you are trying to do.
This allows you to tailor the game a little to your taste, and if
you put this statement into a DOS batch file or menu processor, it
will save you from setting these toggles each time you start the
Toggles only valid from the command line:
B (Black And White mode)
If you are running a composite monitor on a color graphics card,
and the colors in MLOtra are hard to discern, keying "MLOTRA B"
at the DOS prompt will make MLOtra run in Black And White Mode.
Defaults to "Yes" if Monochrome adapter detected, "No"
If you have your mouse driver installed, but do not want to use
the mouse during MLOtra, keying "MLOTRA M" at the DOS prompt
will cause MLOtra to ignore the mouse.
If you run the program without this parameter, you can still
use the keyboard. Using this parameter simply keeps the mouse
cursor from being displayed.
If the mouse driver is not installed, this parameter has no
Defaults to "Yes" if mouse driver detected, "No" otherwise.
T (Top Ten Scores)
This is different than the "T" command available during game
play. It specifies whether a Top Ten Scores file should be
saved, and is useful if you are running the game from a write-
Defaults to "Yes".
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VERSIONS
VERSION 0.1 - 10/01/89
Demonstrated at MicroLink ShareFaire
VERSION 1.0 - 10/14/89
Released only to a few beta testers.
VERSION 1.1 - 10/20/89
Changed Sound Mode default to Yes.
VERSION 1.2 - 10/28/89
Changed number of panels per round.
Released to bulletin boards.
Thanks to all those folks who wrote nice letters and left great BBS
messages in response to my other games.
Thanks to Jay "Beta Test" Graham, for his input.
Thanks to Reed Harding for his spelling lesson!
A tip o' the hat as always to the officers and members of MicroLink
PCUG for the encouragement and support they always give my PC
Thanks to Eagle Performance Software, whose Shareware product
"QWIK" allows for some blazingly fast screenwrites in Turbo Pascal
and Turbo C.
Programmers interested in QWIK should contact Eagle at:
Eagle Performance Software Or Call Jim LeMay at:
TP products (817) 735-4833
P.O. Box 122237
Fort Worth, TX 76121-2237
ALSO BY THE AUTHOR
MicroLink Yaht - The popular dice game
MicroLink Shut The Box - The traditional board game
I would appreciate any comments, complaints, or wish lists of
features you'd like to see! And, if you have any favorite old
games you'd like to see programmed, I'm always looking for another
which would interest me!
Also, if you like the game enough (and can afford) to send a small
($5) donation, I won't argue. And my wife will understand my long
nights at the PC a little better!
Either way: Enjoy the game, and give copies of it to all your
friends. And enemies. Strangers on the street...
I can be contacted by mail at:
Bob Lancaster / P.O. Box 5612 / Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
Or by modem at:
MicroLink PCUG BBS (AKA So. Cal Builder's Board)
818/961-7903 - 24hrs/365 days - 300/1200/2400/9600
Please include the version number of Otra in correspondence.
Those interested in finding out more about MicroLink can contact
the board listed above, or by mail:
MicroLink PCUG Headquarters
15865-B E. Gale Ave. Box 1003
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
Tell them Otra sent you!