Tombstone City

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Tombstone City is a single-player shooter video game created for the TI-99/4A home computer system. It was released by Texas Instruments (TI) during the 4th quarter of 1981. It was created by programmer John C. Plaster and released on Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module cartridge with Part #3052 retailing originally for $39.95 (USD).

Tombstone City
Tombstone City Manual Cover
Tombstone City Manual (Front Cover) [1] [2]
Publisher(s) Texas Instruments (TI)
Original Retail Price $39.95 (USD)
Programmer(s) John C. Plaster
Part# PHM 3052
Format(s) Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module
Release 1981 (4th Quarter)
Genre(s) Shooter


The player in Tombstone City controls a spaceship referred to in the literature as a schooner. The object is to destroy the primary targets which are green aliens referred to in the manual as Morgs, and secondary targets which are purple tumbleweeds. The purpose of the game is to woo others back to live at an unnamed southwestern town in the United States by reducing the number of aliens and destroying these tumbleweeds. The score is labeled as "population in the game. The game is over when the player loses all his/her schooners.

The player's schooner starts out in the center of sixteen blocks right in the middle of the screen. This structure of blocks represents a safe zone where the Morgs cannot enter and kill the player. The player can kill either Morgs or tumbleweeds within the range of the safe area of blocks, however, most of the targets will require the player to leave the safety of the blocks and venture outside, making the player much more vulnerable. Each tumbleweed destroyed earns the player 100 points of population. Each Morg earns 150 points. Morgs spawn wherever two Saguaro Cacti touch, either side-by-side, above one another, or vertically. Generally, when a Morg is shot, it creates a new catus. When a Morg is killed while touching a producing pair of cacti, however, it will destroy the cacti and produce a single new Morg. The object of the game is to destroy all producing pairs of cacti. Doing so will pass a level of the game called a day, and move onto the next level or day with cacti regenerated in a new random position and earning the player a new schooner.

One caveat while killing the Morgs is to be aware that killing a Morg within one space of a single cactus will produce a new producing pair of cacti. Producing adjacent cacti pairs will extend the day or level. Also, kill Morgs at the exits/entrances of the safety zone of blocks prevents the player from leaving or entering that entrance or exit. If the player blocks all exits/entrances, and the player is within the safety zone, the player's schooner is transported to a random spot outside the zone where he/she must continue the game with no safe place to hide from the Morgs. If the player is killed at this point, new schooners will generate outside the safety zone in a random spot. The player can open up entrances/exits into the safe zone by killing Morgs adjacent to two Cacti where one happens to block the entry/exit, but this can be a lengthy and difficult process.

Advertising Blurbs

Front Cover of Manual

Your survival instinct is challenged immediately as you find yourself in a 21st Century-Old West ghost town threatened by an invading hoard of green alien monsters.

Back Cover of Manual

It's the 21st Century and you're faced with stopping a hoard of green alien monsters before they take over an Old West ghost town and the world! Points are added to your score as you and your security force of prairie schooners stop these villainous creatures called morgs.

Tombstone City: 21st Century module features let you

  • Destroy alien morgs.
  • Eliminate generating pairs of saguaro cactuses.
  • Wipe out tumbleweeds.

Triton Catalog - Spring 1984

You against the computer, testing your strategy and your skill. In a future Old West ghost town, you face an invading hoard of - yuk! - green alien Morgs. They live off two things - people and tumbleweeds. Stop 'em before they take over Earth! (Wired Remote Controllers recommended.)



If you 're looking for an exciting new way to test your game-playing skills, then the Tombstone City game is the answer. Your survival instinct is challenged immediately as you find yourself in the 21st Century in an Old West ghost town threatened by an invading hoard of green alien monsters. These villainous creatures called morgs live off of only two things - tumbleweeds and people.

It's up to you and your security force of prairie schooners to stop the morgs before they infest the earth. In accomplishing this goal, you can score points by:

  • Destroying alien morgs.
  • Watching for adjacent pairs of saguaro cactuses. (It's from here that a new morg is generated!}
  • Wiping out tumbleweeds.

A one-player game, Tombstone City is designed to test your strategy, as well as your skill. Movement on the screen can be controlled by the Wired Remote Controllers or from the keyboard.

Tombstone City: the 21st Century is available as either a Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module or a diskette-based game. Note that the diskette-based version requires the TI Disk Memory System, the Memory Expansion unit, and must be used with either the TI Extended BASIC or Editor/Assembler Command Module (all sold separately}. Follow the set of directions that applies to your version of the game.

Getting Started

To start the game, choose the level of skill on which you want to play: Novice, Master, or Insane. For information on the keys used to play the game and on the point values of the targets, press AID. (Once play begins, AID is no longer available.)

  • Novice level - The schooner moves twice as fast as the more. Also, one new morg is generated when you hit a morg that is next to two adjacent saguaro cactuses.
  • Master level - The schooner's speed is the same as that of the morg. Once again, one new morg is generated when you shoot a morg that is next to adjacent saguaro cactuses.
  • Insane level - The schooner's speed is the same as that of the morg. On this level, two morgs are generated when a morg is hit next to two adjacent saguaros.

To select the level of skill, press 1, 2, or 3 when the selection list or the AID information is displayed. If you press AID and want to return to the selection list, press any key other than 1, 2, or 3.

Playing the Game

After you select the skill level, the game begins with a playing field of blue squares surrounded by saguaro cactuses and tumbleweeds. A schooner is in the center of the square, and all of the saguaros are in pairs. The pairs of saguaros are generators of the alien creatures called morgs.

The squares encompass the remnants of Tombstone City's deteriorating cemetery, a safe area into which the morgs will not venture. The bottom of the display keeps track of the day, the population (your score), and the number of remaining schooners.

You can stop a game at any time and return to the skill selection display by pressing BACK. To start a game over with the same skill level, press REDO.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to score as many points as possible, while eliminating generating pairs of saguaros. The more points you score, the greater the population of Tombstone City.

You start the game with a supply of 10 schooners. Play continues until the schooner supply is exhausted. A New Day begins when all morgs and all morg generators (pairs of saguaros) have been destroyed. Saguaros are destroyed when a missile hits a morg next to two adjacent saguaros.

The schooner moves and fires horizontally and vertically. To move the schooner, press the arrow keys ↑ (E), ←(S),→(D), and ↓ (X) or I (UP), J (LEFT), K (RIGHT), M (DOWN). To fire the schooner's missile, press Q, Y, or ENTER. If the Wired Remote Controllers are used, move the lever to direct the schooner, and press the FIRE button to fire the schooner's missile. Position your schooner as rapidly and accurately as possible in order to fire its missile at morgs and tumbleweeds. If a morg is hit, it becomes a saguaro and adds points to your score. If a tumbleweed is hit, it disappears and also increases the score.

Remember, morgs cannot enter the area of the blue squares. However, if a schooner is surrounded by saguaros while in this safe area, the schooner dies, and a new schooner (if any are left) is placed randomly outside the safe area. If your schooner is in danger of being attacked outside these borders and the area is not entirely surrounded by saguaros, press the SPACE BAR, and the schooner reenters safe territory, and 1,000 points are deducted from your score.

Normally, a morg is produced every 10 seconds. However, if you fire a missile and there are less than 10 tumbleweeds and no morgs left, a new morg is generated immediately. If a missile hits a morg next to two adjacent saguaros, these saguaros instantly become either one or two morgs, depending on the level of play. So be ready to fire again!

Note: There is a limited amount of time to destroy any remaining morgs after all generating pairs of saguaro cactuses have been eliminated. If you find yourself in this limited time period, you must destroy the remaining morgs as fast as possible. Otherwise. the computer will time out, and you will have to restart by turning your computer off and then on again.


The population (score) increases by 150 for each morg you destroy, and that morg becomes a saguaro. Tumbleweeds are worth 100 points each, and a fresh supply of 20 is generated each time the current 20 are eliminated.

If all adjacent pairs of saguaros and all morgs are destroyed, a New Day begins and the player is awarded an additional schooner and 1,000 bonus points. Each New Day begins with more generating pairs of saguaros than the day before, until a maximum of 30 pairs is reached.


To plan your next move, be on the lookout for the generation of a new morg. This occurs when the safe area lights up and a white background is placed around the saguaro from which the morg will be produced. As your skills increase, you'll note a definite pattern of morg generation.

End of the Game

The game is over when there are no schooners left. To play another game with the same skill level, press REDO. To play a game at a different skill level, press BACK, and the program returns to the skill selection list. To end a session with the module, press QUIT to return to the master title screen.



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