Program and manual contents copyright 1983 Eric Freeman
     Copyright Notice: On receipt of this computer program and associated
     documentation (the software), the author grants you a nonexclusive
     license to execute the enclosed software.  This software is protected
     by copyright.  You are prohibited from reproducing, translating, or
     distributing this software in any unauthorized manner.
     If you've ever thought about the tiny particles of the subatomic
     world, you must have wondered about those protons and photons, so
     small that no one has ever seen them.  Here's a game that takes you
     to that subatomic world -- in search of the elusive Weakons.  Your
     objective is to capture as many Weakons as you can and deliver them
     to the generator at the center of the screen.
     But watch out!  Your craft shrinks to subatomic size, so you have to
     use your joystick to dodge the particles zooming from right to left
     acoss the screen.  You crash if a meson or gamma photon or ionizing
     radiation cloud hits you. If you don't blast the mesons away, they
     come back to get you.  You seek out the Weakons that appear every 20
     seconds, and guide them carefully to the generator.  When you dock in
     the center barrel, the energy dial registers your total.
     Capturing several Weakons causes the particle accelerator at the
     bottom of the screen to speed up, making your task even more
     hazardous.  But your score mounts and eventually you're awarded more
     lives for your skill.  There are ten difficulty levels that you can
     choose as you grow more expert at the game.  Challenge a friend to
     try the two-player version, too.
         One ATARI Joystick per player
         16K RAM
         ATARI 810 or 1050 Disk Drive
     Users wishing to contact the author may write to him at:
         P.O. Box 10005
         New Zealand
                Getting Started

     1.  Remove any program cartridge from the cartridge slot of your
     2.  Plug your joystick controllers into the first controller jack of
     your computer console.  (To play the two-player version, plug two
     joysticks into the first two controller jacks.)
     3.  a. Have your computer turned off.
         b. Turn on your TV set.
         c. When the busy light goes out, open the disk drive door and
     insert the WEAKON diskette with the label in the lower right hand
     corner nearest to you.  Close the door.  (Use disk drive one if you
     have more than one drive.)
         d. Turn on your computer and your TV set.  The program will load
     into computer memory and start automatically.
     When the program has loaded into computer memory, the following
     screen displays:
            (C) ERIC FREEMAN
     The following soon appears to replace the first display screen:
            1 PLAYER GAME
            PRESS SELECT 
            FOR 2 PLAYERS
            PRESS OPTION TO
            CHANGE LEVEL 01
            PRESS START
            TO BEGIN GAME
     The title screen shows difficulty level one.  Press the OPTION key to
     raise the level as far as 10.  You may hold the OPTION key down
     continuously to change levels.
     During game play press the OPTION key to return to the first screen. 
     Then press the OPTION key again to advance levels.
     Number of Players

     You may play WEAKON with one or two players.  The game is set at
     first for a one player game, but you can switch it back and forth by
     pressing the SELECT key.
                Playing WEAKON
     After you've made your choices, press the START key to begin the
     game.  The shrinkage process begins as your craft appears in the
     middle of the screen.  The accelerator is at the bottom and the
     proton/antiproton target is on the right.  Almost immediately
     particles shed off the target and streak from right to left toward
     you.  Destroy them by pressing the joystick button when they're in
     line with the center of your craft.
     The gamma photons are shaped like horizontal bars with jagged edges. 
     They're attracted to the electromagnetic field around you.  They're
     hard to hit, and they destroy you if they hit you first.  If you
     dodge them successfully, they just disappear off the left side of the
     The ionizing radiation isn't as difficult to destroy.  It's a larger
     target with an indistinct shape.  But it usually has some angular
     deviation, so you should maneuver quickly in front before you fire.
     Less frequently a large meson darts about the screen.  It's a large
     figure with some particles surrounding it.  Destroy the mesons! 
     They're attracted to your craft, but unlike the photons, they don't
     disappear off the left side of your screen.  They might come back
     after you just when you think you're safe.
     The Weakon appears about every 20 seconds.  If you can catch it with
     the "cup" at the top of your craft, the pulse generator appears in
     the middle of the screen.  Maneuver towards the left side of the
     generator and place the Weakon in the center barrel.  When you've
     docked accurately, the energy dial appears and you're disconnected
     from the Weakon.  Each unit of energy is worth 10 points.
     After a short delay the shrinkage begins again, and you're back in
     the energy vortex.
     Catching two Weakons increases the accelerator energy.  This means
     your playing level goes up and things happen faster.  There are ten
     levels in all but if you survive the tenth (it's highly unlikely!)
     the speed of play remains at that level.
     In the one-player game the score panel at the top of the screen
     appears as follows:
            YOUR SCORE 000000
     In the two-player game the score panel looks like this:

       PLAYER ONE 000000  PLAYER TWO 000000
     You score points for destroying advancing particles and catching
     Weakons, as follows:   
                 POINTS TABLE
         GAMMA PHOTON       ... 20 POINTS
         MESONS             ... 60 POINTS
         WEAKONS  FROM 650 TO 1280 POINTS
     You can fire the weapons on your craft continuously by holding down
     the joystick button.  But the key to winning the game is dodging
     projectiles fired out of the target proton/antiproton.
     The number of lives remaining is displayed by the figures at the
     bottom center of the play field.  This tally doesn't include the
     craft you're using.  For example, at the beginning of play when you
     have four craft, you see three figures on the display, besides your
     present player.
     An extra craft is allotted when you gain 10000 points.  This bonus is
     displayed in the "lives remaining" position.
     The computer keeps the highest score earned since you loaded the
     program.  This is displayed when all players have lost all their
     craft in any particular game.  You may move either joystick in any
     direction to restart the game when the high score is displayed.
     The current skill level is displayed in the bottom right corner of
     the playing screen.  There are ten levels increasing in difficulty
     from 1 to 10.
             Interrupting the Game
     Press the space bar on your keyboard to freeze the display and stop
     play temporarily.  Press the space bar again to resume play.

     Press the START key at any time to restart your current game.
     Use continual vertical motion to avoid the photons, which aim
     directly for you if you stay still.
     The photons are difficult to hit, but tapping the joystick often
     works better for lining them up than more aggressive movement.
     Get as many points as you can in the lower screens before  catching
     any WEAKONS.
     You must aim at the center of the ionizing radiation and the mesons
     to destroy them.
     Stay towards the left side of the screen if possible.  This allows
     more reaction time.
               Author's Footnote
     This game was inspired by the search for the elusive Weakons, massive
     elementary particles thought to be the carriers of the weak nuclear
     force.  The group of three particles more properly known as
     intermediate vector bosons are currently being sought in the products
     of high energy particle collisions, most notably in the end result of
     colliding a proton beam with a counter rotating antiproton beam.  The
     three varieties proposed by the vague electroweak theory are the
     charge W+ and W- and the neutral Zo.  The former two may have been
     observed recently at the European Organization for Nuclear Research
     (CERN) facilities in Geneva.  After observing a billion high energy
     events, two separate groups working with different detection
     apparatus decided five candidates' collisions showed unambiguous
     evidence for the existence of the W particle.
     The Z particle, thought to be ten times as rare as the W bosons,
     won't be seriously looked for until the 2000 billion electron volt
     particle accelerator at Fermilab is completed in 1985.  The current
     energies achieved at CERN approach 540 billion electron volts (540
     By comparison the mass of the W Weakon has been tentatively
     determined as 79.5 GeV with the Zo weighing in at 90 GeV.  The
     particle's large mass is a consequence of the manner in which the
     weak nuclear force acts over very small distances.  The massless
     photon, carrier of the electromagnetic force, is thought to have an
     infinite range so conversely it was proposed in 1935 by Japanese
     physicist Hideki Yukawa that the carriers of the weak and strong
     nuclear forces must have mass.  Th moderatley heavy pi meson was
     found to be the carrier of the strong force in 1947.  This indicated
     that the shorter acting weak force must use a heavier carrier, but no
     machine existed at the time with sufficient energy to search for it.
     In the late 1960s and 70s a theory unifying the electromagnetic and

     weak nuclear forces was developed independently by a number of
     physicists and the search for Weakons was on in earnest again.  By
     finding this particle the electroweak theory will be one more link in
     the chain towards the grand unification of all nature's forces.
     David B. Cline, Carlo Rubbia, and Simon van der Meer, "The Search for
     Intermediate Vector Bosons," Scientific American, March 1982.
     Haim Harari, "The Structure of Quarks and Leptons," Scientific
     American, April 1983.

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