The amazing part of the story is how poorly the industry treated Bob and yet an excellent game still made it to the shops.
I don't know how accessibly it is to the young guns today but one thing this story manages to elicit very well is the general zeitgeist I experienced myself during those days. Mind you, I was never as advanced a programmer as the author and his friend were. But the description of "facing a problem caused by the restricted architecture of the machine your working on, the puzzle-like search for a work-around, and simply just having the spare time to dedicate to a project" are memories I know very well too.
Unfortunately, this feeling really is a memory. Coding has changed so much since the days of the 6502 or 6509, it's a completely different ball game. That's why I wrote above, I don't know if those who haven't been there can relate to the story very much, other than it reading like a peculiarity. But it sure is a nice -- and even suspenseful! -- read for an old-timer like me.
The difference is that now, instead of looking for a particular CPU instruction, you'll look at hidden instructions in you JIT bytecode or ways to trick your sandbox (browser?) to let you use the GPU.
And in 2015: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10491768.
I'm always a bit surprised this site is not technically advanced on the front end.
This post wasn't prevented by the dupe filter because dupeness on HN expires after a year or so. That's in the FAQ: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html.
It's a nice deviation from high-level programming.
I love this hack. Genius.