Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal

50 years of BASIC. I grew up with BASIC-powered home computers myself, so I recognize a lot in this great article. And indeed, these computers invited you to program, that’s how I got started. Things just aren’t quite the same anymore.

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1 Response to Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal

  1. Viktor says:

    It’s kinda sad how the computer has turned into something like a TV – use and forget.

    It’s of course understandable that people just want to get things done and not worry about the “details” as latter can be a universe of “inane” knowledge BUT I really miss the explorative vibe that the 80ies computer crowd surrounded.
    Looking back through some magazines(German ones) it seems that the people working for (a) magazine(s) had knowledge of programming languages and hardware. This got lost during the 90ies when the multimedia craze got its foot in the market and the entertainment portion of the monthly released literature(+a CD loaded with junk) grew into huge free for all cash cow.

    Regarding Basic – I tried it as a kid but it never made sense to me. It was so coarse and visually unappealing. On top of that all the Peek/Poke action with the funny “numbers” attached… a huge turnoff for me as a child. “Assembler”(which I mixed up with Machine Code) was way more pleasing(and scientific looking) but I could not grasp the concept of how these numbers would draw the things on screen that I so lusted after… I had no idea that I woulld have to program in assembly language and not type in hex codes which more often than not where pre-packed with a tool to abbreviate listings. It was only nearly 10 years later when x86 assembly language and C came into my picture that I somewhat understood what I couldn’t grasp as a minor.

    Btw, a pretty impressive and infamous BASIC program was Mafia on the C64. I remember it not even being protected from having its code listed via the “list” command. Pretty unique if one takes into account that nearly all professional grade software was written in assembly language.

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