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Any links / info on the programming language used by the Bit 60 (by Bit Corporation) ?

  • I just re-found this machine, and as previously, still cannot find any info on the programming language it used.

  • I can no longer find any evidence that you could make games with this machine and play them on a 2600.

  • Maybe the Starpath Supercharger may have been made to also make this possible for home programmers, even though it seems to have been made to sell Starpath's own games on cassette.

  • This machine probably could be used to write programs to run on the Atari-2600 - The Bit-60 probably had everything onboard, to write programs to run on the Atari-2600, if it was possible to send the machine-code being sent to the CPU, to a cassette-recorder or to the 'Starpath Supercharger', this 'may' only have required a small amount of extra code ( to send the machine-code to a buffer file, maybe line by line, then to a cassette-recorder or to the 'Starpath Supercharger' ). - So, this may also apply to many other affordable home-computers of that era, that they may have been capable of saving programs to cassette/disk as machine-code, or possible even as assembly-code


(Please see this related question as well)

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  • The Question That Remains - At any point, did this computer produce any data / code from BASIC ( convert BASIC code into another type of code / data, maybe from a Run-time Compiler ?, I don't know ), that could have run on an Atari-2600 ( with small modifications due to some hardware differences ), if somehow that data / code could have been saved onto cassette or just onto the 'Starpath Supercharger' ( which is mentioned above ), which would have made it possible to write games for the 2600 in BASIC on this machine ?
    – dntknw
    Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 22:52
  • The Bit-60 probably had everything onboard, to write programs to run on the Atari-2600, if it was possible to send the machine-code being sent to the CPU, to a cassette-recorder or to the 'Starpath Supercharger', this 'may' only have required a small amount of extra code ( to send the machine-code to a buffer file, maybe line by line, then to a cassette-recorder or to the 'Starpath Supercharger' ). - So, this may also apply to many other affordable home-computers of that era, that they may have been capable of saving programs to cassette/disk as machine-code, or possible even as assembly-code.
    – dntknw
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 21:19

2 Answers 2

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The Bit 60 was a partially VCS compatible 6502 computer. Here's a German ad from ca. 1983:

enter image description here

(taken from this page)

Rough literal translation:


Powerful Computer for Unusual Game Cartridges - at an Unbelievable Price.

A strong computer, able to play in addition Atari and Colecovision cartridges.

BIT 60

  • Display
    • 196 x 156 (128 colours) pixel graphics
    • 25 x 24 Characters
  • 6502 CPU
  • 64 Keys
  • 128 character colours
  • 128 screen colours
  • 2 sound generators
  • Joystick for games
  • Cassette Interface
  • Cartridge interface for video game
  • 8K ROM
  • 2K RAM
  • Atari VCS game compatible
    • Over 200 game cartridges
    • Over 100 application programs

To my memory programming was done in BASIC. It was not a development system for 2600 games. It only features a (mostly) compatible hardware.

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  • When I translate the following link historycorner.de/Coco2/bit60.html , it says, Quote "was intended to serve as a money printing machine", which 'may' infer it 'may have been possibly to make games on it to run on a 2600 . I'm thinking, maybe if people didn't want to connect a tape-player to a cartridge adapter to play these games, maybe the game-maker could send the cassette to asia and pay for some cartridges to be made
    – dntknw
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 3:44
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    @dntknw No. not at all. The text only repeats what the ad tells, flavoured with some opinion. The 'money making machine' is just a casual phrase about Asian companies that tried wo cash in by cloning instead of developing their own IP. And no, there is no mentioning of a cassette to cartridge adaptor. Even less game development. That's pure fantasy. It's a cheap consumer device, not a development system. These were the early 80s, a bonanza of cheap minimalist home computers.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 4:00
  • Yeah, I think money-making machine is not meant to make money for the bit60 buyer when they create games. The money making is for the bit60 manufacturer because buyers get to run VCS games and do other stuff, without shelling out for an actual VCS. But, in any case, it should be trivial to add a 6502 assembler, follow the 6507 and vcs-hardware rules, burn them to EPROM and whack them in a cartridge. That should then be playable on both bit60 and vcs.
    – paxdiablo
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 4:42
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    @JohnDallman Information in all 'catalogues' I found on the internet seem to center around that single page advertisement.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 14:00
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    @OmarL Yes and no. 'Kassette' can/is used for both (cassette and cartridge). Meaning comes clearly from context as 'Spielkasette(n)' only makes sense as cartridge - at that at least. Nowadays it would be most likely called a (Spiel)Modul. It's one of these false friend areas between englisch and German. Complicated by changed meaning in modern use.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 19:57
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Based on this advert found while researching another question, it looks like BASIC was actually the standard language for this machine:

enter image description here

The second bullet point (Tastenfeld ...) translates (very roughly) as(1):

Keypad: 47 key typewriter keyboard, one basic compatible key

No doubt some native German speaker can correct this, as it sounds like only one key is compatible with BASIC, and that seems ... less than useful :-)


In any case, while perusing the images I found for another Bit-60 question, I found this image and did the normal NCIS "zoom in there and enhance" trick that TV forensics uses (and that real forensics labs laugh at):

enter image description here

If you look closely at the "bleed-through" from the next page (other than where the opposite side of this page blocks it), you can see:

DEC HEX BASIC
192 C0 ABS(
193 C1 ATN(
194 C2 COS(
195 C3 EXP(
196 C4 INT(

They certainly look like BASIC functions to me, so I suspect that was the standard language.

Additionally, some of the bleed-through error messages on the opposite of this page are also a dead giveaway:

  • CAN'T CONTINUE.
  • REDIMENSIONED ARRAY.
  • NEXT WITHOUT FOR.
  • FOR WITHOUT NEXT.
  • OUT OF DATA.

(1) "Schreibmaschinentastatur"? You gotta love the Germans and their penchant for just adding more and more more letters on the end of a word to make new words :-)

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  • 2
    Nop. No way to correct that point - it's already useless in German :)) I'd say, like with the other ad, it wasn't made/translated by a native GERMAN speaker. Then again, when looking close at the fine picture provided in your other answer, there is a single key labled BASIC. So it might really be about that key. Without a manual it'll be hard to tell it's function. It could be to invoke BASIC, like a reset, or used as a meta key to call up abbreviations of BASIC instructions in conjunction with a letter key, like some other machines during that time.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 13:18
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    Erm, not necessarily . Native programming might still be BASIC. It may be that it comes up in game mode and that key just forces it into computer mode, regardless if a cartridge is plugged in or not. So much like Woz did with the Apple IIs Reset key. But that's just one possible speculation. Personally I would as well put my money on the keyword version. I've seen several Taiwanese machines like that - heck, I even have an Apple II keyboard offering the same luxury.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 13:52
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    The unreadable is EXP.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 14:15
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    Thanks for that, @Raffzahm, you're eyes are better than mine. And, just to be clear to everyone, I wasn't trying to insult la langue allemande, any language that can produce a word like Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänskajütentürsschlüssel must be considered a thing of beauty :-)
    – paxdiablo
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 14:30
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    Wasn't tanken as insult. Just a little clarification about the advantages :)) And no, above might be syntactically correct, but at the same time clearly made up as it encodes obvious unrelated/unneeded information. Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänspatent in contrast is a word without redundancies :)) [P.S.: just sharpen the contrast with the right value ... aka slider setting :)) ]
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 15:03

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