Questions tagged [basic]

For questions about BASIC, a lightweight, high-level programming language favored in retro computer systems.

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What is the oldest reference to PEEK, POKE, and USR?

I've been reading manuals for BASIC implementations and the earliest reference I can find to PEEK, POKE, and USR is in the Altair BASIC 3.2 manual, published in 1975. This morning I came across this ...
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0answers
117 views

Why did Palo Alto Tiny BASIC become the most successful Tiny BASIC? [closed]

Why did Palo Alto Tiny BASIC become more successful than the other Tiny BASICs published in Dr. Dobb's Journal in 1976?
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2answers
381 views

Was it possible to win the “Lunar Lander” game with less fuel than the default?

A while ago I asked about the possible origin of a Russian version of the "Lunar Lander" game. No definitive answers were given. Meanwhile, I was able to decompile the binary into a semi-...
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4answers
336 views

Would some BASIC interpreters for microcomputers be considered operating systems?

As software for micros developed, you could use the BASIC interpreter just to CLOAD and RUN assembly language programs. Those might call BASIC ROM routines (say, for converting ASCII input to binary ...
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4answers
3k views

Could you create a loop in direct-mode with BASIC?

Were there any home computers before 1985, on which you could create a loop (finite or infinite) in direct-mode? And if it was possible on some machines, what may it have been useful for? For example, ...
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150 views

BASIC on the Nova?

The first widely documented BASIC on the Data General Nova platform appears to be Data General Extended BASIC. I can date it to at least 1978 due to copyrights in the manual, but I suspect it was ...
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3answers
117 views

How to determine where in RAM the current Basic program resides on Amstrad microcomputers?

How can I find where in memory to locate the current Basic program in an Amstrad CPC/PCW family Zilog Z80-based microcomputer? Is it always the same address? A different well-known address depending ...
7
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5answers
1k views

Positive/negative 16-bit integer formats in 8-bit systems?

While considering the recent question on Integer BASIC, a thought arises: Most systems using/supporting integer math used a 16-bit signed format. In the case of Integer BASIC, this leads to odd-...
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2answers
461 views

Does Sinclair Spectrum BASIC have a maximum length for one line?

I was just writing some junk Speccy Basic programs, more to see how they take up space on the +3's disk layout than to do any actual programming. But I noticed that after editing a program line to ...
11
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1answer
512 views

What additional hardware was required for BASIC on an Altair 8800?

I remember being aware of the Altair 8800 when it made it's mark, but only vaguely. Lately I found myself wondering what hardware was required for the Altair to get BASIC up and running. According ...
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1answer
194 views

How can I link a BASIC program with BASIC 3.5 for C64?

In the magazine 64er from June 1990 a BASIC extension for running Commodore Basic V3.5 on the C64 was presented. The extension is available at csdb. However, to run a BASIC 3.5 program, it is ...
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9answers
6k views

Why did 8-bit computers choose BASIC dialects as “de facto” command-line interface, instead of contemporary Shell/Lisp dialects?

While all three clans of languages predated 8-bit computers, they shares features like 1) imperative programming, 2) English-alike keywords, 3) Prompt-Command-Parameters pattern interface. Why was ...
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3answers
4k views

Could you manually eject a floppy quick enough to prevent data loss?

I have the vague recollection of "Panic Ejecting" floppy disks by lifting the latch on the drive after immediately regretting a command I had typed. At the time, I was young, impulsive, and blessed ...
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1answer
101 views

Printing on the graphics screen with lowercase/uppercase letters using CHAR command in Commodore BASIC 7.0

The CHAR command in Commodore BASIC 7.0 on the Commodore 128 allows printing a text at a given position on the screen. Other than the PRINT command, CHAR also works in Hires graphics mode. Since the ...
9
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1answer
530 views

Restore a BASIC program after reset or “NEW” command on a Commodore 128

A BASIC program that was deleted with NEW or after a reset can be restored on Commodore computers as long as no new programs are entered or loaded (or the computer is powered off). For the C64, the ...
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2answers
809 views

Is it possible to PRINT AT 23,0 in ZX Spectrum BASIC?

The ZX Spectrum BASIC doesn't (ordinarily) let you print on lines 23 and 24 to allow for user input. Is there a way around this? I found a fairly recent post that suggested I could POKE 16418,0 but ...
19
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4answers
3k views

How did integer multiplication work in 8-bit BASIC without CPU support

I've recently been teaching my 11 year old binary multiplication, which is on the UK maths syllabus at secondary school. We have used long multiplication, eg shift and add. This has made me wonder ...
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2answers
2k views

How was a line of Commodore 64 BASIC code stored in its memory?

I am reading up on old C64 stuff and I am using the Vice emulator to play with it. Currently I am studying about how the C64 stored BASIC programs in RAM. This is quite clear (it starts on address $...
3
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2answers
178 views

Are there Commodore BASIC 7.0 music demos?

Commodore BASIC 7.0 that came with the Commodore 128 provided commands for playing music notes and setting different instruments. The play function even had a feature that played a note in the ...
5
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4answers
852 views

Is it possible in Commodore BASIC V2.0 to configure the system so that the PRINT command does not update color?

The PRINTcommand in Commodore BASIC V2.0 (the one that runs on the Commodore 64) prints each character to the screen address (which is set by the byte in address 648) as well as putting the current ...
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4answers
4k views

Why was it common to reference memory locations using negative numbers on some BASICs?

If you had an Apple II, it was common in BASIC to reference memory locations above the 32K point by using a negative number. For example, if you wanted to click the speaker you would PEEK/POKE -16336 ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the “ports” used via IN/OUT, vs. the PEEK/POKE address space?

This is something of a followup to How much control of TRS-80 Model III disk drives was possible from its Cassette (ROM) BASIC? but on a more general topic: I know that PEEK and POKE enable direct ...
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2answers
173 views

How much control of TRS-80 Model III disk drives was possible from its Cassette (ROM) BASIC?

How much control over the TRS-80 Model III's floppy drive controller can be effected via relatively simple commands, typed into its built-in Cassette BASIC? My understanding is that general usage of ...
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8answers
2k views

Variances in Basic highest line numbers

I used to wonder why different versions of Basic on 8bit machines would impose different limits on the highest line number permitted. I should point out this excludes any trickery to manually change ...
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3answers
271 views

Looking for a BASIC decruncher: inserting spaces between keywords

Many dialects of 8-bit BASIC allow ‘crunched’ source; that is, most spaces can be ignored between keywords: 10 FORX=1TO10 20 PRINTX,X^2 30 NEXTX After Microsoft BASIC-80 Rev. 5.x, however, spaces ...
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3answers
3k views

Was Locomotive BASIC significantly better than Sinclair BASIC?

The Amstrad CPC range of Z80 machines shipped with a ROM BASIC, designed and implemented by Locomotive Software. The most well known competitor was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, also a Z80 machine, with ...
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3answers
499 views

What was stored in memory that was “unavailable to BASIC”?

On home / personal computers (such as before 1984), a machine might be described as having 24k RAM, but only 18k of that available to BASIC. If the machine had BASIC and the OS (or BIOS) stored in ROM,...
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5answers
4k views

What type of interpreter were most 8-bit BASIC implementations?

I’m a big fan of early/mid 1980s personal computers like the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and the Sinclair Spectrum. One thing these computers all had was a version of BASIC. Well known ones being MS-...
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2answers
2k views

How to decode an audio file which contains an MSX BASIC program? [closed]

I have an audio file in WAV format, which supposedly comes from a cassette sound file. Moreover, it contains a BASIC program, but I don't know how to decode it. I have tried to convert the wav file to ...
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4answers
2k views

Sources for some old BASIC games

Poking about in early issues of Dr Dobbs' Journal (the journal of the People's Computer Company, or PCC) I came across a listing for BASIC games available on tape. Many of these are widespread, but a ...
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1answer
504 views

Why is ZX80 much faster than Spectrum on Rugg/Feldman benchmarks?

If you look at the results of the Rugg/Feldman benchmarks, shown in this Wiki entry, you'll see that Sinclair ZX80 is much faster than Sinclair Spectrum on all tests despite the fact that both ...
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1answer
294 views

Any historical references to links between JOSS and BASIC?

I only recently learned of the JOSS language, and then only through a roundabout fashion from an interview with David Ahl where he mentions FOCAL. This led me to read the available manuals for all ...
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6answers
5k views

How slow was the 6502 BASIC compared to Assembly

Imagine a modern computer, where let's say Python is a high level programming language and needs to be interpreted in order to execute a piece of code. You could write some code in C, compile it, ...
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7answers
2k views

What ways are there to “PEEK” of memory sections in (different) BASIC(s)?

Question Was there any BASIC or extension or toolbox for BASIC allowing to PEEK multiple bytes from memory in one instruction - besides the often-used DPEEK (or alike) to read a word? I'm asking ...
8
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2answers
501 views

Saving screen pixels to string in ZX Basic

I remember programming a ZX spectrum in 128 basic (about 20 years ago). I remember I was able to save a third of the screen into a variable. Something like this: 10 LET A$ = [16384 BYTES starting at ...
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2answers
432 views

Anyone heard of 'something like' EDITLN or EDITLINE or LINEDIT statement in BASIC?

Anyone heard of 'something like' EDITLN or EDITLINE or LINEDIT statement in BASIC for editing lines of a program's own code while executing ? I seem to remember a statement that was spelled '...
9
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1answer
270 views

String libraries for BASIC

Looking over old BASICs I find two general approaches to handling string variables. HP/Wang/Atari/et al used C-like array-of-char whose memory size is specified with a DIM statement, with the upside ...
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2answers
863 views

Read HP Basic (RMB) tokenized file into clear text?

I have a cople of HP BASIC (HP9000) files that have been saved in a non-ASCII format (HFSLIF?). Does anyone know of a conversion utility to get the code readable? The files are already on a win7 ...
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4answers
678 views

Library of MS BASIC programs in text format?

I am wondering if anyone has a pointer to a good source of "classic" BASIC programs, in text format. One would think this would be easy to find, but unfortunately VB so pollutes the results as to ...
2
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0answers
292 views

What is this tool that was once used to teach beginner level BASIC?

In the early 1980's there was a small handheld device that looked like a calculator. It was a tool to teach beginner level programming in BASIC. Its ad slogan was "keep it near you". I never had one ...
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22answers
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Was self-modifying code possible using BASIC?

Was self-modifying-code possible using BASIC? Parameters: On commonly affordable home-computers before 1984 Code that changes its own instructions while it is executing Using BASIC only Not using ...
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4answers
612 views

Where can I read the article from Personal Computer World, Nov 1978, which introduced the 8th Rugg/Feldman test program?

I'm trying to track down a copy of PCW from November 1978. I am looking for an article on benchmarking BASIC. They introduced an 8th program to the 7-program Rugg/Feldman test and I'd like to read the ...
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3answers
7k views

Strange math syntax in old basic listing

I'm browsing through an old book "Basic Computer Simulation" from 1983. It contains a line of BASIC code that reads: LET Z1 = M * D1 * (PQ / A) [ 3 I understand all of the code except the "[ 3" I ...
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1answer
441 views

Purpose of using REM when running TR-DOS commands in BASIC

When running TR-DOS commands from within BASIC, it's necessary to prefix the command with RANDOMIZE USR 15619: REM: first. I understand the former command, but not the latter. For example, to load a ...
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3answers
358 views

BASIC09 and I-Code

I only learned of BASIC09 today, and I'm trying to wrap my head around it. The manual talks about it being a compiler, but I'm not sure I see significant differences between its I-code and tokenized ...
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2answers
511 views

Was Vilnius BASIC cross-platform?

It is well established that Vilnius BASIC runs on PDP-11 compatible machines. For example, the BK-0010 and UKNC had Vilnius BASIC in ROM. Apparently, it was closely modelled after MSX BASIC, which ...
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3answers
817 views

Origins of the “array like” strings in BASIC

A number of early microcomputer BASICs had 'array like strings' that were unlike MS's system and instead behaved like arrays of char. Substrings were accessed using a syntax like: A$ = B$(1,5) as ...
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3answers
683 views

How to get a plain text file version of a CP/M .BAS (M-BASIC) program?

I have an old game (STRTRK.BAS) from my dad's Kaypro 10 that I would like to convert to a plain text file. Basically, what I'm trying to do is get it onto a modern computer in plain text format so I ...
6
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1answer
254 views

How can I input a string in ZX Spectrum BASIC using INPUT and not show the quotation marks?

How can I input a string in ZX Spectrum BASIC and not show the quotation marks on input? I've written a program for my 3-year old daughter to type in some letters, but she keeps deleting the ...
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3answers
230 views

How to use the MOD operator in TRS-80 model 100 BASIC?

I'm finding the MOD operand is not working when I enter it in the BASIC prompt. This is how I write it out. PRINT 1 * MOD(23) ?SN Error I have looked into a reference guide and it is too broad on ...