Questions tagged [basic]

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

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Peripherals needed to run Tiny BASIC interactively on an Intel 8080

I have an Intel 8080 core and would like to build the minimal computer system around it to run Tiny BASIC interactively. I am building this computer on an FPGA, so I am not asking about actual ...
9
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4answers
1k views

What were the first BASIC interpreters to be programmed in high-level languages?

I've been continuing to revise and expand the Wikipedia article that I started on BASIC interpreters. One of the criticisms was that it was too focused on the microcomputer era (which interested me ...
116
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2answers
20k views

How did Commodore's anti-Microsoft Easter Egg work?

A couple years ago the Toronto PET Users Group published an article (The Great Commodore/Microsoft Easter Egg War, on p. 7) about a newly discovered anti-Microsoft Easter Egg that Commodore hid in the ...
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17answers
5k views

8-bit home computers without BASIC

All the 8 bit home computers I'm aware of, had BASIC in their ROMs. A notable exception was Jupiter Ace, a british home computer, which used Forth. Were there any other 8 bit home computers that came ...
20
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6answers
2k views

Commodore BASIC and binary floating point precision

I am mildly curious that though the 6502 provides BCD arithmetic which would be useful for implementing decimal floating point, Commodore BASIC uses, like all (?) Micro-Soft BASIC, binary floating ...
7
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4answers
692 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 ...
15
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
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2answers
417 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-...
4
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4answers
424 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 ...
9
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1answer
574 views

Commodore Plus/4 60671 bytes free - how?

It is widely known that, while the Commodore 64 did indeed provide 64K of RAM for machine code programs, only 38K was usable from BASIC; this was because bank switching was needed to get at the rest, ...
13
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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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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 ...
8
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154 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 ...
13
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3answers
819 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
122 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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3answers
367 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 ...
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-...
5
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2answers
479 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 ...
30
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22answers
7k views

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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6answers
2k views

C64 BASIC: How to suppress the '?' sign when using the INPUT command?

When you are getting INPUT in Commodore BASIC it always adds a question mark at the end of the string you want to show. Is there a way to suppress the question mark when using the INPUT command?
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 ...
11
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1answer
517 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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2answers
5k views

What computer system is this from 1984 Doctor Who?

In the 1980s, the popular BBC science fiction series Doctor Who used some real computer system(s) to display impressive (for the time, OK, maybe not!) graphics. They actually ran the software real-...
37
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2answers
11k views

Can a USR command damage a ZX Spectrum?

I recently came across this magazine snippet; specifically this section: Aprovechamos para avisar a los usuarios del Inves, que nos ha Ilegado el rumor de que haciendo: BORDER 5 RANDOMIZE USR 4665 ...
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1answer
230 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 ...
19
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6answers
3k views

Understanding INKEY$ in ZX BASIC

The ZX BASIC Manual gives the following little program to demonstrate how INKEY$ works: 10 IF INKEY$ <> "" THEN GO TO 10 20 IF INKEY$ = "" THEN GO TO 20 30 PRINT INKEY$; 40 GO TO 10 While I ...
15
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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
182 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 ...
23
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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 ...
2
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1answer
103 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
545 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
852 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 ...
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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 $...
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6answers
6k views

Can a PET 2001 be physically damaged from BASIC?

In the early 1980s my primary school was the proud owner of a Commodore PET 2001. There was a commonly held belief among the young geek fraternity that there existed a BASIC command—perhaps a ...
23
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8answers
2k views

What implementations of BASIC had a robust flood fill operator?

When I learned BASIC on Elektronika BK, I got fascinated with the flood fill (PAINT) operator: how does it know to get to all nooks and crannies of the shape to fill? I've devised an algorithm, tried ...
3
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2answers
184 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
858 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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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 ...
34
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3answers
2k views

Why does the C64's LIST command choke on REM statements with a Shift+L?

On the Commodore 64 and VIC-20, the LIST command will abort with a ?SYNTAX ERROR on any line that contains a REM statement with a Shift+L character. A minimal program triggering the error would look ...
8
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2answers
515 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 ...
4
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3answers
274 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
506 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-...
16
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4answers
2k views

How to use BASIC after “LOAD ”$",8 on the C64

After loading a file list from a floppy disk it is hard to program in BASIC because the file list is interpreted as BASIC lines. For example there can be 20 lines with the number 1, because 20 files ...
20
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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 ...
14
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7answers
1k views

New 6502 BASICs?

I sort of "have a thing for BASIC" right now, which has led to a couple of great exchanges here in RSE about the variations "back in the day". I'm wondering if anyone is aware of other modern BASICs ...
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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 ...
20
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4answers
2k views

Was the design of MS-BASIC for 6502 based on MS-BASIC for 8080?

Looking through the source code of the 6502 MS-BASIC, certain parts of it seem more reminiscent of how things would be done on the 8080, then on how they should be done on the 6502. Code to find a ...