IEEE Spectrum gives some love to BASIC

IEEE Spectrum (the general interest magazine for IEEE members) published this article on BASIC (including some screen shots and named examples of BASIC on 8-bit micros!) this week, which I found enjoyable:

The rules and submissions/winning entries for the BASIC 10-liner contest mentioned in the article are here:

The page is in German, but an English translation appears beneath the German text.


Excellent! I’m especially taken by this:

Cave Adventure , a bijou text adventure for the ZX81 (accomplished despite the fact that “the ZX81 allows only one command per line!” marvels Kanold);

So just 10 commands. And as it turns out, could have been just 8 if longer lines had been used.

But when it says

The barriers to participation are low. Ten lines [is] a manageable project.

I was reminded of another project: It can take two months to write one line of Basic…

Piece by piece the program was rewritten and restructured. Two months later we produced a version which would fit on one line.


So, 2 things here - one is that the competition is now closed and the other is that you can’t actually enter that program into a BBC Micro - the reason being that the human-readable LISTed output is longer than the maximum input line length - it’s only by tokenising it and poking it into RAM (or, I suspect concatenating several tokenised lines in memory) that it’s possible to get it into the system.

… although reading some more on it, it suggests it’s using “mode 9” which is only available on the 32-bit ARM versions, so maybe they have a longer input buffer before tokenisation. Ah well.



Closed … for this year! :slight_smile:

Cave Adventure (ZX81) [1] is particularly nice – as it is for my personal taste most in the spirit of a 10-liner.
That said, Mini Bros [2], while quite an extensive program, is still impressive for a small BASIC game.
(And, for someone who started with Commodore BASIC, Atari BASIC is quite impressive as well!)

[1] Cave Adventure source code:
[2] Mini Bros:

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