101 BASIC Computer Games

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Looking up information on the earliest video games, I discovered this book published in 1973. Supposedly the first computer book to sell a million copies. Lots of these pop up as crappy mini-games -- probably because they are simple enough to use as programming experiments, then they get dumped into bigger games. Some of them aren't games -- Bunny is ASCII art, Sine Wave is an early screensaver. "Bug", one of the many dice roll games, mentions that it can use over six feet of printer paper. The book also helped popularize Lunar Lander and Hammurabi (a.k.a. the bug porn game from Frog Fractions).


Have you ever programmed any of these? Are there any you hate? It didn't include the 15 Puzzle, thankfully.

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 19 April 2021 15:56 (six months ago) link

I had an atari 65xe in the late 80s and probably did some of these, I remember quizzes with three questions, did not get much further than that.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Monday, 19 April 2021 16:00 (six months ago) link

I remember my father and I typing out some games that came from C64 magazines. We didn't know how to save the code to a file, so sometimes we'd finish typing everything out and it wouldn't work due to a typo, and everything would be lost.

The book has a maze maker but it missed the simpler (C64 basic) 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 19 April 2021 16:05 (six months ago) link

I remember the first programme was called "lovelace" and it just gave you a page of information about Ada Lovelace. the code was like

10 PRINT "Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer"
20 PRINT "


Camaraderie at Arms Length, Monday, 19 April 2021 16:09 (six months ago) link

Think i remember typing out a dizzy game or too

Was it dizzy?

flagpost fucking (darraghmac), Monday, 19 April 2021 16:19 (six months ago) link

Occasionally I like to type out BASIC listings from books and mags, it's kinda therapeutic, hardest for the c64 sometimes due to the control codes and emulators having different key assigns.

Diggin Holes (Ste), Monday, 19 April 2021 16:23 (six months ago) link

I remember a BASIC game called "Au", where you dug tunnels to find gold deposits; I've got no idea whether it was widely known or a local obscurity.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 19 April 2021 18:26 (six months ago) link


eisimpleir (crüt), Monday, 19 April 2021 19:38 (six months ago) link

I remember typing in pretty much every listing from this book, and being disappointed to find that none of them looked like the screenshot on the front: https://worldofdragon.org/index.php?title=Sixty_Programs_For_The_Dragon_32

JimD, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 11:19 (six months ago) link


So many hours of typing

Call of Scampi: Slack Nephrops (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 11:43 (six months ago) link

xp I had a book with the same exact cover, except it was 'Sixty Programs For The BBC Micro'. It didn't have that sweet looking Swoop clone in it either.

Being cheap is expensive (snoball), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 17:40 (six months ago) link

Something that's always bothered me is why the official basic bundled with the Atari ST was so bad. Complete and utter trash, even as a stupid kid I could see that. I guess once the 16-bit era arrived BASIC became less of a selling point so there was no commercial impetus to fix it, but I'm still amazed it was released that way.

The wiki page has a whole paragraph about how broken it was.

ST BASIC had many bugs. Compute! in September 1987 reported on one flaw that it described as "among the worst BASIC bugs of all time".[1] Typing x = 18.9 resulted in

function not yet done
System error #%N, please restart

Similar commands, such as x = 39.8 or x = 4.725, crashed the computer; the magazine described the results of the last command as "as bad a crash as you can get on the ST without seeing the machine rip free from its cables, drag itself to the edge of the desk, and leap into the trash bin". After citing other flaws (such as ? 257 * 257 and ? 257 ^ 2 not being equivalent) the magazine recommended "avoiding ST BASIC for serious programming". Regarding reports that MetaComCo was "one bug away" from releasing a long-delayed update to the language, it jokingly wondered "whether Atari has only one more bug to eliminate from ST BASIC or one more to add".

Brainless Addlepated Timid Muddleheaded Awful No-Account (Pheeel), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 19:45 (six months ago) link

wow. how did that even happen? worst programming oddity i remember is the old java behavior of ("a" + 'b' + 'c') returning "ab67" but crashing when certain numbers are used is something else.

wasdnuos (abanana), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 20:12 (six months ago) link

I definitely had the Usborne "Mystery of Silver Mountain" book, but I never finished coding it

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Tuesday, 20 April 2021 22:49 (six months ago) link

Oh man I've only just clicked that Usborne link, I got the "Keyboards and Computer Music" book out of my primary school library and read it over and over again, never thought I'd see it again anywhere! Probably fair to say it had more of a lasting impact on me than any other book I read during childhood.

JimD, Wednesday, 21 April 2021 12:51 (six months ago) link

NV, I still have recurring dreams about going into John Menzies and looking at all the fresh new monthly computer magazines and mostly Sinclair Programs I looked forward to the most.

Diggin Holes (Ste), Wednesday, 21 April 2021 20:45 (six months ago) link

Nothing like a couple of hours typing on your ZX81 only for a ram pack wobble to crash the puter and lose the lot

Call of Scampi: Slack Nephrops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 21 April 2021 21:11 (six months ago) link

haha, my zx developed a dodgy power lead. I used to have to prop the cable up with something, one false move though and zap off it all went.

Diggin Holes (Ste), Wednesday, 21 April 2021 22:42 (six months ago) link

Inspired by this thread I started experimenting with OCR to see if I could convert some old magazine listings into some kind of usable format for an emulator. And it kind-of worked, albeit with a lot of post-conversion editing to remove random spaces and characters.

Of course the first program I tried flat-out refused to run properly at all, haha. It was ever thus.

Brainless Addlepated Timid Muddleheaded Awful No-Account (Pheeel), Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:57 (six months ago) link

Going to type the Golden Maggot in tonight
Sinclair User on Archive

Diggin Holes (Ste), Friday, 23 April 2021 09:35 (six months ago) link


JimD, Friday, 23 April 2021 11:25 (six months ago) link

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