Here’s a project to update classic BASIC games using modern scripting languages

Originally published at: Here's a project to update classic BASIC games using modern scripting languages | Boing Boing


As someone who spent several weeks last year trying to transcode academic FORTRAN code into Python and C++, I can only say Good Luck, You’ll Need It.

ETA: Also, I had those same books. I’ll repeat my Good Luck statement.


Heck, I’d be interested in how to redo them in JavaScript/Typescript. Now I have another project to start and never finish.


I, too, spent hours typing programs from these into my Dad’s IMSAI 8080 (which I still have).

Not convinced of the utility of transcoding these into Python or C# but I guess it’s more the journey than the destination.

Made me wonder whether I could implement my favorites in VB and run them in Excel and other Office apps.


Mmm, what I’d like is an actual compiler/interpreter that works - I miss 80s BASIC so bad! I might cry.

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You may be interested in QB64. It’s a compiler for QBssic that can generate binaries for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

I’m really pleased someone has taken on this porting project. I’ve fantasized about doing it myself many times, but I’m not the guy. Smarter people than I should handle it.


There’s an active community writing computer games, and translating Ahl’s games, to the BASIC for the Colour Maximite 2, a wonderful little single-board computer. Highly recommended!

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I did this on my own, as a way to learn PYTHON. I had a file with an old BASIC listing I typed in from Creative Computing when I first got my IBM PC (around 1984?). The game was DEEP SPACE, which I remember playing on a mini-computer at my cousin’s school in the mid 70s. Back then it was teletypes for I/O!

Anyway, I got DEEP SPACE working fine in Python. Maybe I’ll submit it.

(FYI, last I heard David Ahl was a bit of a religious right winger, into collecting military vehicles.)


Wow! Similar fare from my UK childhood, would be very content to update these to python or js.


Aw thanks for the mention! All contributions welcome… even simple copyedits which you can do in your web browser via the GitHub web interface!


One thing we were absolutely no good at in the 1980s was distinguishing between activities that felt productive and activities to which there was any actual point whatsoever

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You will find many Gen-X coders who credit exactly this activity with launching their careers. Clive Thompson wrote about this recently (The Strange Pleasures of Retyping Computer Code, Over and Over and Over Again | by Clive Thompson | Dec, 2021 | Debugger). My dad and I used to have a deal: three games to one utility. We’d sit side by side, one person reading out of Compute’s Gazette, the other typing.



Did I miss how to change this type of behaviour, and everyone else has done the adulting thing?

Hey, tell me, how did you manage that, and why do you still have the time to be on the BBS?


Nobody is claiming that posting on the BBS is a valuable high-tech job skill

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