Basic Programming

Basic Programming
Company: Atari
Model #:
Warren Robinett
Year: 1979
One of the few games to use the keypad controllers


A BASIC language compiler for the 2600?!?!  Well not exactly...  While it's true the Basic Programming allows the user to program the 2600 in a very crude way, it uses it's own strange language to do so.  Basic Programming is more of toy than a serious programming tool.  Due to the limits of the 2600 you can only input 9 lines of code (11 if you use a trick), which as most programmers know isn't enough to do anything useful.  The user enters commands using the keypad controllers, which hook together to form an awkward little keyboard.


Basic Programming was a novel attempt by Atari to show people that the 2600 wasn't all about games, but ultimately a failed one.  Anybody who bought this cartridge thinking they would turn their 2600 into a computer was sadly mistaken.  Basic Programming is so underpowered it takes all the available memory to create a simple Pong style game!  Basic Programming also uses a strange set of commands and symbols which doesn't correspond to the normal BASIC that most people know.  Couple this with the fact that your program is actually broken up between several regions (Program, Stack, Variables, Output, Status, and Graphics), and even simple programming becomes a nightmare.


Rumor has it that Atari was forced to create this title after customers complained that calling the 2600 the Video Computer System was false advertising (computers were suppose to be programmable right?).  An interesting story, but I haven't been able to verify it.  Chalk it up to another 2600 urban legend...


Version Cart Text Description
C012020 Basic P. C012020 Final version


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