BASIC Computer Games

By Deane Barker on May 14, 2004

Table of Contents: BASIC Computer Games: Someone scanned in all the pages from the classic book “BASIC Computer Games” from 1978. I damn-near memorized this book back in the 7th grade. I programmed half the games, even though most of the time I could get them saved to tape so I lost them and had to re-type them very time I wanted to play. This was also the origin of my “copy and hack” coding strategy — I extended many of this games far beyond the author’s original intentions.



  1. Holy crap! I had that book, too. Programmed them (about as many as you did) on my Tandy Color Computer (CoCo!) and saved them to cassette tape via the CoCo’s cassette tape recorder peripheral. Man, to me, that was HIGH TECH stuff then. Took ten minutes to read a program off the tape and back into memory, but hey, that’s what the TV was for–just flip the splitter switch to TV mode and watch the tube while your program loads…

  2. That is how I taught myself to code as well – by reverse engineering the listings. I didn’t have a computer or the money to buy any books on coding.

    But BASIC lent itself readily to understanding when you were a keen grade 7 kid!

    And when the CoCo arrived from my parents to the family for Christmas…like you Bob, I hacked away at it with that book!

  3. I also started out computer programming the same way you guys did. I purchased the TRS-80 Color Computer 1 in 1980 and typed in many of the BASIC Computer Games from Dave Ahl’s book. I still have a working TRS-80 CoCo 2 in my garage. I fire it up occasionally to show kids what computers were like when I was a kid. This past year I did something really crazy and very nostalgic and ported all the old BASIC Computer Games from the original book (with Dave Ahl’s permission) to the new Microsoft Small Basic development environment for Kids. You can check out my website where you can download one of the Small Basic Games for free. If you want to show your kids the classic games you programmed and played when you were a kid you can purchase and download the Small Basic Computer Games eBook. The eBook includes the electronic Small Basic Source code to all of the classic game so you don’t have to retype them yourself. The games play just like the original games only in Microsoft Small Basic. You can even play the original Super StarTrek with your kids and relive that wonderful feeling you got as a kid taking out the Kilingons with a series of Photon Torpedoes! Live long and Prosper…

  4. I’m the guy who did all those ‘bot illustrations for Basic Computer Games back in the 1970s. And there is indeed a new version of the original book – update to simple basic – with all my ‘bots and a few new ones, the first in three decades! I also put together a ‘bots-only e-book – The ‘BOT FOLIO that’s available at Take a look, return to the past.

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.