BASIC Computer Games
Having learned a few rudiments of programming some ten years earlier
on a batch system,
I bought my first home computer (an Exidy Sorcerer) in 1979.
One of many things I did with it was type in program listings of games.
I have a whole page devoted
to one of my favourites,
but there were lots of other games, mostly in BASIC,
around in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Like some other people I know, I collect "classic" computers
and this page is a small resource for those people who
want some software to run on 8-bit micros and other old machines.
All the programs here are ones I've run on machines I have
(except the ones in HP 2000 BASIC,
which have been extracted from library tapes).
They are not scanned/OCRed listings,
nor merely re-typed from books or magazines.
They've been tested, and they work.
If you want to run these programs under some dialect of BASIC
other than the one they're written in, you might need to make a few changes.
For example, some versions have a RANDOMIZE command, which
restarts the pseudo-random number generator with a "random" value;
some have no exact equivalent,
but can use RND() with a negative number
(to reseed the generator with your number);
still others have no equivalent.
In some versions, RND() with a positive integer generates a
pseudo-random number between zero and the number you give;
in others the result is always between zero and one; in some versions you can
repeat the last pseudo-random number by asking for
Some versions accept multiple statements per line.
Often a colon (:) is the separator, in some BASICs,
it's a backslash (\), or some other character.
Line length may be a problem on some machines;
if so, try removing spaces between line number and statement,
and between keywords.
Some BASICs have a shorthand form for PRINT,
often "?" or a single quote (').
In exactly the order I felt like, last time I edited this list:
- HUNT THE WUMPUS
is a real classic. Greg Yob wrote this as an antidote to the vast
numbers of simplistic 10-x-10-grid games that abounded in the early
1970s. It was first published in The People's Computer Company
newsletter in November 1973, and re-published in 1975 in
of Creative Computing.
This version is in Microsoft BASIC
(fairly generic 8K BASIC).
Be warned, it's addictive!
is a version in HP 2000 BASIC,
from an HP library tape.
is a simulation game in which you,
as the ruler of the ancient kingdom of Sumeria,
direct the administrator (Hammurabi) to manage the resources.
It's surprisingly difficult to maintain a stable system!
Trivia: At some time, the second "m" was accidentally dropped
(by David Ahl?) and as a result, vast numbers of people think
that the correct spelling is the one used in the program.
is one of the infamous games played on a 10 x 10 grid.
It was written by Bob Albrecht of The People's Computer Company,
and appeared in David Ahl's 101 BASIC
I adapted the version on an old DECtape to run under
"Exidy Standard BASIC", which is a version of
8K Microsoft BASIC.
is another from BASIC Computer Games.
This very small but interesting program is a test of your mental
arithmetic: given a quantity of kryptocyanic acid, you must tell
the computer how much water to add, to keep it stable.
Written by Wayne Teeter, and requested by a fellow member of the
ClassicCmp mailing list.
adapted from a listing in Practical Computing July 1979
(the UK publication, not the US one).
This is the listing from my Exidy Sorcerer;
it's actually called "BIOVN" because
the Sorcerer has a 5-character limit on filenames, and
I had two versions -- this one for the video screen,
and another called "BIOPC"for a printer
(a serially-interfaced Creed 7B Teleprinter).
It should be easy to (re)convert to 8K Microsoft BASIC.
The POKEs and INP(9)
in lines 1 and 340-360 emulate the GET
function available in other BASICs.
FRE(X$) in line 100 forces garbage-collection
in string space; some BASICs don't need this.
Character 163 in line 160 is a diamond; I think the original was
just an asterisk (*).
OUT 0,7 in lines 190-210 and 290 make a beep.
CHR$(1) in line 4140 performs a non-destructive
There's no scientific validity to biorhythms, but there was a fad
for them twenty-odd years ago, especially after a couple of studies
suggested there might be, and there was some publicity
surrounding the use of biorhythms by the Tokyo (?) authorities
to determine rest days for public transport workers.
This program deals with the three popular rhythms: intellectual,
emotional, and physical. A fourth, intuitive, was proposed later.
- STAR TRADER
is a classic 2/3/4-player trading game, this one's extracted from
an image of an HP library tape.
It seems to have been written by Dave Kaufman around 1973.
for a reference.
goes with TRADER above.
Yes, I collect "classic" computers.
So what's a "classic"?
Broadly, anything over about 10 years old, and which is "interesting".
Well, for a start, not an ordinary PC.
My Exidy Sorcerer qualifies, so do my Apple ][ and //e,
my PDP-11s and my PDP-8/E,
my Sun workstations, and most of my SGIs.
And of course all the other 8-bit home micros I own; about 50 machines in all.
The Exidy Sorcerer I own now is not the one I had back in 1979; I sold that to
buy a BBC Microcomputer.
Mine was a Mark 2, with 48K RAM
(I remember it cost a small fortune to upgrade it from 32K).
The one I own now is a 32K Mark 1, and I'd love to have a Mark 2.
If you have one for sale, I'd be very interested to hear from you.
You can contact me (pete) by email --
remove the "www" from the address of this web page,
strip off the directory names,
and put my name @ the front.