Meeting an old friend

I think it was sometime around 1995 when we got our first computer - someone gave us an Apple IIc. I knew we were going to get it, so I checked out a book on computer programming from the library. That book was the Usborn Introduction to Computer Programming: BASIC for Beginners [1], written in 1982. While looking for old computer parts for the KZ80, I decided to see if I could find it - and I did. It finally showed up today!

The cover of the book.

It's less than 50 pages long, but manages to pack a lot in those pages.Flipping through it brought back a ton of memories. I got the book before we actually received the computer, and I remember writing tons of programs in a Mead notebook with a green cover [2]. I wrote this long (to me) flight simulator, and I remember that somehow I'd missed that string variables had to be prefixed with a $, and when I first typed in the program it didn't work - my first time at debugging.

I played a lot of Space Commando and Space Attack - the images helped my mind fill in the lack of graphics.

A BASIC listing for Space Commando. A BASIC listing for Space Attack.

The back of the book had two pages on programming tips.

Two pages in the book showing a variety of programming tips.

So, what was I to do with the book? Well, I booted up my RC2014 into CP/M, typed up the program with ED, loaded it up into MBASIC, and had a go at fighting space aliens :)

It was a nice bit of nostalgia for the evening, and a lot of fun to do on a real 8-bit computer.

[1]ISBN 0 806020 674 2
[2]Those notebooks still have a special place in my heart... I would continue using them at my first software engineering job, when I was writing a Forth, working on hardware projects, etc. I still have a stack of them, and almost debated using them for the KZ80, but went with a grid notebook for ease of laying out circuits.

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