SUMMING UP: WHY THE COMMODORE 64’S BASIC V2 WAS CRAP AND HOW SOME PEOPLE MANAGED TO PROGRAM THE C64   Leave a comment

SUMMING UP: WHY THE COMMODORE 64S BASIC V2 WAS CRAP AND HOW SOME PEOPLE MANAGED TO PROGRAM THE C64

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I was working on an amazing post explaining how to draw lines on the Commodore 64 in Assembly Language. This technique could have been used to enable people to create wire frame graphics, like in the amazing, ground breaking game Elite, created on the BBC Micro, with its beautiful BBC BASIC language, containing procedures, REPEAT…UNTIL loops, long meaningful variable names, and a built in Assembler, allowing lines of Assembly Language to be mixed with BASIC in the same program.

The article I was working on was based on a listing in “The Commodore 64 Machine Language Book” by Data Becker/Abacus. Unfortunately, this document was on my laptop which was stolen/thrown away by the same technophobic bastard I was staying with who threw me out on the streets to die after eight days. I should have kept a backup somewhere, even storing it on a cloud system. I’m now typing this on an Android phone with a 10cm screen using Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs and saving it by uploading to Outlook Microsoft Word Online as well as Google Docs. Unfortunately, Microsoft Office Online for Android doesn’t seem to have a Select All function!

Now, let’s get down to summing up why the Commodore 64’s BASIC V2 was crap and how some people managed to program the C64. I decided to write this in the form of a bulletted list, but I don’t know if I can format it like that on my Android phone.

Why The Commodore 64’s BASIC V2 Was Crap

  • It was an old BASIC available to Commodore at no extra charge under their perpetual licence from Microsoft bought FIVE YEARS PREVIOUSLY
  • Commodore founder Jack Tramiel was a miser
  • Commodore wanted to screw more money out of Commodore 64  owners by selling them cartridges,  such as “Simons’ BASIC” and “Super Expander 64”,  containing the missing commands,  but not even allowing them to create stand alone software
  • Commodore/Jack Tramiel  were too miserly to pay Microsoft any more money for an updated BASIC, unlike Tandy/Radio Shack, Dragon and the MSX Consortium
  • Jack Tramiel refused to pay a fee for BASIC for each computer sold because “I’m already married”
  • Jack Tramiel’s experience of being an Auschwitz survivor gave him the attitude business is war
  • Jack Tramiel was obsessed with destroying his rivals such as Texas instruments and Atari

How some people managed to program the Commodore 64

  • They had lots of experience using mainframe computers before microcomputers even came out (e.g. Jim Butterfield)
  • They had  owned an older Commodore computer which was less complicated than and partly compatible with the Commodore 64 (e.g. TMR, Jim Butterfield, Jeff Minter)
  • They didn’t pay much attention to the official Commodore 64 manuals telling them that they were supposed to program in BASIC V2 PEEKing and POKEing any numbers from 0 to 255 to five digit memory locations (most C64 programmers)
  • They were autistic (not many people like to admit they’re autistic, hence the lack of names)
  • They were excellent at maths (TMR)
  • They bought one or more really informative books by Data Becker (republished by Abacus) or Compute! instead of crappy books by Sunshine or someone else
  • They bought a Commodore 64 much later than 1984 when a lot more details of how to program it and software tools as well as cheaper disk drives were available (most Commodore 64 owners)
  • They learnt to program in BASIC, then 6502 Assembly Language on a non Commodore computer, such as the Acorn Atom, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Apple II, or Atari (eg Paul Roper, Dave Braben)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, written entirely on my Android phone*, then posted using the WordPress app. That’s all for now. I hope to make another post soon.

*Although the post above was written on an Android phone, it later had some headings emboldened, as well as bulletted lists added using the WordPress editor

 

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Posted March 19, 2016 by C64hater in Uncategorized

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