May 4

Thank you BASIC!


The first of May 2014 was the 50th Birthday of BASIC.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to write a post on it because BASIC has been my first programming language and I have used it for more than 9 years. Seriously? Yeah 🙂

Actually, I didn’t write BASIC programs on a PC but on Casio calculators using a variant called Casio BASIC.

This was the power of my first programming language 🙂

Casio graphic calculators use a BASIC-like programming language but variable names are restricted to single letters A-Z which are shared by all programs including subroutines which are stored as separate programs. This means there are no local variables, they are all global. These variables are also shared by other functions of the calculator. For example, drawing a graph will overwrite the X and Y values.

Everyone who grow up with me knows that I never walked without my calculator in my pocket. I was a true geek 🙂 Most of the time I used to create games for my friends: board games, card games, strategy games, casino games and so on. They were pretty popular!

The first 5 years I only coded on the Casio calculators. Then I got a PC and I also started to write code with Visual Basic and C/C++. However, I didn’t have a laptop so I continued to write code on the calculator for other 4 years so that my friends could play on the train.

I owned a Casio FX-7400 G, then a Casio CFX-9850GB Plus and then the amazing Casio Algebra FX 2.0 Plus. I had them all! A brand new calculator was my favourite Christmas present. More processing power, new memory, a bigger display and a better language opened new possibilities. You can’t imagine how happy I was when I found the random function. Before, I had to create my own random function.

When I started university I got the monstrous Texas Voyage™ 200: the ultimate calculator. Most of the programs I wrote on the Texas calculator were not games but engineering programs. The language was a variant of basic called TI-BASIC.

Reflecting back I created code in BASIC throughout most of my life. This is pretty phenomenal.

Thank you BASIC for the great fun!

Happy birthday


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