It's BASIC Week again!

Chris Osborn fozztexx at
Sun Sep 13 11:59:31 CDT 2015

I do a regular contest on RetroBattlestations called BASIC Week which is a sort of tribute to the days when it was common for programs to be published in books and magazines and people would type them into their computers. One of the neat things about distributing software through type-in listings is that there’s no need for working disk drives or tape drives, or to do complicated things like get a serial connection working and find a way to transfer files. If a computer has built-in BASIC just turn it on and start typing!

Past programs have displayed vector graphics, silly text screen animations, and a couple of games. This time around the program is called Winchester Drive and the concept is to explore a mansion to see what you can find. I decided this time around to try out true sprites and made a version for both the Apple II and Commodore 128. 

I wanted to do a Commodore 64 version but couldn't find any line drawing routines written in assembly anywhere! I thought for sure in the last 33 years some book or magazine somewhere would have written a couple of simple routines to clear the graphics screen and draw some lines that you could POKE in and then call with SYS. Oh well, I will leave the C64 version to someone else. :-)

The challenge is more about honor and glory and getting an excuse to show off old computers and/or skills with porting, but I do give out vinyl decals & stickers for prizes (

I know that the TI-99/4A, Atari 400/800, Coleco Adam, MSX, and maybe some others also had sprites. Sprites aren’t really needed for porting to other systems, they’re just an easy way to move the player around the screen. The program could definitely be ported to systems that use simple character graphics or even plain text screens.

The complete source code has been posted to github, and you can see the full rules and check out other submissions here:

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