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Programming Language
Company multiple
Status Stable
Licensing multiple
Platforms IBM PC, Atari, Commodore, Texas Instruments calculators
[ Official site of BASIC]

BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose high-level programming languages, first introduced in 1964. As the name suggests, it was created to introduce newcomers to programming.

Origins and historical use

BASIC was originally created to enable students without science or mathematics majors to use computers. Its low complexity led to great popularity in the late 1970s and 1980s. Most microcomputer companies at the time included firmware implementations of BASIC in their products, including Apple, Atari, Commodore and IBM, effectively making it a standard for home computing as well as for small businesses and hobbyists.

Its legacy survives in the form of a huge number of dialects, including classics like QuickBASIC, modern dialects like QB64, and literally thousands of obscure dialects for specific machines. Visual Basic and Visual Basic .NET are object-oriented languages, but are technically also in the BASIC family. Some advanced calculators, most famously the Texas Instruments series, can be programmed using the dialect TI-BASIC.


BASIC can be Non-Structured and Procedural. (And in the single case of Visual Basic, Object Oriented.) The BASIC family is unique in its variety, as BASIC probably has more dialects than any other programming language, owing to no formal standards during its boom of popularity. Perhaps its most famous characteristic is the ability to jump directly to a line of code with GOTO. For example, "IF Testing = 1 THEN GOTO Debug". There are no characters required to end each line, but lines can be concatenated in different ways with special characters such as the plus sign. There are many options when writing in BASIC, for example choosing whether you will use REMs or 's for comments.

BASIC can be valuable to beginner programmers as a forgiving first language, as it was originally designed for exactly that.

Roguelikes written in BASIC

See also