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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.


Traditional BASIC is a procedural, imperative, unstructured language, with few types and no objects. This makes BASIC impractical for projects that require such elements. Another problem is portability, as BASIC probably has more dialects than any other programming language, owing to no formal standards.

It can be valuable to beginner programmers as a forgiving first language, due to 'looking like pseudocode.' Ironically, that has been entire purpose all along.

Roguelikes written in BASIC

See also

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