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Speaking in [Archaic] Tongues (BASIC)

Known as THEC64, this bodacious beauty features three switchable modes: Games Carousel, C64, and VIC 20; the latter two modes allow you to write your own programs in C64 or VIC 20 BASIC.

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A few days ago, I posted my Cool Beans column, We’re Short of Nothing We’ve Got. As part of this, we cogitated, deliberated, and ruminated on the differences and similarities between adages, aphorisms, apophthegms, and proverbs. Whenever I publish a column, I always post notifications on LinkedIn and Twitter. One LinkedIn member added a comment saying, “‘Apophthegm’ isn’t a real word! ::Googles it to be sure:: Huh, what do you know? It IS a real word! (dictionary.com/browse/apophthegm) You learn something new every day!” Another member of the LinkedIn community posted a comment saying, “I knew my Ancient Greek would come in useful someday.” The reason he said this, of course, is that apophthegm comes from a variant stem of the Greek  apophthéngesthai, meaning “to speak out.” I replied, “It’s just one more service I offer — are there any other ancient languages you know that you’d like me to include in future columns?” And he responded, “BASIC?” I must admit that made me laugh (I replied “ROFLOL”), but it also reminded me of a column I posted earlier this year, Mighty Hamsters, Arduino BASIC, and a Commodore 64 Reboot. In this column we discussed the plans for a full-sized Commodore 64 Reboot for 1980s retro-gaming from the guys and gals at RetroGames.biz
THEC64 allows you to play retro games and write programs in BASIC (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Retro Games)
Known as THEC64, this bodacious beauty features three switchable modes: C64, VIC 20, and Games Carousel. This little rascal, which can connect to any modern TV via HDMI for crisp 720p HD visuals, comes equipped with 64 pre-installed games, including classics such as California Games, Paradroid, and Boulder Dash. It also boasts new additions like Attack of the Mutant Camels, Hover Bovver, Iridis Alpha, and Gridrunner. But wait, there’s more, because I just discovered that the chaps and chappesses at Retro Games are topping everything off with the recently released shoot ’em up Galencia and the text adventure Planet of Death to let you relive the glory days of true keyboard gaming! Of particular interest to me is the fact that THEC64 allows you to write your own programs in C64 or VIC 20 BASIC and to save and load your programs (along with your own files and games) via a USB stick. It’s funny. I’ve never really been into computer games — this changed when I took possession of my Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) system — but now I find I want to spend some time playing the old classics. It may be that reading the Ready Player One book and seeing the movie has finally percolated to the forefront of my brain. Furthermore, following the aforementioned comment-based conversation, I realize that I have an ardent desire to take a trip down memory lane and create some BASIC programs. I’ve been chatting to my chum, James “Chewy” Vroman, who also wants to get his sticky hands on THEC64. Chewy tells me that he’s a member of a number of online groups in which THEC64 is a hot topic. Chewy says that, although THEC64 is set to release in the UK before Christmas, no one is currently aware of any plans for a release in the USA. Finally, Chewy also says that he knows of at least one member of the group who plans on getting someone in the UK to buy THEC64 for him as soon as they hit the streets over there, and then ship it over to the USA (THEC64 uses a USB mini connector for power, and its HDMI output will work with any HDMI-compatible display device). All I can say is that I may have to put my dear old mom (who lives in England) on standby to snap up one of these little beauties as soon as they become available. How about you? Do you feel an urge to play retro games and write a few lines of BASIC code?

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David Ashton

I never had a C64, I was a Spectrum guy. But I did have a C64-looking thing, the name of which escapes me. Never did much with it as it had a slot for Rom packs and I didn’t have any of them.

BASIC is still great to play with. To the extent that I have never bothered to learn C or other languages, though I did do a bit of Python recently and would like to do more.

The PICAXE ICs are fun to play with and really easy for old farts like myself who already know BASIC.

About a year or two ago I found you could still get GWBASIC and I had it on my last PC (XP) – not sure if it would work on WIN7. It was good for doing calculations more complex than you can do with the calculator. But I tend to use Excel for that more now. (I’m sure Aubrey would approve 🙂 )

Javier Coronel

This kind of things remind me I am quite old, because I started programming in a ZX Spectrum in 1982.
Do you remember how it sounds while loading games?… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0EfycbDhiw
I learnt a lot thank to this computer. I even started programming in Z80 Assembler.
Thanks Sir Sinclair.

By the way Clive Sinclair is the name of the creator of the ZX Spectrum so, Max, you are namesakes.

Javier Coronel

One more in the playfield: ZX Spectrum Next, the reborn of Speccy: https://www.specnext.com/
It sounds interesting…

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