Back in 2014 [Johan] decided to celebrate BASIC’s
30 50 year anniversary by writing his own BASIC interpreter. Now, a few years later, he says he feels he has hit a certain milestone: he can play Flappy Bird, written in his own version of BASIC, running on his own home-built computer, the BASIC-1.
Inside the BASIC-1 is an Atmel XMega128A4, a keyboard from a broken Commodore 64, a joystick port, a serial to TV out adapter, and an SD card adapter for program storage. An attractively laser-cut enclosure with kerf bends houses the keyboard and hardware. The BASIC-1 boots into BASIC just like many of its home computer counterparts from the 80s.
There has been work done to create minimal BASIC computers before but it’s not every day that someone decides to write their own BASIC interpreter. Nor is it every day someone wires their own homebrew computer into an attractive wood panel enclosure. Both at once is great to see, but crowning it off by having it run a Flappy Bird clone written in BASIC on an amber screen is really something special.
For ages we’ve had two proofs of hacking proficiency — Hello World proves you can do the most basic with a system, and running Doom proves you have mastered hardware abstraction on a system. Over the past few years Flappy Bird has grown to fill a niche between the two on systems that don’t have the horsepower (or resolution) to run Doom but still beg for a skill indicator.