If you are a certain age, your first programming language was almost certainly BASIC. You probably at least saw the famous book by Ahl, titled BASIC Computer Games or 101 BASIC Computer Games. The book, published in 1973 by [David Ahl] was a staple in its day and the first computer book to sell over one million copies. Of course, if you want to run Super Star Trek or Hamurabi, you better fire up an old retrocomputer or a simulator because BASIC in 1973 doesn’t look like what we have today. Or, you can head to GitHub where [coding-horror] is inviting people to help update the programs using modern languages.
By today’s standards, these games are pretty crude, but they are still engaging and, if you remember them, always nostalgic. There is one thing missing, though. In 1973, you had no choice but to type the programs in yourself. You couldn’t help but learn something about programming in the process. Besides, you then had to debug the program to find your typing mistakes and that was definitely educational. It might seem like these games are ultra-simple, but hexapawn does machine learning and the lunar lander game is a simple physics simulation.
Regardless of language, if I were using these with a student, I might be tempted to make them type the programs in by hand. They’d probably revolt against the idea, but it might be good training. Think of “wax on, wax off” from the Karate Kid.
Seeing some of these old gems is like unexpectedly running into an old friend. If you want to help out, there’s a discussion board available. You’d think BASIC would be gone by now, but it still hangs in there. If your program is short enough, you might even run it on Twitter.