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BASIC - The beginning of my life

I was born in 1992 and I've lived in South Africa my entire life. I started learning to program in BASIC when I was about 7 and it changed my life completely.

I was born in 1992, so I was certainly not using BASIC in the 80s. I started learning to program in BASIC when I was about 7, initially learning QBASIC on a Windows 3.1 machine I inherited when my parents got a Windows 95 computer.

BASIC changed everything about computers for me. I'd been using computers my whole life because I grew up in a nerdy household with a mother who'd done honours in computer science. Because I inherited an older computer, I also inherited all the older games that were on it and I spent all my time playing them. Apogee's Crystal Cave, Sierra's Space Quest (The one's with the text parser, not point-and-click, mind you), Doom and Heretic, Prince of Persia (1989 Original) and Red Baron to name a few of my favourites. 

At some point it came to my attention that there were people who had to sit behind computers and actually make the computer games I was playing. Luckily I had a mother who had done computer science and owned a small software company so I had a place to start. She started teaching me BASIC on the old Windows 3.1 machine. I was completely hooked. Once I realised that I could tell computers what to do and then they would just do it, I was locked in. As a 7 year old, this was pretty much the greatest discovery in the world. I had found out what I needed to do with the rest of my life. 

I started making simple multiplication games to test my math ability and moved on to making text adventure games and eventually managing to get a man made of ASCII characters to move around the screen. From there I moved on to using Visual Basic which allowed for more visually appealing games, making a clone of a Tamagotchi, a game where a man sat on a motorcycle with a lance with the goal of popping balloons for various scores. I also attempted to make a Rock, Paper, Scissors style Pokemon game at one point.

I of course moved away from BASIC, eventually using Game Maker when I was about 11 and a score of other languages since then, but BASIC is where it all began. BASIC changed my life because it made me realise what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life. It gave me purpose. I've known what I wanted to do with my life since I was 7 and I've never looked back.

I'm now a 21 year old aspiring indie developer and pouring everything into my dream and it started with learning BASIC.

May 1st will be the 50th anniversary of BASIC, roughly 15 years after it changed my life forever.

 

 

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