qBasic – What’s qBasic?!?

I was getting very familiar with my surroundings on a computer. I had an anti-virus, I learned to download music and movies, and I’ve gotten pretty good at finding almost what ever I need using search engines like Ask Jeeves or Duck Duck Go. We didn’t have Google or even YouTube yet. How crazy is that to think about?

I wanted to learn more! More more more! One day, the answer hit me while randomly searching around… qBasic. Something many kids and even adults probably haven’t heard of today.

Not to literally copy and paste Wikipedia, but qBasic is short for Quick Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Its a basic form of programming. First tutorial I ever followed for learning this was a simple menu system, which got me into wanting to code a menu based game where depending on your answers would depend on when the game is over or not! I spent a few weeks on it. Around 200 lines of code, which for qBasic, was definitely a lot. It was buggy, not easy to play, and wasn’t really worth releasing as most of it was just copy and pasted code with new narratives and answers to continue through the game. It was still fun, but creating lines of text was only the beginning.

Next, I learned to make the basic snake arcade game. Eat the apple, the snake grows larger. I learned how to implement graphics via simply drawing sprites, and adding to the snakes length with randomly spawning apples (they were just squares on the screen…). I wasn’t very good at the game, and the animation in qBasic is… slow, we’ll just say.

I had found a small community of qBasic programmers as well that shared there projects. You had to have qBasic installed on your computer to run qBasic programs was the issue. That’s why we couldn’t do full releases. qBasic files were .bas file types. Can’t do anything with those now. These guys had crazy talents as well! Some of them recreating things like Donkey Kong and PacMan in qBasic! Again, very slow animation, but the fact they could was enough to convince me that this was definitely worth learning.

A few months later, after messing with a program I was making in qBasic, I got to wondering about that computer virus I had, and how the programming of that was done. It was time I moved forward and learned the “evil” side of computer programming.