This week: five BASICs for the 6502, to mark the 50th anniversary of the invention of BASIC. Our featured link shows six classic moments in BASIC, half of which are on 6502 machines. We've chosen Woz's Breakout, written in his Integer BASIC, which he wrote to be the first 6502 BASIC, and his claim to fame[0].

The second 6502 BASIC is a port of TinyBasic to the 6502, by Tom Pitman. Tiny Basic was a portable BASIC specified by Dennis Allison in the newsletter of the People's Computer Company in 1975.

The third and multifarious BASIC is by Microsoft featuring the work of Bill Gates and Richard Weiland. It can offer four byte or five byte reals for a tradeoff of accuracy, speed and memory use. This is the BASIC used by Apple, Atari, Commodore, Ohio Scientific, Tangerine and others. An unlicensed version appears in the Compukit UK101. See Michael Steil's article[1] on the family tree of the BASICs and their Easter eggs. Beware the garbage collection bug as investigated at

Next, Acorn's BASIC first for the Atom and then expanded to meet the BBC's educational requirements for the Beeb and then the Electron. Uniquely it embeds a symbolic assembler for the 6502 or, generally, the host CPU. Subsequently ported to the ARM by the author Sophie Wilson for the Archimedes, a version you can now run on your Raspberry Pi for an equivalent performance of a 50GHz 20GHz 6502. (Also ported to the Z80 for Amstrad's NC100 and still available for the x86)

Finally, Lee Davison's EhBASIC is widely used in modern retro builds[2] and has a subforum of its own at

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

Hat tip to +Yves B

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