Do you recall hours of sitting in front of a monochrome CRT, tapping away at the keyboard of one of the first home computers to hit the market, enjoying the magic of very BASIC but highly enjoyable, early text-based computer games? If your memory (and gaming life) goes back that far, then AkeySoft Group's recently-updated iPhone title, iBASIC [App Store], may be for you.

iBASIC is an app that delivers a collection of some of the most popular computer games from the late '70s and early '80s. Each game is launched from and run within a retro-looking 40-column text display with an onscreen keyboard for text input.

The titles presently included in the app:

The author indicates that a future update will likely bring in-game saves as well as handwriting recognition for text input in landscape mode. There's also a free, lite version [App Store] featuring a subset of the paid release's bundled titles.

Be warned: iBASIC gives an interesting look at (very) early gaming, but the paid version is definitely for the hardcore retro nut only.

App Store Link: iBASIC, $1.99, iBASIC Lite, Free

  • Adams Immersive

    Whoa! Amber!

    I’ve played one of these (lemonade stand). And one of them I actually like (Life) but I prefer other versions of it! (Although I have never found a truly great Conway’s Life app for iPhone.)

  • Adams Immersive

    Whoa! Amber!

    I’ve played one of these (lemonade stand). And one of them I actually like (Life) but I prefer other versions of it! (Although I have never found a truly great Conway’s Life app for iPhone.)

  • Bigred447uk

    10 print"What is your age ?"
    20 input x
    30 if x>40 goto 50
    40 if x<40 goto 60
    50 print"Don't buy this game!"
    60 print"Do buy this game!"

    lol.... I'm 39 years old and can get nostalgic about lots of games and systems but I'm happy to say this is just before my time !

    I don't get to say that much anymore ! Hope all you oldies out there enjoy it though ! Lol

    • Bobby

      There's a bug in your program. If you're less than 40 it prints both "Don't buy this game" and "Do buy this game."

      For what its worth, I am 36 and I spent my childhood typing in games exactly like these out of books and magazines. I learned to program by typing in BASIC games and reading other people's code, learning to write my own. Of course, its been decades since I gave up BASIC for Pascal, C, and now C++, but I do still totally have nostalgia for this era. I've played more of that old BASIC Star Trek game than I care to admit. There was a football game of the same era that I loved, too.

      :-)

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      Uh, oh! Your program has a bug! If you're over 40, you have to both buy and not buy this game! (Sorry, as a Commodore 64 programmer that eventually made it his job, I had to do it. :P).

      • Jonathan Lang

        lol, no worries - at least your friendly ! I was gutted when i realised and couldn't edit. doh !

      • Marc

        55 End

        :)

    • http://www.americanelf.com James

      I'm 42 and this stuff is not before my time. I think it must've been around in your time too... you're not that much younger than me.

  • Bigred447uk

    10 print"What is your age ?"
    20 input x
    30 if x>40 goto 50
    40 if x<40 goto 60
    50 print"Don't buy this game!"
    60 print"Do buy this game!"

    lol.... I'm 39 years old and can get nostalgic about lots of games and systems but I'm happy to say this is just before my time !

    I don't get to say that much anymore ! Hope all you oldies out there enjoy it though ! Lol

    • Bobby

      There's a bug in your program. If you're less than 40 it prints both "Don't buy this game" and "Do buy this game."

      For what its worth, I am 36 and I spent my childhood typing in games exactly like these out of books and magazines. I learned to program by typing in BASIC games and reading other people's code, learning to write my own. Of course, its been decades since I gave up BASIC for Pascal, C, and now C++, but I do still totally have nostalgia for this era. I've played more of that old BASIC Star Trek game than I care to admit. There was a football game of the same era that I loved, too.

      :-)

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      Uh, oh! Your program has a bug! If you're over 40, you have to both buy and not buy this game! (Sorry, as a Commodore 64 programmer that eventually made it his job, I had to do it. :P).

      • Jonathan Lang

        lol, no worries - at least your friendly ! I was gutted when i realised and couldn't edit. doh !

      • Marc

        55 End

        :)

    • http://www.americanelf.com James

      I'm 42 and this stuff is not before my time. I think it must've been around in your time too... you're not that much younger than me.

  • Jonathan Lang

    whoops ! My program in BASIC above is flawed...no wonder i never made a dev ! lol ... what do you young'uns say these days ? er.... My bad !

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      I'm even more confused than before! You're Bigred447uk, too!?

      • Jonathan Lang

        lol... yep... went from iphone to laptop where i wasn't signed in right !

  • Jonathan Lang

    whoops ! My program in BASIC above is flawed...no wonder i never made a dev ! lol ... what do you young'uns say these days ? er.... My bad !

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      I'm even more confused than before! You're Bigred447uk, too!?

      • Jonathan Lang

        lol... yep... went from iphone to laptop where i wasn't signed in right !

  • Lions

    Ah yes, good old lemonade stand. I remember playing that back in elementary school.

    $2? yeah, might have to give it a spin tonight.

  • Lions

    Ah yes, good old lemonade stand. I remember playing that back in elementary school.

    $2? yeah, might have to give it a spin tonight.

  • http://www.rustysabre.com/ Eric

    I'm pretty sure I owned almost every Eamon module ever written (or at least the ones I knew about). The guy at the Apple Store was pretty sick of me coming in all the time and making copies of the Eamon stuff (it was free and I never actually bought anything else). Those were good times :) I haven't spent much time with iBasic yet, but I'm betting it would be better suited for the iPad. Either way it's really only great if (1) you're a history buff or (2) you actually remember these games the first time around.

  • http://www.rustysabre.com/ Eric

    I'm pretty sure I owned almost every Eamon module ever written (or at least the ones I knew about). The guy at the Apple Store was pretty sick of me coming in all the time and making copies of the Eamon stuff (it was free and I never actually bought anything else). Those were good times :) I haven't spent much time with iBasic yet, but I'm betting it would be better suited for the iPad. Either way it's really only great if (1) you're a history buff or (2) you actually remember these games the first time around.

  • Sticktron

    Lol got my start in Apple II Basic in theearly eighties (31 now).
    Remember those books you could buy with a dozen games inside in source code... Youvjad to type tem in yourself. Ahh the good old days.

  • Sticktron

    Lol got my start in Apple II Basic in theearly eighties (31 now).
    Remember those books you could buy with a dozen games inside in source code... Youvjad to type tem in yourself. Ahh the good old days.

  • Sticktron

    iPhone autocorrect FTL

  • Sticktron

    iPhone autocorrect FTL

  • MidianGTX

    Trust the ugly iPhone keyboard to ruin the feeling of nostalgia.

  • MidianGTX

    Trust the ugly iPhone keyboard to ruin the feeling of nostalgia.

  • blades

    This has been out for quite a few months(bought it a while ago). Hopefully we will actually get that "Update" the author has been talking about now that it's made front page news.

    ;

    • TheFamousEccles

      I was going to buy this until I read this comment. The only thing that pisses me off more than developers that shill is developers that promise updates that never come. Besides, it needs more than 7 games to be worth $2.

      • blades

        Yea, I hear ya.

        Don't get me wrong, if you are a hard core retro fan. It is fun. However, I'm not sure I would pay 2 bucks for it if I had to do it all over again.

        Maybe we will get those updates now. (holding breath.......*I Died*....) Then again you never know....

        ;

      • http://iphone.akeysoft.com Chengdong Lu

        Sorry guys, I'm the developer and I'm really sorry for the delaying of update. Quite busy on another program these days, and switching jobs...

        And the handwriting part is much harder to do than I've thought. So maybe without handwriting the next update.

        BTW: there are a bunch of games in EAMON catagory. Eight actually.

  • blades

    This has been out for quite a few months(bought it a while ago). Hopefully we will actually get that "Update" the author has been talking about now that it's made front page news.

    ;

    • TheFamousEccles

      I was going to buy this until I read this comment. The only thing that pisses me off more than developers that shill is developers that promise updates that never come. Besides, it needs more than 7 games to be worth $2.

      • blades

        Yea, I hear ya.

        Don't get me wrong, if you are a hard core retro fan. It is fun. However, I'm not sure I would pay 2 bucks for it if I had to do it all over again.

        Maybe we will get those updates now. (holding breath.......*I Died*....) Then again you never know....

        ;

      • http://iphone.akeysoft.com Chengdong Lu

        Sorry guys, I'm the developer and I'm really sorry for the delaying of update. Quite busy on another program these days, and switching jobs...

        And the handwriting part is much harder to do than I've thought. So maybe without handwriting the next update.

        BTW: there are a bunch of games in EAMON catagory. Eight actually.

  • http://www.callboxlive.com Stan Winstone

    Dang it- Lemonade Stand doesn't work.

  • http://www.callboxlive.com Stan Winstone

    Dang it- Lemonade Stand doesn't work.

  • DreamPod

    I love how the screenshot there...of a commercial game collection...only gives permission for NON-commercial use :)

    • http://iphone.akeysoft.com Chengdong Lu

      Sorry for that. The actual work I do is an Apple II BASIC interpreter. But Apple will not allow it unless I bundle the games and only allow users selecting from menu.

      So if it is a perfect world without Apple's obsession to control, we can get a text command prompt and input BASIC program and download them form internet. Actually I can do that on my own iPhone with dev build.

      So you can consider the EAMON not a part of my program, only preloaded for you by me.

      Thanks!

  • DreamPod

    I love how the screenshot there...of a commercial game collection...only gives permission for NON-commercial use :)

    • http://iphone.akeysoft.com Chengdong Lu

      Sorry for that. The actual work I do is an Apple II BASIC interpreter. But Apple will not allow it unless I bundle the games and only allow users selecting from menu.

      So if it is a perfect world without Apple's obsession to control, we can get a text command prompt and input BASIC program and download them form internet. Actually I can do that on my own iPhone with dev build.

      So you can consider the EAMON not a part of my program, only preloaded for you by me.

      Thanks!

  • postmanmanman

    I'm definitely not old enough to remember this sort of game, but I love ancient games regardless. Something this old is a little... threatening, but if I can play Wizardry and love it, I'm thinking this'll be worth a shot.

  • postmanmanman

    I'm definitely not old enough to remember this sort of game, but I love ancient games regardless. Something this old is a little... threatening, but if I can play Wizardry and love it, I'm thinking this'll be worth a shot.

  • Mindfield

    Jeez. True retronauts is right. I grew up with this stuff though. I remember playing ASCII Space Invaders and Pac Man clones on a Commodore PET, not to mention the adventure games (and text adventures) and such. Hammurabi, too, and Lemonade Stand, of course. I never actually did play Eamon though. Dunno if I really want to pick this up -- it truly is mostly about the nostalgia -- but I'm tempted.

  • Mindfield

    Jeez. True retronauts is right. I grew up with this stuff though. I remember playing ASCII Space Invaders and Pac Man clones on a Commodore PET, not to mention the adventure games (and text adventures) and such. Hammurabi, too, and Lemonade Stand, of course. I never actually did play Eamon though. Dunno if I really want to pick this up -- it truly is mostly about the nostalgia -- but I'm tempted.

  • http://www.jaysonelliot.com Jayson Elliot

    Eamon?

    I'm sold.

  • http://www.jaysonelliot.com Jayson Elliot

    Eamon?

    I'm sold.

  • Jon

    hmmm...when is retro too retro? I think this might be better of in a museum.

  • Jon

    hmmm...when is retro too retro? I think this might be better of in a museum.

  • Jim

    The only real problem is that I lose all my progress when I get a phone call.

    • kuuldor

      Hi, new version is on sale. Now you can save your game in any time.

  • Jim

    The only real problem is that I lose all my progress when I get a phone call.

    • kuuldor

      Hi, new version is on sale. Now you can save your game in any time.