UBSCSB Series 2: Family Basic.

Another entry caused by “I got nothing new on Satellaview”.

Out of boredom I decded to try looking up info on “Family Basic”, for the Famicom. If you already have an, um, “basic” idea of what the BASIC Programming Language is, then you should know what this would be just by the name.

Family Basic Sets tend to be expensive as heck on eBay, so purchasing one was not in my ability at the moment. Apparently Matthew Callis himself has some stuff though.

Digging down a bit more, though, I found this listing for a Hudson cassette.
To clarify this – Family Basic stored and read data off Data Cassettes using the Famicom Data Recorder add-on. Now, I heard of a lot of generic cassettes being usable here, but I don’t really recall hearing much about the commerically-sold products based around Family Basic, aside from the programming tools themselves. I tried digging up for info, but unfortunately I still need some more Japanese language skills – I only have some vague hints.
Either way, apparently stuff was commerically sold as Famicom Data Cassettes – how would one archive these? … perhaps a lossless audio format like FLAC?

… but yeah, going on from that, after looking that up, I decided to try throwing a search for Family Basic up on NicoNicoDouga. There are a -lot- of results, more than what I think I could fit in a blog article here (Maybe even demanding it’s own blog set?).
I unfortunately lazied out on getting the original links for these, but you can find them under a tag search for ファミリーベーシック on NicoNicoDouga. Some of these videos had descriptions or dates which implied them being homemade, but some have dates such as 1983 or 1986, and many of the NND descriptions clearly reference “Family Compuer Magazine”….

These are just some of the videos. It’s still quite a lot, though, so please use the “more” link to view them.







2 Comments »

  1. Jason said,

    February 19, 2010 at 9:21 am

    A lossless format would be the easiest way to preserve these, but perhaps someone could write some software that would demodulate the audio into a new file format, similar to what’s already been done with home computers like the C64 and MSX. File sizes would be much smaller and more suitable for emulators. FLAC would be better for people with the actual hardware.

    Watching the videos brings up an interesting question though… source material looks like an emulator and not a TV capture. I know there’s support for Family Basic in several emulators already, so where did these come from? Has all the code been inputted by hand into an emulator, do any emulators support the a cassette recorder via a PC line in, or has someone in the Japanese community already solved the above problem? I’m guessing not the third, since I haven’t seen any roms/dumps/cassettes of family basic material in the wild. Time to do some research!

  2. Kiddo said,

    February 19, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Unfortunately, since I have no experience with any of the NES emulators that might support Famicom Basic, I really don’t know the answers to those questions.
    I read some things about a few of the NesterJ things and some ability to run some Famicom BASIC code, maybe? However, that didn’t seem to spawn any mass archival of the format…

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