June 6, 2022 Subject:
In 1996, when I was in 8th grade I had a Tandy 1000 (PC Jr) at home with GW Basic, but I had no manual for it, so I used to visit the technology class at school during my study halls just to look at this book and copy interesting commands from it. Then I would take my notes home and try out the commands for myself. I did this so often that the technology teacher eventually let me take the manual home with me to borrow for a week.
At that time I was programming things like a crappy story-driven platformer with beetle characters made out of special keyboard characters. I soon learned how to create, save, and load sprites using BSAVE and BLOAD.
There was no sprite editor, so I used to write instant basic commands to manually place colored pixels in the top area of the screen in real-time to gradually construct all the graphics for my game, being very VERY careful to move the cursor up again and type new commands over the old ones, to avoid making the screen scroll down from too much text and permanently scroll the graphics off screen. I sometimes lost hours of work that way. Then I would type BSAVE to save a screenshot as a file. I could resume the process later by using BLOAD and then continue adding more pixels to the image.
I also discovered that using the math SIN command could cause images to move in a circle, so I played around with making my characters shoot elaborate fireballs that spun around each other as they flew forward from their hands like a Dragon Ball Z character.