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Usborne Releases 1980s Coding Books As Free PDFs

I’d missed Usborne’s plan to turn its 1980s computing and coding books into free PDFs but the fruits of that project are now available on their website. I suspect they might offer up a nice jolt of nostalgia for this Monday morning (or you could actually build the games and play them)!

As it goes, I don’t actually remember these from the first time around but I suspect that’s because I only knew the Usborne books that were stocked by my local library. My life was less about creating The Mystery of Silver Mountain and more about reading Time Train To Ancient Rome. But now I’m looking through these old books and the explanations of how the program works feel lovely and simple. Programming is something I have absolutely no affinity for and no wish to learn but these make sense to me. Also I learn better when monsters and friendly ghosts are explaining things to me.

That said, I’m still far more interested in the illustrations than the processes. Look at this mosaic-floored hall!

Here’s what’s on offer:

Programming Tricks & Skills
Machine Code For Beginners
Computer Programming (BASIC for beginners)
Practical Things To Do With A Microcomputer

Computer Game Listings
Computer Spy Games
Weird Computer Games
Creepy Computer Games
Computer Battlegames
Computer Spacegames

Adventure Games
The Mystery Of Silver Mountain
Island Of Secrets
Write Your Own Fantasy Games
Write Your Own Adventure Programs

First Computer Library
Computer Fun
Simple BASIC

You can download any/all of the PDFs from this page (or investigate the more modern lift-the-flap coding options the company now makes). I’m currently considering picking up The Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook for when I become an astronaut.

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Philippa Warr


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