Here’s The Movie Interplay Made In 1998 About Learning To Program Games

Here’s The Movie Interplay Made In 1998 About Learning To Program Games

I have no words. Alright, I have a couple. Interplay is mostly not a thing these days, but back in the 90s, the company was publishing hit after hit. Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Alone in the Dark, Descent… the list goes on. So to discover Interplay also put together an educational movie about games programming during its wonder years… well, let’s just go to the tape, shall we?

Nostalgia shields at the ready — the video is over 18 minutes long and about as 90s as it gets. One minute it’s like a seriously bad acid trip, the next, we’re learning about flow control.

The movie appears to be a part of an actual educational game, called Learn To Program: BASIC. “Khalbrae”, the user who posted the clip, managed to dig up an old review of the title, which includes an introduction explaining how it came into being:

[In 1998], Scott Mathews, Executive Producer of Presage Software came up with an idea … He planned to re-introduce BASIC to generation-X teenagers so that they could make their own games, be it a full-length epic RPG or an action-packed first person shoot ’em up game.

Mr. Mathews took his idea to Interplay, creator of games like Baldur’s Gate, Redneck Rampage and Fallout 2, and told Brian Fargo, CEO of Interplay, of his plan. He approved, and soon, a team of programmers began to convert the non user friendly BASIC of the early 80’s to an error-trapping, spiffed up and gutted-out BASIC of the 90’s. They called it “Learn to Program: BASIC”, and it was on store shelves within months.

The review’s conclusion states that LTP: BASIC was actually pretty good. I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve heard of it, but then, I doubt it was as widely available as something like Baldur’s Gate.

Learn to Program Basic: The Movie (1998, Interplay) [YouTube, via Reddit]


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