Petit Computer takes 3DS/DSi back to BASIC

What’s the coolest thing you can do with new technology? Make it so that it will imitate old technology, of course! Take a look at Petit Computer, a new download for DSi and 3DS from SmileBoom.

…your eyes do not deceive you. That is a BASIC emulator for Nintendo handhelds, giving you a Commodore 64 (or Vic 20 or Amiga) right in your pocket.

Everyone can easily enjoy creating their own original programs, from those who ever dreamed of being a programmer when they were younger, to the young programmers of today. Many programs are included to ensure that you can fully enjoy using BASIC. The included programs were also written in BASIC, so you can add new features to them in order to enhance your games.

While it’s not a game as such, Petit Computer contains 21 feature samples to show off just what it’s capable of. There are five games and 16 programs, including a “character picture tool”, a graphics editor, a number-guessing program, a piano program using the keyboard, a speech emulator and a bio-rhythm predictor.

Of course, the program also gives you the tools you need to create your own games, utilities and programs. If your age is showing and you remember programming in BASIC, nothing’s really changed on that side of things. What has changed is what you can do with your programs after they’ve been entered.

We’ve moved far beyond the time of 5 1/4 floppy disks and tape decks, kids. Petit Computer lets you transfer files between consoles using the built-in wifi capabilities. If you want to share with someone who’s not connected, no drama! Just print out your source code as a QR graphic, print it out and hand it over. All they’ll have to do is use the DSi or 3DS camera to snap a pic, and Petit Computer will do the rest. (Apparently the days of typing in lines and lines of code out of the back of a magazine are long gone…)

The program is available now through the Nintendo eShop for US$7.99 – a bargain if you’re into programming, but perhaps a little steep if you’re just looking for something to play around with. It’s early days for Petit Computer, but if it takes off, keep an eye out for QR codes hiding BASIC creations popping up online where you least expect them.

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