Atari PILOT

Atari’s version of the PILOT programing language (that’s Programmed Instruction, Learning, or Teaching) was released on cartridge in 1981. The first version of the language was released in 1968. It was created explicitly for teaching programming to children. Atari’s version adds commands for using the computers advanced (well, for the time) graphics and sound capabilities.

According to our friends at AtariWiki, “the language consists of one-[and two-] letter commands followed by a colon, one command per line, and with a very limited set of commands and operations. Variables are prefixed with $, and labels with a *. … The graphics system used turtle graphics… The syntax allows a series of commands to be repeated by placing them inside parenthesis and putting the number of times to perform it in front.”

Short commands? Easily repeatable commands to save space? That’s perfect for a computer you can control in 280 characters over Twitter.

In order to tell Atari8BitBot that your program is in PILOT (as opposed to BASIC or assembly language,) the first word of your tweet must be {P}

The rest of the tweet will be your program, with each numbered line of code on a new line.

To learn to program in Atari PILOT, start with Atari’s PILOT Primer book.