10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10


This book takes a single line of code--the extremely concise BASIC program for the
Commodore 64 inscribed in the title--and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture. The authors of this collaboratively written book treat code not as merely functional but as a text--in the case of 10
PRINT, a text that appeared in many ...

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This book takes a single line of code--the extremely concise BASIC program for the
Commodore 64 inscribed in the title--and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture. The authors of this collaboratively written book treat code not as merely functional but as a text--in the case of 10
PRINT, a text that appeared in many different printed sources--that yields a story about its making,
its purpose, its assumptions, and more. They consider randomness and regularity in computing and art, the maze in culture, the popular BASIC programming language, and the highly influential
Commodore 64 computer.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"10 PRINT CHR$ (205.5 + RND (1)); : GOTO 10, a new book collaboratively written by 10 authors, takes a single line of code -- inscribed in the book's mouthful of a title -- and explodes it. That one line, a seemingly clumsy scrap of BASIC, generates a fascinatingly complicated maze on a Commodore 64.... Though 10 PRINT CHR$ (205.5 + RND (1)); : GOTO 10 is occasionally whiplash-inducing in its headlong rush through history, the connections it makes over 294 pages are inspired. One of the most compelling sections of the book discusses the cultural history of mazes,
relating 10 PRINT's maze back to the labyrinth of Knossos, where, according to the great Greek myth,
Theseus waged battle with the terrifying Minotaur." -- Geeta Dayal,

The MIT Press

" 10 Print is a creative adventure in reading source code as a technical object and cultural icon, as well as a window onto the ways in which technical and artistic practices mingle. Wildly imaginative and boldly collaborative, it sets a high bar for the emerging field of critical code studies. It celebrates the 'Maker' philosophy and the DIY spirit of home computing at its best. A romp, a scholarly exposition, and an experiment in writing in a collaborative authorial voice, it is a delight not to be missed." -- N. Katherine
, author of How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary
; Professor of Literature, Duke University

The MIT Press

"To see the world in a grain of sand -- or a slice of silicon -- has always been the great hermeneutical project. Here we find that project disassembled and recompiled by Nick Montfort and his collaborators, who focus their diverse training and intellects on a single eponymous line of vintage computer code. The result, 10 PRINT, is an executable that is also an open source for a powerful new mode of collective and cooperative scholarship." -- Matthew
G. Kirschenbaum
, University of Maryland; author of Mechanisms: New Media and the
Forensic Imagination

The MIT Press

"Well before the Web browser and even the desktop metaphor came to be, there was the blinking cursor of the command line. It sat in silence, submissively waiting for the incantations of the programmer. Until the C64--a VW Beetle equivalent in its affordability, reliability, and simplicity--only a precious few had access to the command line and the order and chaos it could produce. Through an investigation of one line of code, this book reveals what happened when the C64
opened coding up to 'test driving' hobbyists and began to reveal itself as a platform for true creativity." -- John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design

The MIT Press

"This microscopically close reading of a one-line BASIC program opens to reveal,
fractal-like, the breadth and depth of critical code studies. Taking what the authors refer to as a
'variorum approach' allows 10 PRINT to explore not just the multiple forms in which this line of code circulated, but the rich array of its cultural resonances and technological offspring. Blending ten scholarly voices in one coherent, collaborative text, 10
itself produces a new kind of code, a working system that points the way to one viable future for scholarship." -- Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly
Communication, Modern Language Association

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262018463
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2012
  • Series: Software Studies
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 987,872
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Montfort is Associate Professor of Digital Media at MIT and the coauthor of
Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System
(MIT Press, 2009).

Patsy Baudoin is the MIT Libraries liaison to the MIT Media Lab.

John Bell is Assistant Professor of Innovative Communication Design at the University of

Ian Bogost is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of
Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games
LLC, and the coauthor of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (MIT Press, 2010).

Jeremy Douglass is a postdoctoral researcher in software studies at the University of
California, San Diego, in affiliation with Calit2.

Mark C. Marino is Associate Professor (Teaching) and directs the Humanities and Critical Code
Studies (HaCCS) Lab at the University of Southern California.

Michael Mateas is Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of California,
Santa Cruz.

Casey Reas is Professor of Design Media Arts at UCLA and coauthor of Processing: A
Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists
(MIT Press, 2007).

Mark Sample is Associate Professor of English at George Mason University.

Noah Vawter is a sound artist.

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Table of Contents

5 Series Foreword ix

10 Introduction 1

15 Rem Variations in Basic 19

20 Mazes 31

25 Rem Ports to other Platforms 51

30 Regularity 63

35 Rem Variations in Processing 105

40 Randomness 119

45 Rem One-Liners 147

50 Basic 157

55 Rem a Port to the Atari VCS 195

60 The Commodore 64 209

65 Rem Maze Walker in Basic 243

70 Conclusion 261

75 End 269

80 Thanks 271

85 Works Cited 275

90 Variants of 10 Print 287

95 About the Authors 295

100 Index 299

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