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.
All royalties from the sale of this book are being donated to the Electronic Literature Organization, a nonprofit organization to advance work with important literary aspects that takes advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. The ELO helps to collect, preserve, describe, and discuss aesthetic and poetic work, from long-form projects to short programs such as 10 PRINT.
About the Authors
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 media and film studies librarian and MIT Libraries liaison to the Media Lab and to the Art, Culture & Technology Program.
John Bell is Assistant Professor of Innovative Communication Design at the University of Maine.
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) and other books.
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 a professor of computer science and MacArthur Endowed Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz whose research focus is AI-based art and entertainment.
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 Assistant Professor of English at George Mason University.
Noah Vawter is a sound artist.
“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, Slate
“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 Hayles, author of How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis; Professor of Literature, Duke University
“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
"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
“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 PRINT 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