Mad Magazine BASIC Program (10-15 mins)

Task: Load and Run a BASIC Program from Mad Magazine (1985)

Needed: BASIC, ATR File, Altirra

Time: 10-15 minutes


I remember reading Mad Magazine as a kid as many did during that time. What I didn’t know until recently is that there was a special computer issue from October of 1985 with BASIC code that you could type in and run for Atari and other platforms including Apple and Commodore. I was in high school in 1985 and was probably not reading Mad at that time. Here is an Atari Age thread discussing this special issue. If you read down through the thread there are some links to ATR and BAS files.

Mad Magazine Cover 1985
Mad Magazine Cover 1985


Step 1

Download the Mad Magazine ATR disk image. Here is a text file of the BASIC code.

Step 2

Open the Altirra emulator. See my previous post about this if you have never installed it.

Step 3

Choose Boot Image from the File menu and select the MADMAG.ATR disk image file that you downloaded in step 1. The DOS menu will appear.

Step 4

Navigate to the File menu and under Attach Special Cartridge choose BASIC at the bottom. This will simulate having the BASIC cartridge in the Atari.

Step 5

Verify the MADMAG.BAS file is in the disk by type DOS and hitting enter and then selecting A from the DOS menu and hitting enter. Then choose B to run the BASIC cartridge.

Step 6

Once back in BASIC type LOAD “D1:MADMAG.BAS” and hit enter. This will load the BASIC program. Type LIST and hit enter to see the code. Then type RUN to see the Mad Magazine special graphic. That is it!

Mad Mag Graphic
Mad Mag Graphic


I was hoping to track down a full pdf of this issue. There is some other good stuff in there including a spoof on computer terminology (see below). I have included below scans of this piece on the BASIC programs. You can find higher res version of this here.

Mad Mag Program 1

Mad Mag Program 1

Mad Mag Program 2
Computer Language
Computer Language