The Commodore Datasette recording format is heavily optimized for data safety and can compensate for many typical issues of cassette tape, like incorrect speed, inconsistent speed (wow/flutter), and small as well as longer dropouts. This makes the format more complex and way less efficient than, for example, “Turbo Tape” or all other custom formats used by commercial games. Let’s explore the format by writing a minimal tape loader for the C64, optimized for size, which can decode correct tapes, but does not support error correction.
I’m no expert, but sometimes I wonder if modern computer classes and schools in general are on the right track by focusing solely on modern systems like Chromebooks and iPads. Wouldn’t it be better to teach kids programming in BASIC, with limited resources, on, say, C64 emulators?