Family BASIC or Famicom BASIC is a dialect of the BASICprogramming language that is used to program the Family Computer, its cartridge came with a computer style keyboard, and required a cassette tape recorder to save games that were created. Packaged with an instructional textbook and the Family Basic Keyboard, the software was released to consumers in Japan by Nintendo in co-operation with Hudson Soft and Sharp Corporation on June 21, 1984, with a second version, with added memory, and features known as Family Basic V3 release on February 21, 1985.
Several visual components seen in Nintendo games, such as backgrounds and characters from Mario and Donkey Kong games (circa 1984-1985), were made available as basic Family Basic development parts, or have appeared in pre-made Family Basic games.
Family BASIC cannot normally be used on NES consoles because they lack the Famicom's 15-pin expansion port. This can be circumvented by the use of a custom I/O adapter that hooks into the otherwise unused NES Expansion Port on the bottom of the console.
Programs can be saved using the Famicom Data Recorder peripheral, basically the Famicom equivalent of the Commodore Datasette. Contrary to common thought, the Famicom Disk System cannot be used together with Family Basic because both the disk system's RAM adapter and the Family Basic cartridge need to be inserted into the main unit's cartridge slot for each respective peripheral to function.