Also, Commodore BASIC lacked IF-THEN-ELSE, having only IF-THEN so sometimes GOTOs were necessary to do what you'd do using ELSE if you had it.
Also, on the stock VIC-20 especially, with only 3,583 bytes of RAM free for BASIC programming (unless you bought a RAM expander), you were coding for efficiency first, not readability or understandability. It had to fit in 3.5kB or else it wouldn't run. Nothing else mattered unless you had spare space.
Incidentally, decking out a VIC-20 to 32 or even 40 kB RAM is a lot of fun. It might still be awfully modest by today's standards but it sure makes for a fun programming environment.