I learned to program primarily on Radio Shack machines (MC-10 and Color Computer, boy that brings back memories). I found the GWBASIC/QBasic interpreters fairly close to the old Tandy/RS variants of Microsoft BASIC. The Commodore interpreter, which was also an MS BASIC variant, still seemed to have some oddities.
The problem with gaming was of course that every microcomputer had its own graphics engine, so it made porting incredibly complex in many cases. Since we're talking about computers that had, at most, 30-odd kb in free RAM, there wasn't much room for graphics abstraction. Commodore's graphics, especially on the C64, with its sprite capabilities, made it very different than the rest of the microcomputers of the time.
But text-based stuff was usually pretty easy, and I remember the adventure writing book, which was pretty cool, and I wrote a few adventure games. It actually taught me a lot about string processing, indexes and counters and the like, so these books did teach some pretty important fundamentals in a way that gave you quick results.