Many books have been written about 6502 assembly language. But this book is different in several important ways. Until now, there have been two main kinds of books about 6502 assembly language. There are generic books that make no mention of Atari computers, and there are reference books that are full of information about Atari computers, but are so technical that only experts can understand them. But there was a distinct shortage of books designed to teach Atari user who knew a little BASIC how to start programming in assembly language.
This book was written to fill that void. It's written in English, not computerese. It's written for Atari users, not for professional programmers (though they might find it useful). Every major topic that it covers is illustrated with at least one (and often more) simple, informative, useful programs. This book is also unique in several other ways. It's the first assembly language guidebook that has been user-tested on Atari's new XL series computers ( and every program in it will work on Atari's older computers, too). It's the first book to cover the operation of the OSS MAC/65 assembler, one of the most popular Atari assemblers on the market, as well as the operation of the Atari Assembler Editor cartridge. And no matter what kind of computer or assembler you own, the book you're now reading is probably the easiest to understand assembly language textbook you'll ever own. In this book you'll find -- for the first time between book covers -- everything you'll need to know to start running your programs on an Atari computer system. Best of all, this book will have you writing assembly language programs before you know it, and by the time you finish, you'll be well on your way to becoming an expert assembly language programmer.
All you'll need is this book, an Atari computer (any Atari computer), and a few other supplies. They are:
- A machine language assembler and debugger. The programs in this book will work without any changes on either a MAC/65 assembler from Optimized Systems Software (OS) of San Jose, CA, or the Atari Assembler Editor cartridge manufactured by Atari. If you own another kind of assembler, you can probably use it without too much difficulty, since there is a standard instruction set in 6502 assembly language.
There are differences in assemblers, though, just as there are in the dialects of BASIC used by various BASIC interpreters. So if you do use an assembler other than the two that were used to write the programs in this book, you may have to make some alterations in the way the programs have been written, assembled, debugged, loaded, saved and run. And I don't recommend this unless you already know how to program in assembly language.
Once you own this book and an assembler, you'll need only a few other items to start programming in Atari assembly language. These items are:
- An Atari BASIC cartridge and BASIC Reference Manual.
- An Atari or Atari-compatible 5 1/4-inch floppy disk drive (or, better still, two disk drives).
- An Atari or Atari-compatible line printer (any kind that works -- 40-column or 80-column, thermal or impact, dot matrix or letter quality; it doesn't matter).
As you learn more about assembly language, you may also want to buy more books about Atari computers and Atari assembly language programming. You'll find a few of the best books on both of those subjects listed in a short bibliography at the end of this volume. Good luck and happy programming!
New York, NY
Return to Table of Contents | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter