Atari programming memoir

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Harbour Master
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:29 am

Atari programming memoir

Post by Harbour Master » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:14 pm


I think I popped on here a couple of years back to let you know about a series of articles looking back at Atari 8-bit gaming. Well, I wrote something different over the last month - a look back at my Atari programming childhood.

The idea was not just to convey how different today's programming is from the past, but also to draw some parallels. Anyhow, more personal but it might bring back memories for a few people here. Here it is if anyone is interested:

Learning Curve
If program manuals were spell books then code was the language of magic. I was so fascinated by code that I drew my own game magazines full of fake listings for fictitious machines. Hours were spent studying real code of different computers, identifying commonalities, differences and eccentric features such as smuggling machine code into the REM statements of a ZX81 BASIC program. POKEs and PEEKs were even more intriguing; by addressing the right memory location, you could make anything happen. On the Atari, I could POKE 710 to change the colour of the text window or POKE 756 to use a custom character set. I could PEEK at 53279 to check if the START, SELECT or OPTION keys were depressed. Why were these particular numbers so special? I didn’t know because it was magic.
- Joel (HM)
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