Mastering Machine Code on your Commodore 64

Before the internet became popular and the web was still in diapers I had a Commodore 64 at home. “Mastering Machine Code on your Commodore 64” by Mark Greenshields was the first programming book I owned that wasn’t full of BASIC listings and opened my eyes to the wonders of low level assembly development. It was a daunting task learning machine code on my own but I devoured the book and learned so much by looking at the code in demos and games of the time.

The book was originally published in 1984, and I discovered it in a small bookshop next to Paul Street Shopping Centre in Cork sometime in 1990 or 1991. I still remember the excitement I felt at finding any book on the subject. The city library had books on computers, even one or two on building robots and things you could connect to a computer but nothing that explored the C64 in depth.

Based on what I learned in that book and from hacking demos with the aid of an Action Replay I was able to do quite a bit. Nothing amazing but I’m proud of what I did along with others in my demo group way back 20 years ago. I was 16 at the time. I wonder what I’d be hacking on now if I was that age?

You can find a zip file with all our demos in this post. Commodore 64 emulator required!

While flicking through the book I stumbled upon a favourite section, the one on interrupts which I’ve scanned and posted the first two pages of in this post. Here’s another doc on this subject, with the same example code flashing the border 60 times a second. Happy memories.

What was your first programming book?

11 thoughts on “Mastering Machine Code on your Commodore 64

  1. My first one was a COBOL textbook. I programmed various Commodore computers including the C64, but never had a book for programming them.

  2. Sweet. It’s books like that that can change the course of a young hackers life.

    I didn’t have a copy but I did have an Action Replay cartridge. Great fun.

    1. If you are interested in this book then I actually helped with the writing of it.

  3. I don’t know where my copy of this book is gone. It’s supposed to be in my office somewhere but it’s nowhere to be found. It’s supposed to be on the bookshelf next to my desk but no, it’s not there. Gonna have to turn this place upside down to find it!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.