Just the signal, not the noise

Hello 8bit'ers,

It's the last Friday of the year, and of course, our new edition is already champing at the bit with hooves, especially since there wasn't a Christmas release this year.

However, we've decided to make this edition something special. How? Below, you won't find the topics of the last 2 weeks, no. We've brought back the Best Retrocomputing Projects From 2023, reviewed them, and are entering the race with the 22 cream of the crop.

Perhaps you've missed one or two issues? Or maybe overlooked a project? Here, once again, is a concentrated recap of everything that kept the spirit of the 70s and 80s alive in 2023.

And for 2024, there's a little announcement waiting in the outro – for those who are interested.

But for now, enjoy the 2023 annual review and Issue #92. 🎇

Annual Review 2023

#1 – TRS-80 Emulator

TRS-80 Emulator
Imagesource: Rama & Musée Bolo, via Wikimedia Commons

January started with one of the machines, I wish I had. The TRS-80. Actually it started with an emulator, so everbody, their grandma and me can enjoy this little beauty without having to heat up the soldering iron on a mission to re-cap the original hardware.

George Phillips – the creator – doesn't necessarily make a big fuss about his projects, and that's actually a pity. Because besides his TRS-80 Emulator, there are quite a few other interesting things going on on his site.

But let's stay on the topic. Of course, there are a number of pieces-of-software-that-wants-to-be-hardware™ for the Trash80. But at least we haven't found anything that complete yet.

Model I, Model II, Model III, Model 4, Model 4P, Model 4D, Model 12, Model 16 and Model 6000 are all supported more or less accurately. The list of features is longer than my Christmas wish list, and besides a backward compatible Windows version the ZIP archive also contains versions for MacOS, Linux and the RasPi.

Reading is silver, testing is gold. Nothing to lose here, only to gain. Thanks George and Peter! Great stuff.

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#2 – The Final Calculator

In February it was time again for a nice cross-tool - something that can't be placed directly in the 8-bit realm, but is really, really helpful when you're out and about in it.

What problem does it solve? Conversion of numbers between binary, decimal and hexadecimal systems.

Of course, there exist several solutions already. But if you spend most of your free time in front of a terminal anyway, wouldn't it be ideal to have a correspondingly capable calculator available directly at the command line?

And what if this calculator could be customized to your needs, was open source, and available for download for all major operating systems?

Correct: Christmas 2.0 🎁

Our Santa Claus is called Rodrigo Mesquita aka @romesrf, but it is doubtful that he is wearing a red costume or bonnet. His project pcalc - or Programmer Calculator - is certainly on one or the other wish list, though. Get your pen already, because this entry can be crossed out directly.

Cool piece of software! Love it. ❤️

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#3 – Elite Beeb Sourcecode

Elite Source Fully Documented
Imagesource: https://www.bbcelite.com/

February also seems to be the month when traditionally too many people traditionally put too much time into traditional projects from the 80s.

And Elite is one of those. When it was released in 1984 by Ian Bell and David Braben for the BBC Micro and the Acorn Electron, I was barely learning to write and read. (Singing and clapping was a year earlier.) And while that memorable event is now almost 40 years ago, (so Elite, not the clapping 🤡) there's no denying its significance.

The game has been ported in the ensuing years for pretty much every platform that cursing parents put under their kids' Christmas tree in the 80s. What made Elite so unique at the time (at least to me) was the freedom of the gameplay and of course the wireframe 3D graphics.

The game definitely opened up the genre of Space Trading and turned a whole bunch of me and my friends into space pilots. 🧑‍🚀

And this thing can't be killed. Currently, it's not the flickerfree variant by Mark Moxon aka @markmoxon that's making the rounds. Mark has made the entire source code of the BBC Micro release (completely documented) available to the astonished general public.

If you want to know how to get 3D wireframe graphics running on a 6502, or are otherwise interested in the subject, you can find the entire package with all the details at www.bbcelite.com.

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#4 – New 65xx Macro Assembler

max65 - 65XX Macro Cross Assembler
Imagesource: https://github.com/0xC0DE6502/

With the Elite source code being available, a bigger bang was still missing when it came to tooling. And this also came in February with the debut of a fresh, new, still steaming assembler.

Programming in Assembly is either huge fun, or a real pain-on-the-dark-side-of-the-moon™ – depending on who you ask. Assembly especially for the 65XX family of processors can be real fun though, at least if you have the right assembler at hand, and especially if it supports macros and comes with a whole bunch of build-in features on top of that.

And if we take exactly this as the basic definition of fun, then the fun should have no end from now on. Why?

An unknown Acorn Electron fanboy going by the twitter handle @0xC0DE6502 has recently released a new macro assembler for the 65XX processor family. And this thing has it all. If you know BeebAsm, you'll feel right at home almost immediately. max65 not only borrowed inspiration, but many of the directives and build-in functions are virtually the same.

The documentation is excellent, and for those who like to make life difficult for themselves, this is not a good place to be. For everyone else - take a look, try it out, be happy.

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#5 – Silicon Wizard

Imagesource: https://app.siliwiz.com/

And since February was so productive in pretty much every direction, there was just one piece of the puzzle missing for our own personal growth. And this piece had it all, because it went down to the lowest level you can get to when designing digital circuits: silicon.

Hardly anyone will ever design lithography masks for more or less complex digital circuits themselves. But wouldn't it be great if you knew, how it all worked anyway, so that after a zombie apocalypse you'd be able to start the whole thing all over again with 8-bit computers, internet, crypto, NFT, ML and all the other good things of life? 🤔

The team behind Wokwi to be found as @WokwiMakes is making it happen.

A friendly hello to: SiliWiz.

After a nearly 3 hour study of the excellent introduction to the subject, you screw together your own semiconductors. Literally. A little bit of substrate here, a little bit of polysilicon there, and you can admire the switching behavior of your own construction in the simulation.

Equipping a whole ASIC with it ... probably not. Nevertheless, it is exciting to have this knowledge under the belt.

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#6 – NeXT Emulator v2.6

NeXT Emulator - Previous
Imagesource: https://previous.unixdude.net/

From the perspective of 8-bit news, March is always the classic March hole. The post-Christmas-I-want-to-do-something-with-8bit-now-motivation™ is gone, and somehow nobody wants to release anything first.

But then things turned out differently:

What do we talk about? The best project name in a long time (Chapeau Daniel), and one of the coolest emulators, where one can actually argue, whether it belongs to retro technology or not.

The project: A NeXT Emulator currently in version 2.6 - and the thing is called Previous. 👏

Responsible for wordplay and software is an individual named Daniel from Raleigh, NC better known as unixdude. And Daniel has done a great job. The thing supports everything from NeXTstep 0.8 to OPENSTEP 4.2, audio and video implementation are complete, network access works and up to 7 SCSI disk drives can be simulated.

Whether the NeXT machines count as retro technology or not, is a question that makes no sense to argue about. Fact is, NeXT still influences software decisions in pretty much all devices that carry the bitten apple as a logo. That alone and the fun of running NeXTstep on your Mac make Previous a piece of software worth installing. You have to bring the ROM dump yourself.

So hurry down to the basement and get up the NeXTcube and the Microscope ... 🏃‍♂️

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#7 – Appler

Imagesource: https://github.com/zajo/

And because it's so nice in emulator land, and because we didn't know Appler before, and because even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn, we were finally allowed to get to know this wonderful piece of software.

We speak about one of the first – if not the first – Apple ][ emulatorsAppler.

This very special piece of software was developed in 1990 by Alexander Patalenski (probably @Patalenski on Twitter) and Emil Dotchevski, and runs exclusively on MS-DOS. The special thing about it is, that Appler is written entirely in Assembly and is therefore very fast.

Even cooler is the integrated debugger, which shows the disassembled program, registers, stack and memory, allows stepping, and thus not only makes bug hunting extremely easy, but also helps you to understand the (nowadays considered simple) architecture of the machine.

If you don't have MS-DOS available on hardware, you can also get there with Dosbox. Mac -> Dosbox -> Appler -> Apple ][ ... so much for layer-of-problems™. 🤓

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#8 – Infinite Mac

Infinity Mac
Imagesource: https://infinitemac.org/

What then happened in April put the icing on the cake when it came to emulating classic Apple hardware. However, outside the 8-bit segment – and it still took us a while to close our jaws again. 😳

Mihai Parparita – to be found on mastodon as @mihaip – was already in our news before. In Issue #44 we reported about his browser-based versions of System 7 and Mac OS 8.

Now Mihai has followed suit – and adds on top … a lot!

At infinitemac.org he has put almost all classic Mac OS versions into a JS emulator dress, and made the majority of versions of the operating system from System 1.0 to Mac OS 9.4 directly usable in the browser. We're talking a whole 35(!) fully functional releases, and every single one of them boots directly into the browser of your choice.

8 official versions are still missing, but I'd almost bet, that it won't take another year for those to be available online as well, thanks to Mihai's work.

Of course, a piece of real hardware on your desktop is something else entirely – but if you just want to try out some software, revive a piece of your gaming past, or just indulge in nostalgia, this is the perfect place to be.

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#9 – New Mini VIC

Brandnew Mini VIC
Imagesource: http://blog.tynemouthsoftware.co.uk/

And what was missing in April? Clearly: hardware.

Dave Curran aka @tynemouthsw must have realized this big, big problem. Dave is always good for interesting hardware innovations, that are technically a perfect fit for retronostalgics. And one of his long announced projects is a remake of the VIC20 called MINI VIC.

But since Dave plans to use only currently available hardware for this project, he faces the same challenge, as so many of his peers: How to replace the VIC chip?

In his search, he stumbled across a software implementation for the ATmega328P in the Arduino Nano, and is using that as the basis for his own experiments. Whether and how all this will actually lead to a functional product, remains to be seen. But Dave's approach might be interesting for the one or the other hardware enthusiasts.

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#10 – Mobile C64

uHELD64 - Portabale C64
Imagesource: https://uni64.com/

In May there was finally the big catch for fans of the small Commodore ... the one with 64 kByte memory. You know.

uHELD64. What's that you say? A mobile C/64, based on 1982 THT technology? Oh, you betcha!

The uHELD64, – as the team behind UNI64 say – the world's first smallest handheld that uses the original C64 chips, combines the classic C64 tech we all know and love with the wonder of modern mobility. Whether you're Team PAL or Team NTSC, this device has got you covered. Simply switch the board jumper and plug in the respective VIC-II chip. Just like that, you're ready to roll.

Despite being small enough to fit in your pocket, the uHELD64 comes loaded with all the connectivity you'd want. We're talking a full C64 miniature keyboard, S-Video output, speakers, a headphone jack, an extra jump button, an expansion port, optional internal 1541, optional joystick ports, and even a DPAD or an analog stick. Yes, they managed to cram all that into this little beauty. 😮

This thing was a trip down memory lane you won't want to miss. You can find out more about this pocket-sized miracle on their website. Ready to get your game on? 😎

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#11 – Memory Management

Memory Management
Imagesource: https://samwho.dev/

And even though only really practical projects should find their place in this special edition, there was a learning piece in June that simply had to make it into this annual review. Rarely is material like this so well prepared and explained.

Solving complex problems with the help of high-level languages can be a fun affair. It's something you're probably familiar with, otherwise you wouldn't be reading these lines right now. But what about the fundamentals underneath?

Perhaps you've worked your way through Don Knuth's TOACP and simply skipped the memory management chapter. Maybe you were sleeping in the university at that time. Or perhaps memory management was already considered a solved problem when you first sat in front of a machine with computing capabilities.

All of this is very likely, but it doesn't matter. Because the topic – as dry as it may initially sound – is incredibly demanding and interesting. And anyone who has done more than just a few attempts at low-level assembly has certainly come across the actual problem.

But how do you solve it? What are the subclasses of the problem? Who am I? And if so, how many? 🤪

But back to the point: Sam Rose, aka @samwhoo, has not only revisited the topic but also completely refreshed it. His wonderfully readable article is brilliantly interactive, so you get a dynamic graphical representation of your Memory Consumption while reading.

Even if you don't plan to implement malloc and mfree yourself anytime soon, Sam's article is highly recommended. It's a marvel.

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#12 – All New ZX Spectrum

All New ZX Spectrum
Imagesource: https://www.lostretrotapes.com/

What would a year be without a big bang in the Speccy universe? 💥 This fine project also made its debut in June.

The All-New-Your-Machine-Here-From-New-Parts-Only-List™ received another wonderful addition.

And in this case, the part with Your-Machine-Here is the ZX Spectrum. What a time to be alive. 😛

But let's get back to the seriousness of the situation. If you're not keen on scouring Ebay for a used piece of hardware, possess the necessary soldering skills, and are ready to fork out approximately 480€(!) for the BOM, then you might end up being very, very happy here.

The actual challenge of the build is predominantly the ULA chip. But the individual behind lostretrotapes.com tweeting as @lostretrotapes relies here – like many others – on the work of Charlie Ingley. Therefore, nothing should stand in the way of your soldering pleasure and subsequent gaming with a somewhat quirky color palette (Sorry!).

Fancy a hardware adventure? Here you go!

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#13 – Another FPGA World

Another World FPGA Version
Imagesource: Apple App Store

In the same year that The Last Boy Scout flickered across the movie screens of the western world, a clever French developer came up with a game engine and a game that would shape an entire generation. (My personal Bruce Willis of gaming history.) 32 years later – in July of this year – there was a release for this game that pretty much nobody would have expected.

Another World, also known as Out of this World, might have been one of the most influential games of the 90s. The cinematic platformer, designed by Eric Chahi and released by Delphine Software International, is renowned for its unique art style, cutscenes, minimalistic controls and particularly its – for the time – phenomenal vector graphics as well as the underlying, cleverly designed virtual machine, which made porting the game quite straightforward.

Over the years, it has become a cult classic, and it's probably difficult to find a platform that it hasn't been ported to. So, what's left to do?

Sylvain Lefebvre, known online as @sylefeb, approached the game from an entirely different angle. He implemented Eric Chahi's VM directly in hardware! That's right - no standard CPU, but a truly native hardware version of the Another World VM, blitter, and rasterizer. 😱

No CPU emulation here. Nope. He has successfully adapted the entire VM directly for the FPGAs IceBreaker, MCH2022, and ULX3S.

For those who don't currently have the hardware available, you can install his even more impressive project, Silice. Silice is his very own HDL, and for those who have been at odds with Verilog and VHDL, this might finally provide a gateway into the world of FPGAs.

Here are two fantastic projects that you could easily spend the entire summer exploring. Enjoy! ☀️

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#14 – Electronic Sliderule

Electronic Sliderule
Imagesource: https://sarahkmarr.com/

And because summer, especially July, traditionally brings a bit more free time, a developer came up with a project that was initially inconspicuous but turned out to be a real hit.

The HP-35, introduced in 1972 by Hewlett-Packard, was the first handheld calculator to offer transcendental functions, sparking the era of scientific pocket calculators. The HP-45 was an upgraded version, boasting additional features such as trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions. The HP-80 was HP's first business calculator, pioneering financial functions, including loan calculations, interest rates, and standard deviation, making it a popular tool among finance professionals and business people.

Computer science at its finest. 😍 And for those who can't resist the allure of 8-bit systems, they're likely drawn to these machines as well.

There are quite a few reimplementations of these calculators, but a genuine homage not only to the hardware and software but also to the era itself came from Sarah K. Marr, aka @sarahkmarr.

Her HP1973 not only features the original ROMs of the machines, incredible documentation, and authentic functionality. No, Sarah has perfectly captured the spirit of these little computation workhorses in a UI that not only comes in seven stunning themes but also makes the inner workings of the machine visible from the outside.

The download is more than worth it, and along with the source code (Thank you!), there are standalone versions for Mac and Windows.

This is retrocomputing at its best! 🙌

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#15 – PET Emu

PET Emulator
Imagesource: https://www.masswerk.at/

The Commodore PET also got quite some love in July. ❤️

Commodore's early personal computer was launched back in 1977, and if you're a tad bit older than the C64 generation, you likely owned or still own one of these devices. (Congrats!)

It was one of the first fully integrated computer systems, including a keyboard, monitor, and tape drive all in a single metal enclosure, and was powered by — of course — the MOS 6502. It became popular in the educational market and significantly contributed to the acceptance of personal computers in the late 70s and early 80s.

Norbert Landsteiner aka @mass_werk is a well-known name to pretty much anyone who's ever tinkered with MOS's flagship 6502 or any of its subsequent derivatives. Norbert, under his label mass:werk, has once again upped the ante, providing a wonderful emulator for the PET.

In addition to the emulator itself, Norbert also offers a small (🤧) library of programs. And since the whole thing runs directly in the browser, there's no installation standing in your way.

So there are no excuses. Let's go!

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#16 – ATARI 2600 Reborn

Brand New ATARI 2600
Imagesource: https://atari.com/

The idea-of-september™ has hopefully earned the employee of the month at Atari not only the title, but also a proper spiff: Why not simply rebuild a 46-year-old games console?

As if selling 30 million (!) consoles wasn't already impressive enough, the ATARI team, tweeting as @atari, tapped into the collective hive-mind of an entire generation and brought to life that one wish – that singular desire:

A brand-new ATARI 2600.

You might think it's a stroke of genius, but honestly, the concept isn't that far-fetched. Take a successful retro product, emulate it with modern, affordable hardware, add a few contemporary features like HDMI output, widescreen support, and some neat little gimmicks, and you've got a recipe for printing money. 💸

Of course, it wasn't that simple, but the new 2600 certainly impresses, especially since it looks almost identical to the original. The included CX40+ joystick is also a faithful replica of the original, and if you happen to have some old 2600 or 7800 cartridges lying around in your attic, you can start playing right away.

The package, priced at a modest $129.99, also comes with a 10-in-1 cartridge loaded with some real classics. So, even without rummaging through your attic or basement, you can instantly transport yourself back to the 80s.

It's interesting to note that Atari actually produced the original until 1992. It remains to be seen whether this new Rockchip 3128 SOC-based version will enjoy the same roaring success over the next 15 years. 🤔

Regardless, at this price point, it's hard to go wrong.

Thank you, ATARI! 👾

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#17 – GameRoy

Imagesource: https://unsplash.com/

Statistically, game consoles are becoming increasingly interesting in the fall. This also applies to emulators. And since there was still a lack of a Gameboy project in 2023, it was finally time in September.

So, how about a Gameboy with superpowers? 🦸‍♂️

Thanks to the efforts of Rodrigo Batista de Moraes, whose work can be found on github here, we get precisely that – and completely free of charge!

While there's no shortage of Gameboy emulators out there, akin to the proverbial sand on the beach, we haven't come across one with a JIT compiler before. What exactly does that mean? Just-In-Time compilation is a technique where the emulator translates the code into machine code in real-time, allowing it to be executed directly by the host. The result? A turbo-boost for nostalgia!

Moreover, GameRoy not only boasts an impressive GUI (complete with a debugger and disassembler) but has also made its way to Android! Another notable feature is a clever method for handling interrupts. And while other emulators often have to choose between performance or precision, GameRoy has found a way to achieve both. How? By estimating when the next interrupt will occur. Retro innovation at its finest.

Numbers: GameRoy can emulate Tobu Tobu Girl (who doesn't know it?) over 100 times faster than the original system! I'd love to see the gamer who can keep up with that... 😜

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#18 – Clock Signal Update

Clock Signal Update
Imagesource: rawpixel.com on Freepik

But why bother with hardware when modern machines make calculators from the 80s look worse than a 1 Euro pocket calculator? Just use an emulator? And the following project could easily be called, the mother of all 8-bit emus.

Thomas Harte might be a familiar name to some enthusiasts. His emulator CLK or Clock Signal can undoubtedly be considered a standard – or even the standard. This is not just because of the number of systems it emulates, but especially due to its simulation accuracy, software stability, frequent releases, and exceptional user-friendliness. 🥂

CLK isn't just any ordinary emulator. Far from it! It's akin to a time machine snugly integrated into your contemporary tech setup. Imagine owning a DeLorean, but without the need for plutonium or reaching 88 miles per hour! CLK prides itself on its meticulous attention to detail, replicating the exact timings and peculiarities of machines from the past.

In Issue #21 nearly two years ago, we first introduced CLK. Since then, a lot has evolved.

All the emulators have received numerous updates and bug fixes. Tom has managed to maintain the simplicity and usability of his remarkable piece of software at the same high standard as before. It's almost hard to believe that this is a passion project done in his spare time... ⏱️

While there's no shortage of emulators for classic systems, anyone who's tried the latest release of CLK on any of the supported systems would find little reason to look for an alternative.

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#19 – Project Overflow

Project Overflow
Imagesource: https://punkx.org/

October brought proof that digital technology can be applied to cardboard and paper in a playful and clever manner at the same time. Sounds odd, but it was true.

In Issue #46, we showcased a unique treat. Borislav Nikolov, who can be found on GitHub here, released his intriguing card game, Machine Code for Kids, almost two years ago. What a brilliant idea. ♠️

In October, Borislav was back with something even more compelling. His creation takes the complexity and fun a notch higher:

Overflow is designed to teach buffer overflows in computing.

Players aim to craft a shellcode in memory by copying instructions and exploit a buffer overflow to override an opponent's return address, leading them to a game_over() function. The game also introduces new strategies, like setting exception handlers or monkeypatching. 🙉

All participants share the same memory and execute the same program, taking turns to execute 10 instructions each. There's no virtual memory, and each player's stack pointer starts at a different point. The game can be played both on paper or online – either with a friend or solo.

It's an ingenious game concept that requires an appetite for complexity to truly appreciate!

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#20 – Two Stop Bits

Somehow, no one had thought of this idea before. Take HN, clone its source code, focus the whole thing on retrocomputing projects, and just like that, you deliver the blockbuster of October.

Pretty much anyone who has even a remote connection to technology in one way or another will eventually come across HN – Hackernews. As an independent, community-driven news source, you'll find daily content here that's currently trending, being discussed, or has sparked controversy within your tech microcosm.

The accelerator YCombinator struck gold with it, creating something that's been often imitated but never duplicated. While modern tech enthusiasts certainly turn to other news sources, HN has somehow become a de facto standard that one can't ignore since 2010, especially when it comes to retrocomputing content which is always welcome.

The Issue: Discoverability. (Tell me...)

None other than Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming recognized this as well, and launched a HN clone dedicated to retrocomputing. 🤯

For twostopbits.com, he uses a slightly adapted original HN source but keeps the same concept – the rising number of articles proves him right. For those who have a passion for middle-aged hard- and software, it's hoped to be not just a news source, but especially an aggregator for things that might otherwise just slip by. (But that's what we're here for too! 😁)

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#21 – 6502 Simulator

MOS6502 Simulator
Imagesource: https://8bitnews.io/

Not a year should pass without someone doing something with the MOS 6502. And even though 2023 brought a whole armada of 6502-based projects, the following find particularly captivated us.

Nearly everyone who has tinkered with a variant of the MOS6502 is familiar with Skilldrick's easy6502Nick Morgan's introduction to assembly programming is not only legendary, but it is also simply excellent. Therefore, it's not surprising that there are offshoots of the project attempting to improve on the shortcomings of the original.

Torkild Ulvøy Resheim, known as @torkildr, has done exactly this, releasing the remarkable 6502js.

Unlike Nick's version, this simulator comes with complete documentation of all the official mnemonics of the 6502 assembly dialect, including the various addressing modes.

Since there is no direct introduction to assembly programming, this small but fine tool is more suited for those who already know what they are doing or for those who want to take the next steps.

And if you have the time and interest, just load one of the 18 examples and dig through the sources instruction by instruction.

A great project.

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#22 – MOS

MOS - A fresh 6502 Assembler
Imagesource: https://mos.datatra.sh/

And because it was so great, December had to add even more to this very hashtag. A brand-new, modern, and cleverly built assembler with one of the best targets ever: the MOS 6502.

It's rare that an old concept is brought into the modern era as beautifully as in the following project by Roy Jacobs, who typically publishes code under the alias sagacity.

What's it about? As often is the case, the 6502 and its derivatives, and an assembler.

That might not sound particularly exciting at first. These things come a dime a dozen, in every shape, color, with orange or lemon flavor. But MOS is different. Very different.

First off, the assembler presents itself as a simple CLI tool. Alternatively – and this is where the real fun begins – one can use the VSCode extension. Doing so turns working with 6502 assembly into pure enjoyment. The dialect that Roy has designed is not only extremely modern. It supports just about everything a true 8-bit fan could desire: Imports, macros, segmentation, banking … you name it.

Where MOS really starts to shine is in the realm of testing. Once written and cross-assembled, code can be directly outfitted with unit tests, which can be executed right on the developer's local machine. In addition to the convenient assertions for all registers, flags, and RAM, you can also trace any values you want 🫠

MOS brings low-level assembly development into the modern age. Those who are accustomed to developing directly on the target machine with TurboMacroPro & Friends will find a journey into the future.

The gain in efficiency, trust in code, and fun is massive. Anyone doing anything with the 6502 can't get around MOS and its excellent documentation.

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Looking at our small, idyllic retrocomputing world, 2023 was a fantastic year. The projects above prove it. At the same time, they are a manifesto for the creativity and productive power of the community, both of which are tremendous.

When we started 8bitnews in 2021, we didn't expect to achieve the success we have today. Several thousand subscribers, open and click-through rates we never dreamed of, and continually positive feedback (Btw: Thanks for that! ❤️)

However, our publication hasn't reached the point where it can sustain itself. Therefore, in 2024, we're launching a trial balloon and changing the format. The resulting reduced efforts will hopefully allow us to continue reporting regularly from the retro realm, albeit in a slightly reduced form.

Please be patient, there's still much to do, but next year, we'll be back in your inbox.

Enjoy the turn of the year and … build something and talk about it.

Happy New Year's Eve!
Jan & Bastian

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