Making 8-bit Arcade Games in C

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So I bet you thought programming assembly on the web for the Atari 2600 was the ultimate. But check it: You can now use C to develop Z80 CPU-based game platforms like Space Invaders, Galaxian, Sega/Gremlin as well as the Atari vector and Williams platforms. (Atari vector and Williams used the 6502 and 6809 chips, respectively, but Steve tweaked them so that they work with the Z80 compiler.)

Type your C source code on the left side of the browser and watch it compile and run in real time on the right side. Use the green hamburger menu on the left-hand side to toggle through platforms. You can download ROMs and export to Github Gist.

The new platforms, in addition to 8bitworkshop’s Atari VCS (2600), are:

  • VIC Dual
  • Midway 8080
  • Galaxian/Scramble hardware
  • Atari Color Vector (Z80)
  • Williams (Z80)
  • Williams Sound (Z80)

As with the Atari 2600 release, you’re not in it alone: Steve’s written a guide that walks you through it.

Also, check out - where you can edit C source code file (or add your own!) and watch the Z80 assembly output update in real-time in your browser.