Using Kick Assembler And VS Code To Write C64 Assembler

YouTuber [My Developer Thoughts], a self-confessed middle-aged Software Developer, clearly has a real soft spot for the 6502-based 8-bit era machines such as the Commodore 64 and the VIC-20, for which he has created several video tutorials while travelling through retro-computing. This latest instalment concerns bringing up the toolchain for using the Kick Assembler with VS Code to target the C64, initially via the VICE emulator.

The video offers a comprehensive tutorial on setting up the toolchain on Windows from scratch with minimal knowledge. While some may consider this level of guidance unnecessary, it is extremely helpful for those who wish to get started with a few examples quickly and don’t have the time to go through multiple manuals and Wikis. In that regard, the video does an excellent job.

VS Code is a great tool with a large user base, so it’s not surprising that there’s a plugin for using the Kick Assembler directly from the IDE. You can also easily launch the application onto the emulator with just a push of a button, allowing you to focus on learning and working on your application. Once it runs under emulation, there’s a learning curve for running it on native hardware, but there are plenty of tutorials available for that. While you could code directly on the C64 itself, it’s much more pleasant to use modern tools, revision control, and all the conveniences and not have to endure the challenges.

Once you’ve mastered assembly, it may be time to move on to C or even C++. The Oscar64 compiler is a good choice for that. Next, you may want to show off your new skills on the retro demo scene. Here’s a neat C64 demo with a twist. There is no C64.

Thanks to [Stephen] for the tip!

3 thoughts on “Using Kick Assembler And VS Code To Write C64 Assembler

  1. I watched that very same video again last night in order to set up my dev environment. All of his videos are outstanding. His and 8 Bit show and tells videos are teaching me C64 assembly gradually.

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