The Complete Machine Code Tutor (New Generation) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

The Complete Machine Code Tutor
By New Generation
BBC Model B

Published in The Micro User 2.08

Assembly Language Unveiled

The Complete Machine Code Tutor (New Generation Software) is not a machine code tutor at all, but is in fact a very good suite of programs that will teach you how to use, and write in, assembly language.

It takes the total novice from basic principles right up to relatively complex programs, explaining each assembly code instruction, and giving a demonstration program.

Once loaded, the clinically clean Mode 7 display screen keeps you well informed of your progress through the lessons. Once each stage is completed it automatically steps on to the next one.

It is fairly easy to get to your desired program, even out of sequence. This is achieved by using the Return key to step you down the page.

Much of the program is automatic, only requiring a specified key depression to start the next activity. The very neat coloured display makes keying errors minimal, but even so the crash proofing is excellent.

The lessons seem a little out of order but it isn't that confusing, although some of the text does seem a little ambiguous in places and in some instances may require a second read to understand fully the following example.

Each stage of the package - from New Generation Software - has a descriptive text, explaining an instruction code, or a group of codes. It then provides a working program, which makes the theory become fact.

The code of the example programs is single-stepped with the Return key, allowing a constant on screen display of the 6502's registers and flags.

The screen display can be altered from a simple to understand form to a much more comprehensive display, showing the actual addresses that the code is working at.

Another feature is the ability to flip between decimal and hex notation - a great teaching aid in itself.

On the whole this dual market package should be as useful in the school as for the enthusiastic home user. My one main criticism is that there are no self-assessment questions, which would be very beneficial.

Accepting the limited size of the available memory in this package, it can be used as a development tool for assembly programs, and as such does not fall into the category of a "useful only once" program.

Garry Marsh