Session Details

Session Details2019-01-07T06:21:08+00:00

Assembly Language: The (Sega) Genesis of Programming

Presented by: Joe Sewell

Have you ever wondered how many popular video games of the 70s, 80s, and 90s managed to look, sound, and play so well, despite running on very limited hardware? One reason is that many of these games were written in assembly languages. Unlike compiled or interpreted languages, in assembly the programmer manually decides the CPU instructions the program will execute. This “by hand” approach, while difficult, allowed game developers to maximize their use of the hardware and still keep a playable framerate. This session dives into the ancient art of assembly programming, with the Sega Genesis (a.k.a. Mega Drive) as an example. You will learn the basics of assembly languages and the unique quirks of video game hardware of the era, with examples from real assembly code for the Genesis’ Motorola 68000 processor. Attendees will even customize a simple homebrew game as part of the talk. You'll leave with a deeper understanding of computer architecture, the knowledge of what situations call for assembly programming, and the gratitude of being able to use higher-level languages in all other situations.

Tags: HardwareLevel: Intermediate