The amount of tutorials, youtube videos, scanned books on C64 programming is overwhelming.

What materials would you recommend -- and, importantly, in what order! -- to build a path to programming my own demo in Assembly?

Please assume programming knowledge in higher-level languages.

  • @Wilson: I started reading scanned "Commodore Programmer Reference Guide", and some resources at 6502.org, but the more I look around, the more material I see. That's why I need recommendations from those who have already been there and know which books/links/etc. are more useful than other.
    – dust
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 10:46
  • 1
    If truly a beginner: skilldrick.github.io/easy6502
    – Brian H
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 2:46
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    I would highly recommend the book "Machine Language for Beginners" to learn the basics of 6502 ML and a copy of "Mapping the Commodore 64" - those two books will make you invincible.
    – Geo...
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 3:23
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    A knowledge of 6502 is required. This file zimmers.net/cbmpics/cbm/c64/vic-ii.txt describes almost everything important to code the 64 beast -- but not SID and not CIA ports. SID is virtually unimportant if you use tools like music editors that give you complete playable 'modules'. CIAs are pretty simple things and info about them acting in C64 is spread elsewhere (googlable).
    – lvd
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Since you want to program demo's you will have to learn not only 6510 machine code, but also the hardware of the c64. Both are explained in the original 'Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide'. In my opinion this book is sufficient to do whatever you want to do with the c64.

The only other book I bought was the What's Really Inside the Commodore 64 by Milton Bathurst. This is a disassembly of the c64 roms.

  • 2
    If by demo you mean the graphically intensive psychedelic animations with music you can see on YouTube - there's a lot of advanced tricks you can do with the VIC and SID that you will NOT glean from that text, such as the disappearing border trick, playing samples through the SID, FLI/IFLI modes, etc.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 20:21
  • @LawrenceC. Thanks. I will start from that text, but after that what sources would you recommend?
    – dust
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:39
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    Go through the old Compute!'s Gazette and/or RUN magazines if you can find them on an online archive site somewhere.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 16:58

You've probably already seen 6502.org. It has a lot of tutorials. Also, if you haven't yet downloaded CBM.prg Studio you should have a look at it.

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