Books - General

Details of the best Atari books






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The following books are recommended for all Atari owners but beginners should refer to the note at the end of this section.

Tab Books

This is not a newly published book but is amongst the best of the books for the programmer who wants to learn the finer aspects of Atari programming. It covers Display Lists, Animation, Display List Interrupts, Scrolling, Page Flipping and much more. Several example programs are included including many with machine language subroutines. Also included are sections on sound, using the keyboard, disk use and even a section on cassette use which shows how boot cassettes are made. Unlike many American books this is full of serious straightforward information with over 200 packed pages and no wasted space. If you know hoe to write Basic this book will help you progress in leaps and bounds.


The only book we know of about assembly language written specifically for the Atari. Everything you need to know about assembly language programming and its specific application to the Atari hardware. Several useful subroutines are included and explained with details of how to include USR calls in your programs as well as write full programs in machine language. Written by one of the senior partners of MMG Software who produce one of the finest compilers for the Atari and several other well known Atari programs. Even if you have already begun to dabble in machine language you will find this useful as it is Atari specific.


Sigma Technical Press


I bet they regret the title! Forget it, this book is relevant to all Atari 8-bit machines and is an excellent introduction to those advanced features specific to the Atari. Once you have learned the rudiments of Basic, this book will introduce you to String Handling, Screen Output, Graphics, Advanced Graphics, Player Missile Graphics and Sound. The sound section in particular is excellent with details of 16-bit sound and other aspects seldom covered elsewhere. 45 program listings including a full synthesiser. A book written by somebody who knows his Atari inside out.


John Wiley


Several new owners have asked for a good book to teach them BASIC from scratch. What better than an updated version of the book that used to come with the 400 and 800 computers and is an excellent introduction to ATARI BASIC for those who have not programmed before. Many other books will skip through the fundamentals to try and tempt you with some more advanced techniques but without the groundwork you may flounder. This is a good solid textbook that any beginner will be able to work all the way through and come out with a good working understanding of ATARI BASIC. Who knows, without the original version of this book PAGE 6 might never have been born! It started the editor off with all the basics and is highly recommended for any new users with little previous computing experience.


Probably the finest book to have been written about the more advanced aspects of the Atari. If you want to know how to redefine and animate characters, handle fine scrolling and use Player Missile Graphics, this book will give you all the details with many ready-to-use machine code routines to incorporate in your own programs. The first part of the book is an overview of computer animation in general and the remainder (the vast majority) is concerned with using the advanced graphics capabilities found only on the Atari. An very expensive book but no more than many pieces of software and incredible value at almost any price. Probably one of the classiest computer books around.

Compute! Books

Another fine book from COMPUTE! which continues on from their Third Book of Atari. None of the programs have been published before and they range from games to business and educational and lots more. Includes a quite original game 'Nessie' where you have to photograph the Loch Ness monster, applications such as Investment Tracker, and a Disk Catalog Utility together with tutorials. 30 original programs with something for everyone. This is mainly a collection of type-in programs but many have supporting articles explaining how they work.

Compute! Books

This collection has been eagerly awaited by many readers and it certainly won't disappoint. Although there are games included the emphasis seems to be on more 'serious' uses of the Atari with several applications including an indexing & cataloguing program and even a database. Programming aids include utilities for changing and listing variables and a nice routine to give you a split Graphics 0 text routine. Graphics are well covered with four excellent graphics utilities including one that will allow you to design playfields and which will automatically write a Basic program. Rounding off the book there is a whole section of strategy games. If you wondered whether Compute! could keep up their standards this book proves they can.

Compute! Books

Although published some years ago this remains a good introductory book for new owners with a range of articles and type in programs to introduce the new owner to the world of Atari. Useful articles and programs include 'Inside Atari Basic', 'Adding a voice track to Atari Programs', 'Designing Your Own Graphics Modes' and more. As well as tutorials there a a number of programs to type in for all machines. Recommended for beginning to intermediate Atari users.


Compute! Books

Here are fifteen commercial quality game programs ready to type into your Atari. The book contains fast machine language games that require quick reflexes as well as brain teasers that feature strategy and logic. As a bonus, many programming techniques are explained in depth so Atari owners can adapt them to their own games.

Compute! Books

Programmers interested in graphics and colour will find this book indispensable. Includes sections on using Atari graphics, "painting" the screen in 256 colours, mixing graphics modes, making high-resolution graphs and charts, redefining characters shapes, player/missile graphics and much more.

Compute! Books

The next book in Compute!'s series contains more type-in programs than the first book and is slightly more advanced. These programs have been selected by the Editors of Compute! magazine, one of the first magazines to provide regular support for the 8-bit Atari. All these articles and programs are new for this book and comprise many different types of articles and programs. Contains chapters about utilities, programming techniques, graphics and games, applications and machine language and much more.

Compute! Books

One of the strengths of the Atari is its graphics, but how do you program them, This book gives easy to understand explanations of the versatile graphics capabilities of Atari computers. There are articles and several programs including artists' utilities, rainbow graphics, page flipping, artifacting and more. Most of the programs are extensively documented so you know just what is going on in the programs. A tool kit for the advanced programmer and useful material for the novice, this will be of interest to anyone wishing tom explore Atari graphics.

Compute! Books

Continues in the COMPUTE! tradition of useful information written in a clear understandable style. Programmers of all levels, beginning to advanced will find a wealth of informative and interesting programming tips, tutorials and programs. Contains games, a word processor, the Wedge (which adds new commands to Atari BASIC), a line renumbering utility, a machine language sort program, a complete character set reference, an XL memory guide and lots more. This is certainly the best of the early books with a lot of reference material that will be used for many years, even by more advanced programmers.


Atari Inc.


Subtitled 'A Guide to Effective Programming' this book was written by some of the most famous programmers that were around at the time the Atari was created and gives probably the best all round guide to the advanced aspects of machine. Some programming knowledge of Basic or Assembler required and the book covers player missile graphics, interrupts, sound, scrolling graphics and the disk operating and cassette systems. Lots of 'secrets' here in what was originally a comprehensive notebook in which the most talented programmers recorded their discoveries. A book that will advance your programming knowledge no end.


Shiva Publishing


We have been searching for a while for a good low priced book to give newcomers an introduction to writing programs on the Atari. This one was highly recommended by one of our readers and we have to agree. Written in a light hearted manner yet still portraying the essential facts clearly, it will guide you through all the basics of BASIC as well as give you many hints and insights into getting the most from your system. Several example programs are included together with appendices to give the book a useful reference life once you have worked through it. A bargain for every new owner.

Compute! Books

Almost every one of us has a little bit of the hacker inside us if only we knew where to begin! At last here is a book that will guide anyone, whether a beginner or already experienced with electronics, along the path to building their own add-ons for the Atari. Step by step instructions are given to build a joystick, paddles (play Breakout properly!), a light sensor, an electronic switch, a burglar alarm and more, all of which enhance or can be controlled by your Atari. Programs are included where necessary and each project has a complete list of parts and part numbers which can be obtained from any Tandy shop. Most of the projects use a solderless breadboard and only a very little soldering will be required. Fear not because the book guides you through anyway. Most of the projects will cost only a few pounds or less to build.

Byte Books

If you have an Epson dot-matrix printer, this fine book will give you all the information you need to get the best from it, including examples of how to use Basic to control the printer's special features. Every aspect is covered in over 230 pages. The book will also be of interest to anyone who owns an Epson compatible printer and, whilst expensive, is ideal if you are considering buying a dot-matrix printer as it will tell you exactly what features are available and what to look out for. It could save you wasting hundreds of pounds in choosing the wrong printer. An expensive book but one which will enhance your understanding and use of your Epson printer.

Compute! Books

Much commercial software is written in machine language because it's faster and more versatile than BASIC. This book is a step-by-step introduction to the subtleties of machine code. Includes an assembler, a disassembler and utilities to help programmers write programs more quickly and easily. Excellent for users who are confident with BASIC as it is the only book that gives direct equivalents in assembly language of normal BASIC statements. All the other books on machine language for the 8-bit Atari are now out of print so this is the only book on machine language directly relating to the Atari. Get it before it goes out of print!

Compute! Books

This is the book that XL owners and XE owners have been waiting for and the one book that every owners should have beside his computer. Based on the renowned original, this new version contains all the extra memory locations in the XL and XE series together with many appendices giving extra information about the machines, DOS, memory management and more. Included are programs for a RAM resident OS which you can tailor to your needs and a Revision C BASIC converter. The book is a complete compendium of all the locations you can PEEK and POKE and it gives many examples of just how you would use each location. If you are just starting out this one book will increase your programming ability tenfold and if you are already proficient it will be the reference book that you come back to time and time again. If you have the old Mapping, this one will give you a few corrections and information on additional locations not covered in the first book. A must for anyone who wants to write programs. Of all the books that have been published and been through the Editors hands this is the one that has been consulted more than any other, in fact almost every time that a program has been written, this book has had a hand!

Compute! Books

Here is a cheap word processor that is quite unique in that you have to type it in! Don't be put off by the fact that this program comes as a type in listing, it is a superb program of top commercial quality and it surpasses many commercial word processors that cost three times the price of the book. If you have not yet used a word processor, this is the one to get you started. For advanced programmers, a full source code listing will let you into the secrets of writing a high quality professional program. The program contains specially written error checking routines so that typing it in will not be fraught with difficulties.


All the technical data on the 8-bit machines, including schematics and a complete source listing of the Operating System. The Technical Reference Notes comprise three separate Reference manuals - The Operating System User's Manual, Operating System Source List and the Hardware Manual. There is an enormous amount of information here, all you could possibly want, but the book is a reference manual rather than a tutorial so some programming knowledge is required. If you are prepared to delve into and discover the secrets in this book you should be able to solve any technical programming problems, There is no doubt that without this book many of today's top Atari programs would not have been written. The definitive programmer's reference.


Compute! Books

From the computer's point of view, each BASIC command is actually a machine language miniprogram. Authors Bill Wilkinson, Kathleen O'Brien and Paul Laughton, the people who actually wrote Atari Basic, have compiled a complete annotated source code listing and a wealth elk information on the internal workings of BASIC.

Compute! Books

The follow up to Machine Language for Beginners, this book leads the programmer deeper into the most powerful and efficient programming techniques available for personal computers. Fully tutorial, with easy step-by-step explanations, this book shows how to construct significant, effective machine language programs. Included is a high speed professional quality, label-based assembler. Everything that's needed for that next step in machine language. The book is essentially an Assembler program that you type in and, in doing so you learn how to construct a complex program in machine language. At the end you are left with a useful program to enable you to write more programs with your new found knowledge.


Over the past four years the one reference book that I have referred to more than any other (apart from Mapping The Atari) is Your Atari Computer, a book that many 'old hands' consider to be the finest reference book published for the Atari system. In over 450 pages this book gives a complete guide to every aspect of Atari computing including the computer, cassette, disk drive, printers, accessories, programming for beginners and advanced users, graphics, sound and more. It contains a complete guide to BASIC and has 9 appendices full of useful reference information that you will look up time and time again. This is like the manual for your car, an indispensable comprehensive guide. Whenever somebody has asked me to recommend just one book, this is it. Most people call it 'the Atari bible' and that is not far wrong!



We are constantly asked to recommend a book for new owners who wish to program their Atari computers but, unfortunately all of the best books for beginners are now out of print. The best book still available is YOUR ATARI COMPUTER which is very expensive but worthwhile as a long term investment. It provides a good all round reference but does not teach BASIC programming. If you are able to find second hand books, or track down retailers with old stock we can recommend EASY PROGRAMMING FOR THE ATARI MICROS published by Shiva Publishing and ATARI BASIC - XL EDITION published by Tab Books. If you can get hold of them, buy them!