The first microcomputers were quite simple. They had a few kilobytes of memory and couldn’t run large programs. Many didn’t even have an operating system. Yet they had something valuable: understanding everything about their hardware and software was easy. Thousands of people bought a microcomputer and learned how it worked.
PCs have lost that simplicity. The operating system requires hundreds of megabytes on the hard disk and installing it can take up to one hour or more. Even engineers with a degree in computer science have a hard time when they try to find out how some particular feature works. Millions of people have a computer at home. They know how to use it, but they don’t know anything about how it works.
simpleJ emulates on your PC a simplified computer: a retro-style video game console that lets you understand how a computer works and write your own video game programs.
simpleJ consists of three parts:
simpleJ virtual console
– A software emulator for a retro-style video game console.
Its graphics and audio capabilities are similar to those of early video game consoles and personal computers such as the: NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Colecovision, Commodore 64, and Atari 800.
It comes with a couple of games you can play right away.
– A developer kit to program your own games for the simpleJ virtual console.
See the program’s source code and the console’s video output simultaneously in a single window; it makes it easier to test and debug your games. You can even execute the program step by step and examine a graphical view of the console’s memory as it changes after each step.
It includes the source code for the games that come with the simpleJ virtual console plus a few other sample programs.
– A tool to create the characters (tiles) and sprites used to draw the graphics in the simpleJ virtual console.
simpleJ is free.
Download: simpleJ 0.6.1 Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris