Basic vs Assembly language

This is where most of us started. Classic Spectrum basic.

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Basic vs Assembly language

Postby Holmanix » Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:21 pm


I've been learning assembly language over the last few months in anticipation of my Next arriving next year and getting along with it pretty well. However, I've been looking at some of the great results that are being achieved with NextBasic and I'm beginning to wonder a bit if I'm backing the wrong horse. Back in the 80's it was almost a mark of disgrace if a game was written in basic (especially if you'd bought it) but with the new hardware and screen modes is basic the way to go? I'd love to know some opinions.


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Re: Basic vs Assembly language

Postby Ped7g » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:30 am

Watch the last video from Jim Bagley's tutorial series, it demonstrates nicely that even 28MHz NextBASIC could struggle a lot, especially if written in straightforward way.

I guess one could rewrite his tutorial game in a way to make it perform LOT more better in NextBASIC, judging by what is possible with classic ZX BASIC and what kind of tricks exist there to write certain tasks for maximum performance, so it is by no mean representing the hard limits of NextBASIC, but it's a confirmation you still can't be completely careless.

And from my experiments with machine code on Next, you still can't be careless even in assembly. With all the new modes and toys, if you want to use the Next to the full extent, it will require probably the same level of attention and skill as original machines.

Although if you scale down in your designs, and you stick to stuff which is easy to do, Next is lot more simpler than classic ZX in such case, hand-holding you in many areas to get results very quickly up to certain decent standard. Going beyond these standard levels is different story.

(anyway, I personally find assembly on Next more fun than NextBASIC, even if it often takes lot more time to finish my code, but it's personal preference, you can have different preference).

I'm guess that's the correct answer. Personal preference. If you like assembly and want to go low on the metal, you definitely didn't back the wrong horse. If you like BASIC and you are ok with more simplified stuff, maybe you should check the manual and do some more tinkering with NextBASIC. But the difference between limits what is possible in NextBASIC vs machine code is still as huge as on original ZX, maybe even bigger. It's just that the NextBASIC does allow you to do quite neat things too, the ceiling is now lot higher than on original ZX.

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Re: Basic vs Assembly language

Postby Alcoholics Anonymous » Sun Nov 29, 2020 2:38 am

It's also a matter of what your expectations are. The Next is a much more capable machine than the original zx. If you only expect to make games that are like those on the original machine then you can probably go far in just basic. But if you want to go after something further then cycles start to count just like on the original machine.

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Re: Basic vs Assembly language

Postby Holmanix » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:10 am

Excellent, thanks guys, I'll keep investing my time in the assembly coding then.

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Re: Basic vs Assembly language

Postby oscarbraindead » Mon Nov 30, 2020 4:05 pm

Hi all,
if you want more power in BASIC instead NEXTBasic, you can use Boriel's Basic compiler with David Saphier Next library ( you have BASIC syntax in compiled code.
Best regards

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