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Comments (10)
Ken Miller - 24/05/2020
Love Action, was the first language on the Atari that I felt showed off the full power of what this machine could do . in an easier than Mac65 (assembler) fashion. Wrote the game Midas Maze for analog magazine back in the day. only other way I could have written a game like Midas would have been in Assembly. Truly is my favorite Programming Language for the Atari.
Smaku - 19/03/2020
I am programming actually in Action! - checking how it works and my conslusion is: 'the best machine for programming / making ready, working immediately, professional application to run, just'. It looks like assembler, but with human language, means assembler but like in Pascal or BASIC writing. So what could exist better potentially even? Programming in assembler is the final professional way to get final professional applications, it's obvious. So if Action! is assembler, but for humans (letting people write with human words and thinking), it must be the best tool / machine to make perfect programs. Obvious. Simple. Hmm... genial language. It should be patented as an idea: programming in machine code, but using human language, like Pascal or BASIC. Absolute final perfection of useful, practical programming language, to use for everyday by everyone.
rhover - 13/10/2018
Wow - I remember programming in Action around 1986 or so. It was such a pleasure until I had programs that I just could not debug. Turns out some of the Action functions actually had bugs in them, so I had to rewrite certain subroutines. Took some of the fun out of it knowing those bugs (and perhaps others to be discovered) were hard coded in the cartridge.
rave.N - 04/12/2015
Bank select cartridge held 16K but had an 8K footprint. This gave the user that much more RAM while programmin.
rave.N - 05/08/2015
Rochester NY was one of the few places where betamax was more accepted than VHS, and when in The Flower City, the Lilac Festival is pronounced Lie'Lock not Lie-Lack. Kodak made a "Kodak Disc" pocket size camera around this time. Rochester = center of universe ?
The Action! 16KB cartridge itself is technologically unique with 4 banks of 4K , not sure the details now. Was it a kind of copy protection aimed at getting you to need the cart inserted for running Action language programs? Combined with the "Action! Runtime Library" the cartridge can be hacked to produce software that runs without a cartridge, as speedy as if it were crafted using Assembler.
Gods' Revenge - 05/08/2015
Just my opinion: Action! the best language cart, like 'C' for Atari tho I ended up using it to program entirely in binary. I'd use the editor to define variable labels and jump points then write code like [$A9 042 $8D MeaningOfLife] which says POKE MeaningOfLife = 42. Eventually I used an XL to swap ROM out for RAM in its place, and created my own operating system had my own DOS file system with 32 chr filenames upper and lower case plus punctuation.

You all have no idea. The supplied OS has a ton of junk slowing it down. Sending one chr over modem thru R: executes about 1000 bytes of code. I'd do it in about 10 instructions, 100X faster. Any game that hijacks the OS therefore XL/XE only could astound you and it's seldom done. The built in Vertical Blank Interrupt runs a ton of crap most apps don't need 60X a second every second and only a RAM OS can bypass it. Turning off video DMA when not in use also speeds up execution another 30% or such.

Action developed in Rochester NY really? Of all places... Rochester had its own phone company independent of Ma Bell, and, Eastman Kodak Co. Film was the world's first ever "flat screen". Chaz, I phoned your BBS at 300 baud in 1984 I even remember the name of it "CACTUS 800" if you're into big acronyms the first 2 letters must've been your moniker.
Nick H, - 02/07/2009
If you have an APE interface i can send you something that will let you turn cartridges into disk images contact me at
Ken Miller - 20/10/2008
Way back in the day, I wrote a little game called Midas Maze. If it wasn't for Action I wouldnt have even tried. I knew 6502 Assemble langauge, even had/have Mac/65. But Action allowed me the freedom to create, not worry about making sure all my code was correct the first time. I still own both carts and own 3 Ataris and an Indus GT disk drive. And once in a while for fun I boot up Action and just play.
Chaz Antonelli - 11/07/2008
The creator/author of Action was from Rochester, New York, USA. He came to my computer store (It's a MicroWorld) to one of our IMAUG (It's a Microworld Atari Users Group) meetings to demo it long before it came out commercially.

The OSS spanner logo is the official release.

- Chaz

syntax - 10/06/2008
I have an original Action cartridge by OSS dated 1984 but mine has a picture of a hexagonal nut with a spanner ? Seems to be different from the pictures shown.


Action! atari screenshot


GenreProgramming - LanguageYear1983
LanguageMachine LanguagePublisherOptimized Systems Software, Inc.

Parker, Clinton

Graphic Artist(s)Medium Disk Cartridge
Cover Artist(s)[n/a]Serial-
Dumpdownload atari Action! Download

Additional Comments

Includes cart and runtime disk.

The first two scans are of the box; the others are of two label variants on actual cartridges.


Action! Atari cartridge scan Action! Atari cartridge scan Action! Atari cartridge scan Action! Atari cartridge scan



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