Learn TI-83+ Assembly in 28 Days

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Welcome, one and all, to Learn TI-83 Plus Assembly In 28 Days -- the ultimate (read: "only") guide for learning how to program the TI-83 Plus graphing calculator. In this series of HTML files is all you will need to join the ranks of expert programmers making cheap knock-offs of Game Boy and cell- phone games.

The Purpose Of This Guide

As you can guess from the title, this guide is set up so you can learn to program the TI-83 Plus calculator in 28 days. This guide is intended so people who have little or no experience in assembly can learn how to make calculator programs. This guide will cover making straight ASM programs (called "nostub"). No Applications or Ion/MirageOS-compatible programs here. If that is more to your liking, there are other references you can consult. ED: prod in the right direction for shells to be done.

Why I Made This Guide

While the TI-83 Plus has been around for about three years, the amount of info about programming it is depressingly low. I believe this is because most people think that, because the TI-83 and the TI-83 Plus have similar model numbers, then the almighty ASMGuru should be perfect for both of them. This is a bad idea, as the Plus has a very different structure than its predecessor. Many of the programs in ASMGuru will not work correctly on the TI-83 Plus, some may even cause a very hideous crash.

(Invisible anti-AsmGuru flame follows. Not really necessary anymore; kept for hysterical reasons)

Furthermore--and I know I'm going to piss off at least a few of you--but I think ASMGuru is a horribly written tutorial. For one thing, the tutorial order barely has a shred of logic behind it (on the other hand, maybe splash screens are integral to learning about registers). Too, on the very first page, he says he knows practically nothing about assembly (and damned if that's not an understatement)...yet he wrote the (supposedly) definitive help file on it. Hmmmm... applying that logic, since I know absolutely nothing about performing a coronary bypass, I think I'll go teach a class at a medical university. Yeah, that'd be a great idea.

What's In This Guide

A series of 28 tutorials about assembly programming, augmented with example programs and graphics (which were made in MSPaint and Excel (yes, Excel. Laugh if you want, but I'm telling you there's no better way to make rectangles and lines), so don't get your hopes up for the next Van Gogh). I've tried to present the material in a logical order: the most essential aspects of assembly are covered in the first few days, with each successive day building off the topics covered in the previous one.
As I think that forcing you to scan thirty lines of code just to learn how to add two numbers together is sadistic, every topic will be explained first in a few paragraphs of simple English, followed by heavily commented example programs.

How To Use This Guide

Don't be under the impression that you have a schedule to follow. If you can go through eight lessons in two hours, go ahead. If you feel you have to spend a few days repeatedly going over one section to understand it totally, no problem. Calling each lesson a "day" is merely this guide's "gimmick": I thought it would be more flavorful than just going "Lesson 6...Lesson 7...Lesson 8..."

Think you're ready? Then go to the Table of Contents, or just go straight to Day 1. You might also want to check out the Formatting used in this guide.

This is version 3.0 of "Learn TI-83 Plus Assembly In 28 Days." Versions up to 2.0 were written by Sean "Sigma" McLaughlin, most recently published in 2004. While the substantial content of this tutorial series remains accurate now, 10 years later, there remain certain factual, typographic and other errors. This version is the result of a team effort to correct those errors and in general update this tutorial for the 5th decade.1

Previous Versions

For information on the authors, refer to the acknowledgements page.

This writing is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, which grants you the right to copy and redistribute it freely. You may also modify it and distribute those modifications, subject to certain restrictions. Refer to the full license text for details.

Warranty disclaimer

THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENT, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

That is to say: while we have attempted to ensure that the information in this tutorial is accurate and safe, we cannot be held responsible for any damage or injury sustained as a result of its use.


  1. Reckoned of course by UNIX time, the 2010s being the fifth decade since the UNIX epoch (which begins at the beginning of 1970).