Deep Blue C is a compiler for a subset of the C programming language for the Atari 8-bit family distributed by the Atari Program Exchange (APX). The compiler is a version of Ron Cain's public domain Small-C[1] modified by John Howard Palevich to run on the Atari computer hardware. Palevich also wrote the Atari 8-bit game Dandy for APX.[2] The syntax supported by Deep Blue C is close to that of ANSI C with significant limitations. The compiler creates binary code for Intel 8080 processor which is then executed by an 8080 virtual machine.[3]

The source code to the compiler was sold by APX as Deep Blue Secrets.[1]


The following language constructs are not supported:[4]

Other non-standard properties of Deep Blue C:

  • The last part of switch clause must end with: break, continue, or return.
  • The maximum length of a source code line has to be less than 80 characters.
  • The number of arguments for functions cannot exceed 126.
  • $( and $) are used instead of { and }, because the Atari keyboard and standard character set does not include braces.

Sample programEdit

This program prints "Hello World!":[5]

   printf("Hello World!");


  1. ^ a b Palevich, John Howard. Deep Blue Secrets Manual. Atari Program Exchange.
  2. ^ Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  3. ^ Atari 8-bit FAQ
  4. ^ Deep Blue C documentation at Atari Archives
  5. ^ W. Zientara, "Jezyki programowania Atari cz.2", SOETO, Warsaw, 1989