I would like my son to learn ARM assembler, and I'm considering buying him an embedded system that he can program so he can make LEDs flash and other cool stuff that I got a kick out of as a kid. Are there any emulated or virtual "workbenches" that offer this type of programming environment on the PC without using actual hardware? I'm keen to get him started with ARM as these chips seem to be in all the new devices such as phones etc.
Emulated ARM assembler environment?
I know this answer might come a little late, but I was having a similar problem while trying to find an ARM alternative to MARS (MIPS Assembler and Runtime Simulator) and recently stumbled on the really nice ARMSim.
I believe ARMSim should provide all the functionality you are looking for.
To teach your son assembly for the first time check out a Chip-8 interpreter there are only 36 commands and wikipedia contains a clear definition of the op-codes.
vba, the gameboy advance simulator. Learn arm and then thumb, learn rom from ram, some fun video stuff, keypad inputs, etc. And then buying something like a supercard sd and a real gameboy to run the same programs on. Once you learn the gba to some extent the nds is so similar that you can focus on the dual processor thing and getting the binaries working. There are simulators for the nds as well so you actually never have to buy hardware if you dont want to.