Questions tagged [atari]

For questions about different versions of, and products for, Atari consoles and home computers.

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0 votes
2 answers
308 views

How did Atari RF output work?

I know that RF stands for radio frequency but what chip in the Atari handles the video output and does anybody know if something similar would work on a modern tv?
6 votes
2 answers
349 views

When were Player/Missile graphics in Atari computers first documented?

The Atari 400 and 800 came out in 1979. The hardware included the ability to overlay sprites ("players" and the smaller "missiles") over the display. AFAIK, this capability is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
156 views

What is the CMOS cache battery on the Atari STacy motherboard?

I am restoring an Atari STacy, and it is a notoriously hard device to open — I am planning to replace the floppy drive and internal CMOS battery in one go... but while I know the floppy is an Epson ...
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4 votes
1 answer
350 views

Why was Atari Tank less cloned?

The first commercially successful arcade video game was Pong in 1972. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcade_video_game the number of units eventually sold was about 19,000. (A lower figure ...
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14 votes
3 answers
3k views

When was the 6502 second sourced?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_source MOS Technology licensed Rockwell and Synertek to second-source the 6502 microprocessor and its support components. This makes sense; the 6502 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
350 views

Why did the Atari 5200 revert to only two controller ports?

The Atari 5200, released in 1982, had four controller ports, an unusual feature which as far as I know had never been seen before, and would not be seen again until the late nineties. The 1983 ...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why did Atari floppies run at 288 RPM?

Atari floppy drives for the 8-bit series, the 810 and 1050 specifically, ran at 288 RPM rather than 300. I can't imagine why this might be, and my google-fu fails to turn up a reason. Worth noting ...
5 votes
1 answer
224 views

Which early computer games supported "English" from the paddle controller?

In relation to this answer about the "English" control of the Magnavox Odyssey, I am wondering if the concept found its way into other games for later computers and consoles that supported ...
  • 57.8k
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why do some Atari ST motherboards include many Inductors?

There are versions of the Atari 520ST, and perhaps the 1040ST, that differ in having many discrete inductors attached at the I/O port lines for serial, parallel and floppy ports. The first image below ...
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7 votes
1 answer
328 views

Does the Atari 1040 STE work with the Atari SM124 monitor?

I have an Atari 1040STE. I'd like to use it with the Atari SM124 B/W monitor but I'm not sure it will work. It's my understanding that the Atari SM124 works fine with earlier Atari ST models, but when ...
5 votes
1 answer
313 views

How can I output a blank line from a batch file on the Atari Portfolio?

I'm am trying to make a batch script on the Atari Portfolio which uses DIP DOS 2.11 (pretty similar to MS-DOS 2.11). I need to put a blank line in my file and it won't work. I have tried echo., echo/, ...
5 votes
2 answers
390 views

Atari800XL Composite video black and white problem

I just brought back to live my old Atari 800XL (it's has 30years with our family), any way, the video composite output is on black and white, I had another 800xl and works fine with that cable, so it'...
26 votes
3 answers
5k views

What was Pong called in Britain?

Pong, the electronic ping-pong game invented by Atari in 1972, was the first really successful video game. In Britain, 'pong' was also slang for a nasty smell, and I remember reading somewhere, a long ...
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4 votes
0 answers
183 views

Why did Gran Trak 10 cost so much?

In 1974, Atari released a driving game called Gran Trak 10. The development prototypes had used real car steering wheels and pedals, but it was realized these were too expensive, so they were changed ...
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7 votes
1 answer
786 views

Was Steve Jobs really Atari employee number 40?

To be clear, I am not questioning that Steve Jobs spent a while working for Atari; that much is indubitably historical fact. Apparently he joined the company in 1974. Atari was founded in the summer ...
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51 votes
1 answer
6k views

How was collision detection done on the Asteroids arcade game?

In honor of today's landing of and sample collection by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on the asteroid Bennu: How did the arcade game Asteroids detect collisions between the screen objects (player's ship, ...
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13 votes
3 answers
815 views

Why was "Flight Simulator II" never ported to the NES? Was it technically impossible?

In the magical mid-1990s, when we already had got our (second-hand) 486 PC and I had both a NES and SNES, I for some reason got my paws on an old Atari "XE Game System" (8-bit, 1987). It had ...
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2 votes
0 answers
254 views

How does the Hard Drivin' game engine work?

Hard Drivin' is a classic Atari video game released in the arcades and then ported to many home systems. How does the game engine work? How is the world data handled, how is collision detection done ...
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3 votes
4 answers
276 views

What connector for Atari 2600 Controller?

I am working on designing a 8 bit computer and I was considering adding support for a Atari 2600 controller. I know it uses a D-Sub9 connector, but is there anything special about it? What I mean is ...
58 votes
8 answers
14k views

Could you reverse engineer silicon just by looking at it?

I was interested in a recent interview of Masayuki Uemura, one of the engineers who designed the Nintendo Famicom in the early 80s. During initial design phase of the Famicom, one of the first things ...
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10 votes
0 answers
326 views

How much did Atari pay for GEM?

Atari licensed Digital Research's GEM graphic user interface for the ST. As https://www.filfre.net/2015/04/the-68000-wars-part-2-jack-is-back/ puts it: And of course in the wake of the Macintosh the ...
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9 votes
2 answers
799 views

What cables do I need to connect an Atari 130XE to a monitor and a television set?

I found my old atari 130XE, full of dust. I have the power supply but I don't have connection cables and controls. I've searched in eBay, Amazon and such for controls and there are plenty of them. My ...
2 votes
2 answers
380 views

How to get rid of keyboard latency in atari800 emulator?

I use the atari800 emulator v. 4.2.0 on windows 10 and linux in latest version. (https://atari800.github.io) I notice an annoying keyboard latency of up to 100-200ms (keypress-to-click and ...
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46 votes
5 answers
11k views

How did Atari lose money on home computers?

The answer recently posted to Did Atari make more money from arcade games or consoles? quotes a New York Times article from 1982 https://www.nytimes.com/1982/12/19/business/the-game-turns-serious-at-...
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8 votes
1 answer
518 views

Did Atari make more money from arcade games or consoles?

Atari was originally an arcade game company, starting at the beginning of the seventies with Computer Space and Pong. In 1977, they entered the console business with the VCS a.k.a. 2600; in 1979, they ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who were the Atari ST designers pilfered from Commodore?

After Jack Tramiel was fired from Commodore and became the owner of Atari, I believe he offered jobs to a number of key technical people who followed him from Commodore. Who were the key people (if ...
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21 votes
5 answers
6k views

Were the custom chips in the Amiga exploited for their hardware bugs like the ones in the C64 and Atari 8 bit computers were?

Here we are some decades on from the C64, and other 8 bit computers. New ideas that resulted in some new graphics effect or mode seem to happen, though we may be near the end of all that. Took a ...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to backup/dump Atari 520st floppy disks on modern hardware

I know the real answer is to download cracked games but in the era before Internet was afordable I have a lot of community games which never reached the Internet which I would like to rescue as some ...
11 votes
2 answers
724 views

Looking for ATARI-ST Graphics Image

I am hoping that someone here collects computer images from days gone by. Many years ago when I used my ATARI-ST I made two drawing I believe I used the art program NEOCHROME, or possibly DEGAS. The ...
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6 votes
2 answers
491 views

Where to find a ROM dump for the Atari ST cartridge 'ACTION'

Back in the day I owned a couple Atari ST, I used a cartridge based program for writing video games. It was called "ACTION" Does anyone remember this program or even better, know where I can get a ROM ...
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12 votes
1 answer
957 views

When was Breakout developed by Steve Wozniak?

The classic game Breakout was developed in 1975-76; famously, the first version of the circuit board was designed by Wozniak over the course of four nights, though Atari subsequently redesigned it for ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Monitor Cable for Atari 130XE. Where to buy or how to build?

I have acquired an Atari 130XE (no manual). It has a power cord and it powers up! However, there is no monitor/TV cable provided. Hopefully you can see the image I tried to attach. Where can I get ...
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19 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why did the Atari 5200 forsake compatibility with 400/800 game cartridges?

The Atari 400/800 home computers were well-established and quite successful in the games market by the time the Atari 5200 console was released in 1982. The 5200 shared the chips and architecture of ...
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8 votes
1 answer
803 views

Fastest way to write 0x00 to a zero-page memory location? (6502, Atari 2600)

I have a kernel in my 6502 game that writes two dots to a sprite, so for example: ........ ........ .XX..XX. .XX..XX. ........ ........ Either 0, 1, or 2 dots can be on at a time. This is done one ...
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9 votes
4 answers
3k views

Were external floppy drives for Atari ST and Amiga inter-compatible?

Were external floppy drives for Atari ST and Amiga inter-compatible? For example, Commodore 1541* had its own serial bus protocol. But what about the external 3.5" DD floppy disk drive on 23pins D-...
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What changes made some Atari ST software incompatible with the Atari TT?

The Atari TT was based on the earlier ST line of computers but with a 32 MHz 68030 instead of an 8 or 16 MHz 68000. There were a number of extensions made (e.g. new video modes) and the memory ...
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10 votes
6 answers
2k views

How do I rip sounds from Atari 2600 ROMs and save it in a more modern format?

I want to create HTML5 versions of some classic Atari 2600 games and was wondering if there's any possible way to rip all sound effects from a game's ROM file. Until now, I've tried using Stella ...
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1 vote
1 answer
542 views

Amiga versus Atari ST computer introductions [closed]

I'm interested in the time, place and manner in which some historically important computers were introduced to the world. For example, the Macintosh was presented in January 1984 by Steve Jobs, first ...
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18 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where are the blueprints of MOS chips?

Atari historians have been able to find documents and tapes of chips and hardware developed at Atari. E.g. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/154479-new-gtia-chips/ . Nothing like this is happening for ...
17 votes
6 answers
4k views

What monitor did Atari recommend for its 8 bit product line?

I am curious what Atari recommended to users as an appropriate monitor for their 8 bit computers (400/800/800xl/etc). For example, my Commodore 64 pairs nicely with a Commodore manufactured 1702 or ...
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7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Atari 800XL, black screen on power on - how to diagnose the problem?

I've got an atari 800 XL that is broken - when I power on, there's no reaction. It seems there is at least something sent to display, as TV detects a signal, and turns full black. The chips are ...
25 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why did the Atari 800 designers choose such a radical system design?

The physical system design of the Atari 800 was pretty radical, when compared to the 3 other canonical home computer designs of the late-1970s: TRS-80 Model 1, PET, and Apple ][. As the photo of the ...
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10 votes
2 answers
459 views

Order of powering down Atari ST and hard drive?

I am wondering if the order is important, which do I turn off first? The Atari ST computer or the external hard drive attached to it? It is on an SCSI adapter.
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37 votes
4 answers
4k views

How did "Ballblazer" pull off fast, smooth, first-person, solid-model 3D on Atari 8-bits?

I remember the first time I saw Ballblazer, the 1984 game, running on a friend's Atari 800. The split-screen 3d graphics and fast action blew my socks off. Looking back, I get the impression there ...
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9 votes
1 answer
338 views

Remote Debugging on the Atari ST

Were there ever any remote debugging tools for the Atari ST line of machines? When developing games in full screen modes, switching away to a debugger seems quite cumbersome if you need to remember ...
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12 votes
1 answer
645 views

What API did the POKEY module provide?

The POKEY module was used in many, many Atari arcade games, including most that contained the Atari Math Box. It could be used to sample potentiometers, scan matrices of switches and, more famously, ...
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26 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why did the Atari 8-bit computers make beeping noises while accessing the disk and cassette drives?

If you've ever used an actual Atari 8-bit computer with either a cassette or disk drive, you would have noticed that it made a variety of "beeping" noises while accessing the devices. Specifically, ...
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12 votes
1 answer
344 views

Can Extra Joystick Ports be Added to the Atari XL/XE Series of Computers?

The original Atari 400 and Atari 800 machines each had four joystick ports, which was frankly ahead of their time and made for some amazing experiences. M.U.L.E. with four players was an absolute ...
  • 1,994
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Troubleshooting and reparing an Atari 800XL with a single key not working

I recently purchased an old Atari 800XL off eBay. The machine was untested/as-is and not guaranteed to work, but it was cosmetically in mint condition with original box, manuals, and even the ...
  • 8,476
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Atari Centipede Video and the GBS-8200 didn't seem to work - looking for ideas

So I ordered the GBS-8200 (It's a v4.0) and tried to use it to convert the 15KHz RGBHV monitor output to VGA. I did a direct connect to P11 with Red, Green, Blue and Hsync and Vsync and Video return ...
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