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Questions tagged [atari-2600]

The Atari 2600 is a 2nd generation home video game console by Atari, Inc. This tag should be used if the question is about the Atari 2600 hardware or cartridges.

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7 votes
2 answers
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Using the reset button to enable double firing in Space Invaders on the Atari VCS\Atari 2600: was it a glitch or a hidden feature?

As a kid a favorite game was Space Invaders on Atari (I'm guessing it was a 2600, it was the late 70s to early 80s). In addition to fast reflexes I had a card up my sleeve that secured me high scores: ...
Buck Thorn's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

What contemporary hardware was available for the development of Atari 2600 (or other 2nd gen) games?

The Atari 2600, along with others like the Odyssey 2 or Intellivision, were among the first programmable home game consoles. They existed alongside personal computers like the Apple II and Commodore ...
David's user avatar
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28 votes
5 answers
15k views

How did the Atari 2600 achieve a resolution of 160 x 192 pixels with only 128 bytes of memory?

According to wikipedia, the Atari 2600 had a resolution of 160 x 192 pixels. Had it been monochrome, it would had needed 160*192 = 30,720 bits of video RAM, or 3,840 bytes. But the total memory was ...
vakvakvak's user avatar
  • 391
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does MOS 6507 do in Atari 2600 when you turn it on without a cartridge?

MOS 6500 family hardware manual says that during a reset (or a start up), processor will fetch program counter from addresses 0xFFFC and 0xFFFD. On Atari 2600 this memory region is mapped to ROM, once ...
Scylurus's user avatar
  • 133
2 votes
2 answers
373 views

Any links / info on the programming language used by the Bit 60 (by Bit Corporation)?

Any links / info on the programming language used by the Bit 60 (by Bit Corporation) ? I just re-found this machine, and as previously, still cannot find any info on the programming language it used....
dntknw's user avatar
  • 127
7 votes
1 answer
723 views

What was the small (cheap) atari-2600 compatible personal computer (not legal) called, that you could program 2600 games, in the 80's?

What was the small (cheap?) Atari-2600 compatible personal computer (not legal?) called, that you could program games for the 2600, in the 80's? I assume people would try and sneak it through the ...
dntknw's user avatar
  • 127
9 votes
1 answer
987 views

What causes the horizontal lines at the left of the Atari 2600 screen?

I occasionally see video captures of Atari 2600 games that have horizontal bars down most of the left-hand side of the screen, as in this video of Star Voyager by Imagic: It's not clear to me whether ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.6k
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who owned the rights to the TIA chip?

The two most important chips in a game console are the CPU and GPU. In the Atari 2600, the CPU was a cut down version of the 6502, a very common low-cost microprocessor. The GPU was the TIA, which was ...
rwallace's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
347 views

What is the first documented instance of video game console "Frying?" [closed]

An early example of this can be seen on the Atari VCS (2600) console. With the "Space Invaders" game, one could hold down reset when powering on the machine and get a two shot mode. As ...
Spud's user avatar
  • 847
21 votes
1 answer
2k views

Where did the lookup table in Entombed come from?

Entombed is an Atari 2600 game where you move through an infinite vertically-scrolling maze and try not to die. This maze is procedurally generated, with two bits from a PRNG (underlined) added each ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 18.6k
9 votes
1 answer
759 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 ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.3k
7 votes
1 answer
641 views

Is this really an Atari 2600?

I saw this labeled as an Atari 2600. However I thought all 2600s had toggle switches. This has flat switches. Its also all black, while all the ones I've seen have fake wood trim. Is it real?
Keltari's user avatar
  • 513
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were some Atari 2600 games written in C?

I thought all Atari 2600 games had been programmed in 6502/6507 assembly language (plus whatever activated the Stella sound system), but at a party recently, a friend indicated that some 2600 ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
30 votes
3 answers
6k views

How does Space Invaders on the Atari 2600 display all the aliens?

The Atari 2600 has two 8-bit wide player sprites, and it appears to be these sprites which are used to draw these aliens. There are a few different ways to produce many copies of one sprite; ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
597 views

Who or what is the 'AH' credited on the die of the Atari TIA chip next to Jay Miner?

I noticed that on the die shot of the Atari TIA chip, at the top you can see an Atari logo and at the bottom there are two initials: JM + AH. I assume that JM means Jay Miner, but who is the AH? I ...
bjb's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
938 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 ...
trim's user avatar
  • 83
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Who made the Atari 2600 TIA video chip?

At the heart of the Atari 2600 was the TIA video chip, designed by Jay Miner, well known for his later work on the chips for the Atari 400/800 and the Amiga. Who manufactured the TIA? As an in-house ...
rwallace's user avatar
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19 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did the Atari 2600's 6507 handle zero page and stack with only 128 bytes of RAM?

The Atari 2600 used a cut-down version of the 6502 called the 6507. The 6507 was cost reduced by not supporting interrupts and (more importantly) having fewer address lines resulting in that it only ...
bjb's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How does Atari 2600 TIA display multiple resolutions in Asteroids?

There is probably an easy explanation for this based on some facet of how the TIA generates the display. As is readily visible in the image taken from a real Atari 2600 displayed on a modern LCD, the ...
Brian H's user avatar
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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 ...
user7710's user avatar
  • 573
41 votes
4 answers
8k views

What's with the Atari 2600 colors on SECAM?

On this picture below you can see that the Atari 2600 graphics are rather colourful, and some games like Pitfall! I think use the many shades of each colour and have rather good graphics for the 2600. ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
2k views

What is the history of DE-9 joystick ports?

The Commodore 64 and the Atari 2600 had compatible joystick ports. Commodore, Atari, and third-party companies like Wico made joysticks supporting that standard. Did this standard have a name? ...
Ben Jackson's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Recommendations for high quality cheap RF demodulator

Does anyone have recommendations for a specific inexpensive RF demodulator that's higher quality than your standard VCR (and maybe a little bit smaller)? Like any old equipment floating around that ...
montag's user avatar
  • 441
10 votes
3 answers
829 views

Is it possible to bend tension back into Atari 2600 joystick contact domes?

So I got these two Ataris, just got them working. I was testing out the controllers and most of them have problems with the joystick not reacting. I opened them up, cleaned them, still have the ...
Justin's user avatar
  • 645
5 votes
1 answer
4k views

Atari 2600 has no sound, no video. Any advice?

I have 2 Atari 2600s. I got them both at a garage sale. I plugged them both in with a coaxial adapter. No sound, no video. I opened them up, didn't see any shorts, the boards looked good. There ...
Justin's user avatar
  • 645
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Atari 2600 high voltage output

I've never worked on a Atari 2600 before. The first time I did, I wasn't getting anything on my old box TV. Not being able to do much at the time, I decided to check the voltage. The output voltage is ...
Justin's user avatar
  • 645
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Atari 2600 shows no signs of life when power is applied?

I have an Atari 2600 that does not appear turn on at all. I bought it from some guy in a garage sale. I believe he said it stopped working after a storm. I bought a new power supply in case the ...
Chris Manning's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
875 views

Atari 2600 paddle controllers slow, jittery

I recently picked up a pair of Atari 2600 paddle controllers for use with my Atari Flashback 6. The Amazon store said in the product description that they had been "tested." However, they are barely ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 2,384