Questions tagged [atari]

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

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58
votes
8answers
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 ...
51
votes
1answer
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, ...
43
votes
5answers
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-...
36
votes
4answers
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 ...
26
votes
3answers
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 ...
26
votes
4answers
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, ...
23
votes
3answers
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
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 ...
20
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I hook up an Atari 8-bit computer to a flat-screen tv

I'm interested in getting an Atari 8-bit (like I had 30 years ago), but have only LCD TVs (and computer monitors). Can I hook this Atari to a flat screen TV, or do I need an analog CRT?
20
votes
1answer
799 views

What did the cassette bootloader in 8 Bit Ataris do?

...or for that matter, what didn't it do, so that you'd use the "bootloader/main program" separation instead of loading everything at once. Normally, when loading games or any non-BASIC software from ...
19
votes
4answers
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 ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the 4MB mod for 8-bit Atari work?

On the local auction portal I have spotted ads for some "supercharged" 8-bit Ataris (800XL, 65XE etc) - modified to support 4 megabytes of RAM. The auctions were scarce in details, more concentrating ...
17
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
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
1answer
776 views

How can I interface with an old Atari from a modern computer?

I have an old 8bit Atari at my dad's house which would be fun to play with. It has a keyboard, computer and screen, turn it on, and program BASIC. But I'll possibly want to load the code from a ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Tool used to develop videogames with an Atari ST

I am a owner of Atari ST, and I would like to know software and tools used for the programmers for this computer to program mainly video games. For example: IDE used Language (I think it was Basic, ...
15
votes
3answers
965 views

Atari 800XL showing a red screen

My friend has a Atari 800XL in mint condition. When the device was turned on, the only thing that appeared was a dark red screen. Another friend of mine figured that the memory chips were to blame, ...
14
votes
1answer
825 views

What did POKE 842,13 on Atari do? (Jamming the Return key)

In quite a few programs on Atari, I found the self-programming trick: 10 GRAPHICS 0 : REM clear the screen, enter standard text mode 20 POSITION 2,4 : REM place cursor 4 lines from ...
14
votes
1answer
670 views

How does one convert Atari assembly to A=USR(ADR("[garble]")) style BASIC wrapper?

Some small utilities, tools etc for Atari were distributed as BASIC programs that would consist of just one line, that looked something like this: 10 A=USR(ADR("p$PHHLéúÿÿÇEéúÿÿ@éüÿÿ2A$éòùÿÿE°U´è§...
13
votes
2answers
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
682 views

What was the difference between CLOAD and LOAD "C:"?

8-bit Atari Basic had three different formats of storing programs on tape. CLOAD/CSAVE LOAD "C:"/SAVE "C:" ENTER "C:"/LIST "C:" I understand the specifics of the last one - it behaved as if the ...
12
votes
2answers
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
683 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
608 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, ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How did Atari cassette "turbo without hardware mods" work?

There were some cassette copying programs for 8-bit Atari, that boasted saving the games in a way that would load it at up to 1800baud - versus the standard 600baud, which was a significant ...
12
votes
1answer
890 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
304 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
657 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How to convert Atari (65XE) tapes to ATR?

I still have some tapes for my Atari 65XE and I'd like to play some of the old games I got. But I don't have the Atari anymore. I have a tape recorder of quality surpassing the Atari one by quite a ...
11
votes
1answer
420 views

Differences in disk storage between systems

Coming from the TRS-80/TandyColor Computer lines, I had always heard of how slow some other systems disk storage were, regarding data transfer rates, etc... The CoCo lines disk storage was pretty fast ...
10
votes
6answers
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
401 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.
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
653 views

How can I copy software which is too large for one Atari ST floppy disk?

I have downloaded the STOS game creator from the STOS download page. I'm trying to copy the software from my computer to a floppy disk formatted on an Atari ST, but I get an error message saying the ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How to identify size of a 30 pin SIMM (Atari 1040 STe)

I have recently acquired an Atari 1040 STe with 1MB of RAM. I read that you can extend its RAM with 30 pin SIMM up to 4MB. But it can be done only with 256KB or 1MB SIMM, and that 2MB, 4MB, 8MB and ...
10
votes
0answers
296 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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-...
9
votes
2answers
557 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
305 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
939 views

Cleaning Atari ST mouse and experiences with the USB/PS2 adapter

I am user a Atari ST computer and my original mouse has a very slow movements and little range for each movement, for this reason it is needed to move multiple times the mouse, I have tried to clean ...
8
votes
1answer
439 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
285 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
715 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
432 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
284 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'...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it possible to use the RGB inputs on a Sony PVM with an Atari STE?

As the title states, can the RGB lines on the monitor port of the Atari ST be used with the RGB inputs on a Sony PVM CRT monitor?