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This FAQ is an evolving document. Please help make it better. If you have any additions, suggestions or corrections, please mail me.
What information is missing from the FAQ?
Where can I find the latest version of this FAQ?
What Usenet groups discuss or are relevant to the 2600/7800?
What is the rec.games.video.classic charter?
Are there any mailing lists that discuss the 2600/7800?
Where can I find cart lists?
What magazines cover the 2600/7800?
What magazines covered the 2600/7800 in the 80s?
What books cover the 2600/7800?
Any there any videos that cover the 2600/7800?
Where can I view Atari TV commercials?
Where can I view Atari print advertisements?
What the heck? An Atari 2600 music video?
Are there any other sources of general information about the 2600?
What is irc, #rgvc and how do I get on them?
What happened to the 5200 information that used to be here?
What happened to Atari?
But I still see games with the Atari logo. What's the story?
What scores were needed to earn an Activision patch?
What does the Atari symbol represent?
What does the word "atari" mean?
Where can I find Atari-like fonts?
What shows, events or gatherings cover the 2600/7800?
Where can I find games for my 2600/7800 or the consoles themselves?
Where can I download game instructions?
What are the best games for the 2600?
What are the most common and most rare games for the 2600/7800?
What was Gameline and what games were available for it?
Which games use a lightgun?
Which 2600 games use the kid's controllers/keypads?
Which 2600 games use paddles?
Which 2600 games use the driving controllers?
Which 2600 games have voice?
Which 2600 carts do not work on the 7800?
What is the Starpath CD and can I still get one?
Have any new games been released lately?
What is a multicart and where can I get one?
What are some cheats and Easter Eggs?
What programming resources are available?
What is the 7800 encryption algorithm?
Is 7800 Impossible Mission really impossible?
Where can I get solutions to the Swordquest series?
I've seen pictures of 2600 Doom. Where can I buy it?
Is there a list of 2600/7800 game programmers?
What are the different 2600/7800 models?
What types of clones exist?
What companies made 2600 adapters for their own systems?
Are there any emulators for the 2600/7800?
What 2600/7800 hardware was announced but never released?
How do I hook up my Atari to a TV? / I've hooked up my system, but the picture is fuzzy.
How do I fix my paddles?
Where do I get my 2600/7800 fixed?
Do Bally Astrocade joysticks work on the 2600/7800?
Which light guns work with the 2600/7800?
What hardware peripherals exist for the 2600/7800?
What are NTSC/PAL/SECAM and why should I care?
What is a TVboy and where can I get one?
What are the specs for the 2600/7800?
How large do 2600 games get?
Are there any published 2600/7800 technical articles available?
Power supply information?
How do I build a composite/audio/chroma/luma output
interface for the Atari 2600Jr/2600A?
How do I build a video driver for the 2600/7800?
I hate the two mods above. Does anyone have anything better?
How do I build a composite output interface for the 7800?
How do I convert Sega controllers to Atari pinout?
How do I convert a Sega Master System lightgun to Atari pinout?
How do I convert an NES controller to Atari pinout?
Is there a general site that contains all this conversion stuff?
What is an Atari Game Recorder and how do I build one?
Acknowledgments of thanks.
Q: Previous maintainers.
A: A. Karl Heller (email@example.com) maintained the 2600 FAQ up to version 11, and co-maintained it up to and including version 11.5. The classic community owes him a large debt of gratitude for his efforts.
Karl also deserves high praise for graciously stepping aside when his interest in maintaining this FAQ waned. Karl allowed me to improve his creation (starting with version 11) without becoming angry or possessive. I sincerely hope that I am as gracious as he when it is my turn to pass this FAQ on to someone else.
Maintainer's Note: This last sentiment, while sincere, surprised me by jumping out of Eric S. Raymond's "The Cathedral & the Bazaar" in a slightly different form. I believe there are only two explanations. Either Mr. Raymond and I think very much alike on passing things off when interest wanes or I've graduated from the "Remember What You Read But Forget Where You Read It" School of Innovation, or perhaps both. I apologize to Mr. Raymond if either of the latter two cases are true.
Q: What's new?
If you are the author of something in this FAQ and we have not given you a proper attribution and a thank-you, please email us.
Q: What information is
missing from the FAQ?
A: Bunches of stuff, some of which includes:
Q: Where can I find the latest
version of this FAQ?
A: The FAQ is maintained in html form and is amended as updates come in. Every so often (when there is enough new material), the html version is converted to text, edited a bit, and posted to rec.games.video.classic, rec.games.video.atari, rec.answers and news.answers. The text version is on the Web as well, but it is updated only before posting to Usenet.
Q: What Usenet groups discuss
or are relevant to the 2600/7800?
A: There are several groups:
rec.games.video.classic (rgvc) is probably the best place to start, as it is carried in most newsfeeds and generally has the most traffic. rec.games.video.marketplace is for the buying and selling of video games and systems and is not limited to atari or even classic systems. It is dominated by post-classic ads, which is why you will often see buy/sell/auction posts in rgvc. rec.games.video.atari usually contains Jaguar discussion, but will occasionally digress into 2600/7800 discussion when it pertains to the Jaguar (e.g. Tempest 2000). The five atari alt groups are not carried by many newsfeeds; consequently, the traffic in these groups is minimal.
Do not post to alt.2600 or any of its subgroups about the Atari 2600/7800. That group is for discussion of hacking and phreaking and you will probably get flamed if you do.
If you don't have a newsfeed at your site, but do have a newsreader (most web browsers have one built in), you can still get access to some, if not all of these groups. See the list of public news servers page for a list of places where you might point your browser to see the rgvc groups.
Many of these servers have only a limited number of groups, so if the one you choose doesn't carry rgvc, try another. Another possible solution is newsone.net, which does carry all of the 2600 related news groups. Make sure you use the "frames mode," or you'll get a new browser window for each news article.
Maintainer's note: www.feedme.org used to be recommended, but disappeared without a trace.
Q: What is the
A: We have uncovered the following:
rec.games.video.classic is an unmoderated newsgroup which passed its vote for creation by 257:85 as reported in news.announce.newgroups on 13 Apr 1993.
And from the second Call for Votes,these bits:
5) Should a newsgroup rec.games.video.classic be created? This newsgroup would carry discussions regarding older, "classic" home video entertainment systems like the Atari 2600, Coleco, Intellivision, etc. This newsgroup would supersede alt.games.video.classic.
Finally, for those of you wondering if buy/sell/auction posts are discouraged on groups other than rec.games.video.marketplace, consider the following:
3) Should a newsgroup rec.games.video.marketplace be created? This newsgroup would carry offers to sell and requests to buy home video entertainment products and accessories like systems, cartridges, etc. The netiquette of the rec.games.video.* hierarchy would request that people NOT cross-post buy/sell discussions to other rec.games.video.* newsgroups.
Q: Are there any mailing lists
that discuss the 2600/7800?
A: There are at least three. Jeremy Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) runs the classic videogames mailing list, which covers both home and arcade classic games. To subscribe, mail email@example.com with the following message body:
subscribe classic-videogames firstname.lastname@example.org Your Name
There is also a UK Classic Videogame mailing list; email@example.com for subscribe requests, firstname.lastname@example.org for the list itself. For more information, see this link. The above page also contains a database of classic UK collectors. There is also a separate UK list (email@example.com) exclusively for sale and trade posts; firstname.lastname@example.org for subscription requests to that list as well.
The Stella mailing list (also know as the Starpath CD mailing list and the Atari 2600 Programming list) is for those using the Starpath CD development tools to write 2600 games. To subscribe, mail email@example.com with the following in the message body:
subscribe stella firstname.lastname@example.org
The informational snippet for this list is as follows.
"This list was designed as as support group for Starpath CD owners who are writing 2600 games through the developer software. It is hoped that TOGETHER we can write some new games for the 2600. Exchanging uuencoded binaries is okay as long as it's in BIN form, not WAV."
BTW, here are the stella list archives as well as the stella archive excavation, which culls many of the interesting bits.
Q: Where can I find
The long out-of-date VGR cart lists have disappeared from VGR's site.
Alexander Bilstein (email@example.com) maintains a set of cart lists on his web site. These lists are updated frequently.
Dean Dierschow (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains game lists for several systems including the 2600/7800. The relevant files are at2600.lst, at5200.lst, and at7800.lst. These lists are a good starting point for the new or general game collector; alas, these files have not been updated since Oct 94.
The Giant List of 2600 Label Variations is for all of the sick collectors who want to know label differences in excruciating detail. John Earney (email@example.com) maintains the list, which looks like this:
Cosmic Ark IA3204 silver label with no picture, "for use with..." in 5 languages silver label with picture 720104-1 Rev A. 1982 entirely to the right of the picture. silver label with picture 720104-1 Rev A. right edge of picture is in the middle of 1982. ??? silver label with no picture Boxed: silver box (c)1982
Digital Press (firstname.lastname@example.org) markets its Classic Video Games Collector's Guide which covers the Atari 2600/7800 and many other classic and neo-classic systems. The fifth edition is sold out but the sixth edition will be available shortly. They are currently taking pre-orders for the sixth edition using the PayPal service.
See the CVGCG home page or send $20 (checks should be payable to Joe Santulli) after the new edition is released to:
Joe Santulli digital press 44 hunter place pompton lakes, nj 07442
The Digital Press Collector's Guide CDROM Companion is a nice complement to DP's paper guide. It contains box, cart and handheld scans, screenshots, manuals, TV commercials, emulators and much more in a two-cd, not-for-profit set for only $12. See Sean Kelly's DP CDROM page for the full story and ordering information.
Atari2600.com, now run by Joe Cody, also markets a cart guide that was called JerryG's Guide to the Classic Video Games. It was available as a beta edition for $15, but alas, is now sold out. It is not clear if the proper First Edition will ever see the light of day, since it was originally scheduled to be released on December 12, 1998. See the JGCVC home page for more information.
In addition, JerryG maintains a cart list grouped by manufacturer. It currently lists 1625 titles.
Leonard Herman (email@example.com) is the author of ABC's to the VCS , a low-cost ($8.00) book containing descriptions of nearly all VCS games. See the Rolenta Press home page for more information.
For those with UK interests, Steve Rich (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Chris Hind (email@example.com) are the authors of the Atari VCS/2600 UK Release List.
Q: What magazines cover the
A: The 2600 Connection is the premier bi-monthly Atari 2600 resource. This fanzine, published by Russ Perry Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org), is an excellent source of information about Atari video game collecting in general, including news, game reviews, interviews, and entertaining anecdotes. Rare and collectible games are frequently discussed. Classified ads in the Connection are relevant to all Atari game machines. Subscription price is $9 for a year's worth of bi-monthly issues (6) or $1.50 for single copies.
To subscribe send a check payable to Russ Perry Jr. to:
The 2600 Connection c/o Russ Perry Jr. 2175 S. Tonne Rd. #105 Arlington Hts, IL 60005
Back issues of the 2600 Connection are available from Tim Duarte (email@example.com), the previous publisher for $1.50. There is also a master index of articles published in issues 1-50 available from Tim for the price of a self-addressed stamped envelope with extra postage. You can reach Tim at:
Tim Duarte P.O. Box 885 Mattapoisett MA 02739-0885
or visit the 2600 Connection Home Page.
Digital Press also covers the 2600/7800, but it is mixed with information about both neo-classic and modern systems. Hard copy subscriptions are $10 for six bi-monthly issues. Back issues (#13-#40) are available for $2.25 each, issues #1-#12 are available as a set for $20. Contact Joe Santulli (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Russ Perry Jr. (email@example.com) also publishes Slap-Dash , an eclectic collection of video game information, personal opinion, references to beer and pictures of women bassists. Although a bit offbeat, it does contain information about classic gaming not found anywhere else. For example, Issue 6 contains bits of information culled from conversations of many Ex-atari employees. Send $1.50 for the latest issue (#6) to:
Russ Perry Jr. 2175 S. Tonne Rd. #105 Arlington Hts, IL 60005
Classic Gamer by Chris Cavanaugh, covers what you might expect. The first issue is available for $8, the second and third issues for $6 and issue four for $4.50. Yearly subscriptions for Classic Gamer are $15.
Also worth mentioning is Retrogaming Times, a free 'zine by Tom Zjaba.
The January 1996 issue of Ultimate Gamer has an article called The Atari Quest which has both pictures and information about hardware and cartridge prototypes. Some topics include Mindlink, 2600 Tempest, Airworld, Looney Tunes Hotel, Microgammon SB, Meebzork, and Sport Goofy. For those of you who weren't quick enough on the draw, Dennis Brown's Library contains jpg's of the article.
Q: What magazines covered the
2600/7800 in the 80s?
Cover scans of many of these magazines have been made available by Phaze (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: What books cover the 2600/7800?
A: Leonard Herman (email@example.com) publishes Phoenix: the Fall & Rise of Home Videogames. It covers the home video game industry in detail from the pre-classic days, through the early 80s and up to 1993. At $12.99, it's a steal for the amount of information contained in it. The second edition is available for $10 to first edition owners, $19.95 otherwise (plus $3 for priority shipping or $1.50 for 4th class shipping). See the Rolenta Press home page for more information.
Another book is Zap! : the Rise and Fall of Atari by Scott Cohen. Here is some information on this out-of-print book:
AUTHOR Cohen, Scott. TITLE Zap] : the rise and fall of Atari / Scott Cohen. PUBLISHER New York : McGraw-Hill, c1984. DESCRIPTION xii, 177 p. ; 22 cm. SUBJECT Atari, Inc. -- History. Electronic games industry -- United States -- History. NOTE Includes index. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bibliography: p. 164-168. ISBN 0070115435.
"The Macra Terror" makes the following observation:
It's a good history of Atari itself, but somewhat lacking in perspective (competing game systems receive few mentions) and sometimes snide in tone. It also covers the career of Nolan Bushnell, through the creation of PizzaTime (later Chuck E. Cheese) restaurants. It ends ironically in the middle of 1983, with Atari execs talking about the great things ahead.
Also note that searching for Zap! among stacks of books may not be that difficult. The copy I (Zube) have seen was a thin, hardback, blue-covered book with the title written in white down the entire length of the spine.
Thanks to John Hardie, the reprint of Zap! is now available. Send $15 to:
John Hardie 90 Judith Lane Valley Stream, NY. 11580
This cost is probably for US shipping only. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for international orders.
The November 1996 issue of Next Generation magazine has excerpts from a forthcoming book by Steven L. Kent called (at the time) Electronic Nation. It covers the roots of the video game industry, including bits from people like Bushnell and Alcorn. Next Generation has printed several other bits in other issues as well. CNN reported that Kent's book is now called The First Quarter: The 25-Year History of Video Games and as of November 1, 2000, it is available. Amazon has it listed for $15.96, and Next Generation (12/00, p. 21) reports that it is exclusive to Amazon, so you won't find it anywhere else.
Halcyon Days: Interviews with Classic Computer and Video Game Programmers is an electronic book (html format) available from Dadgum Games. A review of the book and several snippets from it can be found in Issue #42 of the 2600 Connection. According to the review, only six of the twenty-eight programmers interviewed worked on the 2600, so much information contained in the book is not directly relevant to the 2600 world.
Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 by Van Burnham is scheduled for a spring 2001 release from MIT Press. See the Supercade web page for more information.
For comprehensive list of related material, see the Classic Video Game Literature List, maintained by Lee K. Seitz.
Q: Are there any videos that
cover the 2600/7800?
A: Once Upon Atari is a four part series exploring the early days of Atari. Produced by Howard Scott Warshaw (email@example.com), the series is a first hand look at Atari from the people who worked there. The four episodes are:
Episode 4 is available for $29.95 ($25.95 + $4 shipping). Episodes 1 and 2 are available together for $49.95 ($45.95 + $4 shipping). Episode 3 has not yet been released. All videos may be ordered in NTSC or PAL formats, by phone (1-800-711-3627), by mail:
Scott West Productions PO Box 610787 San Jose, CA 95161
or by the on-line order form, one click away from their Ordering Information page.
Scott Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org) has this to say about the fourth part:
Once Upon Atari: The Agony & the Ecstasy is a great start to Howard Scott Warshaw's Once Upon Atari video series. It's an entertaining, educational, and most importantly, REAL glimpse of what happened at good ol' Atari. The video focuses on interviews with 2600 VCS programmers like Rob (Night Driver, Demon Attack, Missile Command) Fulop, Todd (Pac-Man) Frye, Carla (Star Raiders, Warlords, Indy 500) Meninsky, and Larry (Air-Sea Battle, Kaboom!) Kaplan. These interviews are at times hilarious (Frye's description of how he programmed 2600 Xevious, Fulop's profanity-laden rant in praise of VCS programmer Rick Maurer), as well as insightful (Ex-Atari Director Of Software George Kiss' regret that he didn't write a line of code while at Atari, Fulop's description of the job as "the definition of his life"). While the video is a bit light on running time (at 28 minutes), it is well worth picking up, as I've watched it about a dozen times in the 2 months since I got it.
Stella at 20: An Atari 2600 Retrospective is a series of documentaries from Glenn Saunders (email@example.com). Both Volume 1, Tales of Stella and Atari and Volume 2, The Game Designers or One Person, One Game are around 90 minutes in length and are available for $25 each or $40 for both + shipping. If you buy both videos, you can add the Stella Gets a New Brain CD for just $10 more. See the ordering page for more information.
Two videos, one documenting the 1998 World of Atari show and one documenting the 1999 Classic Gaming Expo are available from Mark Santora (firstname.lastname@example.org) for $25 + $4 shipping each or $50 (shipping included) for both tapes. Contact him directly to order or to inquire about international orders or PAL format tapes.
There is also a video of classic videogame commercials from Sean Kelly. See the next entry for details.
Q: Where can I view Atari TV commercials?
A: The Digital Press CDROM contains Quicktime versions of many classic videogame commercials from the early '80s. Also, the Commercial Archive site is the home to many of the same bits, in both Quicktime and Realplayer formats.
For those of you who want it all just as it was, the Classic Videogame TV Commercial Archive video is available from Sean Kelly (email@example.com). 63 commercials, 36 minutes, $20 + $3 shipping.
Q: Where can I view Atari print advertisements?
A: Tom Zjaba (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains a video game ad site that contains scans from various magazines and comic books.
Q: What the heck? An Atari 2600 music video?
A: This very creative work by (if the info in the file is accurate) Kevin Rodgers & Markus Karlusis is worth the hefty 7.3 meg download. You'll need a Quicktime viewer or equivalent to view it.
Q: Are there any other sources
of general information about the 2600?
A: Christopher James Pepin (email@example.com) maintains the Atari 2600 Fun Facts and Information Guide, which contains bits of information culled from Usenet postings, mailing lists and the 2600 connection.
Q: What is irc, #rgvc and how do I
get on them?
A: irc is Internet Relay Chat, a global realtime chat network. #rgvc is the rec.games.video.classic channel. At most times of the day or night you can find someone on the channel eager to talk shop. Thursday nights at 8 EST used to be the weekly gathering time, although it isn't clear if it still is. Note that the old rgvc irc channel #classic is no longer used for this purpose; stick to #rgvc if you wish to discuss the 2600/7800.
If you are on a unix box and your sys admin doesn't mind irc, you might be able to get on with a simple
irc -c '#rgvc'
Alas, irc does not come preinstalled on most machines, so if the above command doesn't work or if you aren't using unix, you'll have to be more resourceful. Here is an irc primer, complete with listings of where to obtain irc clients. Alas, it is quite outdated.
The Atari Gaming Headquarters site is the home of the #rgvc home page, which contains tips on irc etiquette, the #rgvc FAQ and a list of web pages and mail addresses of the regulars.
Q: What happened to the 5200 information that used to be here?
A: Most of the 5200 information that used to reside in this FAQ was either incomplete or horribly outdated. Keita Iida (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains the official 5200 FAQ, which is both extensive and up to date. Most of the old entries now live in an auxiliary document that is kept for historical purposes only and will not be updated.
Q: What happened to Atari?
A: The Atari that everyone knew, loved and hated is gone. On July 30, 1996, Atari merged with disk drive maker JTS with more of whimper than a bang. Don Thomas (email@example.com) has written a short, insightful bit about the merger and the history leading up to it that asks more questions than it answers.
The story doesn't end there, however. On Feb 23, 1998, JTS sold substantially all of the assets of the Company's Atari Division, consisting primarily of Atari home computer games and the intellectual property rights and license agreements associated with such games (the "Atari Assets"), to HIACXI, Corp. ("HIAC"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive, Inc., for $5,000,000 in cash. Read the entire 8-K form that was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding this transaction.
In a related note, JTS filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection on December 4, 1998, and then converted it to Chapter 7 on January 28, 1999. What is the difference between the two? Christina Wood from PC World magazine (July 1998, p. 41) says this:If the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, don't worry. The business should operate as usual -- it's just reorganizing. If the company files under Chapter 7, worry. The enterprise is going out of business and planning to liquidate its assets to pay off certain creditors.
Q: But I still see games with the Atari logo. What's the story?
A: In 1984, Warner Communications sold off the home (console) and consumer electronics (computer) divisions to the Tramiel family. These divisions became Atari Corp., which later merged with JTS and whose assets are now part of Hasbro Interactive. The update of Centipede came (in small part) from the ashes of Atari Corp. Interestingly, Hasbro has resurrected the Atari name and logo; many of their recent classic releases (Atari Arcade Hits 2, for example) appear under the Atari name.
You may have also seen the Atari logo for years in the arcades under the Time-Warner Interactive label (Atari Games). In 1996, TW sold Atari Games to WMS Industries (the Williams people), who turned around and spun off its Midway division (announced in 1997, completed (?) in 1998). Atari Games is now a subsidiary of Midway Games and was responsible for games such as Gauntlet Legends and Rush the Rock. You might also see the Atari logo for home conversions of these (and other) games under the Midway Home Entertainment label. In spite of this corporate shuffling, a few of the Atari veterans are still there including (as of Summer 99) Ed Logg, whose credits include the arcade versions of Centipede and Millipede as well as 2600 Othello.
The March 2000 Electronic Gaming Monthly reports that Midway has abandoned the Atari name, renaming Atari Games as Midway Games West. This is probably the end of the line for the Atari Games name.
Q: What scores were needed to
earn an Activision patch?
A: Rodney Siddall (firstname.lastname@example.org) used to maintain the Activision Patch FAQ. The above page contains the FAQ itself, as well as pictures of some of the patches.
Q: What does the Atari symbol
A: According to the Aug/Sep 1983 Video Games Player:
The Atari symbol was designed by George Opperman in 1972. Pong was very big then, and the big letter A represented two opposing video game players with the center of the Pong court in the middle.
Q: What does the word "atari" mean?
A: The word atari comes from the game of Go, perhaps the world oldest board game. Several early 80's magazine references define atari as "you are about to be engulfed," but the rec.games.go FAQ denotes that word in this way:atari : A group of stones is in atari if it has only one liberty left.
Q: Where can I find Atari-like fonts?
A: iconsplus has made available an Atari-like font (the Atarian System v. 1.0) for both Windows and the Mac.
Q: What shows, events or gatherings cover the 2600/7800?
Q: Where can I find games for
my 2600/7800 or the consoles themselves?
A: Auction web sites seem to have taken over as the primary method of buying (and selling) on the net. Here are a few:
Ebay seems to be the only one that has reached critical mass, as yet. A fairly complete list of online auctions sites can be found at Auctioninsider.
There are still several sources for new game cartridges. Mail order firms such as Telegames USA are probably the best source for new games. They still stock many different games cartridges for all the Atari game machines. Some titles they carry are uncommon or rare.
Jack Berg Sales carries a few new 2600 games, new Superchargers and a few Supercharger tapes.
Here is a small list of places that carry new and used consoles and games:
Video Magic (email@example.com) carries both new and used Atari carts, some for sale, most for auction. Send the above address some email to request a paper catalog via snail mail.
Once in a great while, some retail stores will still have Atari cartridges in stock, although sometimes they are hidden in the back room. Another good source is discount liquidator stores, such as Toy Liquidators, Big Lots/Odd Lots, and Sears Outlets. These stores typically have huge quantities of a limited number of titles at closeout prices.
O'Shea Ltd. has 1.3 million bulk atari games for $2.00 each plus S&H (12 cart minimum). This is a new price (it used to be $.80) and a new minimum quantity. In the long past, games had to be ordered in bulk (quantities of 72, later 6). Then, for a long while, one could order single carts. This is no longer the case. Of course, you can still get the $.80 price if you order 1,000 or more carts. Contact Bill Houlehan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. They have recently sold out of many games; the following list reflects what's left according to their (insecure) order form (last updated July 16, 2000):
If you care more about playing than collecting, Hozer Video Games (email@example.com) will put almost any 2K or 4K image on a cart for $11 ($16 for royalty-included games); 8K and 16K images are $22 ($25 for royalty-included games). This may be the only way to play games such as Wizard, Chase the Chuckwagon or Cubicolor on your 2600. See the Hozer Video Games site for more information.
Other sources for both new games, used games and consoles include:
Q: Where can I download game
A: Greg Chance (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains a doc archive among other things on his web page. Alexander Bilstein (email@example.com) also maintains an instruction manual archive. Between these two sites, you should be able to find manuals for most of the 2600 library.
Mitchell Orman (Msorman@aol.com) maintains a doc archive for 7800 games.
Q: What are the best games for
A: This can be a subjective matter, of course, but Mike Littau conducted an informal 2600 games poll on rec.games.video (before the split) a few years ago, trying to find answers to this very question. Here are the results, with some slight changes in format:
From: littaum@jacobs.CS.ORST.EDU (Mike Littau) Subject: Atari 2600 poll results Date: 12 Jun 92 16:49:35 GMT Here are the results of the atari 2600 poll I conducted: Best overall Best original idea 1. Adventure 1. Pitfall! 2.(tie) Solaris,Yar's Revenge 2. Adventure 4. Asteroids 3. Yar's revenge 5. River Raid 4.(tie) Stampede, Kaboom, Kool Aid Man Best music or sound effects: Best adventure game: 1. Pitfall II 1. Adventure 2. Frogger 2. Raiders of the Lost Ark 4.(tie) Haunted House, CA Games 3. Haunted House 5. Asteroids 4. Superman 5. Secret Quest Best action game: Best sports game: 1. Asteroids 1. Activision Tennis 2. Demon Attack 2. Skiing 3. Missile Command 3. RealSports Tennis 4. Warlords 4.(tie) Super Football, RS Football 5.(tie) Chopper Command, Moon Patrol Activision Boxing Best racing game: Best graphics for a game: 1. Indy 500 1. Solaris 2. Enduro 2. Pitfall! 3.(tie) Sprintmaster, Grand Prix 3. Moonsweeper 5.(tie) Barnstorming, Slot Racers 4.(tie) Barnstorming, Demon Attack, River Raid
In addition, The 2600 Connection (issue #10) ran an article on the 2600 cartridge "Hall of Fame," listing the best 2600 games. There was an excellent capsule description of each game. Here is the list:
Combat Asteroids Honorable Mention: Super Breakout Centipede (and Millipede) Dragonfire Defender Donkey Kong (and Jr.) Demon Attack Adventure Mario Bros. Megamania Space Invaders Pitfall! (and II) HERO Missile Command River Raid (and II) Rampage Pac-Man Kaboom Miner 2049er Ms. Pac-Man Frogger Skatboardin' Solaris Q*Bert
Q: What are the most common and
most rare games for the 2600/7800?
A: Commonality and rarity of a game depends upon many things, including geographical location, cart and label condition, label variation and personal experience. VGR's cart list, the Digital Press Collectors Guide and Atari2600.com's Beta One all give ideas to a cart's rarity and subsequent worth. (VGR and the Digital Press Collectors Guide #4 use a scale, Atari2600.com's Beta One and the DP cdrom use prices, and DPCG #5 uses both).
For those of you who yearn to know the prices carts have fetched in the past, check out the Atari 2600/7800 Auction Price Database, which contains final auction price information for hundreds of carts culled from many net auctions.
Q: What was Gameline and what
games were available for it?
A: Gameline was a service offered by Control Video Corporation that admitted the downloading of games to the the 2600 over regular phone lines. The Gameline used a variable 800-2000 baud modem, according to Kevin Horton's no-longer-there Gameline Page. The Gameline Master Module originally sold for $49.95 and there was a one-time membership fee of $15. Charges were about $.10 a game or $1 for up to an hour of play. Contest games were $1 and there was a $.50 charge to enter a score. On your birthday, not only were you given free play for a day, but you also received a Happy Birthday screen, complete with cake, candles and music.
Perhaps the funniest bit of advertising from CVC was in the form of a Q&A session. The Q was, "What will happen if I don't join Gameline?" The A was "Eventually, you'll be the only one on your block without Gameline. Your friends will have mastered new games before you even hear about them. Are you willing to take that chance?"
While the service did not last very long, the charred ashes of the service begat what is now AOL.
The games that were available were:
Airlock Alien Atlantis Bank Heist Bermuda Triangle Boing Bugs Cakewalk China Syndrome Coconuts Commando Raid Cosmic Ark Cosmic Creeps Cosmic Swarm Cross Force Crypts of Chaos Deadly Duck Demolition Herby Demon Attack Dragonfire The Earth Dies Screaming Eggomania Encounter at L-5 Entombed Fantastic Voyage Fast Food Fire Fighter Flash Gordon Frankenstein's Monster Gangster Alley Gopher Guardian Infiltrate Jawbreaker King Kong Lost Luggage M.A.D. Marauder M*A*S*H Megaforce Mines of Minos Moonsweeper Name this Game The Challenge of Nexar Nightmare No Escape Picnic Piece O' Cake Planet Patrol Polaris Porky's Raft Rider Ram It R. of the Beefsteak Tomatoes Riddle of the Sphinx Room of Doom Save the Whales Shark Attack Shootin' Gallery Sneak & Peek Solar Storm Space Cavern Space Jockey Space Master Squeeze Box Sssnake Stargunner Star Voyager Tape Worm Threshold Towering Inferno Trick Shot Turmoil Warplock Word Zapper Worm War I
Q: Which games use a lightgun?
Q: Which 2600 games use the kid's
Q: Which 2600 games use paddles?
Q: Which 2600 games use the driving controllers?
A: There are two: Indy 500 and Stell-A-Sketch. Interestingly, the driving controllers have found a use in another system: the Jaguar FAQ details their use in a home-built rotary controller for Tempest 2000.
Q: Which 2600 games have voice?
A: There are two: Quadrun and Open Sesame. Due to the limitations of the 2600, the screen is blank when the voice is played.
Q: What 2600 carts do not work on
A: There are known incompatibilities with some NTSC versions of the 7800 (PAL 7800s seem to be unaffected). Games that may not work include Robot Tank, Decathlon, Space Shuttle, Time Pilot, Kool-Aid Man and the Supercharger. In a recent Usenet posting, Jay Tilton (firstname.lastname@example.org) describes a series of tests with various versions of the 7800. In short, 7800s manufactured in 1984 seem to be fully compatible, whereas those manufactured later have inconsistent incompatibilities. Here is an edited version of the posting:
I recently acquired another 7800 console, and discovered that it works with the notoriously cranky Activision carts and the Supercharger. I decided to sit down with all my 7800 decks and an armload of carts and see how much of the 7800 compatibility mystery I could sort out.
Test decks: Serial # Board part# Deck# 72R4BR- Country Expansion port CO25233- Board Date ----- ------------- ------- -------------- ----------- ---------- 1 AT 8 5037836 Taiwan Full port 001 REV A 84-25 2 A1 76 5904610 Taiwan Full port 002 REV A 87-17 3 A1 77 5951337 Taiwan Hole/no pins 002 REV A 87-17 4 A3 87 5139813 Taiwan No port 002 REV B 88-28 5 A3 07 5298641 China No port 002 REV B 88-30
Board part number/revision is taken from the underside of the board, just above the cart slot. The full number always begins with "CO25233." The boards' top side has a different part number, "CO25234," but no revision level is given. Board dates are also taken from the underside of the board, near the Atari logo. I changed the notation a bit to make sorting by date easier. They're really written like "2584" instead of "84-25," which would indicate the twenty-fifth week of 1984.
The carts tested were:
Results: "Yes" = cart works fine. "No" = cart doesn't do a thing. "Roll" = cart works, but picture rolls. "Lock" = cart plays for a while, then locks up the system. Deck # Cart 1 2 3 4 5 ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ Decathlon 1 Yes No No Yes Yes 2 Yes No No Yes Yes Robot Tank 1 Yes Roll Roll Roll Roll 2 Yes Yes Roll Roll Yes 3 Yes Yes Roll Roll Yes Space Shuttle 1 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 3 Yes Roll Roll Roll Yes 4 Yes Roll Roll Roll Yes 5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Supercharger 1 Yes No No No No 2 Yes No No No No Food Fight Yes Yes Lock Lock Yes
IMHO, the manufacturing standards of deck #1 are better than the others. All the major chips inside are all socketed instead of being soldered directly to the board. Some of the other decks also have had some minor factory patchwork performed. They occasionally have resistors bridging points where they were clearly not originally intended to be, i.e. soldered directly to a chip pin or placed on the underside of the board.
Wondering if that 7800 deck sitting in the thrift store could be one of the fully-compatible ones? There are some very minor externally visible differences between my deck #1 and the others. I can't conclusively say these are 100% reliable indicators, but they are conspicuously different.
Eric Chapin (email@example.com) has also run a series of compatibility tests on his Atari 7800 and the results are on his web page.
One other note: both Chris Cracknell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and George Torch (email@example.com) report that Superchargers may be permanently damaged when used on the 7800. Chris suggests trying Robot Tank first and then proceeding only if that cart works. George adds that his dead Supercharger was the original one (Arcadia, not Starpath) and that the serial number of his 7800 is 72R4BRA3055274987. If anyone else has experiences of 7800s ruining a Supercharger, please let me know.
Q: What is the Starpath CD and
can I still get one?
A: The Starpath Supercharger Game Collection on CD, or Stella Gets a New Brain was a non-profit, long-awaited labor of love from the CyberPuNKs (Russ Perry Jr., Glenn Saunders, Jim Nitchals and Dan Skelton). This CD not only contains NTSC and PAL versions of most of the Supercharger games (PAL Survival Island is missing), but also development tools, a collection of Supercharger and Vectrex material, and several surprises (including SoundX from Hozer Video Games and the UR Polo from Carol Shaw). While it was an amazing value for $18 ($15 + $3 shipping), it is now sold out: you'll have to look for rgvc sales or auctions if you wish to obtain one now.
But fret not. The commercial version (Stella Gets a New Brain v. 2.0) is now available. The cd is $20 + shipping + tax if you live in California and contains all the Supercharger games plus the Stella mailing list archives, company newsletters, projects notes, fonts, several homebrew games and bunches more. See for yourself. Here is the ordering page.
Two notes on the new Stella cd: first, the makeup of the disk is different. Some things on the first disk were not included (e.g. the vectrex stuff, Polo) while other things were added. Second, you can purchase the "Stella Super Pack" which includes the Stella cd and volumes 1 and 2 of the Stella at 20 videos for only $50 (+ shipping and tax, if applicable).
For general information about the supercharger, see the supercharger FAQ / Cyberpunks FAQ which contains some interesting information about the Starpath company, the supercharger, and the Cyberpunks.
Q: Have any new games been
A: Over the past couple of years, several new games have been developed for the Atari 2600. Ed Federmeyer wrote both SoundX, a sound generator, and Edtris, a Tetris clone. They are both available for $16 from Hozer Video Games (mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information).
Rescue Bira Bira by Chris Cracknell (email@example.com) is also available from Hozer (here is the binary image). RBB is a modification of Jungle Fever with the adult bits removed. Chris' latest effort is a Video Time Machine meaning a 24-hour clock. It is also available from Hozer.
Piero Cavina (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the creator of Oystron, a shooter that is quite possibly the first game ever to feature space oysters. Get the full story and the game from the Oystron Home Page.
Several carts were available in very limited runs to those who attended the Classic Gaming Expo (CGE). In 1999, both Eric Bacher's Pesco and Igor Barzilai's Merlin's Wall were offered. This year, it's Swordfight and Sea Battle (High Seas) from Intellivision Productions. (Both of these are now available for $29.95; see the Intellivision Classic Videogame System Store Page for more information.) There was also Escape from Supercade!, programmed by Bacher and Barzilai, released to commemorate the upcoming Supercade book. According to the web page, the first 26 carts will be given away at CGE 2000 and the other 74 will be distributed among people who "registered to win" at CGE 2000. Unlike the other games, the rom for Escape from Supercade! will eventually be available for download.
Nick Bensema (email@example.com) maintains a page of links to newly developed 2600 games. Many of the games listed in this section are there, as well as several others including Cubis, The Dark Mage and Mondo Pong.
Bob Colbert (firstname.lastname@example.org) seems to be the most prolific 2600 developer of late. Okie Dokie (a puzzle game), Cheetah (a Game Genie-type program for the Supercharger or emulator), and now Stell-A-Sketch (Etch-a-Sketch clone) are all available from Bob's home page.
Yak (Jeff Minter), author of Llamatron, Tempest 2000, Defender 2000 and the Jaguar Virtual Light Machine had some fun turning Space Invaders into Beast Invaders. I've been able to track down only the picture of the game, but not the game itself. Anyone have a pointer?
Hozer Video now carries many new games. To save space, here are the links:
Q: What is a multicart
and where can I get one?
A: A multicart is simply a multiple game cart. Sean Kelly (email@example.com) makes them for both the 2600 and 5200. Prices for the 2600 are $65 for a 64 game cart, $100 for a 128 game cart and $150 for a 256 game cart. The 5200 cart contains nearly all games ever made (including prototypes) for $125. Email him or see Sean's Web Page for more information.
Randy Crihfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Hozer Video Games also builds multicarts. A 128-in-1 cart is $100, as is a 32-in-1 Activision cart.
Other examples of multicarts exist, including Atari's 32-in-1 for the 2600 (PAL) and their 32-in-1 for the 7800 (which is a relabeled 2600 32-in-1; all games on the cart are 2600 games).
There is also the multi-game CD, Worship the Woodgrain, by Lee Krueger. The first run of 50 is sold out, but a second edition is shipping. You'll need a Supercharger to use the CD and you must modify your Supercharger to be able to play all the games (about 65% are playable without the mod).
Q: Where can I find a list
of cheats and Easter Eggs?
A: Galen Tatsuo Komatsu (email@example.com) maintains the B-TECH list; mail him directly with "Send B-TECH" as your subject line. Note: this is not a mailserver so please give him time to respond.
Q: What programming
resources are available?
A: For 2600 users there is the 2600 Programming guide. The Stella Guide is another useful document.
Schematic, bankswitching and other 2600 technical information is available at Kevin Horton's 2600 page.
Another tech page which includes annotated source code for both combat and adventure is Dan Boris' VCS page.
A fairly comprehensive page is Nick Bensema's 2600 Programming Page, complete with gobs of source examples and programming tools.
John Saeger (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains the Atari Documentation Depot, which contains both 2600 and 7800 programming, development and game standards manuals.
Bob Colbert (email@example.com) provides many development tools for the Supercharger on his home page. These tools are different than those found on the Supercharger CD.
Eckhard Stolberg's (Eckhard_Stolberg@public.uni-hamburg.de) VCS Workshop Page also contains many tools and source code files. Of particular interest is devkit2.zip which contains instructions on how to modify a 7800 such that it may be used as a development system and cart reader for 2600 and 7800 games.
Mac PowerPC users might wish to mosey on over to the Mactari site, which houses 2600 development tools for the Mac.
For the 7800 there was Harry Dodgson's (firstname.lastname@example.org) Monitor Cart plus documentation. The 250+ pages included a stella guide, a 2600 programming manual which was a bit more readable, the Maria specs, and the 7800 docs plus numerous corrections to the Atari documentation. The package price was around $65. Alas, Harry has said that no offers will get him to make another monitor cartridge (he stopped making them a while ago when he didn't sell any in a 6 month period). About 3 dozen total were made.
Dan Boris's 7800 Tech Page also contains a wealth of information on the 7800.
Finally, see the Stella entry in the mailing list section. The stella mailing list is dedicated to 2600 programming.
Q: What is the 7800
A: The 7800 uses a encryption key to determine whether or not the 7800 cartridge is valid and to allow the system to be put in 7800 mode as opposed to 2600 mode. The encryption algorithm is said to be proprietary. Rumors exist, however, that Atari released the algorithm for use on the the Atari ST series of computers. If anybody has this program we would all be very happy to have a look at it. It is also rumored that the code was released with the Lynx Dev-Kit for the Amiga, yet it does not appear in version 1.3. Rumors...rumors...
Not a rumor, however, is that as designed, the 7800 required a valid 960-bit digital signature generated by Atari before a native 7800 game (as opposed to a 2600 game) would run on the 7800; no digital signature, no Maria chip. Also, crypto export restrictions (960 bits are a lot even for military-quality crypto) are probably the reason that European 7800 consoles and games have no digital signature.
The final word on the encryption/authentication/validation/signature bits of the 7800 (save for the key itself) with respect to emulation comes from a section on Dan Boris' 7800 tech page called The Encryption Issue. You'll have to scroll about 3/4s of the way down to read the entry. In short, emulation of the 7800 is independent of the validation key, but the creation of new games that will run on unmodified 7800s isn't.
Q: Is 7800 Impossible
Mission really impossible?
The cart was released with a bug where some of the pieces you need were hidden under computer terminals, but the terminals cannot be searched. This bug was fixed, but Atari probably never released the updated version. The PAL version is not impossible, as the programmer of the PAL version fixed the bug. A special thanks to Harry Dodgson for this tidbit.
Q: Where can I get solutions to the Swordquest series?
A: Walton C. Gibson (email@example.com) maintains the SwordQuest Comic Book Archive which contains both the comics and the solutions.
Q: I've seen pictures of 2600 Doom. Where can I buy it?
A: You can't. It doesn't exist. The following list contains hoaxes, jokes, spoofs, parodies, fakes, etc. that do not exist. Some people were aiming for deception, others for humor and some for both.
Q: Is there a list of 2600/7800 game programmers?
James Hague (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers. The list is both extensive and not limited to 2600/7800 programmers, so it may take a while to find 2600/7800-specific information.
Q: What are the different
This list is horribly incomplete. If you go to the bottom of the next question, you'll see a link to JerryG's much more complete list of clones and changers. I will, however, continue to add systems that are not denoted in that list.
Atari VCS CX2600 - Original model. Woodgrain and black plastic enclosure. Light and heavy weighted plastic. Six silver switches across the upper front panel. Bundled accessories included two CX40 joysticks, one CX30 paddle controller, AC adapter, TV switch and a CX2601 Combat game cart. Sample wording on label on bottom of unit:
Mfd. by Atari, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. Serial # 048181. Mfd. by Atari-Wong Ltd. in Hong Kong. Serial # 568213514. Manufactured for Atari Inc. by TRU Electronic Components Company in Taiwan. Model NO: CX-2600 Serial # 81281713"
Sears Tele-Games Video Arcade I - Same as above except external cosmetic differences (the "difficulty" switches are labeled "skill level", the switch panel is silver instead of black, and the woodgrain pattern is different.) Sample wording:
Mfd. for Atari Inc. by Dimerco Electronics in Taiwan for sale to Sears, Roebuck, and Co. Serial # 82077230.
Atari VCS 2600A - Revised model. Externally it is nearly identical to the original, except there are four silver switches across the upper front panel instead of six. The difficulty switches were moved to the rear of the unit. Internally, the motherboard is a simplified one-piece design. Sample wording:
Mfd. for Atari, Inc. by TRW Electronic Components Co. in Taiwan. Serial # 811510200. Mfd. for Atari, Inc. by Atari Taiwan Mfing. Corp. in Taiwan. Serial # 827030354.
Sears Tele-Games Video Arcade I(A) - Same as above except for external cosmetic differences. Sample wording:
Mfd. for Atari Inc. by Dimerco Electronics in Taiwan for sale to Sears, Roebuck, and Co. Serial # 82299647.
Atari VCS 2600A (black) - Second revised model. Externally it is nearly identical to the 2600A, except the enclosure has a more modern looking "black out" treatment. The areas of woodgrain on the original models are now simply black plastic. Internally, the motherboard is a slight revision of the 2600A. Sample wording:
Mfd. for Atari, Inc. by Atari Taiwan Mfing. Corp. in Taiwan. Serial # AT831150153. Manufactured for Atari Inc. by Atari Ireland, Ltd in Ireland. Model No CX-2600 AP. Serial 508 AI 0020153
Sears Tele-Games Video Arcade II - Entirely new model of the 2600 designed exclusively for Sears. Black wedge-shaped enclosure, with push button switches and LEDs on top panel. Essentially an Atari 7800 shell. Four joystick connectors on lower front panel with rocker switch. Internally very different from other 2600 models, but still uses the same basic chipset. Bundled accessories include two combination joystick/paddle controllers, AC adapter, TV switch and a Space Invaders game cart. Sample wording:
Sears, Inc. (Atari, Inc.) Serial # SV 392 005539.
Atari 2800 -- same as Sears Tele-Games Video Arcade II but with Atari label. Released only in Japan. Very rare.
Atari 2600 "Jr." - Third revised model. It is slightly larger than a VHS video tape case. Some versions have "Jr" stamped onto the bottom sticker. Large black buttons. Power and b/w switches slide, while Reset and Game Select are push buttons. Jet black with large metallic silver strip running lengthwise across the front with "Atari 2600" on it. Marketed as the "Under 50 bux, the fun is back!" machine. Bundled accessories include one joystick, AC adapter, TV switch box, and RCA connecting cable. Box is designed as a carrying case with handle and a white section which reads: "This Atari 2600 belongs to:". No bundled cart. The unit came in either a maroon or silver box. Sample wording:
Atari Logo Atari 2600 -------------------------------------------------- FCC ID: EBA72R2600 ATARI CORPORATION MADE IN TAIWAN [FCC wording deleted] S.N. A1 81 1494278 --------------------------------------------------- [Atari logo embossed in plastic] [made in taiwan in plastic] or MANUFACTURED FOR ATARI CORPORATION, BY ATARI TAIWAN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION IN TAIWAN MODEL NO. CX-2600 JR. COVERED BY US PATENT NUMBER 4, 122, 422 OTHER PATENTS, AND PATENTS PENDING ---------------- S.N.|A1 873 412187 | ---------------- [ATARI & FUJI LOGO] MADE IN TAIWAN
Atari 2600 "Jr." - same as above except silver plate has a larger rainbow strip without an embossed border.
A few miscellaneous notes:
All 6 switch Ataris had a large shield casing. There were at least two 6-switch versions:
(6-1) The original. The entire bottom half of the console was made of quarter inch thick plastic (~6mm)! Combined with the thick aluminum RF casing, this is the heaviest 2600 ever made. Also, this 2600 has no 2/3 channel select switch. There is a channel select hole in the case and it's marked Channel A/B, but there's no switch inside on the PCB. These consoles came with "01 combat". (1977 models only)
(6-2) The lighter 2600. No armor plating. Bottom half of console is made of thin plastic, like the 4 switch models. Channel switch now present. Thick RF shield still present. Plain ol' "combat" included.
The were also minor variations on 4 front switch, woodgrain panel models. On some, the difficulty switches are marked "Expert/Novice" (or was it "Advanced/Beginner"?) and others are marked only as "A/B".
Finally, a hodge-podge of facts that don't fit anywhere else:
Atari CX7800 - Vastly modified and enhanced 2600 model. Two joystick ports on lower front panel. New chipset (except sound chip; pokey chips could be added to carts). Side expansion port for upgrades and computer add ons. Bundled accessories included two CX24 ProLine joysticks AC Adapter, switchbox, RCA connecting cable, and Pole Position II cartridge. Plays all 2600 games except 3 or so (which ones?).
Atari CX7800 - Second Revision. Expansion port connector removed from mother board but is still etched. Shell has indentation of where expansion port was to be.
Atari CX7800 - Third Revision. As above but only a small "blemish" mark on shell.
Q: What types of clones exist?
A: Probably the most famous is the Gemini, an inexpensive clone 2600 made by Coleco. It sports an all black, box-shaped enclosure with six small slide switches (say that fast) on top of front panel. On the back panel, there is an RF modulator port and a power adapter port. Two joystick ports and difficult switches live on the front panel. Bundled bits include two dual-joystick/paddle controllers, a 9volt/500ma DC adapter, an RF cable, a TV switch and Donkey Kong and Mouse Trap carts. Sample wording:
Coleco Gemini VGS - Coleco Ind., Inc., Serial # AG0145189.
Q: What companies made 2600
adapters for their own systems?
A: ColecoVision Expansion Module #1 - Black, 5" x 10", 1 3/4" high in front, sloping to 2 3/4" in back.
_____ a = expansion connector to ColecoVision ______|__a__|__ b = 2600 cart slot | _____ | c = color/b+w slide switch | |__b__| | l = left difficulty slide switch |......... | r = right difficulty slide switch | clr gr : | g = game select push button |________:_____| r = reset button ^ ^ <---- joystick ports
Chips inside are: "COLECO 73192 E4002" (TIA clone?), SY6507, SY6532. Curiously, there is an empty space for a 14 pin chip and assorted resistors and capacitors on the right side of the circuit board. The space for a "Y1" indicates that this was probably intended to be a clock generator. (Could this board also be intended for standalone use, such as in the VGS?) There is also an adjustment hole on the bottom that turns a potentiometer [probably color control]. The reset button on the main ColecoVision console acts as a hard reset for the expansion module. The connection to the ColecoVision unit isn't very physically stable, at least not on carpet, resulting in flaky performance. Sample wording:
"ColecoVision [tm] Model No. 2405 Coleco Industries, Inc., Amsterdam, NY 12010 Serial # A0065820 For service help call: F.C.C. ID# BNV8432405 1+800+842-1225 Coleco Industries, Inc. (Nationwide) Made in U.S.A. Printed in U.S.A. 74859A"
Intellivision System Changer - Made by Mattel, copyright 1983. White, roughly about 5-6" square and 2" high, with a piece sticking out of the left side that fits into the Intellivision cartridge slot.
___________ <-Top face. | _____ | __| [__a__] | a == Atari cartridge slot b == insert into Inty II | b | c == Game Reset (square button) |__ cdefg | d, f == left and right difficulty (toggle switches) |_________| e == Color/B+W toggle switch
Front face had two standard joystick ports. Known to work with virtually all 2600 carts except those that don't work with other adapters (i.e. those like Space Shuttle and Starmaster that use standard 2600 hardware functions). Does not work with the "original" (2609) Intellivision Master Component without factory modification. Sample wording:
(one white label and one orange label) "Model No. 4610 FCC ID: BSU9RD4610 Serial No. 003255
Commodore VIC-20/2600 game adapter - Rumored to exist. Was advertised by Protecto in mail order ads in during the 1983 time frame. Plugged into VIC expansion connector and provided 2600 software emulation. Original price, emulation quality, and reliability all unknown.
The September 1983 issue of Electronic Games (page 41) shows an advertisement for Cardapter, a 2600 cart adapter for the Vic-20. The distributor was Cardco, Inc. in the US, LSI Distributors Ltd in W est Canada, Hobby Craft Canada in East Canada, and Audiogenic in Europe. Additional information on this bit would be interesting.
JerryG (email@example.com) maintains a list of both 2600 clones and changers.
Q: Are there any emulators for the 2600/7800?
A: Dennis Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains the 2600 emulator FAQ. It focuses mostly on the Activision Action packs and is also out of date. Question 5.2 of the comp.emulators.misc FAQ discusses emulators for the 2600 as well.Speaking of the Activision Action packs, a word about them is an order since they aren't covered anywhere else in the FAQ. Activision released a total of 5 titles (which included the games + an emulator):
These packs used to be available for pre-paid download but the stores that used to carry them have disappeared. Any information on where to download the packs are appreciated.
Activision also recently released its Classics Collection (30 games + an emulator) for the Playstation. Reviews of it can be found in Issue 51 of the 2600 Connection, and the December 1998 Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Matt Pritchard (email@example.com) mentions in a Usenet posting that the forthcoming commercial Intellivision emulator may include a 2600 emulator and images of all m-network/intv games (including unreleased ones). Alas, this one is on hold indefinitely as ownership questions need to be untangled.
The January 1996 Ultimate Gamer mentions that Atari had some plans for a 2600 emulator for the Jaguar CD. Dave Staugas, who programmed both Millipede and Krull, was working on it. According to Slapdash #6, it was approximately 90% complete, although that number is probably optimistic. With the demise of Atari, the probability of the emulator seeing the light of day is almost 0.
Temporary Sanity Designs was also developing a 2600 emulator for the Jaguar. Damien M. Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) was kind enough to send the following email detailing its development.
In April-ish of 1995 we (Bryan [Edewaard] and I, Temporary Sanity Designs) approached Atari with this idea. Since they'd never heard of us, they asked us for some proof that we could actually program; over the weekend, we put together a program which looked like Combat, running on an Atari TT or Falcon. It looked like Combat because we disassembled the cartridge, converted the 6507 code to 68030 code, and then wrote routines to emulate the hardware. It wasn't complete, of course, but it drew the sprites and you could control them with the joystick. Apparently they were impressed enough to send us a Jag dev kit, and told us we had two months to prove the concept was workable on the Jaguar. We spent three weeks learning how the machine worked, and produced a morphing fractal animation. When we sent this to Atari, at first they thought it was just a compressed Cinepak movie; we had to explain that, no, it was real-time generated fractals using both RISC processors, etc. Five more weeks resulted in a 70% working emulator, which we sent to Atari. One of the problems with emulation in general is that you have to have a lot of work done before you get to see anything; we spent weeks working on the 6507 emulator, which because of some peculiar problems in the Jaguar, had to be extremely compact code. Also, because of the way the display hardware in the 2600 works (line-oriented instead of frame-oriented) the video hardware emulation was fiendishly difficult. The demo we sent to Atari had a 99% complete CPU emulator (we think there were a few bugs in it still, and we were fairly sure we would have problems with bank-switched cartridges) and a 40% complete hardware emulator. We had games like Pacman and Adventure running, with players and playfield, plus a hand-tuned palette. We sent Atari a couple of different versions, with different games included. (Trying to remember which ones we included--Berzerk and Yars' Revenge spring to mind.) Anyway, at some point during 1995 we heard that Jeff Minter had commented on a 2600 emulator, and we figured that was good... until we were told he'd mentioned *Dave Staugas* doing it, and not us. We got on the phone to Atari and asked what the hell was going on, and we were told basically that nobody was supposed to talk about anything that was going on. I'm told that shortly thereafter Jeff Minter posted a sort of retraction. We've never spoken to Jeff directly, and any e-mail we sent at the time went unreplied. (I can understand that, as I'm sure Jeff received zillions of messages and he ignored 99.9% of them.) Atari spent a few months deciding what to do about our emulator. We hadn't spent any more time finishing it, since Atari wasn't actually paying us. Eventually, they suggested that if we could finish the cartridge quickly and fit it into a 1M cartridge (scuttling our plans to include a lot of games on it, along with complete manuals) that maybe they'd think about publishing it. We never got a contract with them, though, before they axed all Jaguar products in early 1996 and merged with JTS. So there's a bit more on the story for you. None of it really matters at this point, but we had to come up with some really creative approaches to making the emulator work in the Jaguar. The CPU emulator--even with all our tricks--only just managed to keep up with the 1.2MHz 6507 in the 2600. The hardware emulators were equally pressed for performance.
But all this work may not have gone to waste. Songbird Productions has obtained the rights and source code to TSD's emulator, (now?) called Virtual VCS (VVCS). While it is not certain that the emulator will be completed and released, it is under consideration as a future project for the company.
There is also a VCS simulator by Christian Bogey (email@example.com) called VCSS which simulates the functions of the Atari VCS 2600. VCSS isn't an emulator, so it won't run any rom images.
For the 7800, we now have V7800 v. 0.12, courtesy of Dan Boris. He has also written a driver for the next release of MESS, the Multi Emulator Super System.
Q: What 2600/7800 hardware was
announced, but never released?
A: The short answer is quite a bit . Here are some examples:
Q: How do I hook up my Atari to a TV? / I've hooked up my system, but the picture is fuzzy.
A: Consider the following diagram of a manual switch box and a 75-300 ohm converter:
A B | C -|----------- | | | | ------ | ! F | G H| I | | ! | -----------* . | | ! | -----------* | | ! | | | --D | ------ | | | | ----*---*---- E
One way to hook up the Atari is:
If your picture is fuzzy, the most probable cause is that you are using an automatic RF switch (i.e. one that does not physically have to be switched between the "TV" and "game" position). Most (all?) systems starting with the NES use automatic RF switches. These will not work for the 2600/7800, as the signal is not strong enough to trigger the switch completely. A manual RF switch, available at any Radio Shack or equivalent, is the way to happiness. Another possible cause is that the TV is set to channel 3 but the Atari is set to channel 4 or vice versa.
Also note that in my own (Zube) limited tests, a thick (well-shielded?) RCA cable worked just as well (if not better) than the traditional thin, black 75 ohm coax RF cables.
Q: How do I fix my paddles?
A: Dirty paddles are a cause of great frustration. To clean them, buy a can of Cleaner/Degreaser (available at Radio Shack, catalog #64-4422), open up the paddles and spray directly into the pot area. Close them up, give them a few twists and they should be good as new. Silicon spray, WD40 and TV tuner can also be used, although there are warnings about possible gumming with WD40, and possible plastic rot with TV tuner.
Q: Where do I get my 2600/7800 fixed?
A: In general, it is usually more cost effective to buy another console. Still, 4Jays repairs and reconditions consoles. Mail Jay Colen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. In the UK, you might contact Mark Hourahane (email@example.com) who claims to fix consoles. He writes:
"I would be happy to repair old Atari consoles of any format, although I may not be able to test non-PAL machines. Anyone wanting repairs, modifications etc. should e-mail me."
He has recently made the following generous offer as well:
"I would be happy to help with any Atari queries or repair needs, whether in the UK or not."
Q: Do Bally Astrocade joysticks work on the 2600/7800?
A: No. Even though they use the standard 9-pin connector, the pinouts are different. However, the Bally/Astrocade FAQ documents the proper rewiring scheme to allow them to work on the 2600/7800.
Q: Which light guns work with
A: There is no light gun made specifically for either system. However, Atari's light gun (model number XG-1) that came with the XE-Game-System works well. Also, see the entry for rewiring a Sega lightgun elsewhere in the FAQ.
Q: What hardware peripherals
exist for the 2600/7800?
A: Note: This list is by no means complete.
Q: What are NTSC/PAL/SECAM and why should I care?
A: NTSC (National Television Standards Committee), PAL (Phase Alternating Lines) and SECAM (SEquentiel Couleur Avec Memoire) are different worldwide, generally incompatible television standards. Some short, not completely accurate information follows.
what where freq/frames/scan lines ---- ----- ---------------------- NTSC US/Japan 60hz/30/525 PAL Europe 50hz/25/625 SECAM France & many others 50hz/25/625For detailed and accurate (but muddled) information, see the Worldwide TV standards page. Why is this information important? Different carts will exhibit different characteristics based on what kind of TV and console are used. For example, a PAL cart on an NTSC console and TV will roll the screen and exhibit a strange color scheme. An adjustable vertical hold is a must in these situations. The console compatibility FAQ details much of this information for the Atari 2600/7800 and other consoles as well.
Q: What is a TV Boy and where can I get one?
A: The TV Boy is a handheld-sized Atari 2600 (made by SystemA) with 127 built-in games that connects to your tv (it does not have its own screen). While it features a built-in Gameboy-like joypad and external 9-pin ports so one can connect one's favorite controller, it does not, alas, have a cartridge slot. Inside the TV Boy is a jumper marked "NTSC/PAL," so it appears that it will work on either type of TV.
There is also a TV Boy II which does not have external 9-pin ports. Thus, there is no way to play two-player (simultaneous) games (only the built-in directional pad is left) with two players; In two-player games the pad controls both players at the same time. For example, in Traffic (nee Freeway), the pad controls both chickens.
For PAL preferers there is the MegaBoy which is nearly identical to the TV Boy, although it has only 126 predominately PAL games.
If things weren't confusing enough, Ian Pleasance (firstname.lastname@example.org) adds the following:
"...there are also PAL versions of the TV Boy I and TV Boy II. The TVB1 is exactly the same physically as the US version, whereas the TVB2 had a design change and is shorter, it also adds a 127th game (pirated MegaMania), and had the second joystick port removed (on games with a two-player option the second joystick is rerouted to the Joypad). Both the TVB1 and TVB2 were sold in the UK by SystemA. "SystemA also recently launched the "Super TV Boy", renamed the TVB2 to "TV Boy" and dropped the TVB1. The Super TV Boy is the same internally as the TVB2, however the casing has changed drastically, and the internal joypad is now "removable" in that it clips on to the main unit case and is attached by a wire, so you can unclip it and play it at a distance. The Super TV Boy looks in some ways like a mini-NES except that half of the casing is bright pink (!).
More information on the TV Boy can be found courtesy of Atari2600.com, which maintains the TV Boy page.
The MegaBoy is not available from anywhere we know of. NTSC TV Boys ($199.95), PAL TV Boy II's ($89.95) and PAL Super TV Boys ($99.95) are available from Atari2600.com. Argos, a UK mailorder company, has TV Boys for 24.95 pounds, but they do not take orders from outside Great Britain or Northern Ireland. (Argos Customer Service: 01908 600 161; Direct Home Delivery: 0345 427 467; the TV Boy catalog number is 364/4834). Gultronics in Tottenham Court Road, London, England as well as Index, a UK-wide catalogue shop both sell the TV Boy and Super TV Boy. Finally, one can also purchase TV Boys direct from SystemA (SystemA (UK) LTD, 12 Albury Close, Loverock Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG30 1BB) for approximately $50.00 + shipping and handling.
JerryG, in an email message, mentions a completely different MegaBoy (from South America) that does not include built-in games, but rather has a cartridge slot (!).
Finally, The Maverick (email@example.com) mentions that a 7800 controller plugged into the left joystick port (but not the right port) of the TV Boy will keep it from operating. Corroboration anyone?
Q: What are the specs for the 2600/7800?
A: The information here is incomplete in some places, misleading in others, and possibly just plain wrong in still other places.
2600 7800 CPU: 6507 6502C (custom, NOT 65C02) RAM: 128 Bytes, in VLSI 4K, high speed (mostly VRAM) ROM: 4K max 52K max Cpu Clock: 1.19 MHz 1.79 MHz Graphics Clock: 1.19 MHz 7.16 MHz Slot Config: Rom access only Most CPU lines + video/audio CPU Avail: less than 50% over 90%
Notes: ROM specs are based on non-bank select scheme, the graphics clock is the master clock used to drive the video chips.
Q: How large do 2600 games get?
A: There are several 2600 games with 16K bytes (e.g. Road Runner). There are also games with 128 bytes of RAM on the cartridge (called the Atari Super Chip), such as Jr. Pac-Man. Supercharger games that do multiple loads may be even larger (which ones?; the Supercharger people should know.) Fatal Run is 32K. The 32-in-1 cart is 64K, 2K per game. The MegaBoy cart from Dynacom is also 64K, 16 banks of 4K.
Kevin Horton (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains a detailed list of cart sizes and bankswitching methods, from which most of the above information is culled.
Q: Are there any published 2600/7800 technical articles available?
A: Andy Clayton was kind enough to type up Design Case History: the Atari Video Computer System from the March 1983 IEEE Spectrum. It is quite an interesting read although it contains no code.
IBM's patent server also contains a wealth of information including many Atari patents.
Q: Pinout information?
2600/7800 pinouts: _________________ \ o5 o4 o3 o2 o1/ \ o9 o8 o7 o6 / \___________/ pin # 2600 control 7800 control 1 WHT- Up WHT- Up 2 BLU- Down BLU- Down 3 GRN- Left GRN- Left 4 BRN- Right BRN- Right 5 unused RED- Button (R)ight (-) 6 ORG- Button ORG- Both buttons (+) 7 unused unused 8 BLK- Ground(-) BLK- Ground(-) 9 unused YLW- Button (L)eft (-) 2600 control (button) pin 6 ORG(+) --------------()------------BLK(-) pin 8 Button 7800 control (buttons) /----------YLW(-) pin 9 Button L / /---------()---| YLW splits / \----/\/\/-----\ pin 6 ORG(+) -------| ORG splits 520 ohm |---BLK(-) pin 8 \ /----/\/\/-----/ \---------()---| 520 ohm Button R \ RED splits \----------RED(-) pin 5 Note that some controllers have 620 ohm resistors rather than 520 ohm ones.
A standard 2600 cartridge contains the equivalent of a 2716 or 2732/2532 with one notable exception: the chip select line is active high, not low. The high order address line of the 6507 (A12) is used as the chip enable. There was at least one company that used EPROMs with a 74LS04 inverter to compensate for this. Note that numbers indicate left to right numbering.
Top Row Bottom Row Slot 2716 CPU 2716 CPU 1 13 D3 1 A7 2 14 D4 2 A6 3 15 D5 3 A5 4 16 D6 4 A4 5 17 D7 5 A3 6 * A12 6 A2 7 19 A10 7 A1 8 NC A11 8 A0 9 22 A9 9 D0 10 23 A8 10 D1 11 24 +5V 11 D2 12 12 Shield Ground NC Ground * to inverter and back to 18 for chip select (Looking at the bottom of the cartridge -- i.e. edge connectors first) Top D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 A12 A10 A11 A9 A8 +5V SGND --1- --2- --3- --4- --5- --6- --7- --8- --9- -10- -11- -12- GND D2 D1 D0 A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 Bottom Dx = Data line x Ax = Address line x +5V = +5 volts SGND = Shield Ground GND = Ground
Address lines Memory used Available EPROM Memory ====================================================== A11 2048 2716 2K A12 4096 2732 4K A13 8192 2764 8K (needs support chips for banking) A13 8192 2 x 2732 8K (most common of 8K config) ____________ | 2716 | A7 | 1 24 | VCC [+5 V] A6 | 2 23 | A8 A5 | 3 22 | A9 A4 | 4 21 | VPP [Doesn't matter probably. +5V] A3 | 5 20 | !Output Enable (always on) [GND] A2 | 6 19 | A10 A1 | 7 18 | !Chip Enable (make high bit) [inverted A12] A0 | 8 17 | D7 D0 | 9 16 | D6 D1 | 10 15 | D5 D2 | 11 14 | D4 GND | 12 13 | D3 |__________| ____________ | 2732 | A7 | 1 24 | VCC [+5 V] A6 | 2 23 | A8 A5 | 3 22 | A9 A4 | 4 21 | A11 A3 | 5 20 | !Output Enable (always on) [GND] / VPP A2 | 6 19 | A10 A1 | 7 18 | !Chip Enable (make high bit) [inverted A12] A0 | 8 17 | D7 D0 | 9 16 | D6 D1 | 10 15 | D5 D2 | 11 14 | D4 GND | 12 13 | D3 |__________| ____________ | 2764 | VPP | 1 28 | VCC [+5 V] A12 | 2 27 | !Program Strobe (no connection?) [+5V] A7 | 3 26 | No Connection A6 | 4 25 | A8 A5 | 5 24 | A9 A4 | 6 23 | A11 A3 | 7 22 | !Output Enable (always on) [GND] A2 | 8 21 | A10 A1 | 9 20 | !Chip Enable (always on) [GND] A0 | 10 19 | D7 D0 | 11 18 | D6 D1 | 12 17 | D5 D2 | 13 16 | D4 GND | 14 15 | D3 |__________| VPP was also set at +5V for the 2764.
7800 Cartridge port
1 R/W 17 A15 2 Halt 18 EAudio 3 D3 19 A7 4 D4 20 A6 5 D5 21 A5 6 D6 22 A4 7 D7 23 A3 8 A12 24 A2 9 A10 25 A1 10 A11 26 A0 11 A9 27 D0 12 A8 28 D1 13 +5V 29 D2 14 Gnd 30 Gnd 15 A13 31 IRQ 16 A14 32 CLK2
Gnd +5v CVideo MLum0 Mlum3 Blank OscDis ExtMen Gnd --1-- --2-- --3-- --4-- --5-- --6-- --7-- ---8-- --9-- -18-- -17-- -16-- -15-- -14-- -13-- -12-- --11-- -10-- Gnd Audio Rdy MCol MLum2 MLum1 Msync Clk2 ExtOsc
Q: Power Supply Information?
[ATARI FUJI LOGO] PART NO.:CO 18084-319 AC/DC ADAPTOR INPUT: AC 240 V#50Hz 9W OUTPUT: DC 9V 500 mA BS415 [Polarity C+, O- diagram] FOR USE WITH MODELS CX 2600 XEP 80 OR SX212 WB JUN-AUG 87
_ -----| |----- - | o o | + ------------- [looking into the power supply]
If you cannot find a 7800 power supply but are comfortable with a soldering iron, one possibility is to find similar connectors and solder them onto a more easily-found power supply. Mitchell Orman (Msorman@aol.com) suggests using an end connector from an old cordless phone battery. For the one he procured, the part was made by Philmore and is the Panasonic type #BC1000. Caution: the connector will plug in to the 7800 either direction so one needs to mark polarity correctly.
Another possibility is to buy a more standard jack and just solder it in parallel with the original connector, then buy a power supply at Radio Shack for a few bucks.
One good place to solder alternate power connections is to the two joints on the underside of the board, located near the original power plug (the polarity is easy to follow because the traces from the power and to the barrel capacitor are polarity-marked). Either an external jack (1/8" mono) can be run through the old jack's hole (or a vent hole) -or- an internal jack can be installed where convenient such as the thick "strut" near the original hole or on the right side (when facing the unit for play). You can use a 2600 power supply; the only difference is half an amp, which the techies say doesn't matter much.
PART NO : C024943-309 AC/DC ADAPTOR INPUT:240V~50Hz 15W OUTPUT:DC 9V 1A TO COMPLY WITH BS415 [diagrams] INDOOR USE ONLY WITH MODELS PAL 1 7800 WB 9340
Q: How do I build a composite/audio/chroma/luma output interface for the Atari 2600Jr/2600A?
A: Moderators' note: This entry has been left exactly as it was in the last version because of the copyright notice at the end. The author has been contacted, but he has not given his blessing to our edits as yet.
[The following mod is for SOME Jr's. Please see section end for 2600A update.] File revision 1.1 After finding my entertainment budget disappear (poor university student) I was forced to economize--I dusted off the Ole'2600. I figured I would hook it up to my computer monitor, but to my dismay there was no composite output on the beast (Atari). Determined to overcome, I quickly disassembled it. After some poking and prodding around I managed to locate the required signals. Benefits: No longer require a TV. You no longer require those god-awful switch boxes. No more interference patterns on the screen (from the RF cable being used as a bloody antenna). No longer requires the 100' hookup RF cable. Crisp clear audio etc; Drawbacks: No longer get to see sister trip in 100' RF cable. No longer get to fall asleep with psychedelic interference patterns on screen. Materials Required: Phillips screwdriver, a soldering iron, solder, a small piece of wire, 2 or 3 patch cables and a small pair of needle-nose pliers. * The following schematic is for the NEWER model which is sometimes referred to as the "Atari Junior". The older model is much the same. 1-Simply unplug everything from your console, turn it over and remove the 5 screws. 2-Remove the top and bottom plastic case pieces. When removing the TOP piece carefully pull out the ribbon cable that connects it to the main board. 3-You should now have the board (covered by a metal shield) in your hands. Turn it over, you will see little clasps on the edge of the shield that hold it in place. Straighten these with your pliers and you can then remove 2 LARGE shields (One on Bottom of unit, one on Top). The small shield remaining (On Top) covers the RF modulator. 4-Orient the exposed board into the position that it would normally be in. ie: The way it is when you play (On/Off switch near Top Left). 5-Look in the LOWER RIGHTHAND AREA of the TOPSIDE (front) of the board. You will see a setup that resembles the schematic below. __________________ TOPSIDE OF THE BOARD, | | LOWER RIGHTHAND CORNER |O RF | | MODULATOR | | | |__________________| ------ TP5 (Luma) | _____ V ___ | | ||| o ||| | O | |_____| RRR RCR |___| ||| ||| ^ ^ | | R41 (Chroma) --- --- C19 (Audio) Gold/Red/Grey/Blue Usually turquoise Color-banded colored NOTE: You can connect the Audio to EITHER side of the Capacitor, the best results are obtained by placing it on the BOTTOM of the Capacitor (as shown). The Chroma *MUST* be hooked up to the BOTTOM of the resistor (as shown). It will NOT work if you hook it to the top of the resistor. To gain Chroma/Luma/Audio output you will need 3 RCA patch cables [the kind commonly used with stereos]. Simply solder the cables at the required points (Chroma/Luma/Audio) as shown. Remember to GROUND ALL cables! ie: solder the GROUND wire [the wire that wraps around the inner wire] to any point that the board shield connects to. To gain Composite/Audio output you need 2 RCA patch cables [the kind commonly used with stereos]. Here it gets a little different than above. Simply solder a "jumper" [a piece of wire] from R41 (Chroma) to TP5 (Luma), then connect a patch cord to TP5 [Presto! you now have composite]. Solder the remaining cable to C19 (Audio). Again, remember to GROUND all cables. Do *NOT* GROUND the jumper! Simply re-assemble the unit and you are done. You will find that it is easier to have the newly installed cables exit through the joystick port. Alternatively, you could cut a notch in the case for a separate exit. Having the cables exit through the RF output is not recommended. There will not be enough room (without pinching the cables) to hook up the RF cable. Adjust your brightness/contrast. Enjoy! If you ever wish to adjust your color (chroma) there is a "POT" that you can tweak. It can be found near the OFF/ON switch. It is the only pot on the left side of the board. DISCLAIMER: I can not, and will not, be held responsible for any damages that you or your system incur. This document is provided for informational purposes only. Send all Questions/Comments/Cartridges you are no longer using to: Thomas Clancy 1 Hunt's Lane St. John's NF, Canada A1B 2L2 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org (C)1993 Thomas Clancy This article is freely distributable so long as it is not modified. It must be distributed in it's entirety.
TIA pin 2 -----Sync TIA pin 5 -----Lum 1 o 5V (TIA pin 20) TIA pin 7 -----Lum 2 | TIA pin 8 -----Lum 0 | + R206(1K)/C208 Bottom ---Audio |---|(----, C210/R210(6.8K) Top ----Color | 100uF | | \/ GND (TIA pin 1) | ,--------------------------------| 10uf | __________ `------,---/\/\/---,--|(--, `---|1 | CR1 750 1.6K | 10 | + | | 2|--|<]--/\/\/-, ,-/\/\/-` | \/ GND TIA2<-----|3 CD4050 | 9.1K | | ___/-------` .......... TIA5<-----|5 4|---/\/\/-----| | Q1 /|/c\ . RCA TIA7<-----|7 | 4.7K |--|------(b| ) . Cables TIA8<-----|9 6|---/\/\/-----| | \|\e/ 75 . __ ,--|14 | 18K | | \-----,---/\/\/----Luma-O__ |--|11 10|---/\/\/-----` | 2K | . | |--|8 | `-/\/\/-,--/\/\/--` . GND \/ | |__________| 5v o | 75 . | | GND \/ . \/ GND Q2 ___/ . 6.8K /|/c\ 75 . __ Top of C210/R210<-----/\/\/---(b| ) ,----/\/\/---------------->Chroma-O__ \|\e/ | . | CR1 - low power silicon \----| 75 . GND \/ (glass) diode (RS 276-1122) `----/\/\/---, . Q1,Q2 - 3904 or equiv. (RS 276-2016) | . \/ GND . 1uF . __ Bottom of R206/C208<-------|(-------------------------------------->Audio-O__ + . | . GND \/ ..........
The CD4050 is a video buffer. It provides a sharper signal than just picking the signals off of the TIA, which is an unbuffered and open collector. The unused buffer inputs are tied to ground to reduce noise (pins 14&11). On the outputs of the buffer, the 3 Luma pins and Sync are combined into what will become Luma. Each Luma signal is supposed to be twice as bright as the previous one, so the resistance on each Luma pin is roughly 1/2 the previous one. If you cannot find the exact values, at least try to be within 10% or stack values to get close. The Sync signal is added in via a diode to protect the output of the buffer and is dropped slightly through a 750 ohm resistor.
Next, the combined Luma signal is connect to 5v & ground through resistors to reference the voltage for the base of Q1, our Luma amplifier. Its output is set to 75 ohm impedance (75 ohms is best but 70-100 ohms will work in the place of the 75 ohm resistors. The closest Radio Shack has is a 1/2 watt 82 ohm resistor 271-011 which works fine).
The Chroma signal is picked off the board at the junction of C210 and R210. Looking at the board, R210 is the 4th component from the right in the bottom row of resistors/capacitors under the shield. It connects to C210 (5th component from the right) at the top of both components, and this is where to solder the wire for the Chroma circuit.
The Chroma circuit is just a simpler version of the Luma amplifier. Again, the output is 75 ohm impedance.
The Audio circuit is simply a capacitor to filter out the DC offset on the audio signal. Pick the audio signal off the board at the junction of R206 and C208. R206 is the 4th component from the right in the 2nd row of components at the bottom. Solder the Audio wire at the bottom of R206 and/or C208 (3rd component from the right).
Be sure to solder the outer shield from the RCA cables to ground and connect the signal to the inner conductor. Also, do not disconnect any pins of TIA from the circuit (if the pins are lifted out of the socket or PCB, the open collector outputs will no longer function).
I used a small piece of perfboard from Radio Shack and hot-glued it into the 2600 case and made a small hole in the RF shield to run the wires to the new board. I ran the RCA cables (Chroma, Luma, Audio) out the hole for the RF cable.
I'd like to acknowledge Ben Poehland and Charles Cole whose Super Video upgrades are the basis for this project. When you complete this circuit, your 2600's picture quality will be comparable to a Super Video upgraded Atari 8-bit.
Q: How do I build a video driver for the 2600/7800?
A: Parts list:
+5 Volts | ( L1 ( ( | R2 |/---+---+ Video In -------+---^^^------| T1 | + C2 L2 | |\ | | >>-+---|-------| |----nnn---- Video Out > | | R1 > > _ + > R3 > - C1 | > | | | | +-----------------+---+--- Ground
This is a simple common emitter amplifier. It is a non-inverting current amplifier and serves here to allow the video signal from the game to drive a standard composite monitor with 75 ohm impedance.
In order to prevent the audio from interfering with the video signal, the mixing oscillator must be disabled on the main circuit board. On a 7800, remove the base lead of Q1. It is located near the RF modulator.
The audio doesn't need any extra buffering.
Places to get signals:
1. from RF modulator pin 3 is video pin 1 is ground 2. from Expansion Interface on 7800 pin 1 is ground pin 2 is +5V pin 3 is video pin 17 is audio 3. from main circuit board on a 7800, video and ground are across C7; +5V and audio are across C4
This circuit may not work or be required with all versions of the 2600. It is required for the 7800 and the Sears Video Arcade II version of the 2600. It is probably not necessary for a 5200.
Q: I hate the two mods above. Does anyone have anything better?
Q: How do I build a composite output interface for the 7800?
A: Ben Jirou (email@example.com) was kind enough to pass along his researches.
I rejected the video driver because the 2SC1815 transistor is not easily obtainable. On the other hand, you can easily find the 2N3904 at Radio Shack.
The resulting circuit is below. It is a very much simplified version of the "chroma/luma for 4 switch" entry. Most of the parts can be found at Radio Shack. For the 75 ohm resistors, I used two 150ohms connected in parallel. I think 1.5K can be substituted for the 1.8K without any problem.
o 5V | | + |---|(----, | 100uF | | \/ GND | `------,-----------, 1.8K | | ,-/\/\/-` | | ___/-------` | Q1 /|/c\ Video --|------(b| ) | \|\e/ 75 | \-----,---/\/\/-----O Composite out | 2.2K | `-/\/\/-,--/\/\/--` | 75 GND \/ Q1 is 2N3904
I mounted everything on a little circuit board. I removed the RF modulator and channel selector switch. The circuit board mounts in the place of the modulator. +5V, gnd and the video signal are taken from the connector to the modulator.
Audio was a problem. The FAQ mentions that you can take audio from the Expansion Interface for the 7800. That's incorrect. (mod note: confirmation anyone?)
I took audio from one of the pins of a capacitor. From tracing the circuit, this is also connected to the EAudio pin of the cartridge port. The capacitor is the second on the left of the cartridge port:
------------------------------ Back of the machine ---------------- -------- | | | M M | M M | M M | X---> | | | Cartridge port | | | | | M M | Y---> M M | M M | | | |
Y is a component with a translucent case (a coil). X is where the audio can be obtained.
Q: How do I convert Sega controllers
to Atari pinout?
A: [Note: Based on a non-random sample of size 2, it was found that unmodified Sega controllers work fine on the 2600/7800, with B acting as the single fire button. As an aside, Sega Master System controllers (model 3020) work too, with button 1 as the fire button. Use the instructions below if you wish to have a truly 7800 compatible stick with 2 separate fire buttons.]
[editor's note: who is this talking?]
First the Disclaimer. I am not responsible for:
1. Any damage done to your Atari 7800 or Atari 2600.
2. Any damage done to the Sega Genesis Controller.
3. Any errors in these instructions.
This design is free for you to make your own controllers or adaptors. If you make controllers or adaptors to sell to other people, I would like (no surprise here) a cut of the profits. The only other thing I ask is that if make your own, drop me an email so I get an idea of how many people are using my design.
I'm not going to give step by step instructions. I'm going to assume that the reader has some basic knowledge of electronics and can figure out what to do with the schematics and info presented here. I will, however, answer questions if asked.
This design works with the Atari 2600 as well as the Atari 7800. Also, any system that can use Atari 2600 joysticks, should be able to use this design. This design can be put inside a Sega Genesis controller or with the addition of two 9 pin connectors, it can be made into an adaptor. It works with any Sega Genesis controller including those with autofire.
For Adaptor only
Schematic: Sega B button --> Atari Left Button: ____ Atari 6 1K | / Sega 6 __/\/\/\/\___|V PNP |\ 3906 |_______ Atari 9 | < < 620 Ohms < | Atari 8 Sega C button --> Atari Right Button: ____ Atari 6 1K | / Sega 9 __/\/\/\/\___|V PNP |\ 3906 |_______ Atari 5 | < < 620 Ohms < | Atari 8 Sega 1 -------- Atari 1 (Up) Sega 2 -------- Atari 2 (Down) Sega 3 -------- Atari 3 (Left) Sega 4 -------- Atari 4 (Right) Sega 8 -------- Atari 8 (Ground) Sega 5 ___. | |---- Atari 7 (+5V) Sega 7 ___|
Pins listed as Sega refer to the 9 pin male connector that the Sega Controller plugs into. Pins listed as Atari refer to the 9 pin female connector that plugs in the Atari 7800.
Q: How do I convert a Sega Master System lightgun to Atari pinout?
A: The Aug 1988 (Vol 7, Num 4) Antic Magazine contained an article called First look: Inside the XE Game System: Hardware surprises revealed. It described the conversion:
To modify the Sega gun for the Atari, you'll have to cut off the incompatible connector. The wires must be stripped back and soldered into an Atari joystick connector as follows:
SEGA GUN ATARI JOYSTICK PORT Blue wire Pin 1 stick FWD Gray wire Pin 6 trigger Green wire Pin 7 +5 volts Black wire Pin 8 Ground
Because of the close fitting connections for the XEGS ports, don't wire in a DB9 female connector that has "ears". Most joysticks don't have wires for unused signals, so cutting up an old joystick cable may not work. Specifically, an Atari joystick does not need the +5 volts, so there isn't likely to be a wire connected to Pin 7. However, you can find joystick extension cables at Radio Shack, which have all nine pins wired from male to female. Antic disclaims responsibility for any damages that might occur during improper implementation of this, or any, hardware modification project we publish.
Once it's all hooked up, you'll notice that gun fires when you release the trigger, which is annoying. The Sega trigger wiring is the opposite of what the Atari light gun uses. To rewire the trigger switch, remove the five screws (one is under the Sega logo on the side). Find the trigger micro-switch with three connections. Wire to the normally closed contacts.
Q: How do I convert an NES controller to Atari pinout?
A: See the following link for step-by-step instructions. You will need a 2600 controller connector cable to make this work.
There is also a mod to convert an NES controller to 7800 pinout.
Q: Is there a general site
that contains all this conversion stuff?
A: Yes. Jay Tilton (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains a page of various video, joystick and lightgun pinouts and conversions for the 2600, 7800 and many, many others.
Q: What is an Atari Game Recorder and how do I build one?
A: An Atari Game Recorder is a device that copies carts to cassette tape and also admits the playing of games from tape. Instructions and schematics are in the following issues of Radio Electronics (it's a three-part article):
Dec 84 vol 55 no 12 p. 69-72. Jan 85 vol 56 no 1 p. 51-58. Feb 85 vol 56 no 2 p. 69-72.
The article was written by Guy Vachon and David A. Chan. The construction of the AGR is not for the faint of heart, but if anyone does decide to construct an AGR, please mail Zube and provide details of how well it works and any problems encountered in its construction. BTW, the AGR as described in the article does not handle bankswitched carts.
Here is the article, in twelve separate jpg files (one for each page). Here is a another page containing the files.
Acknowledgments of thanks.