Atari 2600

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pixelblip
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Atari 2600

Post by pixelblip » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:15 pm

Hi
I've got a fondness for the 2600..........who hasn't
I came across Xevious for the 2600 tonight.......I think this is really well done considering the limitations of the platform...........
The Atari sure had some wacky sounds and even more wacky graphics didn't it....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btkilcw3GLA

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by kieranhj » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:50 pm

I’m with you on the Atari 2600, such an evocative machine. Not seen Xevious on it before - seriously impressive. There are some crazy demos made for the machine in recent times; I quite fancy having a good at writing one myself when I’ve finally run out of Beeb ideas.

The hardware is so familiar yet alien - 6502 (effectively) but just 128 bytes of RAM, no screen buffer but fantastic colour palette for the era. The coders that made those early Atari games were true pioneers and seemingly mind-melded to the hardware, I have no other explanation..!
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by pixelblip » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:56 pm

The colours on it are mindblowing. All those copper effects people do.......it has such a look about it.
Yars Revenge is a game that is very Atari 2600..... when I see colours like this I also think of Jeff Minter / Robotron type games .......the 2600 did psychedelic very well didn't it.



Has anyone done any decent teletext shooters? I've been hunting for teletext games..........to go a bit off topic for a second
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by FourthStone » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:05 pm

Nice looking game, amazing what is possible on 3742 year old hardware.

I've always been super impressed that everything visible on the screen has to be redrawn on the fly every single frame, no video ram at all!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvpwf50a48E

Gives new meaning to the term racing the beam =D>

When you look at the limitations of the hardware it is quite impressive what developers on the system have been able to achieve.

Maybe one day, time permitting, I'd like to develop something simple for the system myself.
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by pixelblip » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:35 pm

On top of that the sound.........what about that lol
I have vivid memories of 2600 Pac Man on1980 on Christmas day. The sound Pacman made going around the maze. It was like an elastic band put through some kind of twisted 1 bit metalizer :lol: I can hear it in my head now.
There is no other console that made that sound.............it was so harsh and very glitchy........in fact the whole console is very glitchy.......very cool.....

You might know Solaris......everyone bangs on about it but really it is so far ahead in terms of pushing the limits.........listen to the sound on this game as well....it's totally bonkers


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buhHMAcRSwU

Looking at Solaris maybe this is where I get all my pictures ideas from!
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Pernod » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:01 pm

pixelblip wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:56 pm
Has anyone done any decent teletext shooters? I've been hunting for teletext games..........to go a bit off topic for a second
FSS Liberator
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by tricky » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:07 pm

It is the only other machine I have seriously considered writing for. Xevious is a great example , its hard to believe that it is essentially 40 fat pixels of background plus two "player" bytes and one bit of gfx, two one bit "missiles" and a "ball".

EDIT: Gfx caps corrected.
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by trixster » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:07 pm

Pitfall 2 - simply brilliant
Adventure - a work of genius

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:19 am

trixster wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:07 pm
Pitfall 2 - simply brilliant
Adventure - a work of genius
I only ever plyed Pitfall 1 on my mate’s Atari but we spent hours playing Adventure! Superb stuff.

I may have been dropping hints around my house about potential Father’s day presents. :D
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by cmorley » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:36 am

tricky wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:07 pm
It is the only other machine I have seriously considered writing for. Xevious is a great example , its hard to believe that it is essentially 40 fat pixels of background plus two bytes and one bit of gfx.
Is that impressive or is it just poor that the latest Firefox is using 8 processes and 1GB of RAM to render this page? :shock:

The old hardware is refreshing with its necessary lack of bloat. I think that's why I enjoy embedded work :)

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by trixster » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:00 am

Lardo Boffin wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:19 am
trixster wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:07 pm
Pitfall 2 - simply brilliant
Adventure - a work of genius
I only ever plyed Pitfall 1 on my mate’s Atari but we spent hours playing Adventure! Superb stuff.

I may have been dropping hints around my house about potential Father’s day presents. :D
Pitfall 2 is bonkers good. The cart has extra hardware in it (i think) but even so the scale of the game, graphics and music are all incredible for the 2600. Lots of fun too, which helps.

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by tricky » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:19 am

Originally I thought that the Pitfall II cart had a sound chip in it, but I believe it is more like a very simple fixed function DMA+GFX+RND() chip that can update the 2600's sound chip and some very basic GFX without the 6502 and also provides some sort of random number generator. I think that the harmony cart emulates this, but I guess a minute of googling would say for sure!

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:08 am

A quick look on eBay suggests Pitfall 2 is fairly rare and mostly for sale only in the US. Is a PAL version available? Or would the NTSC version work over here? Not that I have a 2600. Yet. :D
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by trixster » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:31 am

I’m still playing my original cart from 1984 (still boxed!) so can’t help you there I’m afraid. I’d be surprised if us versions worked without modification to a uk system.

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by kieranhj » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:43 am

Coincidentally I just procured a copy of Pitfall 2 from a thrift store in the US. It is considered reasonably rare but as always there are carts to be had for a price (eBay the highest of course.)

After cleaning the edge connector with IPA I can confirm the NTSC cart works in a PAL machine although the colour palette will look a bit different / ‘wrong’. This is all dependent on the TV accepting a potentially slightly wacky signal, I presume, but my faithful Sony CRT was fine.
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by kieranhj » Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:48 am

For anyone who would like to know more about how the Atari 2600 works, I can thoroughly recommend the book ‘Racing the Beam’ which has a great balance of technical details combined with insights into the creative culture of the day.

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/racing-beam
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:24 pm

Looks like an interesting read.
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by DutchAcorn » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:31 pm

Lardo Boffin wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:19 am
trixster wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:07 pm
Pitfall 2 - simply brilliant
Adventure - a work of genius
I only ever plyed Pitfall 1 on my mate’s Atari but we spent hours playing Adventure! Superb stuff.
....
Ah Adventure! I remember the awe when we discovered, after many hours of playing, the easter egg in Adventure. “Created by Warren Robinett”.
Paul

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by pixelblip » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:18 pm

Yeh thanks Kieran - I'll read that book - really interesting. No doubt Fourthstone has probably read it!

I have yet to play Adventure.............

I wonder what's the most amazing demo or game to come out of the 2600............has anyone any good 3d demos to recommend that have been done.......

PS FSS Liberator Pernod looks very cool! If you know of any more Mode 7 platformers or shootemups please holla. It makes me think....hmmmm teletext games......is that an untapped reservoir for the game developer
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by tricky » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:35 pm

Good book, great read, I seem to remember only about a third of the palette being different colours on PAL.
I have my doubts about 3D, wire frame anyway as you only have 40 "pixels" wide + the two players and one "missile" sprites.

EDIT: Got it wrong again!
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by kieranhj » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:59 pm

Best demos of recent years are Chiphead (a stunning demake of the seminal PC demo Ziphead), Bang! and aTaRSI. For 3D try Derivative 2600 although it's all faked using rasters of course, but still impressive. (Get ready for some seriously headache-inducing 2-channel TIA music. :lol:)
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by pixelblip » Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:41 pm

That Chiphead demo is amazing................thanks

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by FourthStone » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:43 pm

http://www.pouet.net/prodlist.php?platf ... tari%20VCS

Great demo site, many platforms including the 2600 and our own beeb, most have youtube links.

Enjoy!

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by vanpeebles » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:09 am

Shame no one has mentioned Space Shuttle. A complete Space Shuttle Simulator and you can flick all 6 switches for various activities. Amazing game, super impressive. He even modelled double sonic boom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4JaYzRGh2U

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:18 pm

I have recently acquired a 2600 6 switch woody and have a composite mod board ready to fit. Is there any other routine maintenance to be done on these? E.g. caps or voltage regulator?

Many thanks!
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by vanpeebles » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:40 pm

No they seem to live forever :D

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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:58 pm

Excellent!
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Re: Atari 2600

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:01 pm

So I have applied a composite mod - from the future was eight bit - and while the picture is better it is far from good. There is a fair amount of blurring and on one telly a very noticable horizontal band that moves up the screen. To be fair I think this was happening with RF before I modded it.

D8337C66-71CA-427F-BC53-D2643761DAB9.jpeg
On my smaller LG the moving band is far less obvious but still there.

I will try it on a glass screen telly when I dig it out.

Is this normal and I’m expecting too much?

Are there other comp mods available?
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