Flashback ATARI 2600

ATARI 2600 core for Multiple Classic Computer™

The Atari(TM) 2600, originally called the ATARI™ VCS, is the godfather of modern video game systems, and helped spawn a multi-billion dollar industry.

Atari sold over thirty million of the consoles, and together with
other companies sold hundreds of millions of games.

Cartridges for the system were produced across three decades, and there are still new games being produced today.

In October 1977, Atari released the Atari VCS (Video Computer System) with an initial offering of nine games. This system, later renamed the Atari 2600, would come to dominate the industry for many years.


Games and Applications:

Atari developed and published most of their games initially them self. Atari and Sears cooperation allowed Atari to sell games and consoles to Sears and they published it under their Tele-Game brand.


The popularity of the Atari 2600 developed interest for 3rd party development companies (Activision, Imagic, etc.) to develop own games and content for the system. Later some home brew development took place. As most of the games have to be written in assembler and to be cycle exact the present some challenges for the developer [3]. Several pages in the internet list the most popular games including publisher, year and genre [4,5,6].


Original architecture and re-implementation:
Atari Inc. had purchased an engineering think tank in 1973 called Cyan Engineering to research next-generation video game systems, and had been working on a prototype known as “Stella” (named after one of the engineers’ bicycles) for some time. Unlike prior generations of machines that used custom logic to play a small number of games, Stella’s core was a complete CPU, the famous MOS Technology 6502 in a cost-reduced version, known as the 6507. The CPU was combined with a RAM-and-I/O chip, the MOS Technology 6532, and a display and sound chip of their own design known as the TIA, for Television Interface Adapter [2].


ArcadeRetroGaming (ARG) re-implemented the complete ATARI 2600 according to specifications with support out of the retro gaming community. We like to thank Adam Wozniak for his work especially on the audio part of the TIA chip.

To cope with some limitations of the original ATARI 2600 chip set design the ARG engineering team around Hakim Haddadi included the following features and enhancements:

  • Cartridge Emulation to read .BIN files from SD-card
  • Now support GAME and USER menu.
  • The USER menu reads all ROMs on in the USER folder and starts the game with a simple button press of the joystick.
    Easy to use human machine interface to select and start the games
  • High resolution VGA output (available only with the MCC-216-VGA version)


Games and Demos:
To combine the powerful hardware with the right content ARG will be offering 80 games on the Micro SD card.

To support the full Atari 2600 classic computer experience ArcadeRetroGaming offers a standard Atari 2600 joystick.


[1] http://www.atariage.com/2600/index.html?SystemID=2600

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Atari_2600_games

[4] http://retrothing.typepad.com

[5] http://www.listal.com/list/complete-atari-2600-game-library

[6] http://www.atariguide.com/menu/NesAlphaframe.htm

[7] http://www.atariage.com/software_search.html?SystemID=2600


ATARI™ is a Trade Mark of Atari Interactive, Inc. CORPORATION.

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