The Atari 2600 is such a cool piece of hardware. It was
the first successful home video game system (yes, the Odyssey
was technically the first home video game system, but failed).
It's built on the Motorola 6502 CPU with an additional custom chip,
called the Stella, to handle all the cool graphics stuff.
A whopping 128 bytes (yes, bytes) of memory makes this
machine a real challenge to code for. All code execution timing
is tied to the refresh and scan rate of the television, so
program computation is actually done in the portions of the
scanning cycle not visible on the screen. It's fun. Really.
Things you need:
- A computer
- Atari 2600 console (check eBay)
- Supercharger (again, look on eBay)
The simple compilation and installation routine:
Check out my game, Trenchfoot!
- Download the Linux VCS package below.
- Compile source with dasm prog.asm -f3 -oprog.bin where prog is changed to
reflect your source code file name.
- Run makewav -ts prog.bin to produce the prog.wav sound file.
- Hook up the Supercharger cart into the 2600 and to your computer sound card line out.
- Play the prog.wav sound file.
Stella Programmer's Guide
Nick's 2600 Programming page
How To Draw A Playfield (the "Hello World" of 2600 programming)
Guide to Cycle Counting
LinuxVCS package (DASM, MakeWAV, DiStella)