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Encyclopedia > Atari 2600
Atari 2600

Atari 2600 four-switch "wood veneer" version
Manufacturer Atari Inc.
Type Video game console
Generation Second generation
First available NA October 1977
EU 1978
Discontinued 1 January 1992[citation needed]
CPU MOS 6507 @ 1.19 MHz
Media Cartridge
Controller input Joystick
Paddles
Driving Controller
Trak-Ball
Keypad
Units sold 30 million (as of 2004)[1]
Best-selling game Pac-Man, 7 million (as of September 1, 2006)[2][3]
Predecessor Atari Pong
Successor Atari 5200

The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. The first game console to use this format was the Fairchild Channel F. However, it was the Atari 2600 that made the plug-in concept popular among the game-playing public. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 475 pixelsFull resolution (1938 × 1151 pixels, file size: 783 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... A console manufacturer is a company that manufactures and distributes video game consoles. ... Game console redirects here. ... Video games were introduced as a commercial entertainment medium in 1971, becoming the basis for an important entertainment industry in the late 1970s/early 1980s in the United States, Japan, and Europe. ... This article deals with the history of the second generation video game consoles. ... North America North America is a continent [1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... Notable events of 1977 in computer and video games. ... See also: 1977 in video gaming, other events of 1978, 1979 in video gaming, history of video games Events Notable releases Cinematronics releases the Space Wars vector graphics arcade game Hudson releases Lode Runner for Nintendo home systems in Japan. ... is the 1st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... CPU redirects here. ... The 6507 is an 8-bit microprocessor from MOS Technology, Inc. ... MegaHertz (MHz) is the name given to one million (106) Hertz, a measure of frequency. ... Cartridge for the VIC 20 homecomputer In various types of electronic equipment, a cartridge can refer one method of adding different functionality or content (e. ... This is a list of video game consoles and handheld game consoles that have sold five million units or more. ... This is a list of video games that have sold one million copies or more. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... Game console redirects here. ... Cartridge for the VIC 20 homecomputer In various types of electronic equipment, a cartridge can refer one method of adding different functionality or content (e. ... A dedicated console is a video game console that is dedicated to a built in game or games, and is not equipped for additional games, via cartridge or other media. ... The Fairchild Channel F is the worlds second cartridge-based video game console, after the Magnavox Odyssey. ...


Originally known as the Atari VCS—for "Video Computer System"—the machine's name was changed to "Atari 2600" (from the unit's Atari part number, CX2600) in 1982, after the release of the more advanced Atari 5200. The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game—initially Combat[4] and subsequently Pac-Man.[5] Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... For other uses, see Joystick (disambiguation). ... A game controller is an input device used to control a video game. ... A paddle is a game controller with a round wheel and one or more fire buttons, where the wheel is typically used to control movement of the player object along one axis of the video screen. ... Atari Combat warfare involving two enemy tanks Combat (video game) was an early dedicated video game console by Coleco (called Telstar Combat!) in 1977 featuring battling tanks. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...


The Atari 2600 was wildly successful, and during the 1980s, "Atari" was a synonym for this model in mainstream media and, by extension for video games in general similar to "Nintendo" and "Playstation" in the '80s and '90s.

Contents

History

Development and market considerations

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 which 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. It 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 Adaptor. Beyond those three, the first two versions of the machine contain just one more chip, a standard CMOS logic buffer IC, bringing the total chip count to the very low and cost-effective number of four. Some later versions of the console eliminated the buffer chip.[citation needed] This article is about the corporate game company. ... Logic programming (which might better be called logical programming by analogy with mathematical programming and linear programming) is, in its broadest sense, the use of mathematical logic for computer programming. ... CPU redirects here. ... MOS Technology, Inc. ... The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology in 1975. ... The 6507 is an 8-bit microprocessor from MOS Technology, Inc. ... RAM redirects here. ... This article is about the computer interface. ... MOS 6532 RIOT is integrated circuit which contains 128 bytes of RAM, timer and two 8 bit I/O gate. ... The Television Interface Adapter (TIA) is the custom chip that is the heart of the Atari 2600 games console and was created by Jay Miner of Amiga fame. ... Integrated circuit of Atmel Diopsis 740 System on Chip showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery Microchips with a transparent window, showing the integrated circuit inside. ...


Programs for small computers were generally stored on cassette tape, disk, or paper tape. By the early 1970s, Hewlett Packard manufactured desktop computers costing thousands of dollars such as the HP 9830 which packaged ROM memory into removeable cartridges to add special programming features, and these were being considered for use in games. At first, the design was not going to be cartridge-based, but after seeing a "fake" cartridge system on another machine, they realized they could place the games on cartridges essentially for the price of the connector and packaging. HP redirects here. ... The Hewlett-Packard HP 9830A was the top of the line of the 9800 series programmable calculators, introduced in 1972. ...


In August 1976, Fairchild Semiconductor released their own CPU-based system, the Video Entertainment System. Stella was still not ready for production, but it was clear that it needed to be before there were a number of "me too" products filling up the market – which had happened after they released Pong. Atari Inc. simply didn't have the cash flow to complete the system quickly, given that sales of their own Pong systems were cooling. Nolan Bushnell eventually turned to Warner Communications, and sold the company to them in 1976 for US$28 million on the promise that Stella would be produced as soon as possible. Fairchild Semiconductor introduced the first commercially available integrated circuit (although at almost the same time as one from Texas Instruments), and would go on to become one of the major players in the evolution of Silicon Valley in the 1960s. ... The Fairchild Channel F was the worlds first cartridge-based video game console. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ... Nolan K. Bushnell (born February 5, 1943) is an American electrical engineer and entrepreneur who founded both Atari and the Chuck E. Cheeses Pizza-Time Theaters chain. ... Time Warner Inc. ... The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. ...


Key to the eventual success of the machine was the hiring of Jay Miner, a chip designer who managed to squeeze an entire breadboard of equipment making up the TIA into a single chip. Once that was completed and debugged, the system was ready for shipping. By the time it was released in 1977, the development had cost about US$100 million. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Amiga Corporation. ... A breadboard with a completed circuit A breadboard is a reusable solderless device used to build a (generally temporary) prototype of an electronic circuit and for experimenting with circuit designs. ...


Launch and runaway success

The initial price was US$199 with a library of 9 titles. In a move to compete directly with the Channel F, Atari Inc. named the machine the Video Computer System (or VCS for short), as the Channel F was at that point known as the VES, for Video Entertainment System. The 2600 was also rebadged as the Sears Video Arcade and sold through Sears, Roebuck and Company stores. When Fairchild learned of Atari Inc.'s naming, they quickly changed the name of their system to become the Channel F. However, both systems were now in the midst of a vicious round of price-cutting: Pong clones made obsolete by these newer and more powerful machines sold off their boxes to discounters for ever-lower prices. Soon many of the clone companies were out of business, and both Fairchild and Atari Inc. were selling to a public that was completely burnt out on Pong. In 1977, Atari Inc. sold only 250,000 VCSs. For the first year of production, the 2600 was manufactured in Sunnyvale, California. The consoles manufactured here had thick internal RF shielding & thick plastic molding around the sides & bottom. These added weight to the console, and being that all 6 switches were on the front, these consoles were nicknamed "Heavy Sixers". After this first year, production moved to Hong Kong, and the consoles manufactured there had thinner RF shielding & plastic molding. In 1978, only 550,000 units from a production run of 800,000 were sold, requiring further financial support from Warner to cover losses. This led directly to the disagreements that caused Atari Inc. founder Nolan Bushnell to leave the company in 1978.[original research?] Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Sears, Roebuck and Company is an American mid-range chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. ... Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California Coordinates: , Country State County Santa Clara Government  - Mayor Otto Lee Area  - Total 22. ... RF shielding is the protection of sensitive electrical equipment from external radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation by enclosing it in a conducting material. ... Nolan K. Bushnell (born February 5, 1943) is an American electrical engineer and entrepreneur who founded both Atari and the Chuck E. Cheeses Pizza-Time Theaters chain. ...


Once the public realized it was possible to play video games other than Pong, and programmers learned how to push its hardware's capabilities, the 2600 gained popularity. By this point, Fairchild had given up, thinking video games were a passed fad -- thereby handing the entire quickly growing market to Atari Inc. By 1979, the 2600 was the best-selling Christmas gift (and console), mainly because of its exclusive content, and a million were sold that year.[citation needed] For other uses, see Christmas (disambiguation). ...


Atari Inc. then licensed the smash arcade hit Space Invaders by Taito, which greatly increased the unit's popularity when it was released in January 1980, doubling sales again to over 2 million units. The 2600 and its cartridges were the main factor behind Atari Inc. grossing more than $2 billion in profits in 1980. Sales then doubled again for the next two years, with almost 8 million units selling in 1982. arcade, see Arcade. ... Space Invaders ) is an arcade video game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado in 1978. ... The Taito Corporation (タイトー株式会社, taitou kabushikigaisha) TYO: 9646 is a Japanese developer of video game software and arcade hardware. ...


In 1980, the Atari 2600 was given a minor revision in which the left and right difficulty switches were moved to the back of the console, leaving 4 switches on the front. Other than this, these 4-switch consoles looked nearly identical to the earlier 6-switch models. In 1982, another version of the 4-switch console was released without woodgrain. They were nicknamed "Darth Vader" consoles due to their all-black appearance. These were also the first consoles to be officially called "Atari 2600", as the Atari 5200 was released the same year. Darth Vader is the central character in the Star Wars universe. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ...


During this period, Atari Inc. expanded the 2600 family with two other compatible consoles. They designed the Atari 2700, a wireless version of the console that was never released because of a design flaw.[1] The company also built a sleeker version of the machine dubbed the Atari 2800 to sell directly to the Japanese market in early 1983, but it suffered from competition with the newly released Nintendo Famicom. The Atari 2700 (also referred to as the Atari Remote Contol VCS) was an unreleased console by Atari. ... The Atari 2800 was Ataris attempt to dominate the Japanese home video game console market in the early 1980s. ... Nintendo Company, Limited (任天堂 or ニンテンドー Nintendō; NASDAQ: NTDOY, TYO: 7974 usually referred to as simply Nintendo, or Big N ) is a multinational corporation founded on September 23, 1889[1] in Kyoto, Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards. ... “NES” redirects here. ...


Sears Tele-Games 2600s

Atari Inc. also continued their OEM relationship with Sears under the latter's Tele-Games brand label started in 1975 with the original Pong. Sears released several versions of the 2600 as the Sears Video Arcade series from 1977 to 1983. These include the Rev. A "Heavy Sixer" model in 1977, the Rev. B "4 switch" model in 1980, and the US version of the Atari 2800 branded as the Sears Video Arcade II in 1983.[6] Sears also released their own versions of Atari Inc.'s games under the Tele-Games brand, which included the Tele-Games branded variations of text and picture labels. Three games were also produced by Atari Inc. for Sears as exclusive releases under the Tele-Games brand: Steeplechase, Stellar Track, Submarine Commander.[7] Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is a term that refers to containment-based re-branding, namely where one company uses a component of another company within its product, or sells the product of another company under its own brand. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ...


Decline

During this period, Atari Inc. continued to grow until it had one of the largest R&D divisions in Silicon Valley. However, it spent much of its R&D budget on projects that seemed rather out of place at a video game (or even home computer) company; many of these projects never saw the light of day. Meanwhile, several attempts to bring out newer consoles failed for one reason or another, although Atari Inc.'s home computer systems, the Atari 8-bit family, sold reasonably, if not spectacularly. Warner was more than happy anyway, as it seemed to have no end to the sales of the 2600, and Atari Inc. was responsible for over half of the company's income. The phrase research and development (also R and D or, more often, R&D), according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, refers to creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use... For the Nintendo 64 game, see Space Station Silicon Valley. ... Children playing on a Amstrad CPC 464 in the 1980s. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ...

2600 Pac Man cartridge

The programmers of many of Atari Inc.'s biggest hits grew disgruntled with the company for not crediting game developers and many left the company and formed their own independent software companies. The most prominent and longest-lasting of these third-party developers was Activision, founded in 1980, whose titles quickly became more popular than those of Atari Inc. itself. Atari Inc. attempted to block third-party development for the 2600 in court but failed,[citation needed] and soon other publishers, such as Imagic and Coleco, entered the market. Atari Inc. suffered from an image problem when a company named Mystique produced a number of pornographic games for the 2600. The most notorious of these, Custer's Revenge, caused a large number of protests from women's and Native American groups[2] because it depicts General George Armstrong Custer raping a bound Native American woman.[3] Atari Inc. sued Mystique in court over the release of the game.[4] This is a Pac Man cartridge for the Atari 2600 game system. ... This is a Pac Man cartridge for the Atari 2600 game system. ... Activision, Inc. ... Imagic was a third-party maker of games for the Atari 2600 and other early video game consoles in the early 1980s. ... Coleco (1932 - 1989) was a company founded in 1932 by Maurice Greenberg as Connecticut Leather Company. It became a highly successful toy company in the 1980s, known for its mass-produced version of Cabbage Patch Kids and, to a lesser extent, for its video game consoles Coleco Telstar and ColecoVision. ... A screenshot of the infamous Custers Revenge video game. ... Porn redirects here. ... Custers Revenge (also known as Westward Ho) is a pornographic video game made for the Atari 2600 by Mystique, a company that produced a number of adult video game titles for the system. ... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ... Custer redirects here. ...


Atari Inc. continued to scoop up licenses during the shelf life of the 2600, the most prominent of which included Pac-Man and E.T. Public disappointment with these two titles and the market saturation of poor third-party titles are cited as big reasons for the video game crash of 1983. Suddenly, Atari Inc.'s growth meant it was losing massive amounts of money during the crash, at one point about $10,000 a day. Warner quickly grew tired of supporting Atari Inc., and started looking for buyers in 1984. This does not cite its references or sources. ... E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a video game developed by Howard Scott Warshaw based on the film of the same name and released by Atari for the Atari 2600 video game system in 1982. ... ET for the Atari 2600 is considered by many to be emblematic of the crash along with the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. ...


Although not formally discontinued, the 2600 was de-emphasized for two years after Warner's 1984 sale of Atari Inc.'s Consumer Division to Commodore Business Machines founder Jack Tramiel, who wanted to concentrate on home computers. He froze all development of console games, including a 2600 Garfield game and an Atari 5200 port of Super Pac-Man. In 1986, a new version of the 2600 was released (although it was planned for release two years earlier). The new redesigned version of the 2600, unofficially referred to as the 2600 Jr., featured a smaller cost-reduced form factor with a modernized Atari 7800-like appearance. The redesigned 2600 was advertised as a budget gaming system (under $50) that had the ability to run a large collection of classic games. With its introduction came a resurgence in software development both from Atari Corp. and from a few third parties (notably, Activision, Absolute Entertainment, Froggo, Epyx, and Exus). The Atari 2600 continued to sell in the USA and Europe until 1990, and in Asia until the early 1990s. Its final Atari-licensed release was KLAX in 1990. Over its lifetime, an estimated 40 million units were shipped, and its video game library reportedly numbers more than 900 titles with commercial games released for this system all the way until 1991. In Brazil, the console became extremely popular in the mid-1980s. The Atari 2600 was officially retired by Atari Corp. on January 1, 1992,[citation needed] making it the longest-lived home video game console in US game history. It had a lifespan of 14 years and 2 months, nearly three times the typical lifespan of a console.[citation needed] Commodore is the commonly used name for Commodore International, an electronics company who was a major player in the 1980s home computer field. ... Jack Tramiel (born 1928) is a businessman, famous for founding Commodore International, manufacturer of the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga home computers, and later President and CEO of Atari Corp. ... Children playing on a Amstrad CPC 464 in the 1980s. ... Garfield is an Atari 2600 game that Atari planned, but they cancelled the game because of the videogame crash of 1983. ... Super Pac-Man, released in 1982 and taking a slant on the legendary comic book hero Superman, is the third installment of the Pac-Man series of arcade games and the second starring Pac-Man himself. ... The Atari 7800 is a video game console released by Atari in June 1986 (a test market release occurred two years earlier). ... Activision, Inc. ... Absolute Entertainment was a video game developer and publisher that produced titles for the Amiga, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game consoles, as well as for the PC. It also released games for... Froggo is a fictional character created for the Warner Bros. ... Epyx, Inc. ... Klax is a 1989 computer puzzle game designed by Dave Akers and Mark Stephen Pierce. ... This is a list of games for the Atari 2600 computer system, organised alphabetically by name. ... is the 1st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ...


Design

A typical 2600 game cartridge consisted of a small circuit board with a ROM chip (center) and a dual-sided 24-pin edge connector (bottom).
Main article: Atari 2600 hardware

The basic layout of the 2600 is fairly similar to most consoles and home computers of the era. The CPU was the MOS Technology 6507, a cut-down version of the 6502, running at 1.19 MHz in the 2600. The 6507 included fewer memory address pins — 13 instead of 16 — and no external interrupts to fit into a smaller 28-pin package. Smaller packaging was, and still is, an important factor in overall system cost, and since memory was very expensive at the time, the 6507's small 8 kB of maximum external memory space wasn't going to be used up anyway. In fact, memory was so expensive they couldn't imagine using up even 4K, and when they got a deal on 24-pin connectors for the cartridge socket, they were only too happy to thereby limit the games to 4K.[8] Later games got around this limitation with bank switching. This is a ROM chip from an Atari 2600 game cartridge. ... This is a ROM chip from an Atari 2600 game cartridge. ... Part of a 1983 Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer board. ... Read-only memory (usually known by its acronym, ROM) is a class of storage media used in computers and other electronic devices. ... An edge connector is a type of electrical connector for use with PC boards. ... The 6507 is an 8-bit microprocessor from MOS Technology, Inc. ... The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology in 1975. ... MegaHertz (MHz) is the name given to one million (106) Hertz, a measure of frequency. ... A kilobyte (derived from the SI prefix kilo-, meaning 1,000) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to either 1,000 bytes or 1,024 bytes (210), depending on context. ... Digital cinema refers to the use of digital technology to make, distribute and project motion pictures. ... Bank switching (also known as paging, but only loosely related to the ordinary meaning of paging in computing) was a technique common in 8-bit microcomputer systems, to increase the amount of addressable RAM and ROM without extending the address bus. ...


The console had only 128 bytes of RAM for runtime data that included the call stack and the state of the game world. There was no frame buffer, as the necessary RAM would have been too expensive. Instead the video device had two bitmapped sprites, two one-line "missile" sprites, a one-pixel "ball," and a "playfield" that was drawn by writing a bit pattern for each line into a register just before the television scanned that line. As each line was scanned, a game had to identify the non-sprite objects that overlapped the next line, assemble the appropriate bit patterns to draw for those objects, and write the pattern into the register. In a telling reveal of its Pong heritage, by default, the right side of the screen was a duplicate of the left; to control it separately, the software had to modify the patterns as the scan line was drawn. After the controller scanned the last active line, a more leisurely vertical blanking interval began, during which the game could process input and update the positions and states of objects in the world. Any mistake in timing produced visual artifacts, a problem programmers called racing the beam. For the computer industry magazine, see Byte (magazine). ... Different types of RAM. From top to bottom: DIP, SIPP, SIMM 30 pin, SIMM 72 pin, DIMM, RIMM RAM redirects here. ... In computer science, runtime or run time describes the operation of a computer program, the duration of its execution, from beginning to termination (compare compile time). ... In computer science, a call stack is a special stack which stores information about the active subroutines of a computer program. ... The framebuffer is a part of RAM in a computer allocated to hold the graphics information for one frame or picture. ... This article is about the storage organization of raster images. ... This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. ... The vertical blanking interval (VBI), also known as the vertical interval or VBLANK, is the time difference between the last line of one frame or field of a raster display, and the beginning of the next. ...

Standard joystick
Standard joystick

The video hardware gave the 2600 a reputation as one of the most complex machines in the world to program, but those programmers who understood it realized that such direct control over the video picture was also a source of flexibility. One advantage the 2600 had over more powerful competitors such as the ColecoVision was that the 2600 had no protection against altering settings in mid-line. For example, although each sprite nominally had only one color, it was possible to color the rows differently by changing the sprite's color as it was drawn. If the two hardware sprites were not enough for a game, a developer could share one sprite among several objects (as with the ghosts in Pac-Man) or draw software sprites, which was only a little more difficult than drawing a fixed playfield. The Pitfall! screen shot below demonstrates some of these tricks: the player is a multi-color sprite, one sprite is multiplexed for the logs and the scorpion, and the swinging vine is drawn by software. Despite the hardware limitations, many Atari 2600 games have a lot of action on the screen, creating an engaging experience. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is about the video game. ...


Additionally, the 2600 supported several types of input devices (joysticks, paddles, keyboards, etc.) and third-party peripherals, and many of these peripherals were interchangeable with the MSX and several other Japanese systems. In some cases, it is possible to use the Atari joysticks with the Sega Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis, though functionality may be limited. Sony MSX 1, Model HitBit-10-P MSX was the name of a standardized home computer architecture in the 1980s. ... The Sega Master System ) or SMS for short (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. ... The Sega Mega Drive ) is a video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989, and the PAL region in 1990. ...


Color and graphics

The Atari 2600 used different color palettes depending on the television signal format used.[9] With the NTSC format, a 128-color palette was available, while in PAL, only 104 colors were available. Additionally, the SECAM palette consisted of only 8 colors. The Television Interface Adapter (TIA) is the custom chip that is the heart of the Atari 2600 games console and was created by Jay Miner of Amiga fame. ...


Notable games

Pitfall!, one of the most popular third party games for the Atari 2600.
Pitfall!, one of the most popular third party games for the Atari 2600.

During the console's lifetime, Atari Inc and Atari Corp. published many titles that would become some of the best-known video games of all time.[citation needed] These games include Adventure (often credited as starting the action-adventure game genre),[citation needed] Breakout,[citation needed] and Yars' Revenge.[10] The console's popularity attracted many third-party developers, which led to popular titles such as Activision's Pitfall[11] and Imagic's Atlantis. However, two Atari published titles, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[11] and Pac-Man,[12] are frequently blamed for initiating the Video game crash of 1983.[citation needed] screenshot Atari 2600 Pitfall by me This is a screenshot of a copyrighted website, video game graphic, computer program graphic, television broadcast, or film. ... screenshot Atari 2600 Pitfall by me This is a screenshot of a copyrighted website, video game graphic, computer program graphic, television broadcast, or film. ... This is a list of games for the Atari 2600 computer system, organised alphabetically by name. ... This article is about a game for the Atari 2600 video game console. ... Action-adventure games (British English: arcade adventure) are video games that combine elements of the adventure game genre with various action game elements. ... For other uses of this term, see Breakout (disambiguation). ... Yars Revenge is a video game developed for the Atari 2600. ... Activision, Inc. ... Screenshot Pitfall! (Atari 2600) Pitfall! was a popular video game released by Activision for the Atari 2600 in 1982. ... Imagic was a third-party maker of games for the Atari 2600 and other early video game consoles in the early 1980s. ... Atlantis is a fixed shooter video game produced by Imagic in 1982 for the Atari 2600 video game console. ... E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a video game developed by Howard Scott Warshaw based on the film of the same name and released by Atari for the Atari 2600 video game system in 1982. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... ET for the Atari 2600 is considered by many to be emblematic of the crash along with the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. ...


Legacy

The Atari 2600 in its 1986 cost-reduced version, also known as the "2600 Jr."
The Atari 2600 in its 1986 cost-reduced version, also known as the "2600 Jr."

The console and its old and new games are very popular with collectors because of its significant impact on video game and consumer electronics history and also due to its nostalgic value for many people. In addition, modern Atari 2600 clones remain on the market. One example is the Atari Classics 10-in-1 TV Game, manufactured by Jakks Pacific, which simulates the 2600 console, and includes converted versions of 10 games into a single Atari-brand-look-a-like joystick with composite video outputs for connecting directly to modern televisions or VCRs. Another is the TV Boy, which includes 127 games in an enlarged joypad. Image File history File links Atari2600jr. ... Image File history File links Atari2600jr. ... Jakks Pacific, Inc. ... Composite video, also called CVBS (Composite Video Blanking and Sync), is the format of an analog television (picture only) signal before it is combined with a sound signal and modulated onto an RF carrier. ... TV Boy 1 (with power and TV leads attached) The TV Boy and TV Boy 2 were video game consoles of the 1990s produced by Systema based upon an unlicensed clone of the Atari 2600 hardware. ...


Additionally, Benjamin Heckendorn has created several different versions of a portable 2600, created by cutting apart full-sized vintage units, adding screens and putting them into new enclosures. Benjamin Heckendorn Benjamin J. Heckendorn (b. ...


The Atari Flashback 2 console, released in 2005, contains 40 games (with four more programs unlockable by a cheat code). The console implements the original 2600 architecture and can be modified to play original 2600 cartridges by adding a cartridge port, and is compatible with original 2600 controllers. The Atari Flashback 2 The Atari Flashback 2 is a plug-and-play video game console created in 2005 by Atari. ... For other uses, see Cheat code (disambiguation). ...


The Atari insignia has become an iconic pop cultural logo.


In music

Many games for the Atari 2600 have detailed and easily identifiable music, and its distinctive sound makes it ideal for use in modern lo-fi and industrial music. In 2002, Dallas musician and visual artist Paul Slocum developed a cartridge called Synthcart for the Atari 2600, which allows the user to turn an Atari 2600 into a 2 voice synthesizer and drum machine. Adapters have also been developed by amateurs enabling the Atari 2600's use with MIDI devices. A number of bands, such as 8 Bit Weapon, MIKE BISON, Bud Mevlin, TEMPHUiBIS and The Squigs, as well as Slocum's own band Tree Wave, use Synthcart to make modern music on the Atari 2600.[citation needed] Some effects units like the MXR Blue Box are often cited for their ability to produce an Atari-like sound. Lo-fi — from Low Fidelity — describes a sound recording which contains accidental artifacts, like distortion, or environmental noise, or a recording which has a limited frequency response. ... It has been suggested that Chicago Industrial be merged into this article or section. ... Dallas redirects here. ... Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a system designed to transmit information between electronic musical instruments. ... 8 Bit Weapon is a chiptune music duet group whose instrument set is primarily composed of old 8-bit computers and game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Commodore 64, Apple IIe and Atari 2600. ...


Emulation

Atari 2600 emulation is available for most major operating systems and is now very accurate. Despite the relative simplicity of the 2600 system, it is not an easy system to emulate. While it does not require a lot of computational power to emulate the 2600, it is hard to accurately do so. For example, because of the lack of a frame buffer (discussed below), 2600 emulators must not only emulate the console, but the television as well. Due to the longevity of the system, many 2600 games used undocumented features, and even exploited bugs in the hardware to squeeze the most out of the system, doing things even the original designers would deem impossible (a notable example is the starfield of the game Cosmic Ark). It took some time for the emulator programmers to mature their software to properly emulate the undocumented features, bugs and quirks of the system. An operating system (OS) is the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. ... The framebuffer is a part of RAM in a computer allocated to hold the graphics information for one frame or picture. ... Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, as distinguished from the computer software that executes within the hardware. ... // Cosmic Ark is an Atari 2600 game cartridge developed and published by Imagic and is a sequel to Atlantis. ...


The MESS emulator supports recording and playing back of Atari 2600 emulation sessions. The Home Action Replay Page[13] (aka HARP) allows Atari 2600 users to archive their favorite play sessions of the Atari 2600 system and its games. For other uses, see Mess (disambiguation). ...


Some well known Atari 2600 emulators today are:

  • Stella - An open source, multiplatform, very popular emulator (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) .
  • z26 - Another open source, multiplatform, very popular and customizable emulator (Windows, MS-DOS, Linux)
  • PC Atari Emulator - Easy to use, very fast and popular emulator (Windows, MS-DOS). Handles the Cosmic Ark starfield effect correctly.
  • MESS - the multi system emulator that supports all old Atari console systems
  • The Pocket VCS - PPC - Easy to use, very fast and popular emulator (Windows CE).[citation needed]

Stella is an emulator for the Atari 2600 game console. ... Open source refers to projects that are open to the public and which draw on other projects that are freely available to the general public. ... Multiplatform (or multi-platform) is a term commonly used in the computer world about a project that can be used on multiple platforms. ... Windows redirects here. ... Mac OS X (pronounced ) is a line of graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. ... This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel. ... z26 is an emulator for the 1977 Atari 2600 game console. ... Microsofts disk operating system, MS-DOS, was Microsofts implementation of DOS, which was the first popular operating system for the IBM PC, and until recently, was widely used on the PC compatible platform. ... PC Atari Emulator is a software emulator for running Atari 2600 videogame console programs in Microsoft Windows or in MS-DOS. The latest versions of PC Atari Emulator released were 2. ... For other uses, see Mess (disambiguation). ...

Homebrews

Homebrew "Four Play" (2006)
Homebrew "Four Play" (2006)

After 30 years since the launch of the Atari 2600, new homebrew games for the system are still made and sold by hobbyists with several new titles available each year. Most of the development on the platform is still done in 6502 assembly language. Homebrews written for the Atari 2600, in assembly, are typically considered programming challenges for expert-level computer scientists. Homebrew is a term frequently applied only to video games that are produced by consumers on proprietary game platforms; in other words, game platforms that are not typically user-programmable, or use proprietary hardware for storage. ... The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology in 1975. ... See the terminology section, below, regarding inconsistent use of the terms assembly and assembler. ...


Games created for the Atari can be executed using either an emulator or copied directly to a blank cartridge making use of either a PROM or EPROM chip. This allows the construction of homebrew cartridges that will run on an original Atari 2600. This article is about emulators in computer science. ... D23128C PROM on the board of ZX Spectrum A programmable read-only memory (PROM) or field programmable read-only memory (FPROM) is a form of digital memory where the setting of each byte is locked by a fuse or antifuse. ... EPROM. The small quartz window admits UV light during erasure. ...


See also

The Atari 2000 was a prototype version of the Atari 2600 intended to be released as a cheaper alternative for kids in 1982. ... The Coleco Gemini was a Atari 2600 clone manufactured by Coleco. ... TV Games are becoming popular as adults are able to play the nostalgic games, such as Asteroids, without the need for an Emulator. ... TV Boy 1 (with power and TV leads attached) The TV Boy and TV Boy 2 were video game consoles of the 1990s produced by Systema based upon an unlicensed clone of the Atari 2600 hardware. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Atari VCS (Atari 2600). A Brief History of Game Console Warfare. BusinessWeek. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ Jeremy Reimer (2006-09-01). EA's Madden 2007 sells briskly, but are games gaining on movies?. Ars Technica. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ Kent, Steven (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 
  4. ^ Weesner, Jason (2007-01-11). On Game Design: A History of Video Games. Retrieved on 2007-11-13.
  5. ^ http://www.mr-atari.com/afbeeldingen/systems/2600pacmanblue.jpg
  6. ^ Yarusso, Albert. AtariAge - 2600 Consoles and Clones. atariage.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-07.
  7. ^ Yarusso, Albert. Atari 2600 - Sears - Picture Label Variation. atariage.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-07.
  8. ^ The cartridge connector's 24 pins were allocated to one supply voltage line, two ground lines, 8 data lines, and 13 address lines. However, the uppermost address line was used as a so-called chip select for the cartridge's ROM chip, leaving only 12 address lines for the chip's game program. Thus, without special "hardware tricks" built into the cartridge, an Atari 2600 game could occupy a maximum address space of 4K.
  9. ^ Atari 2600 "TIA color chart".
  10. ^ Rittmeyer, Brian C.. The Essential 2600 Games. The Atari Times. Retrieved on 2007-11-8.
  11. ^ a b Parish, Jeremy. Classic 1UP.Com's Essential 50. 1UP.Com. Retrieved on 2007-11-8.
  12. ^ Vendel, Curt. The Atari 2600 Video Computer System. Atari Museum. Retrieved on 2007-11-13.
  13. ^ Home Action Replay Page

BusinessWeek is a business magazine published by McGraw-Hill. ... 2008 (MMVIII) will be a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (common) era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Ars Technica is a technology-related website catering to PC enthusiasts. ... 2008 (MMVIII) will be a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (common) era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Three Rivers Press is the trade paperback imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 11th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... An example SPI with a master and three slave select lines. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Perry, Tekla; Wallich, Paul. "Design case history: the Atari Video Computer System". IEEE Spectrum. March 1983.

IEEE Spectrum is a magazine edited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. ...

External links

The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as dmoz (from , its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ... This article is about the corporate game company. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... The Atari ST is a home/personal computer that was commercially popular from 1985 to the early 1990s. ... Overview The Atari Mega STE was Ataris last ST series machine. ... The Atari TT030 is a 32-bit version of the 16-bit Atari ST family. ... The Atari Falcon030 The Atari Falcon was Ataris final computer product, more specifically named the Atari Falcon030 Computer System. ... The Atari Transputer Workstation (also known as ATW-800, or simply ATW) was a workstation class computer released by Atari in the late 1980s. ... Atari Portfolio The Portfolio converted to a toy robot for the 2005 Vintage Computer Festival. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ... Stunt Cycle is an 1 player (2 players alternating) arcade game by Atari Inc. ... Video Pinball is a dedicated console released 1977 as another Atari coin-op to standalone home console translation, by bringing the game Breakout to home players. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... The Atari 7800 is a video game console released by Atari in June 1986 (a test market release occurred two years earlier). ... The Lynx was a handheld game console released by Atari in 1989. ... The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released in November 1993 to rival the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a powerful next generation platform. ... The Atari Flashback and Atari Flashback 2 are dedicated video game consoles marketed by Atari in the mid-2000s. ... Atari Panther Developer Kit. ... The Atari Jaguar II was to be the successor to the Atari Jaguar. ... The Atari Cosmos was a failed attempt by Atari to release a tabletop video game system that would utilize holography and LEDs to create a unique gaming experience. ... The Atari Video Music was introduced in 1976 and designed by the initiator of the home version of PONG, Robert Brown. ... This is a list of video game consoles by the era they appeared in. ... The first generation of video game consoles lasted from 1972 until 1977. ... The Magnavox Odyssey was the worlds first commercially sold video game console. ... Philips Videopac G7000 shown playing Pickaxe Pete The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, and also by many other names, was a video game console released in 1978. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ... The Telstar is a video game console produced by Coleco which first went on sale in 1976. ... The second generation of video game consoles lasted from 1976 until 1984. ... The Fairchild Channel F is the worlds second cartridge-based video game console, after the Magnavox Odyssey. ... The VC 4000 is an early 8-bit cartridge-based game console released in Germany in 1978 by Interton. ... Magnavox Odyssey² video game console The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey² and the Philips Odyssey², and also by many other names, is a video game console released in 1978. ... The Intellivision is a video game console released by Mattel in 1979. ... Emerson Arcadia 2001, intended as a portable game console, the Arcadia 2001 was released by Emerson Radio Corp in mid-1982. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Vectrex is an 8-bit video game console developed by General Consumer Electric (GCE) and later bought by Milton Bradley Company. ... The SG-1000 ), which stands for Sega Game 1000, is a cartridge-based video game console manufactured by Sega. ... In the history of video games, the 8-bit era was the third generation of video game consoles, but the first after the video game crash of 1983 and considered by some to be the first modern era of console gaming. ... “NES” redirects here. ... The Sega Master System ) or SMS for short (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. ... The Atari 7800 is a video game console released by Atari in June 1986 (a test market release occurred two years earlier). ... In the history of video games, the 16-bit era was the fourth generation of video game consoles. ... For information on the Japanese version of this console, see PC Engine The TurboGrafx 16 is a video game console released by NEC in 1989, for the North American market. ... The Sega Mega Drive ) is a video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989, and the PAL region in 1990. ... CD-i or Compact Disc Interactive is the name of an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Royal Philips Electronics N.V. CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard utilized by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was co-developed by... Neo-Geo is the name of a cartridge-based arcade and home video game system released in 1990 by Japanese game company SNK. The system offered comparatively colorful 2D graphics and high-quality sound. ... The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNES and Super Nintendo) was a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia, and Brazil between 1990 and 1993. ... In the history of computer and video games, the 32-bit / 64-bit /3D era was the fifth generation of video game consoles. ... 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (most commonly referred to as the 3DO) is a line of video game consoles which were released in 1993 and 1994 by Panasonic, Sanyo and Goldstar, among other companies. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released in November 1993 to rival the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a powerful next generation platform. ... The Sega Saturn ) is a 32-bit video game console, first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America and July 8, 1995 in Europe. ... The Sony PlayStation ) is a video game console of the 32/64-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s. ... The PC-FX console The PC-FX was NECs 32-bit sequel to its PC Engine (US:TurboGrafx 16). ... The Nintendo 64 ), often abbreviated as N64, is Nintendos third home video game console for the international market. ... The sixth-generation era (sometimes referred to as the 128-bit era; see Number of bits below) refers to the computer and video games, video game consoles, and video game handhelds available at the turn of the 21st century. ... The Dreamcast , code-named White Belt, Black Belt, Dural, Dricas, Vortex, Katana, Shark and Guppy during development) is Segas last video game console and the successor to the Sega Saturn. ... PS2 redirects here. ... The Xbox is a sixth generation era video game console produced by Microsoft Corporation. ... The Nintendo GameCube (GCN) is Nintendos fourth home video game console, belonging to the sixth generation era. ... In the history of computer and video games, the seventh generation began on November 21, 2004 with the North American release of the Nintendo DS, followed by the PlayStation Portable on December 12, 2004. ... The PlayStation 3 , trademarked PLAYSTATION®3,[3] commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment; successor to the PlayStation 2. ... The Wii (pronounced as the pronoun we, IPA: ) is the fifth home video game console released by Nintendo. ... It has been suggested that Xbox 360 Elite be merged into this article or section. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Atari 2600 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2227 words)
Atari attempted to block third-party development for the 2600 in court but failed, and soon other publishers, such as Imagic and Coleco, entered the market.
Atari continued to scoop up licenses during the shelf life of the 2600, the most prominent of which included Pac-Man and E.T. Public disappointment with these two titles and the market saturation of bad third-party titles are cited as big reasons for the video game crash of 1983.
The Atari 2600 was officially retired by Atari Corporation on January 1, 1992.
Atari 2600 - definition of Atari 2600 in Encyclopedia (2122 words)
When Fairchild learned of Atari's naming they quicky changed their unit to become the Channel F. However both units were now in the midst of the video game crash of 1977; PONG clones faced with the extinction of their market due to these newer and more powerful machines simply dumped their boxes for ever-lower prices.
Atari continued to scoop up licenses during the shelf life of the 2600, the most prominent of which included Pac-Man and E.T. Public disappointment with these two latter titles (and the market saturation of bad third-party titles) is sometimes cited as a big reason for the video game crash of 1983.
Atari 2600 games were originally limited to a maximum size of 4 kilobytes, while a CD-ROM, still the most common medium on which modern games are sold, can hold about 650 megabytes, or 162,000 times as much.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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