Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
In 1975, the blockbuster movie Jaws was released. The series culminated in 1987 with a fourth movie, Jaws: The Revenge. The NES game Jaws (online) was released that same year, incorporating elements of both the original and fourth movie. But you probably don't know about the game that Mirrorsoft commissioned in 1984 from the husband-and-wife coding team, Dave & Sara Crud. They made a ZX Spectrum movie tie-in for the original film, only for rights holders to back out and leave it unreleased for nearly three decades ... UNTIL NOW! Or at least that's the backstory MeFite malevolent wrote. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
We all know that E.T. for the Atari 2600 was a terrible no-good awful game (previously, previously-er). But could it be that our received wisdom about the cartridge is just wrong? Yeah, probably not ... But to be fair, follow this in-depth guide to hacking the ET ROM and you, too, can transform the game into something far more play-worthy (and don't worry, you can still turn ET into its ninja form).
Over at the AtariAge forums, user Sprybug has been coding an Atari 2600 Super Mario Bros. clone to run on the Harmony Cartridge. Some screenshots. The game running on the cartridge. The game running in an emulator. And some previous discussion on the difficulty of programming for the Atari 2600.
Porting a 30 year-old vector arcade game to an obsolete 33 year-old home game platform: "Star Castle 2600". In 1981 a young Howard Scott Warshaw, left his first programming job at HP for a more interesting job at Atari. His first assignment was to create an Atari 2600 conversion of the vector coin op game Star Castle... After evaluating the arcade game and the console hardware he came to the conclusion "that a decent version couldn’t be done". Thirty-one years later, former Atari employee D. Scott Williamson has finally ported Star Castle to the 2600. (via MAKE)
What would Microsoft's Halo have looked like if it had been written years ago for the Atari 2600? "Ed Fries, former vice president of Microsoft’s Game Publishing Division, programmed an old-school version of the beloved game that features blocky graphics, deliberately basic sound effects, and simplified movements. And yet it's still recognizable as 'Halo.'" You can play it online here. [more inside]
Panic, makers of fine Macintosh software, commissions an illustrator to work with the concept "What if we were around in 1982, and our apps were early Atari 2600 games?" Awesomeness ensues.
Reinier van der Ende, an x-ray technician at the largest hospital in the northern part of the Netherlands, decided to combine his work with one of his hobbies and proceeded to x-ray his collection of video game consoles, peripherals and game cartridges. Here are the fruits of his labour. [more inside]
"My boss told me not to work on it, because it was impossible to do on the Atari 2600 console, which had only 1/8 K of RAM and 4K of ROM." But creating the world's first video game easter egg might not even be Warren Robinett's most remarkable achievement. [more inside]
Nerds travel to the infamous Atari 2600 E.T. video game landfill, dig up hundreds of carts, play them and make a music video of it. (Quicktime video.)
The Atari 2600 redux This time Jakks TV Games has put 10 old Atari games into the old Atari joystick form factor fo $20US. That's $2 a game. Sure, they're not all terrific games, but hey it's easier than trying to do this yourself. Don't like the 2600? It's OK, they also make Activision and Namco versions.
And you thought the 2600 was dead... no way, baby. It's alive and kicking and oh-so-groovy. (Warning: link leads to big ass movie. Slow connections beware.)