The Atari 2600 had a very long commercial life that started with its introduction in 1977 and ended more or less with the release of the last commercial Atari 2600 titles. In the U.S. that would be Secret Quest in 1989 and in Europe that would be Klax and Acid Drop in 1992. The Atari 2600 was officially discontinued in 1992. It would be easy to think that was the end of the story for games on the 2600, and it was certainly a long story, but that isn’t the case.
In addition to the various re-releases that have occurred throughout the years, there have been a large number of homebrew games developed for the Atari 2600 and active development continues today though at a modest pace. The first homebrew game was released in 1995 and there have been approximately 100 titles released since then. Three or four titles a year on average isn’t bad for a platform that has been commercially dead for 25 years or more.
Many games are completely original but some are clones or “demakes” of popular games on newer systems. These are just a few examples:
Princess Rescue is a clone or “demake” of Super Mario Brothers for the NES:
Zippy The Porcupine is a clone of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis:
Megaman 2 Demake is a clone of Megaman 2 for the NES:
There are dozens more such clones as well as original games, many of which are available with a professional looking cart, box and manual and/or are freely downloadable. atariage.com is probably the place to go if you are looking to buy new cartridges for homebrew games that are still “in production”.
The homebrew scene is by no means limited to the Atari 2600. Homebrew games have been developed for just about every out of production system in existence. Some have larger homebrew communities than others and the Atari 2600 community is certainly one of the larger ones.
Mario, Sonic, and Megaman on the Atari 2600. Two clones and a “demake” by homebrew developers. A 2600 cart is available for $30 of Zippy the Procupine at atariage.com