• Tag Archives Atari VCS
  • Space Invaders (Atari 2600)

    Space Invaders, Atari 2600.

    Space Invaders is probably the game most responsible for popularizing video arcade games. Pong may have invented the genre and there were certainly other video games before Space Invaders but without Space Invaders, it’s questionable whether arcades would have spread across the world and became as popular as they did.

    Space Invaders was introduced in 1978. Though it’s hard to imagine, the Atari 2600 (or Atari VCS as it was originally called) predated that game by about a year. It’s no surprise that Space Invaders found its way to that system eventually. It wasn’t until 1980 but Space Invaders became the first licensed arcade game to appear on the Atari 2600. It is also responsible for quadrupling the sales of that system. Space Invaders became the first game on the 2600 to sell a million units and sold over 2 million in its first year. It truly was the first killer app for a video game system.

    What is somewhat surprising however is that there really weren’t many licensed versions of Space Invaders to appear on home systems at that time. Other than the Atari 2600, Space Invaders also found its way to other Atari systems including the Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit computers. However, other popular home computers and video game consoles of the time did not have an official Space Invaders. There were, however, numerous clones including TI Invaders for the TI-99/4A and an unlicensed but very accurate port done in BASIC for the Commodore PET and Commodore 64 among many others. Later systems like the Super Nintendo would eventually get ports but not until it was already a retro classic.

    If you want to play the very fist licensed arcade game, the first killer app for a video game console and the first game to sell 1 million copies, then Space Invaders for the Atari 2600 is your game. Of course, it’s worth playing for other reasons. It’s still a great and very challenging game. As simple as the Atari 2600 is, Space Invaders is not a complex game and the Atari 2600 does a good job with it. This is certainly a game every Atari 2600 owner should own and it is cheap and plentiful so there’s no excuse not to pick it up if you don’t already have it.

  • Inside Your Atari VCS

    Source: Atari Age – Volume 1, Number 2 – July August 1982

    One of the best kinds of articles in video game magazines were technical articles about new systems. I’m talking about before the internet made this sort of information available at the drop of a hat. Here we have an ‘Inside Your VCS’ article from the July/August 1982 issue of Atari Age. Of course, they were a little behind the times even for then. The Atari 2600 had been released 5 years before in 1977. Still, it was fascinating stuff for a young kid curious about this sort of thing.

    The Atari VCS or Atari 2600 as it was later called, was a pretty simple design, certainly by today’s standards. Most of the functionality of the system was contained within 3 chips. The RIOT (RAM, input/output, interval timer device), the CPU (an 8-bit 6502 running at ~1 MHz), and the TIA (Television Interface Adapter). Most of the rest of the space on the motherboard was taken up by things like the physical interfaces (switches, cartridge port, RF output, etc.) The 6502 or variations thereof were used in tons of machines from that time like the Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 8-bit computers, etc.

    But this was yesterday’s Atari VCS. There’s a new Atari VCS on the way that is quite a bit more sophisticated. It features an AMD Raven Ridge 2 based processor and 4-8 GB of DDR4 memory. And with HDMI output you don’t have to worry about RF interference. The 6502 has in the neighborhood of 3,500 transistors. AMDs Raven Ridge has nearly 5 billion transistors. That’s an impressive difference and I think it even beats Moore’s Law but I’ll let you do the math. The new Atari VCS will have a retro-futuristic design reminiscent of the original VCS but it’s much different inside. It will be Linux based and it will be open enough to be upgradeable (RAM and drive at least) and for you to be able to install your own OS (Windows or another Linux variant).

    I love my original VCS but I’m also looking forward to the new one…

  • JoyStik (December 1982) – How To Win At Home Video Games

    Source: JoyStik – December 1982 – How To Win At Home Video Games

    How To Win At Home Video Games was a special issue of JoyStik magazine published in December 1982, just in time for Christmas. It provided basic strategies for getting high scores in popular home video games of the time. Contents include strategies for:

    • Introduction
    • Asteroids
    • Major League Baseball
    • Berzerk
    • Defender
    • Demon Attack
    • Donkey Kong
    • K.C. Munchkin
    • Pac-Man
    • Pitfall
    • Space Hawk
    • Communist Mutants From Space
    • Kaboom!
    • Star Strike
    • Yars’ Revenge
    • Megamania
    • Space Armada
    • Astrosmash
    • Shark Attack
    • Beauty and the Beast
    • Pick Axe Pete
    • Skiing
    • Volleyball
    • The Empire Strikes Back
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark
    • Superman
    • Towering Inferno
    • Cosmic Swarm
    • Missile Command
    • Space Invaders
    • Starmaster
    • Fishing Derby
    • Lost Luggage
    • Stampede
    • Super Breakout
    • Adventure
    • Haunted House
    • Quest for the Rings
    • Utopia
    • Circus Atari
    • Demons to Diamonds
    • Fireball
    • Freeway
    • Frogger
    • K.C.’s Krazy Chase
    • Submarine Commander
    • Warlords
    • Cosmic Conflict
    • Jawbreaker
    • King Kong
    • Lady Bug
    • Monkeyshines
    • Mousetrap
    • Night Stalker
    • Room of Doom
    • Grand Prix
    • Home Run
    • Indy 500
    • NFL Football
    • PBA Bowling
    • Racquetball
    • Trick Shot
    • Turbo
    • Alien Invaders-Plus
    • Phaser Patrol
    • Space Battle
    • Space Caverns
    • Star Raiders
    • Star Voyager
    • Stellar Track
    • Zaxxon
    • Summary Chart of Games and Ratings

    …and more!