A few weeks ago, NYC Resistor had quite a showing at the first Worlds Maker Faire in Queens. We showed off a number of projects, including Ranjit’s MIDI Player Piano, Mr. Stabby, Raphael’s Twitchies, and Chris’s Cray-on-a-FPGA. One of the new projects shown was the NYC Resistor Atari 2600 demo, thrown together the night before by me, Ben Combee.
The hardware you see there has a few homebrew components. The console is an Atari 2600 Jr, the smaller version that was on sale in 1985 through 1990. I’ve installed an AV modification from The Longhorn Engineer to get composite, S-Video, and stereo audio outputs. The monitor is an older 21″ Dell unit that has composite inputs. The demo was running off a Harmony Cartridge, a very cool homebrew development board done by people at the AtariAge website. It lets you load a bunch of ROM images on a SD card and select which one to run at boot time. For the Faire, I used a special autorun mode where it would always immediately start with the demo instead of showing the menu.
The app wasn’t written directly in 6502 assembly. Instead, I used a great development tool called Batari Basic. It’s a BASIC language wrapper around the 2600’s hardware with prewritten display kernels. While you can’t do everything with it, it’s a great way to get an idea up and running on the system.
If you want to download the code or the binary to run in your 2600 emulator, it’s part of the NYC Resistor github depot along with many of our other projects.