2600 Programmers Guide

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I was learning engineering on the job, so why not finish my degree in engineering? We were a small company, I got dragged into doing work of a much higher caliber out of necessity. There was one guy who could, but he wasn't available.

Atari VCS Programming

While Atari had started out as the sole manufacturer of games for its console, Activision opened that December and developed games for personal computers and the —a tacit admission to developers everywhere that anyone could write games for Atari hardware. Kitchen went to his bosses at Wickstead Design Associates and made his case. They stared blankly.

Video games? We should look into it. Kitchen asked around and received little feedback.

Let's Make an Atari 2600 Game! - Part 1

There was no software development kit, no prototype console designed to write and test code. By that time, Kitchen had flipped his schedule, working at WDA full-time and taking engineering classes at night.

How to Make an Atari Game

Developing games for the was his latest and greatest challenge. It ran on a 8-bit processor, which he picked up on quickly having worked with microprocessors on electronic toys. A shooter, Space Jockey scrolled the screen to the right as the player shot down enemy ships. Kitchen took his creation to his bosses at WDA.


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Yu licensed Space Jockey to his company and prepared to put it on the market. Before, when Atari had employed the only engineers capable of writing software for its console, games had appeared at a steady drip. The advent of Activision and engineers such as Kitchen increased the drip to a steady flow. Kitchen quit in early His brother, Dan, went with him.

The owner of the house Kitchen was renting had left the basement unfinished.


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Exposed pipes and wiring hung from the open ceiling. Several workbenches had been shoved against the walls, and the four engineers spread out, cluttering every surface with computers and other equipment. Everyone did their own thing. This is a small list of resources I put together just so I'd have them all in one place at an easy to remember URL, and maybe some other people will find them useful.

Some people have found it a useful gateway to this esoteric artform.

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Andrew Davie's AtariAge forum Programming For Newbies is also a good starting point, though hasn't been updated in a while. See also my batari BASIC kickstart - your first atari program in 30 minutes or double your money back! The examples are in batari BASIC but the tuning and general notes apply to any attempt at music in the Includes webTune , a gui for Thomas Jentzsch's tune to find the closest pitch matches for your notes in the regular Western scales.

Cookbook A work-in-progress, an attempt to collect some of the collected wisdom, clever ideas, and best practices of the [stella] mailing list into one convenient and hopefully inspirational location. JoustPong JoustPong is my first and so far only Atari game, a hybrid combining the old school death match action of Pong with the kinetic flapping of Joust. That link is to a journal from the 2 years of its on-again, off-again development.

Code Reader 2600

You can also see its page on AtariAge. Leprechaun Level Editor A work in progress for a work in progress, this is a simple javascript editor that generates real Atari code to display a board for Eric Ball's upcoming Lode Runner clone Leprechaun. I was one of the first people to put a classic-video-game-themed webpage up, in the early 90s.

The Dig! Stella Archive MiniDig Stella Selections The [stella] mailing list is a stupendously important resource for most Atari developers, and The Dig is currently the most powerful search engine for diving into its past conversations. The MiniDig features choice selection from the old days of the [stella] list.