Flappo Bird – Atari 2600

I guess I’ve been living under a rock here because up until recently, what with all the hubbub on the internet due to the game being pulled from the app store, I’d never even heard of Flappy Bird.

It’s a shame though it looked kinda cool and I do like those one button SFcave type games….in fact, let me throw this out there again. To the chap that made the incredibly exclusive and über rare, but oh so funtastically awesomeness that it VeCave for the Vectrex, check out the success of a Flappy Bird and just think how much £££ could be made if you rustled up another batch of those amazing cartridges. Many thanks – StiGGy

Any-ho, I might have missed it from the App Store but it looks like someone has created their own version for the Atari 2600 called Flappo Bird.

Which you can download here (and name your price).



Atari 2600 homebrew – DK Arcade 2600 and Space Rocks.

Have you played Atari today? – nope, in fact I haven’t fired up the woody since playing Star Castle (see previous blog post – https://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/star-castle-released-on-the-atari-2600/) and with my gear stashed away whilst we redecorate, it might be some time before its on the geek bench again. But…no matter, Stella is such an awesome emulator that’s been ported to so many platforms, I’m bound to have a few bits of kit lying around here that haven’t been packed away.

Have you played Atari today? – Yep indeedy-doo – thanks to Stella running on my Raspberry Pi via the Chameleon PI distro and  my keyrah attached so I can use my old Atari sticks. Phew – In fact, with the heap of spaghetti wires and bits all over the desk  it might have been easier just to unbox my 2600 after all 🙂 Nevermind, as long as you can game right?

There’s two Atari 2600 homebrew games I’ve been itching to try out since looking at some of the early release info last year. As you can probably guess from this posts title, the games are DK Arcade 2600 and Space Rocks.

I’ve always loved the original Donkey Kong game on the Atari despite Mr K looking more like a giant gingerbread man, putting up with some rather iffy collision detection and Mario’s comical shuffle across the screen (you wait until you see him climb up a ladder!) but it’s all about gameplay and as a kid I lapped this one up.

I could go for some coffee dunking gingerbread right about now!

Atari 2600_DK

There’s already an absolutely brilliant conversion of Donkey Kong in the making for the Atari 2600 in the form of Donkey Kong VS and if you haven’t tried it yet, head on over here to give it whirl – http://atariage.com/forums/topic/206497-dk-vcs/

This afternoon though, I wanted to check out the latest development of DK Arcade 2600 by AtariAge member iesposta – http://atariage.com/forums/topic/216037-dk-arcade-2600-progress-files-source-code-help-appreciated/

It’s certainly looking and sounding impressive so far and even includes the short intro from the arcade original – how high can you try? Despite a little flicker on Kong, the barrels and Pauline (who I can’t seem to capture on the screenshot from Stella) everything moves really smoothly and the collision detection is a massive improvement on the original.


I must be loosing my touch though becaause I’m finding the first level to be incredibly difficult to play. Those barrels come at you at a fair old pace and in some instances, three in a row and no space in between. I’ll keep at it but for the time being a screenshot from level one is about all I can provide. Probably best if you check it out yourself whilst I hang my head in shame 😉

Asteroids, everyone can play this – even if you suck at Donkey Kong and Space Rocks improves massively on Atari’s original VCS game.   – http://atariage.com/forums/topic/197315-space-rocks-2600/page-13#entry2648510

But before we get into the game, pause for a moment and check out the absolutely stunning box art created for Space Rocks – created by label competition winner Dave Dries.



Space Rocks mixes elements of classic Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe and provides the gamer with a nice selection of options to suit visual graphics styles and gameplay. Check out some of the options available for you to mess around with.




Going for the Vectrex Minestorm look here, I’ve chosen blue neon for my colour scheme.



Space Rocks is one damn fine game of Asteroids all right. Just a few seconds in and I’m grinning as I hear that iconic laser FX and the meaty explosions that follow as you reduce rocks to dust. You get the plod, plod ‘sound track’ that gets progressively faster as the clear the screen which urges you and piles on the pressure just as the original did. You get really smooth animation here, little jitter and just superb gameplay. So much so, i’m seriously toying with the idea of placing an order for this cart.

Ganging up on me already! – one Saucership and remnants of a broken Magna-mine…and don’t think I can’t see you attempting a flanking position!




2 player co-op and ‘fight mode’ should be a laugh too – In fact, at the next gaming meetup, I’d like to take along my Harmony cartridge and maybe we’ll have us a bit of a mini competition?



So yeah, despite not having my Atari 2600 to hand, I’ve still had a  fun few hours with these two homebrew title and If you haven’t played Atari today, then maybe you’d like to check these out yourself?


Star Castle – Atari 2600

It always feel special whenever there’s a new homebrew game released for the Atari 2600. It’s the first major console I ever owned and and subsequently the the oldest console I still own and so seeing something running on it that’s brand new just feel soooo good.

What makes this release a little bit more special is that it’s a port of a great vector arcade game and a favourite of mine on the Vectrex too.


DSCF0116 (Custom)


Star Castle comes to the Woody…listen to it sing!

Star Castle by Cinematronics arcade flyer (1980)…..which so happens to have the play instructions.

star castle

The game is still in development but author Thomas Jentzsch – http://www.qotile.net/xype/ has released a WIP for eager Atari fans to play test. You can pick up a copy of the file to run under emulation, or transfer to a Harmony Cartridge and play on 2600 – http://atariage.com/forums/blog/107/entry-9007-star-castle-rc1/

At first I couldn’t get this working via my cart, just garbled graphics on screen. As it turned out, I was running an older firmware on my cartridge so all I had to do was reflash with the latest files ….always a sweaty moment 🙂

It worked much better now – in fact the latest firmware ironed out a bug I’ve always had with my Harmony Cartridge…mainly being that it won’t load the main menu properly unless I initially booted the Atari with the black and white toggle selected…weird huh!

Back to the game and this port is one of the hardest I’ve versions of Star Castle I’ve encounter especially as the energy rings reform very quickly and the space mines, only being a pixel in size, are very tricky to shoot down. I think this one should keep me entertained for quite some time – I’m yet to reach a 1000 points!

If you like this, then check out Thrust by the same developer as it plays incredibly well on the Atari.

Atari Trak-Ball cleanup

Whilst visiting the chaps and their new premises at the Retro Computer Museum the other week I was rummaging around some of their packing boxes and moving various items on to shelves when I came across this rather poorly looking Atari Trak-Ball.


Atari Trackball_www

On the outside it looked practically brand new but the the ball motion was incredibaly rough and you could hear the rollers groaningg. We tried it on an Atari 800XL we had set up and it barely functioned.

I’ve always wanted to have a play around with one of these because A) Trackballs are cool and B) I just love these big ass chunky Atari Trakball units. I’d love to have one of those monster Atari 5200 trackball units.

I brought it back with me, took it to work and thought i’d have an initial looksee during lunch break today.


trakball_clean (Custom) (2)

All the crud inside has been blow out  with a can of compressed air. It looked like is had been living in a desert.

The ball looked in pretty good shape but two of the three rollers needed a bit of work with my dremel and a polishing bit to remove some of the rust that had formed.

The roller bearings were also very noisy despite being behind rubber shields so i treated them to a spot of WD40. They’re running so much smoother and quieter now.
The last thing I did before putting it back together again was to adjust the left fire button contact as it was missing the circuit board a little.

Sadly I don’t have an Atari 800xl myself but I do know that these units work on the Atari 2600 in trakball mode and a copy of the hacked version of Missile command.


I’ll have it set up for test run when I get home this evening.