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Lame but vital question.

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#1 JohnnyRockets OFFLINE  



  • 456 posts
  • Location:Tecumseh, Michigan

Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:59 PM

Atari Gurus,

Sorry for this... but... I really appreciate your input!

Here goes...

I want to start programming and playing with a real 2600! I have never EVEN touched one! But I am itching to start writing code, playing games, testing on Stella AND on the real thing!

So that being said:

1) Where can I get a nice, clean 2600 (where would you buy one from?)?

2) What model should I get?

3) How much is too much to pay?

*** disclaimer ***

I am a complete "know-nothing" newbie! I apologize for such "basic" questions.

#2 Lodmot OFFLINE  


    Chopper Commander

  • 243 posts

Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:52 PM

If you're interested in programming Atari games, I recommend you start with batari Basic.
The games I have in my signature are all games I made using bB. While it's not real 6502 ASM, you can still make some pretty incredible things with it.

#3 SeaGtGruff OFFLINE  



  • 5,558 posts
  • Location:Georgia, USA

Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:54 PM

What model? If you're a "purist," you'll probably want a "heavy sixer," since it was the original model. But any model will do-- although as I understand it there can be some slight timing differences or other quirks between some of the different models and clones, which is a good argument in favor of collecting as many different models and clones as possible. On the other hand, if you post the ROMs for your works-in-progress, other people can test them on some of the quirky models for you. Also, the timing differences shouldn't even be a factor for you unless you're using some of the advanced programming tricks, and even so you can use timing that's safe for all models.

Where to buy one? I think I bought my "heavy sixer" from Atari2600.com, but it's been several years since I purchased it, so I might be mistaken. Some people pick them up at flea markets or garage sales.

How much? That depends on whether you buy a console by itself (with controllers), or whether it comes as a package deal with a collection of game cartridges. I think I paid nearly $450 for my "heavy sixer," which is definitely kind of pricey-- but it came as part of a package deal with a rather large collection of boxed games, including a couple of keypad controllers (one for "Star Raiders," and another set for "BASIC Programming"), and that price also included the shipping and handling.

#4 SeaGtGruff OFFLINE  



  • 5,558 posts
  • Location:Georgia, USA

Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:05 PM

While it's not real 6502 ASM

That's subject to debate, since it compiles into "real 6502 ASM," the include files are written in assembly, and you can use inline assembly. I know what you mean-- you can program in batari Basic without ever having to write any assembly code of your own in your programs. But in some ways batari Basic is like "assembly plus". And in other ways it's "less" than assembly, in the sense that you have less control over the machine level if you aren't using any assembly code of your own.

In any case, I second your recommendation, because batari Basic is a great way for beginners to quickly jump into Atari 2600 programming, and the ability to create your own inline assembly code or include files lets you gradually shift from pure-bB code to pure-assembly code at your own pace.

#5 JohnnyRockets OFFLINE  



  • Topic Starter
  • 456 posts
  • Location:Tecumseh, Michigan

Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:09 PM

Nice ideas guys! Thanks!

I was going hard in for Assembler, but maybe I'll give bBasic a look! I appreciate it.

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