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Bucket Brigadier

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About Bucket Brigadier

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  1. Thank you all for your work on Stella! Glad I could contribute.
  2. So, just to note, I found the problem was with the cartridges themselves, rather than the system. It turned out that the connectors were in need of cleaning beyond rubbing alcohol - out of simple curiosity, I took baking soda and water and cleaned the connectors with this solution and a toothbrush. After drying the board and cleaning out all of the remaining baking soda particulates, I plugged Private Eye into my VCS and HAZAAA! The artifacting was gone, nothing but a clear picture! Did the same on River Raid and got the same results. I'm just glad the main problem wasn't the console; though "Dash 2" ran the games better, so I might still clean the cartridge port in "Dash 1" anyway.
  3. Actually, there were several expansion chips made by a variety of companies to get more out of the VCS. The DPC was probably the most sophisticated and best known, but Atari, CBS Electronics, and even Mattel produced games with additional chips in the cartridge. Atari Compendium has a run-down on these "super chips": http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/articles/longevity/longevity.html
  4. Hello, all, I'm running into an issue with one of my Heavy Six VCSs and I was looking for some guidance. I've started to get some strange artifacting on the screen with some of the games in my library, but not all of them. Picture below shows what I'm seeing on Private Eye: This started recently, but I have noticed some of the games in my library are drawn a little...off? It's a similar phenomenon to the above image, just not so serious/noticeable. I've noticed it on River Raid, and have actually had that game outright crash on me (screen went wonky, then to blue - this is a "newer" CRT, so no signal = blue screen, rather than static). But, other games, such as Defender and Millipede have no such artifacts on the screen (could be because they are black-background games?) I have a backup VCS which I affectionately refer to as "Dash 2". That one displayed both Private Eye and River Raid perfectly. What I'm wondering is, does anyone have experience with what might cause this? I did do a search but haven't seen quite this exact situation, so as I understand it, it could be a capacitor dying, could be the 6532, or could be the RF out. Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me! -BB
  5. Normally I just clean the pins with rubbing alcohol. One of my games (Pressure Cooker), I just barely push into place, not until it is even fully seated and that seems to be the best way to get it to work. If the pins are clean, and the game will not boot regardless of cartridge positioning, I'd think the cart is dead. If you had another system to test it on that would probably confirm it.
  6. When I was young, we just called ours an "Atari." We had a four-switch woodgrain model, so the whole "2600" thing wasn't printed anywhere on the console or the box (barring the sticker on the bottom with part number CX-2600A, but I didn't ever take notice of that at that age). Today I most commonly refer to the system in general as the "Atari VCS," unless I'm talking about specific revisions of the system like the 2600 jr or "Vader" 2600.
  7. Personal opinion, so take it with an entire bucket of salt, but I'd think they are likely unrelated. A lot of games for the VCS are old and have seen a lot of use. Connectors get worn. I have several games which I have to shimmy about in the cart port to get them to read correctly. Could also be my port - some of my newer games run into the issue at times, too, but I tend to notice it with specific games in my inventory more than others which boot the first time almost every time.
  8. I had the same problem with the P3 paddle in one of my consoles. Turned out one of the capacitors had jarred loose, and I had to re-solder it in place. See this topic: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/259877-player-3-troubleshooting/ If it isn't at the controller port itself, check other areas of the motherboard for loose components.
  9. The only game I'm aware of which uses extra hardware for voices is Juno First, which uses the AtariVox mentioned by SpiceWare. You can play Juno First without AtariVox, so it's not required, however, with the AtariVox you get extra voice-overs, such as the aliens taunting you, wave number, hyperspace notification, etc. I can't recall if AtariVox is necessary to continue from the last wave or not with Juno First, but having AtariVox and an extra pair of speakers plugged into it gives you the full experience with that game. There may be others that I'm not aware of, so someone correct me if I've missed them.
  10. I started on the VCS around 1987-88; pretty young at the time, but some of my earliest lasting memories were from playing the VCS with my mom and brother, and later with my next-door neighbors. If you think that'd be helpful, go ahead and shoot me a PM.
  11. The book Art of Atari has a section on the design of the VCS's original configuration, primarily designed by Fred Thompson and Doug Hardy. Hardy had been at Fairchild and was part of the design team for the Channel F. The book has several pictures of the console in progress, and at one point, it included a little cut-out to hold the games in the middle of the console (pg.298). While Thompson and Hardy discuss the console's design, they do not explicitly state why the controller ports were at the back, but they do include details as to why they made some of the design decisions that they did, and most of it comes down to aesthetics. "I was thinking about it in terms of consumer audio," he said, "and I also recognized that there was a lot more interaction with it - playing with the controls, putting in the carts. I wanted the shape to cradle, to fit in your lap, as the controllers had to be close since they were corded." [...] Marketing consultant Gene Landrum's initial product planning documentation for the 2600 called for it to be "designed for living room or den aesthetics analogous to stereo designs for permanent setting." Simulated woodgrain and other home electronics references would make their way from the design requirements, into final iconic status for the console." (Art of Atari, 2016, Tim Lapetino, 298). It was for this reason that the woodgrain panel was included, why the switches were selected and implemented as they were, and why the console had texturing to hide scratching from use/abuse. It is also likely why the controller ports, power port, and RF cord were placed at the back of the console.
  12. Top 2 is tough. I'd say Draconian and Chetiry just based on the ones I've been playing the most recently.
  13. So...we now have two identically named consoles...Atari Video Computer System (Atari VCS, part number CX2600) and Atari VCS (part number...?). I thought Microsoft naming their new product the XBox One was not very smart, since the first one was colloquially referred to as the "one" after the 360 got released, but this - literally using the same name - takes the cake. Maybe VCS 2?
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