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7800 Expansion Module (XM) hardware & game details - 7/8/2016

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Atarigage XM update thread - latest news on the XM's status. Currently due out when it's done.

With the 7800 expansion Module (XM) project in the works, I thought it might be useful to put together a comprehensive list of games that utilize the XM's features. Since not all who will be buying the XM will be 7800 veterans, having one will help a lot of people out.

For those not in the know, the 7800XM is an hardware add-on for the Atari 7800. In a nutshell, it plugs into the cartridge port of the 7800 and acts as a pass-through device. It is compatible with existing 2600 and 7800 games and and adds additional features for 7800 games programmed to use them. The XM comes with the following features:

  • High Score Cart (HSC) - The High Score Cart feature saves and stores player high scores from compatible games. Scores will be saved even if the console is turned off. Some original 7800 releases are compatible with this feature as it was a product that Atari planned but never released. High score cart games (that do not use the Music/RAM features) will work in a 7800 without the XM module, though high scores are not saved without it. For the moment, this feature is not available in PAL (available in Europe) games.
  • POKEY/YAMAHA - Games with this feature utilize the XM's POKEY and/or Yamaha YM2151 sound chips for enhanced music and sound effects. The POKEY sound chip was developed at the same time as the 7800 and was intended to be added to 7800 game carts for enhanced sound beyond what the 7800's native hardware could produce. Due to Atari budget cuts, only the original 7800 games "Ballblazer" and "Commando" were released with it. The Yamaha YM2151 is an 8 channel FM sound chip used in some arcade machines in the mid to late 1980's. While never used in an Atari console, it adds the possibility of more accurate arcade sound. Games that use XM POKEY/YAMAHA will not work in a 7800 without the XM (unless otherwise noted).
  • RAM - The XM contains an additional 128KB of ram for use in creating enhanced graphics pallets, additional sprites, larger levels and the like. Games that use XM RAM will not work in a 7800 without the XM.
  • Expansion Ports - The XM has two expansion ports, a SIO Port and a 15 pin expansion port. The ports are intended for various add on projects such as keyboards or storage devices. The XM is confirmed to be XEGS keyboard compatible, though so far, only a tech demo demonstrating the keyboard working on the XM has been presented. (The XEGS was a console/computer hibred released by Atari in the late 1980's.)
  • Pass-through Functionality - The XM is designed as a pass-through device, meaning that once it is plugged into your 7800, you can leave it in and play both 2600 and 7800 games without ever removing it. The cartridge guide has been modified in the XM to allow certain 2600 games that never fit properly in the 7800 to fit in the XM. Most, though not all 2600 games will fit into the XM.

A list of compatible games is below. Keep in mind that not all 7800 homebrew in this list may still be available. It is rumored that a few other non-listed XM games are in the works, but are as yet, unannounced. If a game is on the list but is yet to be released, it will be marked as such.

Updates will be made as more information appears.

LAST UPDATED:

July, 8, 2016 - Super Cobra, Dungeon Stalker, Armor Attack II, Astro Fighter, T:ME Salvo added. Added links to other listings. Other minor fixes. Special thanks to Trebor's fine list of homebrews for helping me update.

March 18, 2015 - Rezolve added. Updated DK XM. Moved Frenzy to released. Revised status of projects with no known activity in the past few years.

July 31, 2014 - AstroBlaster added. DK moved to released

June 30, 2012 - Bentley Bear: Crystal Quest added
November 11, 2012 - Updated Pokey Kong with new link and name. Updated Dig Dug XM listing
November 25, 2012 - Froggie status change per author request,
November 26, 2012 - Bentley Bear Status Change due to PacmanPlus leaving. Added Blocdrop.

Totals (not including in progress games):
HSC games: 28
Music games: 2
RAM games: 0
Expansion port items/games: 0
In progress/Unreleased games: 15

------------------------------------
Legend:
HSC = High Score Cart Compatible
POKEY = uses POKEY music chip
YAMAHA = uses Yamaha music chip
RAM = uses XM RAM
EXP = uses XM expansion ports
DUAL = Can run in a 7800 without the XM. Music will default to original 7800 hardware without the XM. All HSC-only games are automatically DUAL.

Example:
Pac Man Collection Pokey – HSC / POKEY


Original 7800 Releases – (HSC compatible/DUAL)

  • Asteroids
  • Dig Dug
  • Centipede
  • Food Fight
  • Galaga
  • Joust
  • Ms. Pac Man
  • Robotron 2084
  • Xevious
  • Desert Falcon prototype

Game Hacks

Homebrew Releases

Homebrew Games - Completed but unreleased

Homebrew Games in Progress

  • Arkanoid - HSC / POKEY? - (In progress/PAL version being adjusted)
  • BlocDrop - POKEY? / YAMAHA? / DUAL? - (in Progress)
  • Dig Dug XM - HSC? / YAMAHA - Dig Dug music hack. (in Progress)
  • T:ME Salvo - HSC - (In Progress)

XM Expansion Port Hardware

  • XEGS Keyboard compatible. No software support as yet.
Edited by Lendorien
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Thanks for putting this list together. Cool to see some of the games being developed for the XM.

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Add to the list "Pokey Kong" (Donkey Kong - Pokey Enhanced) (In Progress)

 

 

With the XM due to be shipped somewhere around January, I thought it might be useful to put together a compatible game list. Since not all who will be buying the XM will be 7800 veterans, having an updated list will help a lot of people out.

 

Keep in mind that not all 7800 homebrew may be still readily available.

 

If I missed anything feel free to add it or correct me. I'm willing to update this as needed (if a mod allows it). Cheers!

 

High Score cart compatible games - Original Releases

 

  • Asteroids
  • Dig Dug
  • Centipede
  • Food Fight
  • Galaga
  • Joust
  • Ms. Pac Man
  • Robotron 2084
  • Xevious
  • Desert Falcon prototype

 

High Score cart compatible games - Homebrew Releases

 

 

XM other (RAM/MUSIC)

 

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I'd like to see a really close to the arcade original galaxian, sounds and all. nothing brings me back more than those sounds...

 

Star castle is a good close second.

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It really is kind of a bummer that there's still only one XM-required game coming. All that money, time, and effort spent on developing an expansion module, and only one game so far is more than just a Pokey hack that will already run on existing 7800 hardware?

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It really is kind of a bummer that there's still only one XM-required game coming. All that money, time, and effort spent on developing an expansion module, and only one game so far is more than just a Pokey hack that will already run on existing 7800 hardware?

And that's precisely why I haven't committed to one yet. That and the expansion module would cover up my brand new shiny NOS 7800 aluminum badge I bought from BEST. :lol:

 

On a serious note, look like you could just purchase another one to slap on the expansion module since it looks like it's designed for it. Would look real slick then!

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It really is kind of a bummer that there's still only one XM-required game coming. All that money, time, and effort spent on developing an expansion module, and only one game so far is more than just a Pokey hack that will already run on existing 7800 hardware?

 

 

It is a valid point, but I'm not sure how much of this is just because it's new. Do most of the homebrewers have the ability to make XM games before the XM comes out? Perhaps they are keeping hush hush? There does need to be an "installed base." I think that considering lots of major launches only included a handful of title in history, we are doing okay ;)

 

AX

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On a serious note, look like you could just purchase another one to slap on the expansion module since it looks like it's designed for it. Would look real slick then!

 

 

I'm pretty sure that the final XM will have a badge on the front, in keeping with the console itself....they're just not shown in the shell pictures that were posted as they weren't yet put together. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Now this is just to the forum at large....keep in mind that a good way to show support for future XM games is to get the XM! I know it's a chicken and egg situation here, but more homebrewers are apt to utilize the XM if they see a good take rate. I mean, if this was a modern console, I'd want to wait to see the goods first. But this is a 25+ year old system and we're very lucky to see the recent flourish of activity surrounding the 7800. I'm not apt to part with my hard earned money any more than the next guy, but for all those 7800 supporters out there that are in a position to do so, now is the time to put up or keep quiet the next time the question of community support for the 7800 is discussed. Besides, it's got high score retention capability built in. Those cartridges had to have been at least $30 alone, right?

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I would not expect to be hearing much about titles that will require or take advantage of the XM unit until after it is released. So far, the list above looks decent and I will wait patiently for whatever else comes along. I'm sure there will be enough! After all, Groovy has to stay a busy bee! ;)

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Dungeon! will require the XM to work.

That's the ONLY one.

 

I would expect to see a slew of hacks coming out before long that use the Pokey chip and perhaps even add HSC functionality. I would not be surprised if homebrewers go back to older games they've made and add Pokey support as well.

 

While 90 dollars is a lot to pay just for HSC functionality, it is a feature that all buyers will be able to use right out of the box (since most of us will have one or more original releases compatible with it), so it isn't like no-one will be getting anything out of it when they get it.

 

As for music and ram, for the record, Donkey Kong is by far a better game with decent music, and the Pacman Collection, as polished as it was is even more AMAZING with Pokey sound. Super Circus Atariage also uses the Pokey.

 

The 7800 doesn't have a lot of homebrewers working on it. I do think that once the XM has been released, some of the homebrewers should knock heads together and see about putting together a good dev package to help new programmers get into the game. I'm really serious about this. Look at what Batari has done for the 2600.

 

Perhaps a contest ought to be in order in a few months to drum up some more games for the XM. Heck, I'd be willing to throw in some monetary support for such a thing. If it's advertised well in various forums, and the prize is a good one, perhaps that'd get some people (including newcomers) to try out their hands at it.

Edited by Lendorien

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Dungeon! will require the XM to work.

That's the ONLY one.

 

That you know of.

I don't get the marketing strategy here. Is it really smart to insult the potential future install base's intelligence by telling them everything is a secret, when the thing is due to ship in a few weeks?

 

It's like expecting people to buy a barren, sterile, but awesome looking Chicken, and trying to convince them that it will lay magical golden eggs that they just don't know about yet.

 

The product looks fantastic from a technical standpoint, but without software support it's kind of pointless.

Edited by Underball
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Dungeon! will require the XM to work.

That's the ONLY one.

 

I would expect to see a slew of hacks coming out before long that use the Pokey chip and perhaps even add HSC functionality. I would not be surprised if homebrewers go back to older games they've made and add Pokey support as well.

 

For the record, Donkey Kong is by far a better game with decent music, and the Pacman Collection, as polished as it was is even more AMAZING with pokey sound.

 

 

all of which will work with the H2, CC2, or on a homebrew cart, and don't require the XM.

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I doubt that he was trying to be insulting at all. I know about some works in progress but was specifically told not to share them with anyone. In the case of one author I know they would rather be ready before the onslaught of "can I preorder!" and "add me to your list" messages.

 

AX

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Hi there,

 

Just curious...

 

Can an XM cartridge be inserted in a stock 7800? If so, is there a way for the developer to identify if the XM is present so they can let the end user know why the program won't work?

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Can an XM cartridge be inserted in a stock 7800?

 

Yep! They are just stock cart shells.

 

If so, is there a way for the developer to identify if the XM is present so they can let the end user know why the program won't work?

 

Yep! Its possible to detect the XM and display an appropriate message if the developer wishes to do that.

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It's like expecting people to buy a barren, sterile, but awesome looking Chicken, and trying to convince them that it will lay magical golden eggs that they just don't know about yet.

We did just that with the Atari Jaguar late in '93. I still drool at the list and screenshots all of the unreleased games I have in promo literature. icon_rolling.gif

 

And yeah, I didn't take the phrase "that you know of" to be insulting. I'm sure there's a few more games in the works, adding a little mystery to the air. And no doubt, the installed base notion is logical. Like spending money to make money, but in this example, probably have to purchase something like this and hope they will come. lol

 

Although this pricey 2600 highscore/speech dongle I purchased from the AA store has been kinda lonely. Hoped there had been, or more will be, devoloped for it icon_sad.gif

Edited by save2600
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I know the developers don't want to annoynce their games until they are ready and all the reasons why. It makes sense! I'd just like to know how many games are in the works for the XM before I buy. I know Dungeon but that's the only one I know of thats in the works. Certainly there are more. I hope someone can give a rough estimate of how many games are in the pipeline. I won't pay $100 just to play 3 new games. But 7 to 11 or more ABSOLUTELY! Either ways its the best thing to happen to the 7800 since Klax or even in the past 20 years. It's a great example of the fruits of this community. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Thank you.

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Dungeon! will require the XM to work.

That's the ONLY one.

 

I would expect to see a slew of hacks coming out before long that use the Pokey chip and perhaps even add HSC functionality. I would not be surprised if homebrewers go back to older games they've made and add Pokey support as well.

 

For the record, Donkey Kong is by far a better game with decent music, and the Pacman Collection, as polished as it was is even more AMAZING with pokey sound.

 

 

all of which will work with the H2, CC2, or on a homebrew cart, and don't require the XM.

 

Some people like to have a real cartridge rather than just playing off a flash cart. Also, I think it is unlikely that DK or PMC will be produced on a POKEY cart. It will be flash or XM only.

 

I am also working on a Yamaha sound upgrade for PMC. Don't know if it will work out yet, since I don't have hardware to test on, but I'm hopefull it will get the game near arcade perfect on sound. And there will be a little something extra if I have enough space. :)

 

Perry

Edited by tep392
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