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The Atari 2600 Junior was ATARI’s best standalone 2600 videogame system

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Back in 1982 my first videogame system that I wanted was the ColecoVision. Soon after I purchased a ColecoVision I ended up getting the Expansion module #1 Atari 2600 adapter. That is how I play all my Atari 2600 games when I am not using the Stella 64 bit Atari 2600 Windows emulation.

 

The Atari 2600 Junior was ATARI’s best standalone videogame console for people that were only interested in Atari 2600 videogame cartridges (Yes I know there was the better Atari 7800 with built in Atari 2600 capability without an adapter, but that is another system). The big advantage that the Atari 2600 Junior had when compared to all prior versions of the Atari 2600, is the fact that the Atari 2600 Junior had an external RCA RF jack just like the ColecoVision and Coleco Gemini unit (All other ATARI 2600’s used a hardwired RG59 cable). This external RCA RF jack on the Atari 2600 Junior allows a consumer to install a longer RF cable (or replace a defective cable) with a RG-11, RG-6, or RG-59 cable. Also the Atari 2600 junior has an advantage of being super small in size.

Edited by HDTV1080P

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Disagree, the Sixer is the best because the difficulty switches are more accessible and their state is readily ascertained. The RF cable is not hardwired on the Sixers, it's connected to an internal jack - remove a few screws from the bottom and it's easy to replace.

 

Additionally the Junior is less compatible, causing us to abandon our work on Bus Stuffing which was leading us towards games like RPG.

 

RPG running on my Sixer

post-3056-0-75094300-1548252409_thumb.jpg

 

post-3056-0-83348400-1548253246_thumb.jpg

 

RPG running on a Junior

post-3056-0-85767100-1548253255_thumb.jpg

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Jr. is a cute, tiny footprint of an Atari system - but as demonstrated above and as the name implies, it's merely a smaller, less capable system. And yeah, the membrane switches suck on the Jr. ;)

 

It has its place in history though... and under fitty bux, FITTY BUX!

 

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Disagree, the Sixer is the best because the difficulty switches are more accessible and their state is readily ascertained. The RF cable is not hardwired on the Sixers, it's connected to an internal jack - remove a few screws from the bottom and it's easy to replace.

 

Additionally the Junior is less compatible, causing us to abandon our work on Bus Stuffing which was leading us towards games like RPG.

 

RPG running on my Sixer

attachicon.gifpost-3056-0-92674000-1487952528.jpg

 

attachicon.gifpost-3056-0-10504300-1478444686.jpg

 

 

RPG running on a Junior

attachicon.gifpost-6479-0-97150900-1488150328.jpg

 

Is this game RPG available in rom format? It looks incredible and I would love to check it out!

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Is this game RPG available in rom format? It looks incredible and I would love to check it out!

 

 

Yes, check the Bus Stuffing link then take the link for RPG in the first post. That'll run on a Harmony Cart as well as current versions of Stella. Do note that while you can move around to explore the world, collect coins and buy the shield and sword, it's not a finished game.

 

The other demos (and builds of RPG prior to June 6, 2017) will also run on a Harmony Cart. If you want to see them in Stella you'll need to install 5.0.0-pre6 or -pre7 as the Bus Stuffing routines were in flux at the time.

 

post-3056-0-74096800-1548256069_thumb.png

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With the original Atari 2600, one needs to open up the console to replace the 22 gauge RG59 cord.. In addition, most likely one cannot use an 18 gauge RG-6 cord on the original Atari 2600 because the cable would be to thick. The advantage of the ATARI 2600 Junior is one can connect a high quality RG-11 and RG-6 cable between 3 feet to 100 feet and the picture looks good for RF. Also the ATARI 2600 Junior has a better quality RF modulator compared to the original ATARI 2600. I also like the big top buttons and small size of the Atari 2600 Junior when compared to the original.

 

So far every released game cartridge for the Atrai 2600 that I have tried, runs on my Atari 2600 Junior that I just purchased. However, I have not tried every title yet. Now if the Atari 2600 Junior is not compatible with certain released ATARI 2600 game cartridges, which game cartridges do not work? If there was certain released game cartridges that do work on the Atari 2600 Junior but work on the original ATARI 2600, then the original ATARI 2600 would be better. On my Expansion Module #1 Atari 2600 for the ColecoVision every ATARI 2600 game is compatible including the Supercharger module as long as I have the Coleco cartridge extender installed. So I would hope if every ATARI 2600 game works on the ColecoVision that it would also work on the ATARI 2600 Junior.

Edited by HDTV1080P

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Disagree, the Sixer is the best because the difficulty switches are more accessible and their state is readily ascertained. The RF cable is not hardwired on the Sixers, it's connected to an internal jack - remove a few screws from the bottom and it's easy to replace.

 

Additionally the Junior is less compatible, causing us to abandon our work on Bus Stuffing which was leading us towards games like RPG.

 

RPG running on my Sixer

attachicon.gifpost-3056-0-92674000-1487952528.jpg

 

attachicon.gifpost-3056-0-10504300-1478444686.jpg

 

 

RPG running on a Junior

attachicon.gifpost-6479-0-97150900-1488150328.jpg

I would do it anyway. No one should have a Junior as their only 2600 as light sixers and 4-switches they aren't that expensive.

 

Now my big question is: What is the best 2600 version to get an S-video mod done on? The 4-switch woody, which is supposedly the most compatible or the light-sixer which supposedly has the best color (the heavy sixer does have known homebrew compatibility issues, of course, and I would be traumatized by modding one, except for maybe a Sears heavy sixer - but I would rather look at one of the other two Atari models I listed).

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Yes, check the Bus Stuffing link then take the link for RPG in the first post. That'll run on a Harmony Cart as well as current versions of Stella. Do note that while you can move around to explore the world, collect coins and buy the shield and sword, it's not a finished game.

 

The other demos (and builds of RPG prior to June 6, 2017) will also run on a Harmony Cart. If you want to see them in Stella you'll need to install 5.0.0-pre6 or -pre7 as the Bus Stuffing routines were in flux at the time.

 

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2019-01-23 at 9.07.24 AM.png

 

This is amazing. Any plans to make a full game out of this?

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Disagree, the Sixer is the best because the difficulty switches are more accessible and their state is readily ascertained.

 

I learned how to play Activision Space Shuttle on a six switch machine and I will die playing Activision Space Shuttle on a six switch machine!

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I learned how to play Activision Space Shuttle on a six switch machine and I will die playing Activision Space Shuttle on a six switch machine!

 

Check your O-rings and do not launch on cold days.

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This is amazing. Any plans to make a full game out of this?

At the moment my priority list is to resume work on SpiceC, doing an updated take on Space War as the test project. After that I'll be rebooting Frantic and Timmy! to use SpiceC.

 

I might eventually look into RPG again, though it would be Harmony Only game as I won't offer it up for sale due to the compatibility issue. There's a couple other Bus Stuffing games in the same situation:

 

BOOM! by cd-w - jump ahead to 36:30

 

 

 

Elevator Action by johnnywc - jump ahead to 1:12:00

 

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I like my Jr, but it does have issues with some games like Spider Fighter. I do dig how small and flat it is though, and that RCA connector is nice to have.

 

That bus stuffing demo looks amazing! I wish you wouldn't let one incompatible model stop you. Does it work on 7800?

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This TIA Variation List covers problem games.

That is a real cool website about the ATARI 2600 TIA chips. Thanks to the power of the Internet knowledge is increasing (Internet we did not have in the 70’s and 80’s). According to the article ATARI used 12 different versions of the TIA chip and there is a problem with almost all 12 versions of the TIA chip except for version 1 and version 2. However version 1 only shows two sprites which makes version 2 of the TIA chip better since it shows 3 sprites. There are problems with certain games with some ATARI 2600 game consoles, ATARI 7800 consoles, and even the Coleco Gemini unit. Most the problems are minor and the problems are effecting many ATARI 2600 systems and third party ATARI 2600 compatible systems and not just the ATARI 2600 Junior.

 

In summary according to what I understand from the article the ColecoVision Expansion Module #1 works perfectly with all ATARI 2600 games and is just as good as the ATARI 2600 consoles that are using the perfect version 2 TIA chip that has 3 sprites.

 

Also there are tricks that ATARI 2600 programmers can use to get around the incompatibility issues, and most of the time a game can be made to run on all ATARI 2600 compatible systems with no issues. It is too bad there is so many variations of the TIA chip, which means programmers need to test their games on a dozen original ATARI 2600 TIA chips and several dozens of third party TIA chips that are ATARI 2600 compatible before the game is officially released.

 

Quote

 

Once the list is more complete, the information could be incorporated into an emulator like Stella, as well as help homebrew programmers to make sure any tricks they use would be compatible across every variation.”

http://www.ataricompendium.com/faq/vcs_tia/vcs_tia.html

Edited by HDTV1080P

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At the moment my priority list is to resume work on SpiceC, doing an updated take on Space War as the test project. After that I'll be rebooting Frantic and Timmy! to use SpiceC.

I might eventually look into RPG again, though it would be Harmony Only game as I won't offer it up for sale due to the compatibility issue. There's a couple other Bus Stuffing games in the same situation:

BOOM! by cd-w - jump ahead to 36:30

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HwcWCJM_zA

Elevator Action by johnnywc - jump ahead to 1:12:00

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYhI8C0V6Ug

Thanks for sharing those. Elevator Action looks incredible too. Hopefully that one gets completed one of these days.

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I like my Jr, but it does have issues with some games like Spider Fighter. I do dig how small and flat it is though, and that RCA connector is nice to have.

 

That bus stuffing demo looks amazing! I wish you wouldn't let one incompatible model stop you. Does it work on 7800?

However there are other ATARI 2600 compatible systems that also have issues with some ATARI 2600 games, and not just the ATARI 2600 Junior. Only the original ATARI 2600 that uses TIA chip version 1 and 2 are perfect along with the Coleco Expansion module #1 ATARI 2600 adapter. Even the ATARI 7800 has problems with certain games. This might be one of the reasons why ColecoVision owners are so dogmatic about only using the Colecovision to play ATARI 2600 games.

 

The only reason why I purchased the ATARI 2600 Junior recently is because I wanted to test its RF modulator performance with some high-end RG-6 cables between 3 to 100 feet. The ATARI 2600 Junior has the best RF modulator when compared to the older ATARI game systems. I also like the fact it is so easy to switch cable lengths. I also like the small size and I was running tests on it with a third party high performance power adapter.

Edited by HDTV1080P

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Not really true when compared to the rubber ZX Spectrum...

 

http://i.imgur.com/qrUnunj.jpg

It is my understanding that the ZX Spectrum does not run ATARI 2600 games, when I said small size I was talking about the ATARI 2600 Junior being the smallest 80's ATARI 2600 standalone system.

Edited by HDTV1080P

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However there are other ATARI 2600 compatible systems that also have issues with some ATARI 2600 games, and not just the ATARI 2600 Junior. Only the original ATARI 2600 that uses TIA chip version 1 and 2 are perfect along with the Coleco Expansion module #1 ATARI 2600 adapter. Even the ATARI 7800 has problems with certain games. This might be one of the reasons why ColecoVision owners are so dogmatic about only using the Colecovision to play ATARI 2600 games.

 

The only reason why I purchased the ATARI 2600 Junior recently is because I wanted to test its RF modulator performance with some high-end RG-6 cables between 3 to 100 feet. The ATARI 2600 Junior has the best RF modulator when compared to the older ATARI game systems. I also like the fact it is so easy to switch cable lengths. I also like the small size and I was running tests on it with a third party high performance power adapter.

Except that you need an extremely obscure, very hard to find, adapter to use the ColecoVision EM1 with some 2600 games, so that makes it less than perfect. Also, the game Stay Frosty (or was it SF2) had issues only with the heavy sixer. Again, I think most people consider the light sixer or 4-switch woody the most stable and compatible, even though the heavy sixer may have better color.

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Quote

 

Once the list is more complete, the information could be incorporated into an emulator like Stella, as well as help homebrew programmers to make sure any tricks they use would be compatible across every variation.”

http://www.ataricompendium.com/faq/vcs_tia/vcs_tia.html

 

This is already in progress as we speak. Can't say when we'll release it (perhaps 6.1), but we already have code that emulates 5 or 6 of those 'odd' TIAs.

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