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NoBloodyXLOrE

Parker Brothers Games Incompatible with Atari 800XL?

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I recently got a copy of Star Wars: The Arcade Game (1983) for the Atari 8-bit computers, but have noticed that it doesn't work on my Atari 800XL or my 65XE. It either goes to a blue BASIC-type screen with a solid cursor, a black screen, or it briefly flashes red or yellow and then goes to a black screen. All of my Parker Brothers' games have one problem or another - some only go to the self-test screen, and others have the same issue. I've cleaned the contacts on all of the cartridges. Is there any known incompatibility with machines later than the 400/800? Or what could be wrong with my setup, has anyone else had a similar issue?

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15 hours ago, NoBloodyXLOrE said:

I recently got a copy of Star Wars: The Arcade Game (1983) for the Atari 8-bit computers, but have noticed that it doesn't work on my Atari 800XL or my 65XE. It either goes to a blue BASIC-type screen with a solid cursor, a black screen, or it briefly flashes red or yellow and then goes to a black screen. All of my Parker Brothers' games have one problem or another - some only go to the self-test screen, and others have the same issue. I've cleaned the contacts on all of the cartridges. Is there any known incompatibility with machines later than the 400/800? Or what could be wrong with my setup, has anyone else had a similar issue?

It's been an age since I really loaded up games the old fashioned way (I have a SIDE3 cart) and I am only just getting reaquainted with my newly aquired 1050 drives. However, just an educated guess but if you are loading this from disk are you powering up the Atari's holding down Option to disable basic?  For example when I load up Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy from disk I need to power up without Basic or it never loads. Just a thought.

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A couple of the PB games (SWtAG and Astrochase if memory serves) fall under the 'compatible with the original Atari 400/800/OS B but not later models' category. It's the reason the old 'translator' disks exist. This had to do with some OS/memory changes made to later Atari computers like the XL/XE lines.

You can find 'fixed' versions of the ROMs by digging around this forum too.

 

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5 minutes ago, Lord Thag said:

A couple of the PB games (SWtAG and Astrochase if memory serves) fall under the 'compatible with the original Atari 400/800/OS B but not later models' category. It's the reason the old 'translator' disks exist. This had to do with some OS/memory changes made to later Atari computers like the XL/XE lines.

You can find 'fixed' versions of the ROMs by digging around this forum too.

 

ah that makes more sense.  :thumbsup:

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Just now, Beeblebrox said:

ah that makes more sense.  :thumbsup:

For future reference, some other popular carts have the same issue:

 

Attack at EP-CYG-4

Chicken

Demon Attack (some copies)

Gorf (some copies)

K-Razy Kritters

Picnic Paranoia

Protector II

Slime


I can also confirm that Shamus has this issue as well, though there's a work around.

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56 minutes ago, FULS said:

Read this thread.

 

I'm afraid that doesn't really help me, since I'm using an original cartridge to load the game. My dad and I have decided to return the cartridge so that I can try my luck again later when I get an Atari 800.

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Is there a way to swap out the standard XL ROM for an earlier one so that these games will work?

if so, can a double-size EPROM be burned with both OS's and a switch installed?

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1 hour ago, xrbrevin said:

Is there a way to swap out the standard XL ROM for an earlier one so that these games will work?

if so, can a double-size EPROM be burned with both OS's and a switch installed?

The Atarimax 32-in-1 Warp OS+ upgrade is easy to install and very reasonably priced. I'm a huge fan of this option!

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1 hour ago, xrbrevin said:

Is there a way to swap out the standard XL ROM for an earlier one so that these games will work?

if so, can a double-size EPROM be burned with both OS's and a switch installed?

Ultimate1MB will give you 4-OS's to pick from, as well as a 1MB memory upgrade.   Works GREAT.

 

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i have the U1MB in my 1200XL, Incognito in my 800 and an Antonia in my 800XL so im sorted for modern solutions but on reading this topic i just wondered if an older 800 OS would run on an XL/XE

or can the XL/XE ROM be modded to include the XL translator / XL fix?

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Carts are hot swap-able so you can load the translators (I'd posted a few) and then put the cart in... it will run the cart then...there were also translator pass through carts...

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1 hour ago, _The Doctor__ said:

Carts are hot swap-able so you can load the translators (I'd posted a few) and then put the cart in... it will run the cart then...there were also translator pass through carts...

 

Are you sure about this?

 

I've never had a cart that I could insert or remove without locking up the system. Anytime I swapped a cart, it would require a warm boot at the very least, if not a full cold boot.

 

 

 

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The XL OS monitors for a Cart insertion/removal and enters an endless loop if this happens.

 

When you load a 'translator' this is effectively putting the old OS in the memory under the XL OS and transferring control to it by disabling the ROM and exposing the RAM under the OS.

 

So at this point the check is no longer taking place and carts can be plugged in.

 

[Edit] Some carts will permit a disk boot to occur first though diagnostic cartridges and games will disable this, i.e. option byte set to 4). From Mapping the Atari:

Option byte ($BFFD/$9FFD)
     If BIT 0 equals one, then boot the disk (else there is no disk boot).

     If BIT 2 equals one, then initialize and start the cartridge (else initialize but do not start).
     If BIT 7 equals one, then the cartridge is a diagnostic cartridge which will take control, but not initialize the OS (else non-diagnostic cartridge).
     Diagnostic cartridges were used by Atari in the development of the system and are not available to the public.
 

Edited by Wrathchild
bonus fact
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Well, I guess that works the way I remember it then. It enters into an endless loop, basically locking up the computer if you hot swap. Which is exactly what I remember. I guess I'd never actually tried booting a translator disk and then inserting or removing a cart.

 

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8 hours ago, bfollowell said:

 

Are you sure about this?

 

I've never had a cart that I could insert or remove without locking up the system. Anytime I swapped a cart, it would require a warm boot at the very least, if not a full cold boot.

 

 

 

I am sure about this, I've outlined the process repeatedly in the past and I still do it to this day. It works on both the XE and XL. If you are locking up, make sure the cart connector and cart fingers are clean, start the cartridge ahead of time so power fingers are the only ones not connected. Then once the transl8ter is run, set it up how you'd like, start it and push the cartridge in deftly. Enjoy

Not all carts have the fingers at different heights so setting the cart up ahead of time sometimes is needed as described. I really don't keep in my mind which do or don't so I use the method for all of carts that need translator.

 

Sometimes a problematic Atarimax cart gets this same treatment so I can reprogram it. Works fine with the flashing program.. the machine doesn't cold start at all.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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7 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

I am sure about this, I've outlined the process repeatedly in the past and I still do it to this day. It works on both the XE and XL. If you are locking up, make sure the cart connector and cart fingers are clean, start the cartridge ahead of time so power fingers are the only ones not connected. Then once the transl8ter is run, set it up how you'd like, start it and push the cartridge in deftly. Enjoy

Not all carts have the fingers at different heights so setting the cart up ahead of time sometimes is needed as described. I really don't keep in my mind which do or don't so I use the method for all of carts that need translator.

 

Sometimes a problematic Atarimax cart gets this same treatment so I can reprogram it. Works fine with the flashing program.. the machine doesn't cold start at all.

 

Yeah, I'd misunderstood your original post on that. I thought you were saying that you could normally hot swap cartridges on an XL, which I knew wasn't the case. I missed that you were saying to boot with the translator disk, and then you could hot swap. I guess I'd just never needed to try that, so I'd never realized that you could hot swap after booting the translator. I just knew it would never work for me, but that makes sense since I never tried to start a cartridge after booting with the translator.

 

It's good information to have though. Thanks.

 

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I think @_The Doctor__ is also hinting that you can get lucky on the XL/XE range, more so on the 600XL and 800XL, as you can position the cart inserted but slanted at an angle so full connection isn't yet made and then whilst powered on you can push down and due to the quickness the OS check isn't tripped. I use this on AtariMax images which don't always implement a bypass, e.g. hold SELECT during start-up, which permits the booting of a new imaging disk. 

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Yeah, I know there was a cartridge copying device that sort of worked on this same technique that I had years ago. I think I still have it somehwere, but I can't recall what it was called. The Impossible maybe? I don't remember. I just remember that I was contacted by some software developer that was wanting me to help remove copy protection from a bunch of old titles that they'd gotten the rights to. They sent me copies of a bunch of games, mostly old Adventure International stuff if I remember correctly, and that cartridge copying device, Alpha Systems' two copy protection methods books and maybe some other stuff. This would've been sometime between about mid-'91 to mid-'92. I can't even recall if I had much luck or not. I believe I still may have some of that stuff packed away somewhere. I'll have to look into it.

 

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@bfollowell are you referring to "The Pill" ?

 

You had to do an angled insert to copy the cart, then you loaded the image from disk with "The Pill" ("cart") installed, then flipped a switch (write protect the RAM ?) and you were off and running.

Only worked for 8K and 16K carts (to the best of my knowledge).

 

 

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The XL OS checks TRIG3 during Stage 2 VBlank for a cartridge state change.  RD4 and RD5 are connected so will provide the signal if an insertion or removal occurs normally.

 

I'm not sure about "getting lucky" - about the only luck is a crash occasionally if you insert wrongly.

If the stage 2 VBlank is disabled or bypassed then the checking doesn't occur.  If it's a bank switchable cartridge where it can be switched out to access the Ram underneath then entirely possible you could have an undetectable state change.  But such cartridges would also need to update the Ram shadow to reflect the state when switching on/off and there's also the checksum for the top part of the cartridge that should be adjusted also.

 

I was surprised to hear of a problem with Star Wars 1983 edition - I had a copy in the day but of course if there was a problem it would have been XL-fixed in conjunction with being cracked.

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We were given POS from Atari to inform us to tell customers to not remove joysticks, cart's or other hardware while the machine was on, I know 99% of it was just to put people off and the inputs were protected but  apart from joysticks I always power down to change hardware. I used the Pill a couple of times but hated the hotswap..

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On 9/29/2021 at 6:17 AM, bfollowell said:

Well, I guess that works the way I remember it then. It enters into an endless loop, basically locking up the computer if you hot swap. Which is exactly what I remember. I guess I'd never actually tried booting a translator disk and then inserting or removing a cart.

 

Same with me.   Inserting or removing a cart was a sure-fire way to lock up my XL.    It never occurred to me to try it after loading the translator disk.   Then again I didn't have any carts that didn't work, not even the Parker Bros ones.

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9 hours ago, cwilbar said:

@bfollowell are you referring to "The Pill" ?

 

You had to do an angled insert to copy the cart, then you loaded the image from disk with "The Pill" ("cart") installed, then flipped a switch (write protect the RAM ?) and you were off and running.

Only worked for 8K and 16K carts (to the best of my knowledge).

 

 

 

That was probably it. It's been a few decades.

 

Thanks for the memory jog!

 

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In this video you can see the technique of inserting only part of the cartridge. I guess you can do something similar by loading the translator disk or Fix XL and then fully insert the parker brothers or other OSB cartridges in order to play in XL/XE machines. I haven't tried my myself, though

 

 

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