Scramble - Atari 2600



TV Type:  NTSC        PAL60      
Box Upgrade:  No        Yes (Add $15.00)      

How Far Can You Invade Our Scramble System?

Pilot your starship through a hostile, alien terrain featuring six unique stages.
Monitor a limited fuel supply while you encounter various obstacles and enemies.
Rockets, fuel tanks, flying saucers, and meteors are only some of the obstacles to challenge you within each stage.
Armed with lasers and bombs, fight your way to the well-defended enemy base.
Destroy the base to defeat the enemy and move on to the next mission!



Scramble is based on the classic arcade game of the same name, in which the player must navigate their ship across a side-scrolling terrain through six unique stages. Each stage has its own challenges and obstacles, including ground targets, rockets, fuel tanks, flying saucers and meteors. The player must avoid or destroy these hazards while maintaining the ship's limited fuel supply. The objective is to reach the end stage and destroy the enemy's base while trying to get a high score.

How To Play

To play Scramble, use the joystick to navigate your ship over the terrain while avoiding the enemy attacks. Press the fire button to launch missiles and drop bombs (gamepads use button B to fire missiles and button C to drop bombs). Points are scored for traveling a certain distance and destroying enemy installations. Additional fuel is gained by destroying the fuel tanks. A player starts with 3 ships; a bonus ship is awarded at 10,000 points and every 50,000 points. The game ends when all ships have been destroyed. Good luck!

Atari 2600 Version

Scramble was developed for the Atari 2600 by a small team of experienced developers and artists. Scramble's primary developer is John W. Champeau, whose previous Atari 2600 releases include Lady Bug and Conquest of Mars. For this project, John chose to use the advanced DPC+ mode of our Melody board, allowing him to push the Atari 2600 to its limits and produce a remarkably accurate arcade translation. Nathan Strum, who has created incredible artwork for many AtariAge homebrew games, provided in-game graphics and level design. Bob DeCrescenzo, known for his numerous, high-quality Atari 7800 games, supplied music, sound effects and the sound driver. The beautifully illustrated cartridge label, manual and poster were created by Dave Dries, whose previous work includes Space Rocks, Dungeon, and Phantom II / Pirate.

Great care was taken to make the Atari 2600 version of Scramble as true to the arcade as possible! If you're a fan of the original arcade game, you'll love this version. The graphics are quite impressive for the 2600, while gameplay and sound effects are spot-on. Plug in a Sega Genesis-compatible gamepad and you can fire your lasers and bombs independently, just as in the arcade. With an AtariVox or SaveKey plugged into the second controller port, Scramble will save your ten highest scores. For variety, you can choose from several gameplay modes, as well as single and burst shot modes.

Scramble Screenshot Scramble Screenshot Scramble Screenshot Scramble Screenshot

Game Options

  • Novice, Standard, Advanced, and Expert Modes
  • Two-button support with Genesis-compatible Gamepad
  • Built-in Pause Feature
  • Single Shot or Burst Shot Modes
  • High-Score Table stored in AtariVox/SaveKey (if present)

Scramble Poster

Dave Dries' beautiful artwork for Scramble is featured on a 10" x 14" poster we are including free with the game!

Scramble Poster

AtariVox Support

If you have an AtariVox or SaveKey plugged into joystick port 2, up to 10 high scores are saved for each skill level. The current skill level is also saved. To reset the high score table for the current skill level, while on the Score Ranking screen press and hold RESET, then press SELECT. All scores are reset to 10,000 points.

MelodyAdditional Information

Scramble is a Melody-enhanced game that takes full advantage of the DPC+ mode in the Melody. Scramble includes game cartridge, beautifully illustrated 8-page manual, and a 10" x 14" poster featuring Dave Dries' Scramble artwork! Available in NTSC and PAL60 television formats--please select above. If you do not select an option, you will receive an NTSC cartridge by default.

Get a Scramble Box!

Scramble BoxScramble Box

If you'd like a boxed copy of Scramble, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding Scramble to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your Scramble cartridge in place. We want you to play our games, so we have not sealed or shrinkwrapped the boxes in any way, allowing you easy access to the game cartridge and manual.

These boxes are the same size as boxes Atari produced for their games "back in the day". They look great sitting on a shelf with your other boxed homebrew games, or alongside games from the classic Atari 2600 library. We only have a limited number of boxes for each game, and there is no guarantee they will become available again once our supplies are exhausted. Click on the images to the right to see larger photos of the box.

Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick or Genesis-compatible Gamepad
Cartridge Size 32K DPC+
Code and Design John W. Champeau
Graphics and Level Design Nathan Strum
Music, Sounds Effects, and Sound Driver Bob DeCrescenzo
Additional Sound Effects Michael Haas
Label, Box, and Manual Design Dave Dries
Manual Text Dave Dries and Nathan Strum

BrettC on 07/21/2020 04:42pm
I bought this one, and I have to say it is amazing. I remember SCRAMBLE being one of my all-time favorites when I would hit CHUCK E CHEESE, and this brings back so many memories. The game play is super authentic to how it was in the arcade, and the graphics are mindblowing for the 2600. This has become my favorite game for the system.
root42 on 12/23/2019 07:39am
When I bought Mappy I was looking which other game I would buy, and on an impulse picked Scramble. In my youth there were no arcades (Germany classified those as gambling), so I know most arcade classics only from their home conversions, but even then we 'only' had a PC. So now I am discovering many of the classics for the first time. And Scramble couldn't have been a better pick. Doing a horizontal scrolling shooter on a device that doesn't support anything like that in hardware is a difficult task. And Scramble pulls it off. It's a bit on the hard side for me, I managed to beat the first Alien base only once or twice, on novice difficulty no less, but the action and gameplay is superb. Just keep smashing the fire button(s) and blast away anything on the screen! I need to rewire my joystick to support the optional second fire button, but even with one button the game is loads of fun. There is no soundtrack to speak of, but he graphics are fitting, there is very little sprite flicker and the sound effects are good. Thumbs up!
save2600 on 01/29/2019 09:48am
Believe the hype folks, because this is the real deal. Finally, one of my favorite arcade games gets a translation to the VCS and I couldn't be happier with it. Champ Games hits another one out of the park!
Mark Foster on 07/29/2018 10:51pm
Finally bought a copy of this one because i love being able to buy a cheaper deal without the box. The game still comes with an incredible instruction booklet and Scramble poster. Everything about this one is astonishing. The artwork in the manual and on the cartridge is stunning. Now the graphics. shocking! Unbelievable! You will think your 2600 has been holding out on you when you see the colorful sprites and hear the marvelous sound effects. I can not say enough good things about what Champ Games has put into this package. Buy this one, don't even think about it. Add it to your cart today. Your Atari collection will look so sweet once you own Scramble.
Infaction on 04/26/2018 08:48pm
It is really impressive for a VCS game. The gameplay is fun and can be as challenging as you prefer with the forgiving difficulty options. My kids (5 and 3) loved watching me play through it. The graphics and gameplay/control are excellent and the packaging is far superior to some of the homebrew stuff out there, which can often be underwhelming. Kudos to Dave for the awesome job; as a professional graphic designer I absolutely love it. Overall it's like one of those rare albums that is great from the first to last song!
tkarner on 10/16/2017 09:33pm
One of the best 2600 space shooters ever, original or homebrew. I first played a work-in-progress bin of this game about a year ago. It looked spectacular but the tunnel level was frustratingly difficult to get through. That was corrected in the final cartridge version. Not easy, but now it's fair. Definitely a recommended buy.
David Maddox on 09/19/2017 05:55am
Scramble is an AMAZING port of one of my favorite arcade titles. I can't believe this is an Atari 2600 gane. The graphics and sounds are VERY close to the original - right down to the opening music. Control is TIGHT, and you will appreciate that when dodging ufos and fireballs. Too bad we didn't have AtariAge games back in 1982, because most of the games we got back then are shovelware by comparison. Well done!
Jay on 09/12/2017 02:19pm
I hoped someone would bring out scramble for the 2600 and when i heard atariage was bringing it out i thought oh no not another version of super cobra. But this game is amazing .graphics .sound .and gameplay all brilliant. By far my favourite home brew. Well worth the money.
Well done to all involved.
Gray Defender on 09/02/2017 11:20am
Brought to us by Champ Games, remember them? They were the ones that did the awesome ports of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Galaga to PCs back in the early 90's, to name a few. It makes perfect sense because this is an amazing game, with tons of great options, difficulty settings, and high score save options. The original wonderment I experienced as a teenager in the arcade is still there when I play this version. It plays and feels like you are playing the arcade version. When I first heard this game was coming, I took a sneak peak at some of the early ROMs. I was excited to play the game on the Atari and couldn%u2019t wait for the official release. I love all the attention to detail that was placed into this version of Scramble. A few such examples are the box art, manual, starfield simulation, animated explosions, great sound effects, title and attract screens. The word "Atariage" displays on the base stage rather than "Konami". You also have the ability to select your preferred difficulty setting and two-button play (separate buttons for weapons & bombs) using a sega genesis controller. There are stage select and continuation options. Highly recommend. For more, check out my video review here:
Chris H on 09/02/2017 11:08am
This was my favourite arcade game of the early 80s, so it was disappointing to be told at my local Atari store at the time that it wasn't technically possible to have the game recreated for the Atari 2600. It was therefore with much excitement that I should accidentally stumble across a 2600 version of this game in 2017. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I felt compelled to rig up my Atari 2600 again for the first time in 7 years and order a copy of this game. I am pleased that I did both; my copy of Scramble arrived today and I am most impressed.

I have played the arcade version of Scramble in the intervening years on MAME and the 2600 version of the game is very faithful to the original. Just as good too in my opinion. All the levels are there and the way the game plays, along with the accompanying quality graphics and sound, for me put it on a par with the original. It really is a fine achievement and I'd go as far as to say that it is perhaps the best game I have played on the 2600.

The amount of effort that has been put in to this release of scramble, that includes the box, game instructions and poster, along with the game itself, really is impressive. Highly recommended.

Carmine on 08/24/2017 06:28am
Simply amazing. If only this game was available in the '80! Great graphic. Great feeling. Perfect!
Tarzilla on 08/21/2017 04:54pm
When I first played an earlier version at PRGE I couldn't believe it was running on a VCS, neither could the gentleman standing beside me (who had some experience programming the 2600 back in the day!)

Incredible artwork throughout; from box to manual to the included mini-poster.

The gameplay and sounds mimic the arcade original to a degree that I still don't believe was possible. Even using the single fire button for a 2 button game works well. Definitely a must-have game.
Paul Verrall on 08/21/2017 02:40pm
Remember when Super Cobra got released for the 2600? I do. I enjoyed it, but there was a sense of disappointment also. The bombs didn't drop the way I felt they should and it didn't really capture the feel of the arcade version all that much either. But, it served me well for my Scramble style game fix on the 2600.

Now in 2017, I can put aside Super Cobra and play Scramble for real on the 2600. This really surpasses all my expectations. Graphically, it is spot on, everything looks good, flicker is not annoying and the scrolling is as good as you'll get on the console.

Sounds are pretty good too with the opening jingle being very close to the arcade version.

The game plays incredibly well and shows just how much improvement can be made by tinkering and polishing throughout the development of a game. The wait for this one was most certainly worth it. With various difficulty levels to choose in the menu most gamers should be catered for and shouldn't find it too difficult to destroy the base at least once.

The levels seem pretty much laid out the same as the arcade version, the controls are very responsive and it's great that the game allows a Megadrive pad for two button control. If you're a fan of the arcade version, you'll not be disappointed with this lovingly crafted masterpiece.

I know there is some criticism over reviewers dishing out too many 5 out of 5 reviews, but this is one game that really deserves the accolade. A tippity top 5 / 5 from me. :)

Swami on 08/17/2017 09:34pm
This attracted me as an Atari variation of ColecoVisions Cosmic Avenger and various Super Cobra ports. Scramble by Konami holds a place of honor as the first continuous side scroller shooter arcade game. Theis single button shooting and bombing port to the 2600 adds a different twist on the two button versions and its derivatives. This is arguably the first port of the arcade game that is graphically faithful to the arcade game, which is a feat for the 2600. The UFO stage has the same vexingly hard to shoot UFOs despite your best barrage of laser blasts, although the arcade UFOs are somehow more nimble at crashing into you as you try to avoid their weaving motions. I think it shoots similar to Cosmic Avenger, but seems to drop bombs slower. Scramble has a better variety of stages than C.A. and the stage where you are pinned to the top of the screen is especially challenging. Professional thumb wrestlers will rejoice at the exercise it gives your thumb. I found myself wanting a "continue at last stage" option, as is often my desire in multistage games with increasing difficulty per stage.
Mephitblue on 08/17/2017 08:42pm
It's hard to believe this is an Atari 2600. Great graphics along with game play that really captures the feel of the arcade game.

The packaging includes a cool poster and instructions that are provided in a colorful small comic book. It looks like as much care and detail went into packaging of the game as the game itself.

Anyone who remembers the arcade game or just wants a multilevel vertical shooter should pick it up.

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