The GATARI “2600” Musical Instrument


So do you have an Atari 2600 laying around collecting dust? Perhaps you’d like to have a musical instrument to take up the time that you would spend playing video games if you had a modern console. Well, look no further than the GATARI 2600!

[cTrix] made this device with a custom EPROM chip plugged in as a cartridge. Although details of the build are somewhat vague, this custom chip allows music to be written for the device. Everything is controlled with a joystick that tells the GATARI to generate the desired track. From this basic track, the sound is modified using three pedals including an equalizer, a flange pedal, and a hold pedal.

Check out the video after the break for a brief explanation of how it was built. Skip to 1:05 if you’d rather just see it in action at [Blipfest] in Japan!

If you’d rather listen to music rather than playing it, why not build your own snap together boombox instead!



  1. aztraph says:

    great job on that, not bad sound for 8 bit, but I wonder, with only 2 controls and 5 switches per control, how did you add all the extra bits, the eq and such, was that part of the gatari or did it go in after?

    this is what i imagine circuit bending should be.

  2. Per Jensen says:

    Great idea, using a staple to repair FFC! Though it looks that he tried with a soldering iron first – that don’t work ;-)

  3. bty says:

    wow awesome sound !

  4. Hirudinea says:

    Lets see, guys who play guitars get laid, guys who play with Atari 2600s never get laid, so will this think rip a hole in the space/time continuim?

  5. Vonskippy says:

    As graceful as a convulsing chimpanzee.

  6. jimbob says:

    guaranteed to repel any and all females within a 5 mile radius.

    altho to be fair, this guy doesn’t look like being swamped with women was much of a problem for him in the first place.

    also, vonskippy: LMFAO

  7. Eirinn says:

    Whoah some heavy electronic trance coming out of that monster :O

  8. Mark says:

    I can see an Amiga!!!

  9. ukhero says:

    why not add a touch tone telephone pad, that way you could have more tones…..
    cool build, splasmodic 8bit

  10. ukhero says:

    yes its an Amiga, should have used that could of had 14bit sound then 4 channels…

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