Fixing the worst video game ever: E.T. for Atari 2600


This hack has got to be every gamer’s dream. Someone actually took the time to dig through the binary file of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and fix the errors that made it an abomination of a title for the Atari 2600.

This is quite a feat in many ways. First off, you need to know the game well enough to understand where they problems lie. The Internet is a huge help in that regard as there’s no shortage of sources complaining about the game’s shortcomings. This turns out to be one of the articles strongest points as the author takes time to address the most common myths about bugs in the game. From there he goes on to discuss the problems that were actually fixed. Some are just general tweaks like the color fix listed above. But most of them are genuine improvements in the game play, like the falling fix which prevents E.T. from falling in this pit when his feet are obviously not anywhere near the edge.

So you couldn’t get your hard earned bucks back for a bummer of a game back in the day. But at least a few decades later you can fix the things that made it suck and play it through the way it should have been.

[via Reddit]

Help 2600 Magazine Compile a List of Dates for their Hacker Calendar!

2600, the magazine familiar to many as a preeminent hacking quarterly, is publishing a calendar. While, according to the 2600 site, most calendars only mark holidays, 2600 intends to “provide as complete a guide to milestones in the hacker world as humanly possible.” Not an easy task considering that, depending on your definition, hacking could extend to the discovery of fire, or at least the wheel.

2600 gives some examples in which they only list events back to March 3, 1885, when AT&T was founded.  If this example is followed, that “only” gives one 126 years to work with, but compiling a full list of hacking dates is still a daunting task. If you can think of any dates worthy of consideration, email them to:  We think maybe September 5th, 2004 might be a notable date to include. We’ll leave it up to figure out what that date is, in case it wasn’t painfully obvious.

2600 magazine runs a sale for the 20th century back issues

In an effort to clear out some warehouse space, 2600 magazine has dropped the price for issues from 1984 to 2000 down to $2.50 each. If you haven’t read 2600, the Hacker Quarterly, shame on you. Pick some up and get reading. They are a resource beyond any other magazine out there for hacking and security related issues. They don’t gloss over the good bits either, they give detail because they know what they are talking about.  Just to further prove that point, we present to you, the image above. Yes that is a schematic of a bluebox on a child and yes, you can buy it in their store(the shirt).

Update: Atari pause button

The Atari 2600 pause circuit is now available in a kit form. We saw this pause method back in February and the kit uses the same circuit. We don’t really need a kit for this, the board is very simple to throw together. But we do appreciate the detailed installation instructions (PDF) that accompany it. After all, you don’t want to kill you classic gaming rig with a botched install.

[Thanks CPUWIZ]

2600 game jukebox

[Yuppicide] sent us a link to a photo album of an Atari 2600 modified to play ROMs stored inside. We did some digging around and have an idea of what’s going on. It seems that the creator, [Victor] has taken his Atari 2600 cartridge emulator one step further.

Previously, he had replaced the chip in an Atari cartridge with an EEPROM that he could reprogram via a ribbon cable. This new iteration places that EEPROM inside the case of the gaming console along with a PIC development board. The PIC board interfaces an SD card with somewhere around 1200 ROMs on it. Three switches added to the front of the Atari allow the user to cycle through available games and flash the desired title to the EEPROM. As you can see, a 2×16 LCD display now resides in the cartridge opening.

This seems a little more eloquent (and less legal) than the Super Genintari.

S-video from an Atari 2600


[Ben Heck] posted this writeup about getting S-Video/composite out of an Atari 2600. This is actually the hack of [Longhorn Engineer], who showed it to [Ben] at a recent event. If any of you have tried to play these classics on a modern TV you may have found it to be quite difficult. If you manage to get it physically connected, through adapters and such, you may still have video issues. This alleviates that issue completely. After you solder this in, your Atari has native composite/S-video. As you can see in the video after the break, it seems to work pretty well.

Continue reading “S-video from an Atari 2600″

Atari Xbox 360 controller


It’s amazing what [Ben Heckendorn] can manage to crank out in just five hours. This time it’s a wireless Xbox 360 controller stuffed inside an Atari 2600 controller. The guts are from a Guitar Hero 3 controller. It’s a fairly compact board and [Ben] used thin ATA wire for the connections. While it doesn’t have all the buttons of a true Xbox controller, this 3600 controller has enough to make it useful in arcade games. The joystick portion was reused without any modification. Things like the guide button and ring of light are located underneath.