Classic 8-Bit Computing The Atari Way

In the classic gaming world, even before the NES arrived on the scene, there was no name more ubiquitous than Atari. Their famous 2600 console sold almost as many units as the Nintendo 64, but was released nearly 20 years prior. In many ways, despite making mistakes that led to the video game crash of the early 80s, Atari was the first to make a path in the video game industry. If you want to explore what the era of 8-bit computing was like in the Atari age, a new resource is compiling all kinds of Atari-based projects.

This site has everything, from assembling Atari 8-bit computers based on the 6502 chip, to programming them in BASIC and assembly, to running official and homebrew games on the hardware itself. This was put together by [Jason H. Moore] who grew up around Atari systems and later, their home computers. He even puts his biomedical experience to use here by designing a game for the 2600 called Gene Medic which can be found at the site as well.

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s and are looking for a bit of Atari nostalgia this site is the place to go. It’s even worth a visit from younger folks as well since the 8-bit world is a lot easier to get immersed in and learn the fundamentals of computer science. Of course, if you want to take it the other direction, it’s possible to modify the old Atari to add a few modern conveniences.

Photo via Evan-Amos

9 thoughts on “Classic 8-Bit Computing The Atari Way

  1. The Atari 800 etc. range of computers have a cool little OS which makes interfacing with all the IO devices very high-level; more so than MS-DOS. It’s a bit too fancy for the machine, actually; the BASIC would have been better if the OS used 2KB less ROM space.

      1. I’m sure 16K is a bit tight, yeah. :D The 400 and the 600XL only had that much. I’m thinking of getting a BBC microbit, but they only have 16KB and it’s putting me off. At least the Ataris could directly execute their ROMs, so the OS didn’t have to be loaded into RAM first. I think the microbit can only run code from RAM. Anyway, I think there’s a microbit simulator online, so I’ll try that first. It makes up for the lack of local computer shops where you could try computers and talk about them in the 80s. ;)

    1. Yeah…. :D I wasn’t sure whether to laugh of cry over some of the titles either, but there’s some good stuff in there too, and some of the purchases are probably interesting enough to warrant an article.

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