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Atari 2600 Fun Facts and Information Guide

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START OF FAQ
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THE ATARI 2600 FUN FACTS AND INFORMATION GUIDE

FAQ Volume 0.26 Beta

By Christopher James Pepin

cpepin1@grfn.org
at710@detroit.freenet.org

Copyright (c) 1997 by Christopher James Pepin

All quoted sections are Copyrighted by their respective owners.

03/09/97

    This FAQ should be available at my web site.

    THE FORGOTTEN ARCHIVES
    http://www.grfn.org/~cpepin1/index.html

[As a beta version, don't expect a ton of info or that things
are completly neat. Enjoy!]

    Having been on the net for a while, I've come to
realize that I still don't know much about some of the games for the
2600. So if I don't know about some of these things ( I check
rec.games.video.classic and alt.atari.2600 almost every day) then
how would new people to the group know some of these things or even
know what to ask about. This is not a FAQ about the 2600 nor is it
a list of game descriptions and reviews. Instead it's a list of
interesting facts and such about various 2600 games. This
list is far from complete so please email me with any information
I don't have. If you think something is false, misleading, not
descriptive enough or whatever, please let me know. Any info,
no matter how small or insignificant is appreciated.
    The games are roughly in the same order as VGR's rarity
listing. The model numbers are also taken from the list as well.
I won't be listing rarity because it is so hard to
define and VGR is already semi-in-charge of determining rarity
anyway.
    Also, I sometimes mention label variations if I think they
are interesting enough, but not always. There's already a
pretty decent label variations listing out there. John Earney
is in charge of that. (See end of document.)
    Kevin Horton has an interesting document explaining the
different types of bankswitching used by companies to make their
games larger than the limited 4K allowed by the 2600. It's
called SIZES.TXT and is available from his web page. (See
end of document.)

[NOTE: The following quote is included because in several
instances, I plan to quote Kevin about different technical
things and he has a tendency to talk about different
bankswitching methods. I've included the following chart to
help you understand what he means when he refers to F6, F8,
etc. To better understand bankswitching methods, I implore you
to check out his web page. (See end of document.)]

"3F STA $3F bankswitching found on Tigervision carts
E0 FE0-FF7 bankswitching (aka Parker Bros.)
E7 FE0-FE7 bankswitching found on M-Network carts
F6 FF6/FF7/FF8/FF9 bankswitching
F8 FF8/FF9 bankswitching
FA FF8/FF9/FFA bankswitching (aka CBS' RAM Plus)
FE 01FE/11FE bankswitching (aka Activision Robot Tank)
?? Unknown at this time "

        -- Kevin Horton

    Tim Duarte has graciously allowed me to reprint information
from his "2600 Connection" newsletter in this FAQ. This should
greatly enhance several sections as the "2600 Connection" is,
for the most part, the only source of information for several
games.
    Question marks (?) indicate where I am in need of
information or where the information I have could be incorrect.
Release dates are probably where you will see them the most.
    Games for the 2600 have been released for several different
television formats around the world. The most widely distributed
versions are NTSC (North America and Japan) and PAL (parts of
Europe, Australia, etc.) There are other television types but
these are the two main ones. Normally, especially with newer video
game systems, one can't play NTSC games on PAL machines and vice
versa without a special adaptor. With the 2600, on the other hand,
PAL games will play on NTSC machines and NTSC games will play on
PAL machines. The only problems are the colors will be messed up
and the screen might roll. The rolling comes from the different
resolutions between PAL and NTSC television sets. If the game
rolls, just adjust the vertical hold or try a different tv set.
    Since the Internet is constantly changing, web pages and
email addresses may vanish overnight. If you notice that
any of the email addresses or web pages listed in this document
no longer exist, please let me know. For those of you whose
web page or email address is listed here, please let me know
if they've changed. Thanks.
    Now, let the games begin. :-)

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ATARI - ATARI - ATARI - ATARI - ATARI - ATARI - ATARI - ATARI
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Atari is the company that created the wonderful 2600 Video
Computer System (2600 VCS). They also released more games than any
other video game company for the 2600. Some they made themselves
and others were licensed from other companies, usually arcade
companies that didn't have a programming division to do ports
for home machines.
    Atari also released some of their games through Sears
These games bore a Sears label, part number, and in several
instances, totally different names. (See Sears)
    Atari also released many of their games in PAL format. Carts
from the United States are in NTSC format. PAL games were released
in several European countries as well as Australia.
    Atari also licensed several of their games to Polyvox for
release in South America. (See Polyvox.)
    Activision has just recently licensed several games from Atari
for release with their Action Pack Atari 2600 emulator for PC and
Mac. (See Activision.)
    Atari also released a handful of games in Japan with Japanese
labels and boxes. Best Electronics had some Japanese boxes (no
carts though) for sale. I believe Keita Iida ended up with some
of them. Instead of releasing the Atari 2600, they released a
Sears Super Video Arcade II renamed the Atari 2800. Since Japan
is an NTSC country, I would assume the carts are in NTSC format.
    After the video game crash of 1984, Atari bought the rights
to some older games from other companies (such as Coleco and
Parker Brothers) and re-released them under the Atari brand
label.

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COMBAT - MODEL NUMBER CX2601 - ATARI
Sears Model Numbers "66" prefix - 99801
"49" prefix - 75124
NTSC & PAL versions available
Size = 2K
Release Date = 1977 (1978?)
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    The first game released for the 2600 is also the most common.
When searching for Atari games at thrift stores, flea markets,
garage sales, etc. one is bound to run across at least several copies
of this game. Having been the pack-in game for almost the entire life
of the 2600 (eventually being replaced by Pac-Man) almost everybody
owned a copy of this great two-player game.
    Originally Combat was intended to be built right into the system
itself, but at the last minute (for whatever reason) they decided to
just pack a cartridge in with the system instead. If you open up
an old Atari 2600 six switcher you will notice a spot on the
motherboard where the chip would have been.

"I decided to stick a ROM socket into my 6-switch and then desolder
a Combat ROM and stick it into the socket. I figured I would then
have the system that Atari originally intended to market. A 2600
with Combat built in.
    Well I got it... unfortunately that's all I got. I guess
there was extra hardware planned to go into the system to detect
whether there was a cartridge in the machine or not. Because if I
plug in a cart with the Combat ROM installed, the machine just
freaks out. It's too bad. It would have been neat to have a built
in game.
    Has anyone had any luck figuring out what else needs to be
added to the system so it will tell when a cart is plugged in and
ignore the internal ROM?"

    -- Crackers (Chris Cracknell)

    Combat was one of the games also released through Sears.
Sporting a new name, it appeared on the shelves as Tank Plus. (See
above for model numbers.) The Sears version was only released in
the U.S. (See Sears.)
    Combat also found its way onto Atari's (PAL only) 32-in-1
cartridge. (See 32-IN-1 - Model Number 26163 - Atari.)
    Combat's a miniscule 2K in size. Since it was the first Atari
2600 game, I guess that also makes it the first 2K game. :-)
    Combat was originally supposed to have a separate score screen
that would appear whenever one of the tanks was hit, but the
programmers were (thankfully) able to figure out a way to display the
score on the same playing screen.
    Most Atari games were usually the work of one programmer, but
Combat had three programmers working on it; Larry Kaplan, Joe DeCuir,
and Larry Wagner.
    Software bugs abound in Combat's code. Tanks traveling through
walls, getting stuck, etc. None of these are serious enough to
detract from the game but instead seem to add an extra bit of
upredictability.
    The jet fighting sections of the game were added because the
programmers had an Atari Jet Fighter arcade game sitting in their
lab that everyone liked to play.
    A sequel had been planned (Combat II) but was never released.
(See Combat II - Model Number CX26156 - Atari.)
    Combat has popped up in Activision's Atari Action Pack Vol #3
for Win95 and Mac. (See Activision.)
    Combat was one of the games licensed to Polyvox for release
in South America. (See Polyvox.)
    A pirated copy of Combat was also released as a 2600
COMPATIBLE cart called Frontline. (See 2600 COMPATIBLE)

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ADVENTURE - MODEL NUMBER CX2613 - ATARI
Sears Model numbers "66" prefix - NONE
"49" prefix - 75154
NTSC & PAL versions available
Size = 4K
Release Date = 1978
-------------------------------------------------------------------
    One of the first adventure games released for the Atari,
it is still one of the best in my opinion.
    Adventure was also released through Sears under their
brand label. (See above for model numbers.) The Sears version
was only available in the U.S. (See Sears.)
    A DOS program that displays a recreation of the Adventure
manual in color is available from VGR's web page. (See end of
document.)
    A map of Adventure is available as advmap.gif on Cudabert's
FTP site. (See end of document.)
    VGR has created a freeware DOS version of Adventure called
Indenture. It is not an exact recreation of Adventure since he
created it based on his observations while playing the game. It
is quite close though and fun to play. Not only that, but he has
expanded the game to include five levels instead of the original
three. The newest version is 1.7. It is available for download
at his web page. (See end of document.)
    Since Atari in those days did not want the public to know
who programmed their games (I believe they were afraid other
companies would try to steal them away.), they did not allow
programmers to put their names in their games. Fed up with
this practice, Warren Robinett, creator of Adventure, placed a
secret message in a secret room hidden in the game. To acess
this secret message, you must be on game 2 or 3. First, kill
off all three dragons in the game. Then go down from the
Gold Castle and travel right one screen where one of the force
fields are. Drag two or three objects to this room and drop them.
Then go to the Black Castle with the bridge carried beneath you.
Go straight up on the left side of the screen until you are
forced to turn left. Follow this path for a bit until you have
a choice of going up, down (where you just came from), left, or
left and down. Go left and down and follow this until you see
a small rectangular room just below the path. Use the bridge
to get down into this room. Go all the way down and to the
right into a corner as far as you can go. You will hear a
noise indicating you've picked up something. This is the
Black Dot. Drag this to the force field with the other items.
Drop the dot just on the other side of the force field and it
will start blinking. You can now pass through the force field
and enter the secret room. (If anyone wants to describe this
trick better, please do so and send it to me for inclusion.
Thanks.)
    A sequel was rumored, but I don't believe it even made
it to the design stage.
    A company called Applevision released a 2 in 1 game cart
called 2 in 1: Adventure & Air Sea Battle. I'm assuming this
is an unlicensed pirate copy of the game. (Does anyone have any
information on this cart?)   
    I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Adventure is
one of the games Activision has licensed from Atari for inclusion
in one of their Action Packs, but they haven't included it in any
of them yet. (See Activision.)

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VIDEO CHECKERS - MODEL NUMBER CX2636 - ATARI
NTSC & PAL Versions Available?
Size = 4K
Release Date = ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Carol Shaw produced this fun adaption of the classic board
game for the 2600.
    Alan Miller over at Activision was also working on a version
of Checkers for the 2600 at the same time. Neither of them were
aware of what the other was doing and, as a result, we ended up
with two different versions of the game for the 2600. (See
Checkers - Model Number AG-003 - Activision.)
    Video Checkers is 4K while Activision, on the other hand,
managed to squeeze their game into a miniscule 2K.
    The version of Checkers available on Atari's 32-IN-1
cartridge is not Video Checkers. Instead it is actually
Activision's version of the game. (See 32-IN-1 - Model Number
CX26163P - Atari.)

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GOOD LUCK, CHARLIE BROWN - MODEL NUMBER CX26112 - ATARI
NTSC only?
Size = ?
Release Date = Unreleased
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    A sequel to Atari's earlier Peanut's game (See Snoopy and
the Red Baron - Model Number CX26111 - Atari), the game was
never released.

    "Matt Lewandowski, a 2600 Connection reader, recently found
an Atari 2600 game that has been previously undiscovered. Matt's
brother bought several games for him at a flea market in Kenosha,
WI. When he came home and showed them to Matt, one of the
cartridges was a prototype version of Good Luck Charlie Brown
(by Atari). The cartridge is black and the words "LOANER CARTRIDGE"
is on the top of the front label. There are also two handwritten
labels across the middle of the front label. One states "Good Luck,
Charlie Brown" and the other is "18 Apr 84." Beneath the two labels
is "Prototype Lab Consumer Division Software Dept." The Atari logo
also appears at the bottom."

        -- Tim Duarte (2600 Connection #33, Page 1)

    Currently this is the only known copy of the game in
existence. The 2600 Connection also printed Matt Lewandowski's
address in case anyone wanted to write to him. He is, as far
as I know, not on the net.

Matt Lewandowski
2918 Union St.
E. Troy, WI 53120

    "The actual game consists of one screen. Charlie Brown has
to fly his kite while avoiding birds, balloons, rockets, and some
other weird shapes. At the bottom of the screen, there is a wind
gauge which tells how fast and which way the wind will push your
kite. There is also a timer which counts up, but it doesn't seem
to effect the gameplay. There are no sounds in the game, but the
graphics are better than average. Pushing up and down on the
joystick determines how much string is let out for the kite and
moving left and right will change the position of the kite.
Sometimes there are flashes of light in the air - which is most
likely lightning. According to Matt, there doesn't seem to be any
object to the game. It almosts sounds like the game was not
completed and still had some things that needed to be added to
the game. Perhaps Atari wanted to get the game out for an
evaluation, even though it was still in its rough stages."

        -- Tim Duarte (2600 Connection #33, Page 1)

    For more information, please contact either Matt Lewandowski
at the above address or Tim Duarte. (See end of document.)
If anyone has contacted Matt about this game, let me know.
If anyone else runs across a copy of this game, I would like to
know that too. :-)

    "Good Luck, Charlie Brown is mentioned on ATARI's
ehm.. Super Stars poster, the silver fold-out catalogue from '83
that came with Joust. There's no art. It just shows a black box
and a "Coming Soon" banner."

        -- Dr. Deleto

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DONKEY KONG - MODEL NUMBER CX26143 - ATARI
NTSC and PAL versions available
Size = 4K
Release Date = 1987
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Re-released by Atari in 1987, this Nintendo created game
was originally released for the 2600 by Coleco. (See Donkey Kong -
Model Number 2451 - Coleco.)

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DONKEY KONG JR. - MODEL NUMBER CX26144 - ATARI
NTSC and PAL versions available
Size = 8K
Release Date = 1988
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Re-released by Atari in 1988, this Nintendo created game was
originally released for the 2600 by Coleco. (See Donkey Kong Jr. -
Model Number 2653 - Coleco.)

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COMBAT II - MODEL NUMBER CX26156 - ATARI
No versions available
Size = ?
Release Date = Unreleased
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    It was rumored to have been at least partially programmed,
but no prototype or concrete evidence have surfaced...yet. There
was apparently some information about it in the November '83 -
February '84 issue of Atari Age (Volume 2 Issue 4) where they
mention that the game had been started on, but shelved in favor
of Battlezone. I haven't seen the issue in question, so this
information could be incorrect.

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32-IN-1 - MODEL NUMBER CX26163P - ATARI
only PAL version available
Size = 64K (32 banks of 2K)
Release Date = 1988?
-------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm not real sure about the exact story behind this cart,
but I'll put down what I think I know and if anything is wrong,
incomplete, etc. please let me know. Thanks.

"I very carefully peeled the label back on my 32-in-1 cart to see
what made it 'tick'. It's very simple, just a 27512-style ROM
(64K), a binary counter (4024), and a hex inverter (74C14). Every
power on/off/on cycle increments the counter once, which brings up
the next game. Sounds good in theory, but it doesn't work too well
in practice! :-) Usually it'll skip counts, so that you have to
keep turning it on/off/on/off to get to the game you want to play.
I manually incremented the counter and read the games one at a time.
This allowed me to tell the exact order the games are really in, and
to fairly easily get each one. Each game is 2K, and since there are
32, the total amount of memory is 64K. Also to note is there are
really only 31 games; Fishing Derby appears twice."

    -- Kevin Horton

   
    Atari packaged the 32-IN-1 (loose) with the Atari 2600 Jr.
in Europe. This might explain why most European collectors own at
least one. Though it should be noted that not every 2600 Jr.
came with a 32-IN-1 packed in with it.
    Since there are some that come with boxes, it must have been
available separately. Boxed 32-IN-1 carts are pretty hard to come
by. Dr. Deleto has a scan of the 32-IN-1 box on his web page.
(See end of document.)
    Since it was a PAL release only (as far as I know) a 32-IN-1
cart is quite common in Europe but extremely hard to find in the U.S.
So, if you're from Europe it might be a good idea to collect up
32-IN-1 carts for trading with Atari fans from North America.
    There are also several pirate games out there with a the title
of 32-IN-1. They are (I believe) totally different from Atari's
32-IN-1 cartridge.
    Not only are there Atari released games on the cart, but
several Activision, one Commavid and one U.S. Games / Vidtec
release as well.
    The 32-IN-1 cartridge did not come with an end label. Atari
must have decided to save a few pennies.
    My 32-IN-1 cartridge was produced in China. I don't know if
they produced them anywhere else though.
    In Australia, Atari also released the 32-IN-1 with a 7800
label, but it is actually the same as the 2600 version.

"The 32-in-1's were included with late-release 2600's and 7800's
(in Australia anyway, not sure about o/s). The cart is the same,
but the label is different for the 7800 (and has it's own
'label number'):

    Cart Product Number Label Number
    ---------------------------------------------------
    2600 32-in-1 CX26163P CA400226-163
    7800 32-in-1 (no product number) CA400266-163"

    -- Dennis Remmer

    Here is a list of games available on the 32-IN-1 cart.

game # Game Name
------ ---------
1 Space Jockey (U.S. Games / Vidtec)
2 Human Cannonball
3 Basic Math
4 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe
5 Flag Capture
6 Reversi (Othello?)
7 Golf
8 Surround
9 Checkers (Activision)
10 Casino (Blackjack?)
11 Freeway (Activision - Rabbits)
12 Miniature Golf
13 Football
14 Slot Racers
15 Fishing Derby (Activision - Burgermeisters and Crabs)
16 Space War
17 Boxing (Activision)
18 Air-Sea Battle
19 Freeway (Activision - Chickens)
20 Tennis (Activision)
21 Combat
22 Slot Machine
23 Skiing (Activision)
24 Stampede (Activision)
25 Outlaw
26 Fishing Derby (Activision)
27 Skydiver
28 Laser Blast (Activision)
29 Basketball
30 Cosmic Swarm (Commavid)
31 Bowling
32 Baseball

------------------------------------------------------------------
SAVE MARY - MODEL NUMBER CX26178 - ATARI
NTSC version only?
Size = 16K?
Release Date = Unreleased
------------------------------------------------------------------
[NOTE: Save Mary is sometimes called Saving Mary.]

    Previously unreleased, several prototypes were discovered
recently in an Atari warehouse.

    "Best Electronics, going through what is rumored to be the
last Atari warehouse, uncovered eight copies of the game Save Mary
and were able to rescue them. The eight copies were recently
auctioned off, and I ended up with one."

        -- Russ Perry Jr. (2600 Connection #35, page ?)

    Save Mary was produced for Atari by a company called Axlon.
This was a company started up by Nolan Bushnell (who founded Atari)
and Todd Frye (who created that wonderful version of Pac-Man for
the 2600 that we all love. :-))
    The object of the game is to build a tower at the bottom of
a river gorge so Mary can climb up it to avoid being drowned
by the rising water. You have an unlimited number of bricks,
so you don't have to worry about running out. Just don't
drop one and skoosh Mary or you're out a life. You're
also out a life if you don't build fast enough and the rising
waters drown poor Mary. Nolan Bushnell, talking about letting
Mary drown, says, "The guilt you feel is tremendous."

    "You have a sort of crane that you can extend toward the
river and back up. You use it to grab bricks that slide out from
the sides at the top of the gorge, then lower them as far as you
can to drop onto the platform Mary walks on. You have to be
careful not to drop the bricks on her though-while Nolan says
you feel tremendous guilt, I feel more frustration because
you can only lower the crane halfway to the river bed, and
oftentimes Mary will walk under the falling brick after you've
let go, and there's nothing you can do but watch her die.
    However, Mary is smart enough to seek the high ground as
you build, so when you lay down one brick, she will climb up and
stay there, allowing you to lay other bricks on that level
without risk. In fact you have to lay other bricks on that level,
as Mary can only climb up one level at a time, and if you tried
to build one pile only, you will squash her with the second
brick.
    It is a bit difficult to line bricks up directly side by
side, having to drop them from so far up, and often they will
break, but there is also a fair amount of leeway, so you can
leave gaps and still build Mary's way out. Eventually the pile
is high enough that you can grab Mary with the crane, and once
you've deposited her on the river bank, that round is over."

        -- Russ Perry Jr. (2600 Connection #35, page ?)

    The game, according to the auction notice, has three
levels.
    Before the discovery of the eight prototypes, no known
copies of the game were believed to exist.
    For more information, please check out 2600 Connection #35.

------------------------------------------------------------------
2600 COMPATIBLE - 2600 COMPATIBLE - 2600 COMPATIBLE
------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Some of these say imported by Zellers. They're red boxes
that say "2600 Compatible" across the top of the front of the box.
The carts don't give any indication of who made them."

        -- John Earney

-------------------------------------------------------------------
FRONTLINE - MODEL NUMBER ? - 2600 COMPATIBLE
NTSC version only?
Size = 2k?
Release Date = ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    This game is either a copy of Combat or a modified version.
If anyone has this game, please let me know. (See Combat - Model
Number CX2601 - Atari.) It does not have any relation to Coleco's
game Front Line.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ACTIVISION - ACTIVISION - ACTIVISION - ACTIVISION - ACTIVISION
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Activision produced numerous top-quality games for the Atari
2600.
    Their first 2600 game, Dragster (See Dragster - Model Number
AG-001 - Activision), appeared in 1980.
    Activision carts had little slits in them so when they were
stacked on top of each other they would lock into place, preventing
them from falling all over the place.
    Some of the early Activision carts had foam padding
surrounding the cart connector. I'm assuming this was an attempt
to prevent dust and dirt from building up.
    Unlike other game companies (such as Atari), Activision
went out of their way to let everyone know who was programming
their games. They put their pictures and names in the manuals
and even went so far as to print their names right on the cartridge
label itself.
    Activision also ran a high score club where players would
recieve special patches if they sent in a picture proving they
had beat the required score for a game. Sometimes, if Activision
ran out of certain patches they would send patches for other games
instead.
    Several Activision games mysteriously ended up on Atari's
32-IN-1 cartridge. (See 32-IN-1 - Model Number CX26163P - Atari.)
    After the video game crash of 1984, Activision ended up
with the rights to several Imagic games. (See Imagic.)
    Several pirated Activision games have found their way onto
both the NTSC and PAl versions of the TV-Boy.                
    Activison recently released several Atari 2600 emulators in
Win 3.1, Mac and Win 95 versions. So far three different volumes
have appeared, each with a different set of games. They not only
have Activision games, but some Atari and Imagic games as well.
    Activision also has some strange relationship with Absolute.
Does anyone know the full story of this?    (See Absolute.)
    Sometime after the crash, Activision re-released several of
their older games and a couple of the Imagic games they had
gotten the rights to in generic blue labels with black text.
    Activision (apparently) also licensed some of their games
to Polyvox for release in South America. (See Polyvox.)
   
-------------------------------------------------------------------
CHECKERS - MODEL NUMBER AG-003 - ACTIVISION
NTSC (PAL?)
Size = 2K
Release Date = ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    An electronic version of the ancient and classic board game
Checkers.
    Alan Miller, a former employee of Atari, was the creator of
Activision's Checkers.
    While work on the game was underway, a version of Checkers
was also being worked on by Atari's Carol Shaw. Neither of them
knew the other was working on a checkers program. That's why
there are two different versions of Checkers available for the
2600, one from Atari, the other from Activision. (See Video
Checkers - Model Number CX2636 - Atari.)
    Checkers was originally planned to be in 3-D with the use
of colored 3-D glasses, but the plan proved to be unfeasable.
    Alan consulted Stanford professor Arthur Samuels on ways to
construct his checkers playing algorithms.
    Alan managed to squeeze his game into only 2K worth of space
versus Atari's 4k.
    Checkers was one of the games that was available with a
foam circuit board protector.
    When it's the computer's turn, the screen goes black in
order to allow the computer to do more thinking calculations.
    Checkers, strangely enough, shows up on Atari's 32-IN-1
cartridge. (See 32-IN-1 - Model Number CX26163P - Atari.)
They probably used Activision's version of Checkers instead of
their own because Activision's was 2K and they were only using
2K games on the cart. Though how they got the rights to
use Activision games is beyond me.
    Checkers was Alan's first game for Activision.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ARCADIA - ARCADIA - ARCADIA - ARCADIA - ARCADIA - ARCADIA - ARCADIA
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Arcadia was the original name for Starpath. (See Starpath.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ECKHARD STOLBERG - ECKHARD STOLBERG - ECKHARD STOLBERG
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Eckhard is currently hard at work on making a version of
Tetris for the 2600. (See Cubis - Model Number ? - Eckhard Stolberg)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
CUBIS - MODEL NUMBER ? - ECKHARD STOLBERG
NTSC and PAL versions available
Size = 4K
Release Date = Unreleased
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    On December 2, 1996, Eckhard uploaded PAL and NTSC prototype
copies of his game to the Stella mailing list. (See end of
document.) [NOTE: I seem to have lost the original post. Could
someone send me a copy of it?] Since the game was in playable
form, he received many suggestions on ways to improve it.
    I personally did not like the fact that pushing up on the
joystick advanced me to the next level. Fortunately, he said he
would try to change that, among other things.
    It should be noted that both versions of the game appeared
to play exactly the same on my NTSC tv. The colors of the pieces
were exactly the same in both versions. Upon talking
to Eckhard, the colors I was seeing are not the same as the ones
he was seeing on his PAL tv.
    Overall, the game appears to be coming along quite well.
Hopefully a newer version is released soon. :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
GAMELINE - GAMELINE - GAMELINE - GAMELINE - GAMELINE - GAMELINE
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gameline attempted to create a rental-type system for the
2600 where users would download games into a special cartridge
called the Master Module. (See Gameline Master Module - Model
Number ? - Gameline.)

    "GameLine would provide Atari VCS games via phone lines from
a central computer in Vienna VA, charging a fee per download. The
downloaded games would cease to function in a few plays, requiring
the player to re-connect and download again."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 4)

    The service wasn't exactly cheap, for customers had to pay
a yearly fee of $15.00 plus they had to pay for every game they
downloaded. The Master Module cost $49.95.


    "Electronic Games readers were permitted to enroll in the
service as charter members, at a slightly cheaper price than the
usual cost of $49.95 (which included one year's service)."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 4)

    "The complete setup consisted of a GameLine Master Module,
telephone cable, introductory poster, membership card, sign-up
agreement, premiere issue of Gameliner magazine, and a very
attractive binder containing summarized rules for all available
games. Over the years, as my game cartridge collection has
expanded, those pages have become more and more valuable to me
as original rule booklets have become more and more scarce.
Through this binder, I have complete rules for some of the
most obscure cartridges in my collection."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 5)

    After connecting to Gameline, the user would enter their
Personal Identification Number (PIN) and then a three digit
number specifying which game they wanted to play. The number
999 would allow the user to scan through a complete listing
of all the games available from the service. After the game
was downloaded into the unit, the user would be allowed to play
$1.00 worth of credit, which was about eight plays. After the
eight plays were used up, the unit would prevent one from
playing the game any further. If one wanted to keep playing,
they would have to reconnect to Gameline and download the game
once again. [Hmm, I wonder if anybody hacked into their units
to prevent the game from being deactivated once they used up
their credit? Would it have even been possible? Not that I'm
saying anyone should do something like that. I'm just curious.]

    "No X-rated games were accessible via GameLine, whose
focus was family-oriented play. The companies present included
many third-party publishers, the largest of which was Imagic.
However, there were some crucial omissions. Since GameLine was
unable to sign Atari, Activision, Coleco, Matttel, and Parker
Brothers, many of the industry's biggest hits never appeared on
GameLine."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 6)

    The service ultimately did not prove very popular and
Gameline went out of business. They didn't quite disappear
though, leaving the Atari 2600 behind they eventually
moved on and became...America On-Line.

Games Available on Gameline:

Airlock
Alien
Atlantis
Bank Heist
Bermuda Triangle
Boing
Bugs
Cakewalk
China Syndrome
Coconuts
Commando Raid
Cosmic Ark
Cosmic Creeps
Cosmic Swarm
Cross Force
Crypts of Chaos
Deadly Duck
Demolition Herby
Demon Attack
Dragonfire
The Earth Dies Screaming
Eggomania
Encounter At L-5
Entombed
Fantastic Voyage
Fast Food
Fire Fighter
Flash Gordon
Frankenstein's Monster
Gangster Alley
Gopher
Guardian
Infiltrate
Jawbreaker
King Kong
Lost Luggage
M. A. D.
Marauder
M*A*S*H
Megaforce
Mines of Minos
Moonsweeper
Name This Game
Nexar
Nightmare
No Escape
Picnic
Piece O' Cake
Planet Patrol
Polaris
Porky's
Raft Rider
Ram It
Revenge of the Beefsteak Tomatoes
Riddle of the Sphinx
Room Of Doom
Save The Whales*
Shark Attack
Shootin' Gallery
Sneak & Peek
Solar Storm
Space Cavern
Space Jockey
Spacemaster X-7
Squeeze Box
Sssnake
Stargunner
Star Voyager
Tape Worm
Threshold
Towering Inferno
Trick Shot
Turmoil
Warplock
Word Zapper
Worm War I

    *Save The Whales was a Gameline exclusive. (See Save The
Whales - Model Number ? - Gameline.)

    For more information on Gameline, please check out 2600
Connection #31. (See end of document.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
GAMELINE MASTER MODULE - MODEL NUMBER ? - GAMELINE
NTSC only?
Size = ?
Release Date = 1983
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    "The GameLine Master Module itself was a silvery gray box
considerably larger than even a Starpath Supercharger. It measured
1 1/3 by 4 2/3 by 9 1/2 inches. Its smaller end, which plugged into
the 2600's cartridge slot, was long enough to accommodate emulators
such as Coleco Expansion Module #1. The user plugged a standard
modular phone cord into the side of the GameLine unit, and plugged
the other end into the wall."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 5)

    The Master Module contained a 1200 baud modem. That may seem
slow by today's standards, but in 1983 it was super zippy.

    "The GameLine unit was capable of both tone and pulse dialing,
and it had a sophisticated method for trying several ways to reach the
central CVC computer. Once connected, it remembered how to reconnect
later. This was a very well-designed, easy to use system for such a
complex process."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 5)

    One would have to enter a number between 000 and 998 to select
a game to be downloaded into the Master Module. (999 would bring
up a list of games available.)

    "Once a game was selected, the central computer would download
the game to your unit, and you would be able to play the game. The
onscreen loading process consisted of vertical bands of color
progressing from the edges of the screens toward the center, very
similar to the Supercharger loading sequence."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 6)

    So far I haven't heard of any hardware or software hacks for
the Master Module.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
SAVE THE WHALES - MODEL NUMBER ? - GAMELINE
NTSC Version only?
Size = 4k?
Release Date = ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    A game exclusively available from Gameline. This was, as far
as I know, never released in cartridge form.

    "Sensing that the GameLine was about to breathe its last, I
videotaped short segments of every game I could download until the
9V battery that powered the unit finally gave out. I made it
through the letter "P," or about two-thirds of the game library.
Unfortunately, I was not successful in videotaping a segment
of the most unusual game to grace the GameLine, Steve Beck's Save
The Whales. What was so different about this game other than its
unfamiliar title? Well, it has never, to this day, been released
in cartridge form. It was available only from the GameLine, and
following the demise of the service, its fate is unknown."

        -- Dan Skelton (2600 Connection #31, Page 5)

    I'm assuming that Steve Beck was the programmer of Save The
Whales.
    I've heard that a game called Save the Whales is listed as
being produced by Spectravision / Spectravideo, but does it have
any relation to the one on the Gameline?
    If anyone has any additional information about this game,
please contact me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
HOZER VIDEO GAMES - HOZER VIDEO GAMES - HOZER VIDEO GAMES
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ed Federmeyer has written several Atari 2600 games so far and
is planning on doing several more.
    Both SoundX and Edtris 2600 have been selling quite well
and are still available. (See SoundX - Model Number EF-1 - Hozer
Video Games.) (See Edtris 2600 - Model Number EF-2 - Hozer Video
Games.)

    "I will say as an interesting fact that both are still
selling, at about 1 SoundX per 2 Edtris 2600."

        -- Ed Federmeyer

    Authorized carts of his games are being produced by Randy
Crihfield. (See end of document.) If you wish to order one of
Ed's games, the orders must go directly to Randy.

    "Coming soon: (maybe!)

    Pitfall 3, or Ed's pit 3, or something similar. Ed is
    dabbling with a pitfall style game to be released some time
    soon (hopefully!) - If you would like to leave comments to
    Ed about what you would like to see in a game, drop him a
    line at fedeedw@charlie.cns.iit.edu.

    Coming later: (well, not soon!)

    Some game using the driving controllers! Ed would like to
    write up a cart that uses the driving controllers, if you
    can think of a good game for him drop him a line on that
    as well."

        -- Randy Crihfield

    Currently busy with other projects, Ed has had little time to
work on more 2600 games. He is still planning on doing a Pitfall-
type game, but it will be some time yet before he gets a chance to
work on it. A game using the driving controllers is still under
consideration but won't appear until after the Pitfall-type game.
Both games are still a long ways off, so don't expect them anytime
soon.
    By the way, Ed would like to hear from anyone who has tried
playing either of his games on a PAL system.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
SOUNDX - MODEL NUMBER EF-1 - HOZER VIDEO GAMES
NTSC version only
Size = 4K
Release Date = 1994
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    "SoundX with Dazzledemo:

    A sound generating cart, that allows you to set pitch,
volume, etc for both voices of the 2600. Basicly, you can
make any sound the stock 2600 can make and the values are
right there for your use if you would ever want to write
your own game cart. Dazzledemo is an extra bonus, it cycles
through all the color combinations of the 2600 in an
eye-catching style. In the center of the dazzledemo screen
your custom serial # appears, each cart has a serial number
built into the game."

        -- Randy Crihfield

    SoundX was Ed's first Atari 2600 cartridge. While not an
actual game, it is still an interesting program.
    A version of SoundX with an unique serial number was
included on the Supercharger CD as a binary and as a supercharger
audio track. The source code was also included. (See Supercharger
CD - Model Number AR-4601 - Cyberpunks.)
    Here is Ed's comment on how long it took him to write
SoundX.

    "It was about 3 months, working a few hours on the weekends,
and once in a while a few hours on a weeknight for SoundX."

        -- Ed Federmeyer

    SoundX is currently still available from Randy Crihfield,
who is the authorized cart manufacturer for Hozer Video Games.
The price per cart is $16 U.S., international is slightly more.
To order a cart, please contact Randy Crihfield directly. (See
end of document.) Orders for carts MUST go to Randy and not Ed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
EDTRIS 2600 - MODEL NUMBER EF-2 - HOZER VIDEO GAMES
NTSC version only
Size = 4K
Release Date = 1994
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ed Federmeyer produced a Tetris clone for the Atari 2600
called Edtris 2600 or Edtris for short.

    "A Tetris clone game for the 2600, features good sound
effects, 9 levels of speed, a music soundtrack that speeds up with
the game, and color changing bricks (the harder the game gets, the
different the colors are). This game also features a title
screen, where your personal serial number appears."

        -- Randy Crihfield

    Edtris 2600 is currently still available from Randy Crihfield,
who is the authorized cart manufacturer for Hozer Video Games. The
price per cart is $16 U.S., international is slightly more. To
order a cart, please contact Randy Crihfield directly. (See end of
document.) Orders for carts MUST go to Randy and not Ed.
    For more information about Edtris 2600, please contact the
author, Ed Federmeyer, at his email address. (See end of document.)
    It took about three months for Ed to complete Edtris, but
it should be noted he worked about 50% more per week on it then
he did for SoundX (which also took three months).

-------------------------------------------------------------------
MARK HAHN - MARK HAHN - MARK HAHN - MARK HAHN - MARK HAHN
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Back in 1987, Mark R. Hahn, creator of Pengo and The Dukes
of Hazzard for Atari, decided to write one more VCS game. The
result was a very fun game called Elk Attack. (See Elk Attack -
Model Number ? - Mark R. Hahn.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ELK ATTACK - MODEL NUMBER ? - MARK R. HAHN
NTSC Version Only
Size = 8K
Release Date - ?
------------------------------------------------------------------

    I emailed the author of Elk Attack and he was gracious
enough to respond.

    "The history of Elk Attack is not very interesting. In the
spring of 1987, finding myself unemployed, I wrote a VCS game
based very loosely on an arcade game called Electric YoYo. I
named my cart Elk Attack as a joke. I sent the cart to Atari
and Epyx for them to evaluate. Neither was interested, so I
stuffed my test eproms in a drawer and forgot them until I ran
across the STELLA emulator. Brad Mott had a wonderfull emulator
but no binaries to distribute with it. I gave him permission to
include Elk Attack with distributions of STELLA."

        -- Mark R. Hahn

    A rom image of the game is being distributed along with
STELLA. This is an Atari 2600 Emulator for DOS.

CP: Had you written any vcs games prior to Elk Attack?

MH: Pengo and the ill-fated "Dukes of Hazzard". I worked for
Atari for over 3 years.

CP: How long did it take you to write the game?

MH: It took about 3 months to write.

CP: What did you use for a development system?

MH: I used a Microtek Mice-II In Circuit Emulator and a PC
as my development system.

CP: Is there any particular reason you went with an 8k cart?

MH: I went to 8K because I wanted to be able to have several
different levels (mazes) in the game.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
PIERO CAVINA - PIERO CAVINA - PIERO CAVINA - PIERO CAVINA
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    On the fifth of February, 1997, Piero Cavina released a rom
image of an unplayable version of an upcoming game he has been
working on for the 2600. (See Mondo Pong - Model Number 1.0 -
Piero Cavina.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
MONDO PONG! - MODEL NUMBER 1.0 - PIERO CAVINA
PAL version only [NOTE: An NTSC version is planned.]
Size = 4K
Release Date - Unreleased
--------------------------------------------------------------------

    On Feb. 5th, 1997, Piero uploaded a preview copy of his
upcoming Atari 2600 game to the Stella Mailing List. (See end of
document.) Only a Pal version was released, but the game is
planned to be made NTSC compatible when it is completed.
   
    "In the best Supercharger tradition :) , please find
enclosed a preview release of my very first game for the Atari
2600. [NOTE: The game was encoded and attached to the announcement.
If you wish to get a copy, contact Piero directly] You can download
it to an unmodified Supercharger, burn an Eprom or run it on
emulators (I tested it on PC Atari emulator 1.5 by John Dullea
without problems). Remember that it's only a preview and it can't
be played!
    MONDO PONG! is currently PAL-only (though it might work on
NTSC machines, who knows) but will be hopefully convertd to NTSC
for the final release. Any help from you in US with NTSC TV sets
will be appreciated.

Comments etc. are welcome..."

        -- Piero Cavina

    The preview works fine on my NTSC 7800 and my brothers
tv seems to deal with it (no rolling), but the colors are probably
different than intended.
    Hopefully we will see the completed game soon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
POLYVOX - POLYVOX - POLYVOX - POLYVOX - POLYVOX - POLYVOX - POLYVOX
-------------------------------------------------------------------
   
    "The official Atari 2600 licensed manufacturer and
distributor in South America was Polyvox. Polyvox released a
wide variety of games and three distinctly different systems for
the 2600. Included among these releases were Activision owned
games as well as titles from the Atari library. One of the more
unusual of these was Space Tunnel, which was really Spacemaster
X-7, the rights to which Activision had laid claim in one way or
another."

    -- Jerry G.

    Were Polyvox releases in PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, or NTSC format?
If anyone knows, please let me know.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
COMBAT - MODEL NUMBER ? - POLYVOX
PAL-M (?) Version
Size = 2K
Release Date = ????
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    (See Combat - Model Number CX2601 - Atari.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
SEARS - SEARS - SEARS - SEARS - SEARS - SEARS - SEARS - SEARS
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the 1980's, Sears was a big force in the marketplace.
Sears contracted with Atari for them to produce Atari 2600
compatible machines, as well as cartridges, under the Sears brand
label. Atari could have refused and Sears would not have carried
Atari games or machines, but it was in Atari's best interest to
do as Sears asked. If Atari games were not available at Sears,
they would have lost out on reaching a large segment of the buying
population.
    Sears games are, for the most part, just regular Atari
releases in new packaging with new labels. For some reason, they
changed the titles of some of the games when they released them
through Sears. (Maybe in hopes of suckering people into buying
the same game twice? I'm not sure why they did it.) Oddly
enough, there were a couple of games that were available only at
Sears. It seems Atari never got around to releasing them under
their own label, though, as far as I know, they were planning too.
    Sears also had two different sets of model numbers, one
starting with "49", the other with "66".
    Sears games were, as far as I know, only available in the
U.S. (Do they have Sears stores in Canada?)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
TANK PLUS - MODEL NUMBERS "66" PREFIX - 99801 - SEARS
"49" PREFIX - 75124
NTSC Version Only
Size = 2K
Release Date = ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tank Plus is just Atari's Combat in disguise. (See Combat -
Model Number CX2601 - Atari.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ADVENTURE - MODEL NUMBERS "66" PREFIX - NONE - SEARS
"49" prefix - 75154
NTSC Version Only
Size = 4K
Release Date = ?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Adventure is just Atari's Adventure with a new label and new
packaging. (See Adventure - Model Number 2613 - Atari.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
ZIMOT - ZIMOT - ZIMOT - ZIMOT - ZIMOT - ZIMOT - ZIMOT - ZIMOT
-------------------------------------------------------------------

"zimot brand cart labels are made by me, arton..."

    -- Arton

    Arton, for whatever reason, has been taking actual carts
and making up his own painted foam labels for them.
He has been giving them out free to whoever trades with him.
The funny thing is, the pictures on the new labels usually have no
relation to the games he's putting them on. For example, a Pac-Man
label on a Combat cart. For more information check out his web
page or email him. (See end of document.)


-------------------------------------------------------------------




-------------------------------------------------------------------
CREDITS
-------------------------------------------------------------------

    Here is a listing of the numerous people whose help (directly
and indirectly) made this FAQ possible. If they have an email
address or web page it's shown in brackets. (ex. [gumby@pokey.com]
or [http://www.pokey.com/~gumby/index.html] These are in no
particular order.


GOD - Without him none of this would have EVER been possible.
    [Try praying, it's faster then email. Besides, GOD
    doesn't have an email address anyway. :-)]

Mark R. Hahn
    [hahndo@teleport.com]
    [?]

Ed Federmeyer
    [fedeedw@charlie.cns.iit.edu]
    [?]

Randy Crihfield
    [randy@rmtc.central.sun.com]
    [?]

RodneyS433
    [rodneys433@aol.com]
    [?]

Chris Cracknell (Crackers)
    [ad329@james.freenet.hamilton.on.ca]
    [http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ad329/Profile.html]

Kevin Horton
    [khorton@iquest.net]
    [http://www.iquest.net/~khorton/index.htm]

Brian Hammack
    [brian.hammack@rook.wa.com]
    [?]

Doctor Deleto
    [drdeleto@dds.nl]
    [http://oudedoos.hku.nl/PUBLIC/~atari2600/]

Julie Brandon
    [julie-web@merp.demon.co.uk.]
    [http://www.valendor.demon.co.uk/acn-uk/]

Jerry G.
    [JerryG@hevanet.com]
    [http://www.atari2600.com/]

Craig Pell (VGR)
    [vgr@clark.net]
    [http://www.clark.net/pub/vgr/]

Keita Iida
    [keita@mindspring.com]
    [http://www.mindspring.com/~keita/agh.html]

ACTIVISION
    [support@activision.com]
    [http://www.activision.com]

Bert Whetstone (Cudabert)
    [cudabert@aol.com]
    [ftp://ftp.magicnet.net/pub/users/cudabert/]

Warren Robinett
    [?]
    [?]

Dennis Remmer
    [dennis@dstc.edu.au]
    [http://www.dstc.edu.au/BDU/staff/dennis.html]

Arton
    [arton@servtech.com]
    [http://www.servtech.com/public/arton/]

Tim Duarte & The 2600 Connection
    [tduarte@umassd.edu]
    [tduarte@juno.com]
    [http://www.pictac.com/~tduarte/]

Dan Skelton
    [73742.464@compuserve.com]
    [?]

John Earney
    [jearney@best.com]
    [?]

Russ Perry Jr.
    [?]
    [?]

Piero Cavina
    [p.cavina@mo.nettuno.it]
    [?]

Eckhard Stolberg
    [Eckhard_Stolberg@public.uni-hamburg.de]
    [?]

--------------------------------------------------------------------
MAILING LISTS
--------------------------------------------------------------------

STELLA - THE ATARI 2600 PROGRAMMING LIST

To subscribe you can do 2 things:
1) send a message to stella-request@biglist.com with
    subscribe [your@email.address]
in the body. The [] is optional. If you don't include it, it
subscribes the account you're sending from. If you do, it'll
subscribe that account.

2) send a message to majordomo@biglist.com with
    subscribe stella [your@email.address]
Same deal with the email address.

In both cases, the Subject line doesn't matter.

You can get the whole list of available commands by sending a
message to stella-request@biglist.com with
    help
in the body.

ATARI 2600 FUN FACTS AND INFO GUIDE UPDATE LIST

    If you want to be notified when the guide is updated,
just send me your email address and I'll email you when
a new version is available on my web page.

Send me a message at cpepin1@grfn.org.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
END OF FAQ
--------------------------------------------------------------------
AtariAge - 2600 Fun Facts and Information Guide