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Atari 2600 Emulation


Emulators, ROMs, FrontEnds, Tools - you'll find it all here. If you're new to emulation, we suggest you read the Beginner's Guide to Emulation to give you an idea of what you're looking at. If you're an emu pro, then dig in to our juicy emulation archives below.

Game ROMs:

ROMs are binary versions of your favorite classic games, they contain the actual code of the original cartridge. In order to enjoy emulation, you will need to download an emulator and the game ROMs that you want to play.

Click here for our extensive searchable ROM archive.

The following are the most popular Atari 2600 emulators available. All are of high quality, and I suggest you try them all before choosing your personal preference. Stella and z26 are updated most frequently and are your best bets. These are all off-site links to ensure you download the latest version.

Emulators

DOS/Windows Emulators

  • Stella - Popular 2600 emulator with versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
  • z26 - A high quality emulator with many options and is frequently updated. DOS, Windows, and Linux versions are available.
  • PC Atari - Easy to use, popular emulator.  DOS and Windows versions available.

Macintosh Emulators

  • Stella - As of Stella 1.4, the Macintosh OS X version of Stella is now up to date and should remain that way as new version of Stella are released. At present, this is the only viable Atari 2600 emulator or OS X.

Linux Emulators

  • Stella - As of Stella 1.4, the Linux version of Stella is now up to date and should remain that way as new version of Stella are released.
  • z26 - A high quality emulator with many options and is frequently updated. DOS, Windows, and Linux versions are available.

GP32 Emulators

  • VCS32 - A new 2600 emulator for the portable GP32 console.

Emulator Tutorials

Tim Warner has written several emulator tutorials to help you get started playing games on your home computer, including a tutorial on how to use the popular Atari 2600 emulator z26:

z26 Atari 2600 Emulator Tutorial

Files and Utilities

This section contains utilities and other files useful when running emulators. Most of these utilities are nice graphic front-ends for command-line emulators (z26 and Stella), and "Good 2600" is a useful utility for identifying and properly naming 2600 binaries. The "Stella.pro" file is extremely useful if you are using a version of the Stella emulator, as it will allow you to properly emulate the vast majority of roms without any hassles.

Utilities:

  • AtariFrontz - front end for z26
  • FEFA 2.5 - nice front end for 2600 emulators
  • FEZ26 - front end for z26.
  • Good 2600 V. 0999.3 - ROM renamer/fixer by Matt Cowering, it knows over 1200 games/hacks/versions
  • KStella - Stella frontend for Linux/KDE
  • Z-Launch - front end for z26.  (3.2MB download with pics and text)

Usefile Files:

You can help AtariAge

We're looking for the following ROM files - these ROMs have not been made publicly available and one of our goals is to preserve these games in binary format due to the possibility of bit rot on actual cartridges. If you have any of these ROMs, please contact us so that they may be permanently archived with other 2600 ROMs:

  • Good Luck, Charlie Brown
  • In Search of the Golden Skull
  • Loco-Motion

We have the ability to extract the ROM (or EPROM) from a cartridge, so if you have an actual prototype cartridge we can work with you to preserve the ROM. We can also read EPROM chips that are not sitting in a cartridge or on a board. In addition to the above unreleased games, we are also interested in any international ROMs that are missing from our database.