AtariAge at CGE2010 Classic Gaming Expo

7800 Expansion Module

Curt Vendel of Legacy Engineering is spearheading efforts to develop an Atari 7800 Expansion Module that would greatly expand the capabilities of the 7800. The module plugs into the cartridge slot atop the 7800 and adds the following features:

  • 128K of program area RAM in 8K segments to allow larger game programs to run on the Atari 7800.
  • The module will free up the MARIA and improve performance.
  • A Pokey sound chip (used in the Atari 5200 and 8-bit computers) for enhanced audio of games that implement its use.
  • The Pokey chip will also be wired to an SIO port to allow for future use of Atari 8-bit SIO computer peripherals.
  • A DB9 Port is also added for potential keyboard input.
  • Built in High Score Cart capability
  • An onboard BIOS is being developed to control certain functions and aspects of the module
  • A second, more advanced audio processor is being examined to possibly be implemented into the module for even greater audio capabilities.
Games are currently in development to take advantage of these new features, and test boards are presently being built. Cost is expected to be $79-$99 USD with a professional plastic enclosure, packaging and technical documents. Expected release date will be sometime around Fall 2010 if the development schedule continues at its current pace.

The 7800 Expansion Module is a collaborative effort from the hardware and software talents of GroovyBee (Mark), OpCode (Eduardo), Legacy Engineering (Curt), along with some advice from Steve Golson formerly of GCC (original developers of the 7800). It was decided early on in the project to incorporate input from game developers to ensure that the enhancements were tailored to what 7800 developers were looking for to allow them to expand their coding projects on the system.

We'll have the first public demo of this new 7800 Expansion Module in our CGE booth. If you're interested in learning more about the development of this new 7800 hardware, you can read this year-long thread on the subject in our forums.

Here's a rendering of the 7800 Expansion Module's external case:

7800 Expansion Module

7800 Joystick Controller Interface

AtariAge member GroovyBee is proud to announce the development of the GB-XC1 joystick controller interface. The GB-XC1 connects a Sony PlayStation PS1/2 controller to both joystick ports on the Atari 7800 simultaneously. The GB-XC1 was primarily designed to play Robotron: 2084 using a Sony PlayStation Dual Shock controller thus allowing the player to move and fire in independent directions. The interface is also compatible with the existing Atari 7800 back catalog and homebrew game library.

The GB-XC1's two operating modes are:


  • D-Pad - Left joystick direction.
  • L1 or SQUARE - Left fire button 1.
  • L2 or TRIANGLE - Left fire button 2.

Dual shock enabled

  • D-Pad - Left joystick direction.
  • L1 or SQUARE - Left fire button 1.
  • L2 or TRIANGLE - Left fire button 2.
  • Left analogue stick - Left joystick direction.
  • Right analogue stick - Right joystick direction.
  • R1 - Right fire button 1.
  • R2 - Right fire button 2.

A more feature enhanced interface will be available in late Autumn that will have full player programmable configuration of all directions, buttons and auto fire. Multiple memory slots will allow players to set-up the controller for their favorite games.

As a special bonus a PAL version of the Atari 7800's Robotron: 2084 will be made available in cartridge form on launch day.

The GB-XC1 allows future 7800 homebrew games to implement more complex player controls by making use of the two separate analogue joysticks and four fire buttons available on a single Sony PlayStation Dual Shock controller.

Versions of the GB-XC1 might also be available (with sufficient demand) for the Atari 5200 and Atari Jaguar after the 7800 launch.

Price : TBA

7800 Expansion Module

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