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Halo 2600 was released at the Classic Gaming Expo

Halo_title Who says the Atari 2600 is dead. Now … I’ll admit. I’m not a Halo fan. I personally think the game is slow paced and rather boring. But I do like what other people come with in a game. Despite the fact that this is an Atari 2600 game, and the developer limited himself to using 4K of space. So no bankswitching or any of those things to provide more space. He has managed to create an extremely playable and fun game. And even the enemies are recognizable, and of course, Master Chief is instantly recognizable his his pixelated forrm. The graphics (by Atari 2600 standards of course) are extremely good, the sound is what you would expect from the system, and the control is perfect. If you’ve ever played Berzerk, it plays a lot like that. Only you can’t shoot diagonally. Here’s a little excerpt from his thinking behind the game (you can read the quite long post via the link) :

Hi guys, here's the story of how this game came about:
(note - I wrote this description for a general audience. sorry that you guys will already know the stuff I'm trying to explain below)
Last fall I was in Philadelphia, speaking at a small video game conference. On the way to the airport I was talking about writing games for the Atari 800 in the early 80s and someone suggested that I read the book "Racing the Beam" about programming the Atari 2600. It sounded cool so I did.
After reading the book I thought it might be fun to play around with writing some of my own code for the machine. I hadn't written 6502 assembler in almost 30 years but it turns out it's pretty easy to pick up again since there are so few instructions. I wasn't sure what to write so I created a little Master Chief from Halo and made him run around the screen. Then I created an Elite for him to shoot at. At this point it wasn't my intention to make a full game. I was just screwing around.
The thing you need to realize about the Atari 2600 is that it is an incredibly limited machine. It has only 128 bytes of RAM and without bank switching the maximum program size is just over 4000 bytes. There are just two 8 pixel wide monochrome sprites, two one pixel bullets, a "ball" and a 40 pixel wide background (and even that is exaggerating...). There is no memory to store the screen image like any modern console or PC, instead it has to be drawn a line at a time by changing the values of the registers that control the sprites and background. The processor is so slow that only 76 clock cycles occur while a line of the screen is being drawn, and the simplest 6502 instructions take at least 2 clock cycles. So just to draw an image of the Master Chief is pretty tough. To create a complete game while living within these constraints is much harder.


And with the link above you can download the game. So there you have it. Awesome little game. :)

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