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I've created a monster!



I have created a monster… Perhaps it was the fumes from my previous review but recent circumstances would have led me to this sooner or later. Recently I killed my 2600 as well as one I had gotten that same day at a local game sale, a word for the wise, if you have a 6-switch 2600 DO NOT re-seat the chips it will murder the console. As a test to see if my hypothesis is correct I took a system that was at death’s door, somebody had spilled soda in it and it would only play Congo Bongo and Warplock and nothing else, and when I re-seated the chips it displayed the same garbled mess as the previous two. It was unsalable anyway so it was no great loss, also it got my hands both sticky and stinky, it smelled of sour rot so I don’t think anybody would have wanted it. This all leads me on to the beast I have created, I decided that if I was going to have a 2600 that wasn’t a Jr. it would have to be a four switch due to the simplified design, my local game store has one for sale for 45$ but since I know the owner he let me dig through his basement and take whatever I wanted to build a system with for 5$, and boy was it worth it. After a bit of work I narrowed it down to two boards, one gave off a clean video signal but nothing would play on it, the other gave off an incredibly staticky signal but would play games also it was missing it’s channel switch which in the long run really doesn’t matter. I swapped around the chips until I found the culprit, a shorted TIA chip which is basically responsible for just about everything, which explains the lack of video. There is something deeply wrong with the system though, it will play games, but the graphics are all wrong, you can still make out some of the original sprites but usually they are warped or fractured, the sounds are also a chaotic hodgepodge of squeals and screeches. This is unlikely to be the TIA chip’s fault since I have put over five of them in the machine and the output was the same for almost all of them, with the exception of one that was well and truly dead, I believe this may be due to a bad RIOT chip but I’ve also tested out several of them and still get the same issues. Still though, most games are playable, sure the graphics are screwed up, the sounds are screwed up, some games implode on themselves, and the system really wants everything that was white to be yellow for some reason. Also the channel select switch doesn’t work so it’s permanently set on channel 3 so that’s a drag. Some games are worse than others, some are entirely playable while some others will be glitched to high heaven, or be perfectly playable until you reach a certain point and then simply combust. But… for $5 this thing certainly delivers a weird and fascinating time, I’ve never played so many games in one sitting before just waiting to find the next mother of all glitches. I’ll include a video that was taken on my phones potato camera that shows off the horrendous sounds and screwy visuals. If anybody knows for certain what’s wrong with it please let me know it would be nice to have this fixed. Also for no real reason I have named the console Phillip, I suspect that Phillip doesn't have much more time in this world though...

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Which parallel universe are you living in, where you not only have a local game store which has an Atari 2600 for sale, but also has a basement full of bits and pieces for you to puzzle together?

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