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David Crane's iPhone app about 2600 tech !


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See it: http://appshopper.com/reference/2600-magic

Other apps coming soon.


The Atari® Video Computer System™ started it all. There were other early game systems, but the Atari® VCS (also known as the 2600) was the first commercially successful programmable home game player.


Why was it so successful? What was the secret of its longevity? How does it do the things it does? Inside the 2600 lives an elegantly simple video circuit, far less capable than the circuits in other game systems. But this very simplicity made it possible for game designers to invent thousands of games.


2600 Magic, Volume One of David Crane’s Technical Wizardry Series, is designed to answer these questions.


With detailed descriptions and interactive diagrams, this iPhone App explains the internal video circuitry of the 2600 and shows how it is used to display the game playfields from many of the classic Atari games. You will be amazed by the lengths to which game programmers had to go just to put an object on the screen.


Edited by Rastignac
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Neat find - I wasn't expecting interactive bits. In this one you can slide the tank image up/down to see how the resulting scan line output changes.



The next example shows the full tank



Then another with the missile bouncing around



The interface works like an Atari too - slide the switches down to activate them :D


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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm surprised that this even exists. I mean the audience for this must be pretty limited at best. Then to release it as an iPhone only app? Confusing.


My guess it is due to the ease of distribution and relative security against piracy. Just a guess. It is a bit odd though, as I'm sure they'd sell a lot of a computer-formatted version as well. The data from these iPhone apps will no doubt eventually turn up in some other form whether the authors release it that way or not, unfortunately.


I have read through the 2600 Magic one (on my iPod touch), and it did help me to better understand many of the concepts that I didn't quite grasp before. It's very well presented, if not extremely in-depth as someone previously pointed out. The Dragster Magic one (that I haven't read, just flipped through) is longer and apparently goes into more depth, even offering assembly code listings, so maybe that's where it fills in some of the technical gaps. Looks like Pitfall! is the next subject they will be releasing.

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Yeah, I could see this as a web based subscription sorta thing. Seems to me you'd get a bigger and more targeted audience online. Imagine these lessons being offered through AtariAge! That would be cool and worth subscribing to!


It also makes me look into the not so distant future when iPhone emulators are offered and you can browse through these apps on your PC/Mac/Tablet/Chip Implant/Holograph Machine/Color Etch-a-Sketch.

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