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Atari 2600 hacked with four joystick controllers


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I have designed a hardware-hack for the Atari VCS,

and my friend "The Silly Walker" made it. Thank you Manu !


This VCS now has two additional joystick port,
so we can play four players at the same time.
The main idea was to not use any additional
electronic component (chip, microcontroller, etc.).
So I have only used the five buttons of the console (except the on/off)

plus three unused pins on the TIA for a total of eight bits (four directions for each new player).



"add left controller" is the additional left controller.
There is also an "add right controller" at the opposite side.





For a complete presentation of the console, you can visit this page
Overview of the console : http://atarivcs.free.fr/console-atari-2600-hacked-02-4-joysticks-en.htm


I have hacked a game to be able to play four players,
and since these additional joysticks have no fire-buttons (only four directions),
I choosed to hack Surround into "Surround 4".


Surround 4 overview: http://atarivcs.free.fr/atari-2600-hacks-en.htm

Surround 4 Binary (NTSC): http://atarivcs.free.fr/Surround 4.bin





You can see four people playing this game
at the same time (Select level two has a black background to look more like Tron):

Video of four players at the same time : http://atarivcs.free.fr/surround4.avi




Edited by Zeelay
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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think that it is possible without adding more electronic components because SWCHA and SWCHB are completely used.

(my challenge here was to hack the console without adding any electronic)

However, the two original ports are unchanged, so it is possible to plug a savekey on one of them and still have three ports free for joysticks.

Edited by Zeelay
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On 1/18/2022 at 4:41 PM, Albert said:

Hi Igor,


Moving this to the Atari 2600 forum, since the Atari 2600 Hacks forum is for software hacks of existing games.  :)



Technically, his linked "Surround 4" game and BIN file are hacked games; you just need the modified ATARI to play them.

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On 2/5/2022 at 9:15 AM, SoundGammon said:

Here's the Sears Video Arcade II , 2600, that has 4 controller ports! Could it be hacked?

Yes it could be hacked, but I am not sure how the paddle-triggers of players 3 and 4 would react on classic 4 paddles games.

Edited by Zeelay
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Here is a schematic of this console hack (working with Surround4). http://atarivcs.free.fr/Surround 4.bin


Blue are the original joystick controllers

Red are the additionnal joystick controllers


Note that the additional controllers (2 and 3) have no fire button.


VERY IMPORTANT, To have it work properly :

- all the buttons of the console must be placed up


The advantage of this hack is that SWCHB (players 2 and 3)

works the same way as SWCHA (players 0 and 1).


Schema AtariAge.png

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