Atari 800 Emulator


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I searched the older messages and was surprised no one had talked about this. So I'll start this off.

So, about 16 years ago an Atari 800 emulator was written for the Nuon. I was lucky enough to reach the developer on Facebook about a year or two ago who seemed surprised, almost like he was seeing a ghost, that I was playing with the emulator.

So I started playing with Atari 800 for the Nuon which you can find here...

...shortly after playing with the Atari 2600 emulator for the Atari Jaguar. I learned that by comparing in a hex editor the disk image for MULE (game in the emulator) and look for key characters you could paste another disk image in the place of MULE.

I used this to create two new games under the Atari 800 emulator. Return of Heracles which the downloads can be found here:

And I created another image for Bubsy: Kitt'N Kaboodle here:

--Bypassing Basic and Booting the Atari 800 ---
First thing to remember, the Atari 800 emulator has an Atari 800 XL image built into it, so that means like on an Atari 800 XL you need to hold down OPTION (to bypass the built in basic programming language on the Atari 800 XL), or in the cluster of buttons to the right of the A and B buttons it is the left most button of that cluster otherwise known as "Left-C". After playing around with it and numerous unsuccessful loads, here is how to make this work 100% of the time....

Load up Atari 800, get past the developer warning screen, hit A.
Let it load and error out as on that load you didn't hold down Option (Left-C) and bypass Basic. While holding "left-C" press and release both of the bumper buttons. I would continue to hold "Left-C" for a few more seconds.

This gives the Atari 800 XL a warm reset. The computer then loads (now without Basic) and the game loads as it should.

--Controller Problems --
Pretty quick you realize something is not quite right with the controllers.

On Bubsy Kitt'N Kaboodle the main character continues to jump uncontrollably. As you play it up, down, left, and right are working, but the fire button continues to work like it is stuck or being held down.

In Return of Heracles I couldn't get any further than "Select a hero" needing a up or down movement on the joystick. If the fire button is not working, or working as if held down, it might be interfering with the joystick control movement.

So sadly, that is all I tinkered with importing roms to try out. Was really bummed by Return of Heracles as I had someone on Atariage hack a version that would help the program skip past the one part that needed keyboard input. Being a turn based game, the lack of speed would not have been an issue and been a fun game on the Nuon. And that brings us to the next topic...

The developer mentions "The emulation is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!" How slow is that? I'd say about 20% normal speed of a Atari 800. Sounds like by what he said the emulator was proof of concept it could work, but not optimized.

I was going to say that aside from being added on a home brew compilation disc put out by the Nuon dome, Atari 800 did not receive any forum interest. Then I realized that this forum has been the forum only from 2005 onward. I say "only" because the earlier years when the initial interest of the Nuon was going on probably saw the most activity on the message bases. And more than likely when Atari 800 for the Nuon was released for the first time I'm sure there was a lot of excitement. Wish the early Nuon dome messages were archived somewhere. :/

--In Conclusion--
That is all I have for now on Atari 800 and a bit about what I was able to figure out that I figure some would find interesting. How to get it to load consistently, and how to copy and paste an Atari 800 disk image over the MULE disk image.

Of course, the source code is there, which is the next logical step. To play with the code, recompile, and make other editions. I played with this a bit, and though I have the Nuon development software maybe since I mainly use a Mac I had a few more hurdles (with Wine and other PC emulators) to jump through to get that to work. Not to say I won't play with that eventually.

------ Fun Personal Note-----------------
This last year I had loads of fun creating Bubsy: Kitt'N Kaboodle (which is a graphics hack of Fast Eddie) for the Atari 2600, Atari 800, 5200, Vic-20, and Commodore 64. It was through trying to get it to work on the Atari 2600 emulator for the Jaguar that the hex editor trick was learned. And it was a blast, through the controls were not entirely there and the game ran at the above mentioned 20% speed to see Bubsy jumping around on a Nuon screen, thanks to the Atari 800 emulator on the Nuon. I can now say "Yes, Bubsy* is on the Nuon. Kinda." :p

*Bubsy is a platformer character by Accolade originally seen on the Genesis, Super NES, Jaguar, and Playstation and featured in my avatar image.
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  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    You need to buy a laptop that supports external GPUs for this.
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  • Varine Varine:
    I think I'm moving back up north for the summer, I got offered my job as the tournant chef back and I'm tired of struggling down here, it pays like twice as much too
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    I think imma give four or five weeks of notice today to my boss, and see how much that backfires on me. I know he's struggling to hire anyone though, so it's like, do a couple weeks of interviews with me and then we'll have two or three weeks to train someone to take over for me. Hopefully he doesn't fucking let me go in like two weeks cuz that would really fuck me up right now
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    Wouldn't it be better if you give 3 to 4 weeks of notice? So that, at least you are guaranteed for 1 more week of paycheck to hold you over?
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    By the way, where are you moving to?
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    Back to Idaho for the summer, then maybe Houston in August or so, my girlfriend or whatever we are loved it there
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    I'm not sure yet, but my parents need some help cuz they're getting older and my mom has MS so can't do much anymore, so I'll be able to get their property fixed up so they can sell their other house. And the resort is stoked to have me back for the summer, cuz they always struggle with staff.
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    I think it'll be alright, even if they cut me loose a bit early I do have some money and I know plenty of people that will lend me the few hundred bucks to get up there. I'm just catching up after last year still, if I have to kite some bills for a couple weeks it'll be fine.
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    Good luck on getting things going.
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    Eh, it'll be fine, I got it mostly planned out already. Roommates know, boss will know in about an hour when I go to work, I'll have a plane booked once we decide my last day, and I have a place to stay up there lined up for two or three months
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    That all came together surprisingly easily
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    I think I'm going to give 4 weeks, so that'll give me 2 more full checks probably, and then one more coming after I leave.
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    All that shit came together really well suprisingly. My boss was upset cuz I am really good at my job suprisingly, but he's stoked that he got 4 weeks, plus one or two if he needs it, my flight's book in mid June, but I start my new job almost immediately so it'll be nice to have some time to chill and pack and get my rooms cleaned out. He actually gave me a dollar raise right after I gave notice to thank me for not being short or just leaving and making sure I can help interview and train someone to replace me. He is really cool, his food truck has just been a nightmare to run. I get my vaccine next week finally, allegedly Idaho will let me have my license back when I get there, and I have all my bills up to date so it should be an easy move this time around.
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  • jonas jonas:
    sounds great :) have fun in Idaho
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    freaking Idaho
  • Varine Varine:
    Yeah it sucks up there, but it'll be a bit easier for the summer probably.
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    When you get to Houston you will have your pick there is a huge shortage of good people to work in your field here. They are hiring everywhere and Texas is pretty much fully open.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    for anyone else following this yes I am in Houston so Varine and I will RL meet gotta love it! Looking forward to it!
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