The Atari 2600/Video Computer System (VCS)
The Video Computer System, introduced by Atari in 1977, was one of the most successful systems of all times. It was among the first consoles to feature exchangeable cartridges. After a slow start, it quickly gained popularity and remained the #1 video game system until the game market crashed in 1983. The system was renamed to Atari 2600 in 1982 to distinguish it from the newly released Atari 5200. Although it never really recovered from the crash and did not regain its previous market share, the Atari 2600 outlasted two of its successors (the 5200 and the 7800). From 1986 on, a face-lifted version was sold as 2600jr.
System ConfigurationTV System: Choose between NTSC (North America, Japan), PAL (Europe, Australia), and SECAM (France). All PAL ROMS run on SECAM machines, but the number of colours is limited to eight, so games tend to look really ugly in SECAM mode.
Mapper: ROMs that are larger then 4 kB require a memory mapper; bee currently emulates F8, F6, F4, F0, FA, FE, E0, E7, 3F, and the 32-in-1 Cartridge.
EmulationThe following input devices are emulated: joystick, paddles, driving controller, keyboard controller, light gun, booster grip, and Track&Field controller. The kid's controller and the video touch pad used by some games are in fact identical to the keyboard. The booster grip adds further buttons to the joystick, and is only supported by Omega Race. Finally, the Track&Field controller is basically a joystick limited to horizontal movements.
Limitations: bee does not currently support the Starpath Supercharger.
Accuracy: There are issues concerning the timing of the video output, which lead to glitches in some games. Moreover, the E0 mapper seems to be buggy.
ROM DatabaseThe database contains some 4,000 entries for the Atari 2600. Although detailed information is available for several images, one should realize that there are often many versions of a single game, many pirate releases, and many undocumented hacks. Therefore, the database is likely to be incomplete, inaccurate, and some of the information is speculative.
LinksFor information on Atari 2600 hardware and software, take a look at these sites: