Is that a PC inside your Atari 2600? Well, yes, it is

Building on the recent Internet Explorer/Atari link up, in which they built eight classic Atari games using HTML5, Hard Drives Northwest has created a limited number of Atari 2600 consoles retrofitted with modern PC internals. And just look at them—time warp!  Bellevue’s Hard Drives Northwest repurposed many of the original functions, so watch that “game reset” switch—now it’s hooked up to the PC reset line.

Gavin Gear at Microsoft’s Extreme Windows Blog has more:

The left difficulty switch was replaced with an LED that indicates if the PC is on or off. Likewise the right difficulty switch slot houses an LED showing hard drive activity. The “TV type” and “game select” switch slots expose USB ports in case you have a USB joystick you want to use with your retro PC.

For an easy application of this retrofit, Gear hooked this Atari 2600 PC up to a 47” TV and tried out the HTML5 game editions, while running in IE10 on Windows 8.

But perhaps the coolest part: The PC makes a great platform for building your own games with the Javascript kit developed by the Microsoft/Atari project. If I brought this thing over to my brother’s basement and hooked it up to the big screen, we’d be wrestling over it just like in the early-’80s, only this time it hopefully wouldn’t end in tears. (Be strong, older bro. You’re a man now.)

Extra geek bullet points:

  • The Atari 2600 PC is signed by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell
  • Motherboard: Intel Executive DQ67EP
  • Processor: Intel I7 2600S, hyperthreaded quad core, 3.4 GHz
  • RAM: Kingston DDR3 8GB
  • Storage: Intel 520 Sata 120GB
  • Graphics: ASUS EAH6570/DI/1GD3(LP) Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3
  • Power Adapter: PICO PSU-160-XT 192W

These aren’t for sale, but two of them will be given away. For more details, follow the freddiew2 YouTube channel

While we’re at it, what are your memories of the Atari 2600? Share ‘em in the comments section.

Photos: Hard Drives Northwest and Windows Team Blog.

  • cook90

    I loved “Adventure”. It was awesome. In one of the mazes there was a secret room where the developer put a “created by Warren Robinett” Easter egg. Very cool for a 12 year old.

    • johnhcook

      Oh yes, Adventure. Classic. Where the dragons looked liked oversized ducks!!

  • Guest

    Maybe I missed it but who’s it signed by?

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      None other than Nolan Bushnell, Atari co-founder.

      • DisQProf

        Cool article. This signed Atari 2600 is one of the few machines I might trade my Apple iie signed by Steve Wozniak.

  • http://twitter.com/thr33phas3 Three Phased

    What I really want to know about is the cooling solution they used!

  • Mike_Acker

    this is interesting to me: I was raised on IBM System/360 and 370 …and ended up with a totally different way of thinking about computers

  • Paul_Owen

    Another cheat: Toggling the power and game select switches at the same time would give you double shots on Space Invaders. BTW, the 120 GB drive, is that a flash or hard drive?

  • wiktoria gołębiowska

    It,s new and great project.