Atari 7800 Source Code Rescued

For developers, the recently released source code of the Atari 7800 ProSystem OS and many of its games may seem a bit too late. After all, a good deal of the compiled game ROM dumps can be found online. However, Atari is offering the code uncompiled in addition to a few development tools for interested developers. With Ms. Pac Man, Dig Dug, Robotron 2084, Centepede and nine other games available to download, programmers learning the trade may get a kick out of how Atari created the 7800 versions back in the mid-80's.

As stated on the Atari Museum,  the original source code was recovered from Atari ST diskettes that were thrown out in the dumpster behind the Sunnyvale, CA Atari building (recovered at 3am no less). Along with the games, Atari provided the 7800 base operating system (NTSC), the PAL operating system, the development system, and the animation tool in separate Winzip compressed files. The company also provided the original Joust source code from the classic Atari 2600 console.

"Hey! That's my code!" said Jeff Bell over on Reddit, seemingly ecstatic that his original programming was still around twenty-six years later. "I worked on Robotron in the Summer of '83. I was going into my Junior year at MIT, and I was working at General Computer Corporation in Cambridge. The next summer I worked on Rescue on Fractalus. Then Jack Trameil bought Atari and it all ground to a halt. It was 6502 assembly. There was 4k RAM, and carts could be 16K or 32K. I'm not sure how you would run it without a Maria chip emulator."

The 7800 ProSystem was Atari's third home gaming platform, following the unsuccessful 5200 and the highly popular 2600. The Atari 7800 tried to regain the company's stance as a leading console manufacturer, however eventually trailed behind the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Head here to Atari 7800 source code packages.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • Grims
    Who's Atari?
  • brendano257
    GrimsWho's Atari?

    "original programming was still around twenty-six years later" That's why you haven't heard of them XD
  • jerther
    Yay, now there's more fun to have with a game's source code than with the game itself :D
  • dtemple
    My 7800 is still hooked up. I play Dig Dug, Donkey Kong Junior, and yes... Robotron 2084. I'm not very good at Robotron though...
  • sylvez
    now if only we could get source codes for all other machines... *evil laughter + lightning sounds in background + church organ*

    seriuosly thou imma take a look at the code now
  • Shadow703793
    Now only if they open up the PS3..... :lol:
  • hillarymakesmecry
    Considering Atari got delisted from the stock exchange last year, their last big game, Alone in the Dark, was an over-complicated hard-to-control piece of garbage and that they lose almost as much money every year as they are even worth, it amazes me that their 66 employees are sticking around.

    I really don't have any idea why they're still in business.
  • tipmen
    Shadow703793Now only if they open up the PS3.....
    Why would you want that code? clearly you haven't heard many game developers dropping support for the PS3 because its not worth the time and effort to code for. Also to emulate games for it off the computer will take one hell of a computer as well. Just for my own curiosity what would you want to do with it? Play the 5 good games they have for it?
  • Netherscourge
    Back in the day, there was Atari and Commodore and everyone else was jealous.

    Don't be haters! Much respect!
  • Gryphyn
    I hear it's filled with cocaine and puppies. That's probably why he wants inside.