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Got an old Colecovision gathering dust? Don’t give up on it, MAKE contributor Joe Grand (of hacker con badge fame) has detailed instructions on creating your own video game cartridges.

In 2001, I wrote a homebrew game for the Atari 2600 called SCSIcide. I created a custom PCB to allow me to make my own cartridges for the system. As the homebrew community was starting to flourish, I designed a bunch of other circuit boards supporting different memory sizes and videogame consoles. I’ve finally gotten around to releasing the full documentation/source/Gerber plots/etc., so now people can make their own game cartridges for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit computer, and Colecovision. Fun!

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. Walter says:

    My dad had a board similar blue one with the chip socket back in the Atari days. He would trade ROMs on floppy disk through company mail and burn them to EEPROMs which he would pop into the socket and play. He might still have it, but it might have been thrown away when my parents moved a few years back.

  2. Good timing! I just dusted off one of my Atari 800′s, and I’ll be looking to program & build a device driver cartridge — EPROM firmware in the right cart slot, along with some hardware for the Atari SIO bus. Gettin’ my hack on!!

  3. Travis M. says:

    How do I get one of these?

  4. Write out your game’s plot. Now, regardless of what genre you choose, you will need to create a plot for your video game. Again, role-playing games tend to have more complicated plots, but even action games should have some type of storyline. Anyway, to create a video game plot, start by closing your eyes and visualizing the actions of your characters. Try to see the whole “movie” before you write anything down. Once you get to the end, jot down what your mind’s eye saw. After that, express the visual side of your ideas through a storyboard. This is achieved by drawing out the action, describing it and including captions of what the characters say. And don’t worry if you can’t draw. If you get a program such as Storyboard Quick, you can plan your scenes with pre-made drawings, or you could use rudimentary sketches. When your storyboarding is complete, transfer your ideas onto a script. This will make things more organized for both you and any voice-over actors you may have.

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