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Atari 800

The Atari 800 is a line of computers developed by Atari. The first computers in the line, 400 and 800, were released in 1979.

The first two models, the 400 and 800, had the 16KB and 48KB of user-expandable RAM installed, while the later XL and XE models would have 64KB and 128KB installed, populating all the available slots.

The current emulation of the Atari 800 based family of computers is not complete or fail safe. This wiki article only gives basic instructions so you can run some popular games. The full technical background on these issues can be found in this article: Atari 8-Bit Guide (Raph Koster). The script mentioned in these pages is not integrated into Batocera yet, so you are stuck with the manual fixes until then.

This system scrapes metadata for the “atari800” group and loads the atari800 set from the currently selected theme, if available.

  • Emulator: RetroArch
  • Folder: /userdata/roms/atari800
  • Accepted ROM formats: .rom, .xfd, .atr, .atx, .cdm, .cas, .car, .bin, .a52, .xex, .zip, .7z
MD5 checksum Share file path Description
eb1f32f5d9f382db1bbfb8d7f9cb343a bios/ATARIOSA.ROM First PAL version of the OS.
a3e8d617c95d08031fe1b20d541434b2 bios/ATARIOSB.ROM PC Xformer patched NTSC OS B ROM (Batocera v38 and earlier).
4177f386a3bac989a981d3fe3388cb6c bios/ATARIOSB.ROM Second NTSC revision of the OS (Batocera v39 and later).
06daac977823773a3eea3422fd26a703 bios/ATARIXL.ROM Atari XL/XE extended ROM.
0bac0c6a50104045d902df4503a4c30b bios/ATARIBAS.ROM Atari BASIC interpreter, a programming engine required by some games (but usually not).

There are subtle differences in machine type between the different Atari Computers, including different version of the OS (BIOS). Some games will crash unless you manually select a different BIOS.

Place your Atari 800 ROMs in /userdata/roms/atari800.

Multi-Disk games can only be used with an internal menu of the emulator. Playlists and RetroArch features for these games are not supported.

RetroArch has its own page.

libretro: atari800

A libretro port of Atari800. Originally written by David Firth in 1995 and released under the GPL.

libretro: atari800 configuration
ES setting name batocera.conf_key Description ⇒ ES option key_value
Settings specific to atari800
ATARI SYSTEM atari800.atari800_system Choose what Atari System to emulate.
⇒ 400/600XL/800 (48K) (OS B) 400/800 (OS B), 800XL/1200XL/XEGS (64K) 800XL (64K), 130XE (128K) 130XE (128K), Modern XL/XE (320K CS) Modern XL/XE(320K CS), Modern XL/XE (576K) Modern XL/XE(576K), Modern XL/XE (1088K) Modern XL/XE(1088K).
VIDEO FORMAT STANDARD atari800.atari800_ntscpal Switch frequency and resolution by region.
⇒ NTSC 240x480px 60Hz NTSC, PAL 288x576px 50Hz PAL.
SIO ACCELERATION atari800.atari800_sioaccel Speeds up the virtual file loading. Some games won't load with this enabled.
⇒ Off disabled, On enabled.
HI-RES ARTIFACTING atari800.atari800_artifacting Emulate NTSC quirks to show more colors in hi-res mode. Most NTSC games took advantage of this quirk to show more than just two colors on the screen at once. Only very few PAL games were designed to only use two colors.
⇒ Off disabled, On enabled.
INTERNAL RESOLUTION atari800.atari800_resolution Use an alternate resolution. Some games need this.
⇒ 336×240 336×240, 320×240 320×240, 384×240 384×240, 384×272 384×272, 384×288 384×288, 400×300 400×300.
Settings specific to atari5200
JOYSTICK HACK (FOR ROBOTRON 2084) atari5200.atari800_opt2 Treats the right analog stick as the second joystick.
⇒ Off disabled, On enabled.

Analogue joysticks are supported only via hard-coded mouse inputs (bypassing RetroPad and default controls). The analog sticks of gamepads are NOT supported. This makes some games unplayable unless you connect a mouse.

Sure that it's not possible to remap them?

Here are the default Atari 800's controls shown on a Batocera Retropad:

Many (US) games look wrong because they use specific video artifacts to generate colors on NTSC TVs but look black and white in emulation, unless you set specific parameters.

What parameters?

Most ROM sets are in a format that requires one additional input at the start of a ROM. Sometimes the selection screen is not visible making it look like the emulator crashed.

So what buttons are common to try to get out of this?

For further troubleshooting, refer to the generic support pages.

  • systems/atari800.txt
  • Last modified: 6 months ago
  • by maximumentropy