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September 2014 Retro Gaming Article

September 2, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This amazing Pac-Man homebrew will make you reevaluate the capability of the Atari 2600

We've heard so many stories about game development in the early 80s with insanely tight deadlines and lone developer efforts to create amazing games. Many of the Atari 2600 games I grew up with spawned from this formula and I loved every one of them. Some of their biggest sellers wee rush-jobs. As a gamer in those days.. who knew anything better was possible?

These days, homebrew developers are still discovering innovative ways to squeeze more fun out of 4K! I've played many homebrews that are "improvements" to beloved originals, but never have I heard sounds like these emanate from an Atari 2600! The sound is astounding!

After watching the video below, I was convinced the audio was overlaid from another source. No disrespect to the developer - the sound is really THAT good. You'll find more info about Pac-Man_4k on AtariAge along with a bin file you can download and play in an emulator like Stella.

When I fired up Pac-Man_4k in Stella, I could barely play the game. I had a stupefied smile on my face and was fiddling with the controls to see how tightly the audio held. It's really hard to believe this is coming from a 4K Atari 2600 game. I included my screenshot to assuage my own disbelief :)

Homebrew efforts like Pac-Man-4K make me wonder how differently the console wars of the 80s would have been if this level of quality was the standard on the Atari 2600. Nearly every year a new console came to market with a feature or two that leapfrogged the competition. I wonder if those competitors could have kept up with Atari if they delivered games like this Pac-Man homebrew? :)

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