Television Emulation for the Atari VCS

This is absolutely stunning: Ian Bogost had his computer science students at George Tech modify Stella, the opensource Atari 2600 emulator, to reproduce the same kind of visual artifacts you would’ve seen when you played the VCS on a CRT television (those big boxy TVs with tubes, for those of you who don’t remember). Their CRT Emulator will soon be a configurable option in Stella.

Now we’ll finally be able to recapture the original experience of playing Yar’s Revenge on your parents’ 19″ Magnovox, minus the wood console.


The crisp image in the bottom half is what we see when we play an Atari 2600 game on Stella now. The top image is what we would have seen playing in the late seventies on a television — and what we’ll soon be able to experience with Stella (Click the image for a larger version).

And here’s a question I’ll be asking my videogame students today: why would degrading the graphics on a game actually be a good thing?