• 'Minecraft' Atari 2600 Emulation

'Minecraft' Atari 2600 Emulation (Photo : Facebook)

An Atari 2600 emulator has been built by a hacker in Microsoft's sandbox game "Minecraft." YouTuber SethBling has coded an emulation of the retro console in the hit game but it is more than a Minecraft module.  While the old-school games are 2D titles their codes are very complex and the emulator system contains about 2,000 command blocks for playing Atari ROMs.

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An emulator makes one computer function like another computer. This is how 8-bit games like "Super Mario Bros." and "The Legend of Zelda," for example, can play on the NES Classic Edition.

"Minecraft" is a block-building game with a Command Block item that lets players make basic code instructions. SethBling rebuilt the 1s and 0s of Atari game ROM files using "Minecraft" blocks. The developer even used a pickaxe to edit the emulator system's RAM, according to Wired.

His emulator system's command blocks control components stored in Atari cartridges. That includes the processor and video card. SethBling explains in the YouTube video the drawback of the system is that it is super slow and has lower graphics than arcade games.

In the video SethBling shows renderings of Atari 2600 games and how he coded virtual cartridges using Minecraft blocks.

Each 8-block column contains one byte, while each "cartridge" has a 256-byte length and 16-byte width, according to Game N Guide. The developer uses the Minecraft dirt and stone blocks to explain data storage in Atari 2600 cartridges.

This emulator runs at an extraordinarily slow speed of around 60 frames per four hours.  There is also no controller. The goal of the hack was to show that the retro gaming system could be emulated instead of creating a fully functional game.  

In SethBling's YouTube video he explains that "Space Invaders" and "Donkey Kong" caused him few problems. "Pac-Man" was different. He could only add one ghost in the classic game, and in fact the original Atari 2600 title released in 1982 also had many bugs.  

SethBling attached the code of his Atari 2600 emulator to the video description. This allows gamers to test it for free on Minecraft.