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The Starpath Supercharger was an add-on module created by Starpath to expand the game capabilities of the Atari 2600 video game console. The device resembled a long game cartridge with a handle on one end. The Supercharger interface multiplied the Atari 2600's RAM 49-fold, from its meager built-in 128 bytes to 6,272 bytes, i.e. giving it an extra 6 KB, allowing for larger games with higher resolution graphics. A cord coming out of the side of the cartridge plugged into the earphone jack of any standard cassette player. Games for the Supercharger were stored on normal audio cassettes.

By providing these capabilities, the Supercharger made the Atari 2600 much more like the low end home computers of the era, aside from the alphanumeric keyboard the console lacked (simple numeric keypads were available from Atari as add-ons, however).

With a small modification, the Supercharger can be used to easily test homebrew code for the Atari 2600 on a real system.

The complete library of games, including the prototype Sweat, was also released on CD as Stella Gets A New Brain by CyberPuNKS (Jim Nitchals, Dan Skelton, Glenn Saunders and Russ Perry Jr.) There were two releases, both sanctioned by Atari and Bridgestone Multimedia (who had obtained the rights to the Starpath library some time ago) - the first release (a limited number not-for-profit release) also included the previously unreleased Atari prototype, Polo by Carol Shaw, and the second release included the Supercharger prototypes Meteroid (an early version of Suicide Mission) and Excalibur (an early version of Dragonstomper), as well as a number of homebrew games by permission of their respective authors, and the song Atari 2600 by Splitsville, fully licensed from the band. Contents

   * 1 Supercharger games
         o 1.1 Known prototypes
   * 2 See also
   * 3 References

[edit] Supercharger games

All Supercharger games were developed by Starpath.

   * Communist Mutants from Space
   * Dragonstomper
   * Escape From the Mindmaster
   * Fireball
   * Frogger, The Official
   * Killer Satellites
   * Party Mix
   * Phaser Patrol
   * Rabbit Transit
   * Suicide Mission
   * Survival Island
   * Sword of Saros

[edit] Known prototypes

   * Labyrinth (early version of Escape From the Mindmaster)
   * Sweat: The Decathlon Game

[edit] See also

   * Cuttle Cart

[edit]


Comment 1: The Supercharger is a very cool device that was made for the Atari 2600 in the early 80's. It gave the Atari 2600 the ability to use 6k games and the added ability to use all of that 6k as RAM -- previously the 2600 was limited to using a maximum of about 128 bytes of RAM. It also allowed the manufacturer to distribute the games on cassette, a much cheaper way of producing games. You can learn more about the Supercharger by reading the Supercharger FAQ located on Glenn Saunder's homepage. With the programs presented on this page, the Supercharger can be used as a very inexpensive development system for the Atari 2600. The Dasm Assembler can be used to compile source code for the 2600. Once you have compiled a game, you can load it into a real Atari and Supercharger using Makewav or WPlayBin. Turnaround time is reduced from 20 minutes using EPROMS to about 30 seconds!!! Not only can you develop new software for the Supercharger, but you can also load some of your favorites like Pacman and Combat! Unfortunately, some of the original Atari games don't load correctly into a Supercharger, but if you make a slight hardware modification you can load most games that fit in the Supercharger's RAM. If you have poor hand-eye coordination like me, you can use Cheetah to "cheat" on the games by giving yourself unlimited lives or start at any level!

2600supercharger Starpath Supercharger and games