Task: Purchase a Synthcart for the Atari 2600
Needed: Web browser, Atari 2600 console, two keyboard controllers
Time: 5-10 mins
One of the earliest homebrew cartridges for the Atari 2600 I can recall being offered for sale at Atari Age is the Synthcart by Mr. Paul Slocum. I have always wanted one and finally pulled the trigger. Here is the description provided by Atari Age:
“The Synthcart is a rather unique title for the 2600 that allows you to play music using a pair of keyboard controllers. Each keyboard controller controls one of the two oscillators in the Atari 2600. You can learn more about the Synthcart and download an MP3 demo of it in action on Paul Slocum’s Synthcart web site.”
It is worth noting before you buy one of these that the sound provided by the Atari 2600 is quite primitive and does not approximate actual musical notes. Nonetheless, it is still a pretty unique homebrew.
Navigate to Atari Age and purchase the Synthcart. They are priced at $30 at the time of this posting. Atari Age ships the Synthcart with an instruction booklet which I did not seem to find a copy of online.
Below is photo of my Atari 2600 running the Synthcart. The text looks much better on the actual CRT than in the photo. Note the keyboard controllers you will need. Shown are two connected together with each one plugged into a joystick port. I used a four-switch woody here. You will need a six-switch with left and right difficulty switches to get all the sound options.