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Halo 2600 kicks it old school

Ed Fries, who helped get Microsoft Game Studios get of the ground, and was a seminal part of the original Xbox project at Redmond, has kind of come full circle, then back again.  Although he’s currently involved in a number of other gaming projects, it’s this little diversion called Hal0 2600 that is worth checking out.  It’s a full fledged Atari 2600 adaptation of Halo… sadly it doesn’t include Warthog levels, as for some strange reason, the 128 bytes of RAM wasn’t quite enough…

The thing you need to realize about the Atari 2600 is that it is an incredibly limited machine. It has only 128 bytes of RAM and without bank switching the maximum program size is just over 4000 bytes. There are just two 8 pixel wide monochrome sprites, two one pixel bullets, a “ball” and a 40 pixel wide background (and even that is exaggerating…). There is no memory to store the screen image like any modern console or PC, instead it has to be drawn a line at a time by changing the values of the registers that control the sprites and background. The processor is so slow that only 76 clock cycles occur while a line of the screen is being drawn, and the simplest 6502 instructions take at least 2 clock cycles. So just to draw an image of the Master Chief is pretty tough. To create a complete game while living within these constraints is much harder. [viaAtariAge forums]

If you’re more likely to be wandering around the vast expanses of the World of Warcraft instead of Halo, Fries startup company Figure Prints might interest you.  They make full colour 3D replicas of your WoW characters using 3D printers.

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