Nostalgia’s a powerful thing, particularly when it comes to gaming. Let us warn you now: Chuckie Egg isn’t as good as you remember it, but nevertheless revisiting old games and platforms is still a wonderful way to embrace (and then move on from) your past.
Stella is, quite simply, an Atari 2600 VCS emulator. You’ll need to provide your own game ROMs, and to avoid breaching copyright you still need to own them, even if they’re buried away in your attic or basement somewhere. Places to download ROMs from include Atari Mania.
Once downloaded, extract the ROM’s .bin file and copy it into your ROM directory – Stella lets you choose this folder the first time you launch it. Then it’s a case of selecting your game, and revisiting your childhood. Most games are stored on files around 5-6KB in size, so expect a rude awakening if you're not played a game for decades.
A complete user guide can be found online, and if you do run into problems with the program, visit its FAQ for some essential troubleshooting tips and tricks to follow.
The emulator works well, with lots of tweakable settings such as switching between colour and black-and-white display (yes, some of us didn’t get colour TV until the mid 80s!) and remapping controls to your personal perfection. It’s just that whole question of how nostalgic and charitable you’re feeling…
Version 5.1 :
- Added "Time Machine" mode, which automatically creates save states in user-defined intervals. The user can navigate back and forth within these states inside the emulator and the debugger.
- Huge improvements to the disassembly view in the debugger and disassembly files created:
reformatting in debugger for better space utilization
much improved code and data detection
access tracking and indicators for TIA/IO/RAM adresses in disassembly
break vector is tracked (if used)
improved cycle count (page penalties, sums created in disassembly)
improved handling of instruction masking opcodes (e.g. BIT)
- Fixed change tracking bug during rewind; changes were accumulated instead of being displayed only for the last rewind step.
- Extended 'rewind' to take a second parameter which allows rewinding multiple states.
- Added 'unwind' command, which undoes the latest rewind(s).
- Added '<' (unwind) button to debugger.
- Thumbulator support is not conditional any more.
- Moved various developer related settings in new Developer Settings dialog. These settings now come in two groups (player/developer) and allow switching all settings at once.
- Don't trap write accesses to the datastream pointers in CDF and BUS. This fixes -dev.thumb.trapfatal 1.
Complete rework of TV mode and ystart autodetection. The new implementation is more robust and reduces startup time.
If you’re a fan of the old Atari 2600 VCS game console, then Stella is your recommended route to Nostalgia Heaven.