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Stella 4.0 (64-bit)

Play old Atari 2600 VCS games on your PC or Mac

by Nick Peers

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Linux, Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

64-bit version of Windows, Ubuntu 14.04 (64-bit) or later

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 02 July 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 351
Developer: The Stella Team
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Stella 4.0 for Windows
Not a very long time ago, In a galaxy close to home, people used to love the Atari VCS 2600.

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…

New in version 4.0:
- Ported to SDL2 with many improvements, including hardware acceleration support for Windows and Linux. Also future support for porting to Android and iOS using OpenGLES.
- Fullscreen video now uses native desktop resolution.
- TIA TV effects are now available in all video modes.
- Many other minor tweaks and improvements.

Verdict:

If you’re a fan of the old Atari 2600 VCS game console, then Stella is your recommended route to Nostalgia Heaven.

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