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Stella 5.0.2 (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 10, 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: 21 August 2017
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 3280
Developer: The Stella Team
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Stella
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…

Version 5.0.2 :

Improved emulation of Trakball controller, eliminating bias in left/ right directions. Thanks to Thomas Jentzsch for the idea and code. Related to this, added 'tsense' commandline argument and associated UI item, to allow changing sensitivity of mouse trackball emulation.
Added preliminary support for multi-threading in the Blargg TV effects code. This is still a WIP; more improvements are coming. Related to this, further optimized the TIA rendering code. Also added 'threads' commandline argument and associated UI item to enable/disable multi-threading. Thanks to Thomas Jentzsch for the bulk of the work in this area.
Blargg TV effects now no longer cut off the right side of the image (by several pixels) in certain cases.
Updated CDF scheme to latest version from Spiceware. In addition, this scheme now supports versioning, so older and newer ROMs will continue to work.
Fixed an annoying bug in Linux, where Alt-Tab'ing out of a window and then back again would pass a 'Tab' key event to the app, which in most cases would navigate to the next UI element.
Fixed potential issue with state file saving and the debugger; under certain circumstances a rewind would give a different state than before (note that the state file format has changed because of this).
Fixed lockups when entering the debugger under certain circumstances.
The debugger 'listtraps' command now shows all traps set, not just the first one(s).
Reverted joystick changes for Decathlon ROMs from last release, as it was added by mistake.

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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