Twiggys [was: Re: ka... ching!]

Eric Smith spacewar at
Mon Oct 10 15:30:14 CDT 2016

On Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 2:21 PM, jim stephens <jwsmail at> wrote:
> One thing you got on the 2600, was almost nothing to do your programming on.
> There was the rom with lots of code space, but there was I think either 256
> or 512 bytes of ram total, and 1/2 of it was owned by the "system" such as
> it was.  Fun environment to code for.  The processor was 6502.

It was actually even worse!  The RAM was only 128 bytes total.
However, none of it was dedicated; the programmer could, and in fact
must, use it however they saw fit. There wasn't a "system"; the 2600
programmer was responsible for doing *everything*. It was only one
small step removed from bit-banging the video; the TIA chip did a
little bit of the work for you. Coding for the 2600 has been called
"racing the beam", in reference to having to output video data in time
for the electron beam of the CRT, and there's a good book about the
history of the 2600 using that title. The 2600 is an amazing study in
minimalist hardware.

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