Racing the Beam

By Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost - Rating: 9/10

Racing the Beam is a fairly accessible look at the technology behind the Atari 2600 video game console. Apparently the 2600 was an incredibly very difficult system for which to write programs. Basically, it was designed to handle Pong and Combat style games. The fact that games as complicated and awesome as Pitfall! and Yar’s Revenge were developed on a system that supported a background, 2 sprites, 2 missiles and a “ball” gives you new appreciation for the games on the system. Okay, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is still an abomination, but you get what I mean.

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