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Supercharger audio gameloader

Hardware theme

Loads games that have been encoded to standard audio cassette tape into a 2600. Multiple tapes & loads during a game are possible so games can be huge

12
games
1
platform

The first video game about Supercharger audio gameloader was released in 1982.

Starpath has published all these games

The Supercharger has 6,272 bytes of RAM. The memory when loaded with a game can function as if it standard ROM cartridge but also leave the rest for an extension of the Atari 2600's 128 bytes of RAM. 49 times more RAM!

The Starpath receives audio through a cabled 3.5mm mono connector (mono earphone plug). It does not matter what media nor what type of system is outputting the audio as long as it is a recording of game data (or any other data the game expects to receive, such as a saved game, alternate graphics, the possibility are many). Of course it was originally designed with audio cassettes played from standard cassette players in mind. In it's commercial lifetime, only audio cassette games were publicly released. But vinyl records, CDs, mp3 players, VCR audio, radio broadcast, TV broadcast, a phone, even audio from other consoles and computers can be the source of data.

Games delivered on cassette were of course a huge cost savings over silicon chips. But behind the scenes much cost and time was also saved as to was extremely quick, cheap and easy for developers to make changes to a game and load it into a real Atari 2600 for testing. In fact, most experts credit this way of developing Atari games as the reason Starpath games were generally of higher quality than the rest of the 2600's library. The fact is, a Starpath never made much use of the Supercharger's features beyond faster development and a few multi-load games.

Sadly, Starpath developers were not content with the situation of developing Supercharger games for the 2600. They worried constantly that Atari would send lawyers after them. On top of that, people stopped buying console games during the Video Game Crash of 1983. Epyx however, wanted their talent and bought Starpath during the crash. The developers were told they were hired to use their talent to make Commodore 64 games and Epyx had no interest in the Supercharger. One developer responded by unplugging his Atari and tossing it into the hallway.

Eventually fully licensed CD compilations of Supercharger games were released called Stella Gets A New Brain and Stella Gets A New Brain 2.0.

Parent group

Loaders

Platforms

Atari 2600 12

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