We’re of course big fans of the Atari Flashback 2 console for it’s hackability. You can add a cartridge port to play original 2600 games, create a soft-reset button to return to the game menu without cycling the power button, turn it into a portable, etc. With all the available documentation, and even silk-screened pinouts on the motherboard, it remains the best Flashback iteration to date. With all that said, lovablechevy took 8 years of documentation and modding experience to the next step and created the Pocket Atari, fitting the entire portable inside an original 2600 cart.
-Original Atari 2600 game cartridge case
-Atari Flashback 2 motherboard
-40 built in games
-2.5″ “zate” screen with audio amp
-built in controller
-2x 3.7v li-ion 700 mAh batteries
-Custom made Cart Label
-Micro-USB paddle controller port
The screen and all the buttons were placed on the back of the project to keep the Atari cartridge looking stock at first glance. The tabs from inside the cart that originally held the game boards were cut off and sanded down smooth to make room. Cuts for the screen and buttons were measured, dremeled out, and sanded/filed straight. Business in the front, party in the back.
The Flashback 2 motherboard is pretty small, but obviously not small enough to fit just inside an Atari Cartridge! Luckily, it’s one sided board makes it a bit more simple to follow the traces to see what can be removed. About 1/2 of the board was omitted (and some parts, rewired elsewhere) to shave down the size of the motherboard to fit in such a small case. Even the buttons and dpads were sanded down vertically to save space. Every little bit counted for this project.
Obviously fitting an entire portable inside a cartridge is quite a chore, and fitting a motherboard, screen, speaker, battery, controller and all the necessary ports is no easy task. Extreme care was taken into account for every cut, placement, wiring and securing of all parts to decrease bloating. The wires especially, as those can get out of hand in a hurry. A tight fit, to be sure.
Nothing elevates a project more than additional touches like custom labels. Things get a little meta here with the style of the “Classic Photo” 2600 label design, which definitely adds the “Pocket” in the Pocket Atari. We hope to one day see a Label of Recursion, where it shows the label on the screen, repeating inside itself forever. Add in an end label to match (which also act as a warranty seal) and a signature for the Official lovablechevy guarantee, more credible than the Nintendo Seal of Quality.
A paddle controller was added by way of mirco usb connection to enjoy the hidden paddle games (Up once, down 9 times, up 7 times, down twice, to access the paddle menu. 1972!). The working side from a broken paddle controller was hacked off and savlaged to enjoy some secret Super Breakout and Warlords action.
lovablechevy is currently trying to streamline the Pocket Atari builds to make them available for commission. We personally can’t wait to see a whole fleet of these. Want to see more? The whole build was streamed via Twitch and archived so you can watch all 8 sessions of the Pocket Atari build on Youtube, and the completed writeup and worklog are both posted to her website forums on http://bitfixgaming.boards.net/.