I discovered today that the new DS title Atari Greatest Hits Vol .2 for the Nintendo DS includes an Atari 400 emulator running Atari BASIC. The emulator is in the extras section, and as far as I can tell, only lets you type in and run it in the emulator (plus save and load a single program using the commands csave and cload).
This is my favorite part of the new DS title. After I found out about the emulator, I went to one of my favorite sites, http://www.atariarchives.org and looked at a the full text of the book, Computes First Book of Atari Graphics. There are lot of other books that you can use to experiment with BASIC and Atari 8-bit graphics on the site.
Below are some images of the emulator running, and of a couple demos I typed in an ran from the the book:
Above, the emulator creating a display list interrupt to break up the screen and then drawing a yellow triangle.
Above is the code for an animated demo.
Above is an animated demo. The two circles draw, one line at a time, across the screen. The performance in the emulator is not a whole lot different from what I recall getting on my original Atari 800. In fact, I think the only reason they call this an “Atari 400” emulator is because it emulates the look and feel of the membrane keyboard. Otherwise, it’s really an Atari 8-bit computer emulator. Great stuff!!!
Hopefully this is just the start of the new Atari recognizing the hidden gems they have in the Atari 8-bit computer line. We’d love to see the next release include a full Atari 5200/400/800 emulator and all the great Atari 8-bit computer titles that were released for it.
-Steve Fulton (8bitsteve)