Starpath Supercharger for Atari 2600 Seems Kind of Cool
Anyone have a Starpath Supercharger? I don’t, but hope to buy one someday just for collecting purposes more than anything. It will have to wait though, until things improve, but I’ve always found the concept intriguing.
The Starpath Supercharger is an add-on for the Atari 2600 VCS. It plugs in like a cartridge and has built in memory (and maybe some other bits) to play more advanced games on Atari 2600 compatible systems. It increases the Atari 2600’s RAM by nearly fifty times, adding 6KB to the Atari 2600’s normal 128 Bytes of RAM. The result are larger games with higher resolution graphics.
The Starpath Supercharger cartridge component has what looks like a headphone cord that connects to the headphone plug on a cassette player, which came included in the package. The original Starpath Supercharger games came on audio cassette and load into the memory on the Supercharger’s cartridge. Various sources have converted the audio cassettes to MP3, so that any modern MP3 playback device could be used instead of the old cassette player.
I even have most of the games that were converted back to ROM format which I use on my Harmony Cart to play on the Atari 2600, and yeah, the games are pretty impressive. I played Frogger and could not believe the difference! I guess between my Harmony Cart and slew of converted ROMs, there really isn’t much of a reason to own an original Starpath Supercharger other than the cool factor.
Well, I think it’s cool, that’s why we love this stuff right? 😉
What you see in this picture is about the only thing I have relating to the device, Stella Gets a New Brain v2.0, these are a collection of the Starpath compatible games on a CD in MP3 format. This was included with something I bought off AtariAge a few years back I think, so when -and if- I ever do get one, I can use either a CD player to plug into the Supercharger cartridge, or rip the CD to MP3, load it to an MP3 player, and plug that into the Supercharger cartridge instead. Multiple modern options have made the Starpath Supercharger a lot of fun.
Furthermore, there was a ROM collection called Worship the Woodgrain (4 CDs I think) that was a large collection of games converted to audio, over half of which could be played directly through the Supercharger. The other half could be played with some kind of mod to the Supercharger (I think).
Well, with a bit of quick searching I’ve been able to learn a lot about the Starpath Supercharger. If any of you guys actually own one and would be willing to share your experiences, please feel free to chime in and join us in the discussion. I’d love to hear anything you’d like to add as far as your thoughts about the device, if you think it’s worthwhile having the original Starpath Supercharger, and any other relevant thoughts and stories you may have to share.
Rob Daviau is a technology maven, classic gaming enthusiast, and Senior Fellow at Atari I/O. He is a contributing writer at the Official Atari I/O Blog, and is a Moderator in the Atari I/O Forums under the name MaximumRD. You can follow him at his YouTube channel or learn more about Rob’s varied interests by visiting his website https://about.me/maximumrd