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Video 61


Monday, Feb 26, 2024


:nintendo_professor_hector:  Hi and welcome to Lance’s Laboratory! This is the fifth entry of what will be my personal Blog, sharing small slices of life with you from within my Lab. For those who are new to Atari I/O let me introduce myself. My name is Lance Ringquist, I’m from Minnesota, and I am the world's oldest surviving Atari dealer. You may have heard of me before as Video 61 Atari Sales which I have consistently operated since 1983 and I have been at it now for over 40 years!

Quick update here from the Lab I wanted to share with all my friends on Atari I/O so you’d be the first to see. While I was working in my warehouse high atop the escarpments of the Twin Cities, cleaning up my office with my lab assistant on Saturday, we unearthed a trove of 7800 EPROMs I didn’t realize I had, and may have discovered Road Riot 4-Wheel Drive for Atari 7800 with a few other things. Like Rampart, Pit-Fighter, and Steel Talons, Road Riot 4-Wheel Drive was originally an arcade game from Atari Games that was released on Atari Lynx and believed to be in development for the Atari 7800 as late as 1993. I will try testing these EPROMs in some of my developer boards on the 7800 and see what we can get. It may take time to get this all sorted, but we will figure out what we have and I will report back here with more updates as we make progress.




We were cleaning up my warehouse office on Saturday and I said “Well, I know I’ve got EPROMs here from Atari that we should go through and catalog, and I know that I have them in two different places in the warehouse and in my office.” I hadn’t looked at these, and they were sitting in a package from Atari collecting dust for decades. My warehouse assistant and I pulled them out, and of course like everything I got from Atari, there was no rhyme or reason to it, it just gets thrown. In those days, Atari would send me all sorts of things from EPROMs to joysticks, just thrown in a box and sent to me with hardly any documentation at all.

One of the things we were looking for was Fatal Run documentation, which we found. Because I don’t have the strength to venture into the warehouse all the time to do this, I thought some of it could be in my office and we should spend some time looking in my office and cleaning up in there. We started cleaning up and sorting through packages, and of course there were tubes and tubes of this stuff from Atari that I got towards the end of the Jack Tramiel days. 

One of the packages I got from Atari were full of tubes of chips. If you don’t work with electronics you may not know, chips come in protective plastic tubes, usually five to ten or more at a time. And I’ve got rolls and rolls of this stuff, and you don’t know what they are - there’s just a kazillion part numbers and labels, or there’s nothing. Some of them are so old that the labels have fallen off to the bottom of the box and gotten all mixed up. And it’s hard to find out what they are, because it’s like trying to put a puzzle together. Not only are the labels missing, mixed up, or mysterious, but you have to figure out what the chips are and where they go, and on what board. For example, Midi Maze for the Atari XE was a 256K game, but they put it on a board that had 8 chips on it originally, so you’ve got 8 different chips that you have to sort through and figure out what goes where and get it to work.




When I found the EPROMs, most of them had labels on them. I found Sentinel LO and HI chips, Xenophobe HI, and KLAX LO and HI chips which I believe is a different version of KLAX than the one I’ve published before which was also given to me by Atari. I found Barnyard Blaster and Food Fight, both of which are PAL and have dates from mid-late 1989. That 1989 date is a little later than NTSC Barnyard Blaster, and quite a bit later than NTSC Food Fight, which was completed and shipped to retailers by May, 1984. So what does it mean that PAL Barnyard Blaster and Food Fight were being worked on as late as the Summer and Fall of 1989? Well, it’s possible these games play no different than the originals - but it’s also possible these versions of Barnyard Blaster and Food Fight could be different in some other ways. You just never know what Atari would’ve done, sometimes PAL market games had different sprites, they may have played different, or had other changes to the game beyond just PAL and NTSC. Sometimes those things would happen. 




Save Mary surprised me - I said “Hey look, these are on 7800 chips!” That’s different than what I’ve seen before. In my trove of EPROMS we unearthed, we found Save Mary on two 64K chips (LO and HI), not on two 16K chips as you might expect to find. Like KLAX, this is NOT the same version of Save Mary that I published years ago. The Save Mary I got from Atari that I used to sell, that is on one 32K chip which is different from what I found. This is Save Mary on two 64K chips, which means this would be a 128K game, which is what a lot of the newer 7800 games were put on towards the end. It may well be the 7800 version of Save Mary, or it may be that they started to work on it for the 7800 and got the 2600 ordered on there to get it to work and go from there. Another chip I found only had half a label, with part of the EPROM window exposed. I don't know if this EPROM survived, but hopefully it will be okay. We will have to see. The half of the label that was still stuck on the chip has handwriting on it that I think says "Save" followed by the number 4800, which usually means it's 48K. I'm wondering if this is a 48K version of Save Mary? 





"The test cartridges used two chips, but the final production cartridge would only use one, so there’s a LO and a HI on the test cartridge. The test cartridges were set up for a 64K game or a 128K game, with two sockets. So that’s why there’s two Sentinel (LO and HI), two KLAX (LO and HI) and two Save Mary (LO and HI)."

@Video 61 




The weirdest, most curious EPROM has a handwritten label that looks to say “Riot”. Clearly this is an EPROM and not a RIOT chip for the Atari 2600. The EPROM is dated 1993, which is very late for 7800 development but not unheard of. We MAY have found Road Riot 4-Wheel Drive for the Atari 7800 - we’ll have to see. The label on the EPROM says “Riot” on it, it’s dated 7-20-93 and it has the number “2” circled, which means this could be one of two chips needed to test the game - a HI and a LO. This date I believe is two months newer than the last version of 7800 Toki that has been shown, so two months after Toki was nearly complete and ready to go, this game “Riot” was still being worked on for the Atari 7800. Even if this does turn out to be Road Riot 4WD, it’s possible we’re still missing one of the chips needed to get it working. I can imagine someone testing the game and on such a tiny label writing “Riot” instead of “Road Riot 4WD” almost as an abbreviation of the name, it was common for these guys to do that, just because the EPROM labels are just so tiny.




Atari 7800 Games thought to have been in development during 1991-1993:

  • Pit-Fighter
  • ElectroCop
  • Steel Talons
  • Toki
  • Rampart
  • Road Riot 4WD
  • More?

From my knowledge there were at least five games in development under Atari Corporation for the Atari 7800 as late as 1993, probably more. In those days, the Atari Lynx still had life in it, and Atari Jaguar was coming up on the horizon. The story as I hear it was that Jack Tramiel took one look at 7800 Pit-Fighter and how bad it looked and put the kibosh on anything more for the 7800. He pulled the plug right then and there and that’s all she wrote. We know Pit-Fighter, Rampart and Toki have been found in different levels of completion, and the date on this “Riot” EPROM is newer than all of those. We will have to research to see if this chip dated 7-20-93 is the latest 7800 EPROM dev date known to exist. It may be, I don’t know for sure, but it’s got to be close. 7800 ElectroCop was shown at the 1991 CES and Juli Wade told me she had an EPROM of it on a cartridge in her desk but wouldn’t share it with me. I had hoped John Skruch would. I don’t know if ElectroCop was one of the batch of 7800 games still in development as late as 1993 or not, but the other ones definitely were. It would be cool if we could find those hidden away somewhere in my warehouse office too. It may take time to get this all sorted, but we will figure out what we have and I will report back here on my Blog with more updates as we make progress. Stay tuned!


Thanks for reading,

- Lance  :nintendo_professor_hector:


Please visit me online for more at www.atarisales.com

Edited by Video 61


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hi everyone,


i did plug the riot eprom into my 7800 dual chip set cartridge board, and did get a reaction. bright yellow screen with background noise. so the 7800 is trying to read it, but lacks the second e-prom, i tried it in both sockets, worked better on the bottom one.

also got the atari logo on the xenophobe, but that's it. it requires the second chip also. it might be a beta version.

i found more eproms, nothing on the labels, they were so old they had fallen off. but it was dark inside the tube, so they may have survived. when i plug them in, like just about everything i ever had got out of atari, they show graphics and sound, only garbled. telling me they need more than one e-prom, and which board, and or which platform are they for?

a puzzle for sure.




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I am pretty sure those Save Mary EPROMs are for the 2600. If you look at the edge of the chip you can see the bottom half of the text AM2764. I have a set of 2600 Save Mary EPROMs and they have the same text. They are 8KB chips.

For the PAL 7800 games, are you testing on a PAL 7800? PAL 7800 games won't work on a stock NTSC 7800. You can swap the NTSC BIOS with universal "Asteroids" BIOS and then they will play.

Nice find on the Road Riot 7800, I hope you can find the other half of the game.



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19 hours ago, Mitch said:

Also worth mentioning, I checked a 7800 Motor Psycho proto I had near my desk and the number 2 EPROM is in the upper position.





thanks for the info. thats how i get the the atari logo to pop up on some of these e-proms. the save mary e-prom that i was using, was a single 27256.





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