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A redstone master has constructed a functional Atari 2600 emulator in Minecraft

Redstone wizard SethBling has created an Atari 2600 emulator in vanilla Minecraft, recreating game cartridges and Atari hardware using dirt blocks.

While the emulator is impossibly slow, SethBling's video details how the 1977 game console can be faithfully recreated by using Minecraft's features and some scripting wizardry.

SethBling's emulator uses a Minecraft armor stand to draw colored blocks to represent the game's 8-bit visuals. It draws information from 128 bytes of "RAM" crafted from a huge slab of dirt and stone, designed to represent the binary code. Dirt represents zeros, while cobblestone represents ones. The video provides a very visual explanation of how information is handled by computational hardware to create animation frames.

SethBling also provided tools to allow people to try the emulator for themselves in the description of the above video, which even includes a tool to convert 4 KB Atari 2600 ROMs into block cartridges for the emulator's Minecraft world state.

Microsoft is already offering Minecraft to schools to teach all sorts of subjects from maths to computer science. SethBling's video exemplifies the game's versatility in this area, particularly when it comes to engaging younger audiences with technical topics. I think I'll stick to blowing up Zac Bowden with creepers, though.

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

18 Comments
  • I thought it had 128 kilobytes of "RAM" instead of 128 bytes, although that could just be a typo.
  • Nope. Just bytes. Was super primitive haha
  • I wonder what it would take to reconstruct a computer with Core i7 levels of performance...
  • 45 years and mods
  • If you extrapolate that... you probably wouldn't live to see a processor cycle finish hahaha
  • >I wonder what it would take to reconstruct a computer with Core i7 levels of performance... I guess my next question would be what gen i7 ?  If it was the first gen, it would take about 10 times longer than a 6th gen
  • Was super awesome. I remember waking up Christmas morning seeing the Atari box and spending the rest of the day playing it with my older brother. AWESOME.
  • Pretty cool. I've seen a Minecraft video of a working hard drive and a pacman arcade machine which I thought ran at normal speed. Both were also insane.
  • Permalink: crazy person built full atari 2600 emulator using vanilla minecraft
    Article title: redstone master has constructed a functional Atari 2600 emulator in Minecraft Turns out, that thin line between insanity and genius is actually just part of my browser chrome.
  • This is amazing!
  • I haven't tried it, so I can't say much other than the fact that this is impressive work 😊
  • Cool!
  • We'll cool ahhh brings back the memories.
  • So the next project for him is curing cancer, right?
  • Not without only using armor stands, of course
  • neat but im lost how did he make the computer ?
  • Neat proof of concept but, worthless...
  • Insert but-why.gif