Stella – Multi-platform Atari 2600 Video Computer System

Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator.

Stella allows you to enjoy all of your favorite 2600 games once again by emulating the 2600’s hardware with software.

Stella is written in C++, which allows it to be ported to other operating systems and architectures

Features include:

  • High speed emulation using optimized C++ code.
  • Supports high quality TIA emulation using the cycle-exact TIA core.
  • Supports high quality sound emulation using code derived from Chris Brenner’s Atari 2600 FPGA project, including cycle-exact audio, analog interference from mixing of audio channels, as well as stereo sound support; dynamic sound resampling is also included.
  • Emulates the Atari 2600 Joystick Controllers using your computer’s keyboard, joysticks or mouse.
  • Emulates the Atari 2600 Keyboard Controllers using your computer’s keyboard.
  • Emulates the Atari 2600 Paddle Controllers using your computer’s mouse, keyboard or joysticks.
  • Emulates the Atari 2600 Driving Controllers using your computer’s keyboard, joysticks or mouse.
  • Emulates the CBS BoosterGrip Controller using your computer’s keyboard, joysticks or mouse.
  • Emulates the Sega Genesis Controller using your computer’s keyboard, joysticks or mouse.
  • Emulates CX22/CX80 style trackballs and Amiga/Atari Mouse using your computer’s mouse.
  • Emulates Spectravideo CompuMate system using your computer’s keyboard, including mapping of CompuMate ‘Backspace’, ‘Space’ and ‘Enter’ functionality to to the actual keys on your keyboard.
  • Emulates the Mindlink Controller using your computer’s mouse.
  • Support for real Atari 2600 controllers using the Stelladaptor and 2600-daptor/2600-daptor II
  • Support for the speech portion of a real AtariVox device connected to your PC using a USB adaptor.
  • Supports EEPROM emulation for AtariVox and SaveKey controllers, as well as FLASH support in various cartridge schemes
  • Supports all known bankswitching schemes.
  • Supports DPC+/CDF bankswitching schemes from the Harmony Cart, including partial emulation of the ARM processor.
  • Supports cartridge autodetection for almost all bankswitching schemes
  • Supports using ROM filename extensions to force specific bankswitching schemes.
  • Supports Supercharger single-load and multi-load games.
  • Supports ROMs stored in ZIP and GZIP format, as well as the usual raw A26/BIN/ROM formats.
  • Supports property file for setting the properties associated with games.
  • Supports the NTSC, PAL and SECAM television standards in 50Hz and 60Hz mode.
  • Supports autodetection of display format for 50Hz vs. 60Hz modes.
  • Supports most “undocumented features” of the TIA graphics chip used by some games.
  • TIA emulation supports full collision checking, with ability to disable TIA sprites and collisions for each object separately.
  • Full system state save/load functionality.
  • Automatic save state creation (‘Time Machine’) which allows moving back and forth in the recorded timeline.
  • Cross-platform UI including a built-in ROM launcher frontend.
  • Built-in extensive debugger, including static analysis with the Distella disassembler and dynamic analysis at runtime by tracking code/graphics/data sections, and generation of DASM-compatible disassembly files.
  • Emulation of CRT TV systems using Blargg filtering, including presets for several common TV outputs (composite, S-video, RGB, etc.), and ability to fully customize many attributes (contrast, brightness, saturation, gamma, etc.).
  • Built-in ROM database with information partially compiled by RomHunter.

Support: User Guide, FAQ
Developer: Stephen Anthony, Christian Speckner, Thomas Jentzsch, Eckhard Stolberg
License: GNU General Public License


Stella is written in C++ and C. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials. Learn C with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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