How To Make An Atari Game

The basis of this tutorial is to provide an introductory look at programming in BASIC. Here, we’ll be using Batari Basic to create an Atari 2600 game that’s playable on most Atari emulators.

You can download Visual BBasic from here-

You can download my sample game and source code from here –

39 Responses

  • Informacje i Media // //

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I am shocked why this accident didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

    • cj8tacos123 // //

      Same and i actually ended up bookmarking it too!!!! : )

  • dan // //

    The download links appear to be broken 🙁

  • Aniket // //

    Download link does not work.

  • Mubo // //

    the links work fine… right click and save file.

    however the VisualBBasic program wont install on my windows 7 64bit 🙁

  • Kronos // //

    Everything works but I cant run after I compile!

  • Talha Khalil // //

    This is a very good video!

  • Thomas Ertle // //

    Going to create a Atari game is nothing. I have a Atari game I found and it is jr. Pac-Man

  • Thomas Ertle // //

    if you want to go to my Webpage without a CLICK on my name, go to

  • Thomas Ertle // //

    🙂 DARN

  • Thomas Ertle // //


  • Thomas Ertle // //

    🙁 DARN

  • Thomas Ertle // //

    Darn that face for smile 🙁

  • Jonathan O'Dell // //

    I’m having trouble with Visual bB. I am new to this sort of thing so I don’t know how to debug this… I create a little game like you teach, debug the game, put in the loop,blah,blah,blah…
    THEN I go to play the screen using “Stella” and I get a BIG, FAT, ANNOING error message.
    it says this:

    (could not locate default.bas.bin and could not recompile. Please make sure it was compiled correctly.)

    As I said, I set my emulator to “Stella.exe”.
    I also set the bB compiler to “2600basic.exe” and the ALT Batch File to “2600bas.bat”

    I hope you can help!

    • Jonathan O'Dell // //

      ok, so I fixed that. but now, all of a sudden, the editor is picking up my cursor as a syntax error…

      • Jonathan O'Dell // //

        WELL! it seems i can solve my own problems.

        my first comment (missing binary) was solved using the “bB” folder inside of the “atari2600” folder located in the C:/ drive. “atari2600” has most everything you need for ‘/|\ ATARI’ programming.

        my second comment was solved because not all of my Keywords were colored blue. I don’t know why, but it just goes and thinks your cursor is an error. SO MAKE SURE YOUR TEXT APPLIES TO THE COLOR CODING!!! or it will not be very fun to program in “Visual bB”… 🙁

        • RatcheT2497 // //

          Wait, using the bB folder inside of the atari2600 folder? Whaa?

  • Mspeter97 // //

    When I put the player0x=50:player0y=50 and player1x=20:player1y=20 I got a synthax error but I wrote what was in the video…whan can I do?

    • computermaster // //

      That happens to me too!

    • computermaster // //

      player0x = 50
      player0y = 50
      player1x = 20
      player1y = 20

      Remember spaces and indents

  • joshthenesnerd // //

    i have been trying to make games for a while this looks very helpful thanks bub

  • tailsisawesome1997 // //

    Quick question. What do you set as the compiler for visual bB? Or do you not set it as anything at all?

  • WTF // //

    Could not locate sed.exe. Please copy sed.exe to D:\NIDZA\PROGRAMI\Atari2600. This will improve DASM error reporting
    Precompilation failed, aborted at 7/21/2012 5:57:17 PM

  • Jeff // //

    You’ll get a lot more help from the batari Basic Atari Age Forum

  • Simon // //

    If I want to run the visualbB.exe a message appears it says: “The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135). Click OK to terminate the application.”

  • Koen // //

    Why can’t I change the font size? whenever i slecet it and try to edit it, nothing happens, it stays at 975. And i can’t open the playfield, it says ”Unable to open, wanna open in tekst file?”

    • computermaster // //

      Say yes. And write capital X’s where you want the front colors and dots (.) where you want the back colors.

      P.S. It’s text not tekst

  • CJ // //

    whenever I try to compile my game, this message appears:

    See the end of this message for details on invoking
    just-in-time (JIT) debugging instead of this dialog box.

    ************** Exception Text **************
    System.ArgumentNullException: Argument cannot be Nothing.
    Parameter name: file
    at Microsoft.VisualBasic.FileIO.FileSystem.CheckFilePathTrailingSeparator(String path, String paramName)
    at Microsoft.VisualBasic.MyServices.FileSystemProxy.GetFileInfo(String file)
    at VisualbB.mainIDE.preCompile(String BASfile)
    at VisualbB.mainIDE.Compile(String filePath, String filename, String sourceDirectory)
    at VisualbB.mainIDE.CompileToolStripMenuItem_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.RaiseEvent(Object key, EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.HandleClick(EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStripItem.HandleMouseUp(MouseEventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStrip.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mea)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmMouseUp(Message& m, MouseButtons button, Int32 clicks)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ToolStrip.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

    ************** Loaded Assemblies **************
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6400 (Win8RTMGDR.050727-6400)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/Microsoft.NET/Framework64/v2.0.50727/mscorlib.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version:
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Atari2600/VisualbB.exe
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 8.0.50727.6387 (Win8RTM.050727-6300)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/Microsoft.VisualBasic/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6401 (Win8RTMGDR.050727-6400)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6401 (Win8RTMGDR.050727-6400)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Windows.Forms/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6401 (Win8RTMGDR.050727-6400)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Drawing/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6387 (Win8RTM.050727-6300)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Runtime.Remoting/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6387 (Win8RTM.050727-6300)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Configuration/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6387 (Win8RTM.050727-6300)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Xml/
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 2.0.50727.6387 (Win8RTM.050727-6300)
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_MSIL/Accessibility/

    ************** JIT Debugging **************
    To enable just-in-time (JIT) debugging, the .config file for this
    application or computer (machine.config) must have the
    jitDebugging value set in the section.
    The application must also be compiled with debugging

    For example:

    When JIT debugging is enabled, any unhandled exception
    will be sent to the JIT debugger registered on the computer
    rather than be handled by this dialog box.

    How do I fix this?

  • BoyCruz // //

    Could someone help me!
    I had create a Playfield but
    when i open, it said “Could not open C:\Atari2600\My Game\Background.pla Would you like to view the file in Notepad?”
    when i open it in Notepad, It had no pattern to enjoy to create a playfield.

    same in creating Sprites

    and i have no idea in using Stella Emulator
    and i wan to to know how to use it

    this is my first time in using Visual bB and Stella Emulator

    • computermaster // //

      To use Stella:

      arrow keys for joystick
      spacebar for button

      y for up
      g for left
      h for down
      j for right
      f for button

      In Notepad, you have to use X’s for one color and dots (.) for the other color. When making a sprite, the X’s are the part that you see.

  • Robert Miles // //

    Please update the batari Basic installer! Apparently it is out of date.

  • derpat // //
  • Tinkernut // //

    You can’t make GTA using Batari Basic. That’s impossible.

    Today, Atari games are old and simple. Using Batari Basic, you can make simple Atari games.

  • Tinkernut // //

    You can’t make GTA using Batari Basic.

  • Random Terrain // //

    Note to any batari Basic users: Don’t use the Tinkernut installer. Go to the batari Basic Commands page at and read the Getting Started section. There have been a lot of changes to batari Basic and Visual batari Basic since the Tinkernut installer was made. That includes bug fixes and all kinds of improvements, so quit using the Tinkernut installer.


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