How To Make An Atari Game

Avatar davisde | January 5, 2010

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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 –


This post currently has 39 responses.

  1. Jonathan O'Dell

    February 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    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

        February 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

        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”… 🙁

  2. WTF

    July 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    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

  3. Simon

    January 14, 2013 at 9:32 am

    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.”

  4. Koen

    February 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    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

      May 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      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

  5. CJ

    February 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    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?

  6. BoyCruz

    May 26, 2013 at 2:05 am

    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

      June 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      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.

  7. Random Terrain

    January 28, 2014 at 9:21 am

    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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