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Students Make Atari Games Look Like Atari Again

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Pacman game

Georgia Institute of Technology students have developed a system that recreates the original picture and experience of Atari video games.

Old video game displays were based on the phosphorescent glow of an electron beam as it shines through a focusing gate, producing slightly separated colored dots on the screen, which become less visible as the viewer moves away from the display. The phosphor glow creates an after-image that lingers on the human retina more than an LCD display, resulting in images that might linger after they have moved or changed. Atari programmers used this to "flicker" objects between frames. The edges of sprites and scanlines also are less defined than they would be on an emulator. Luminance would bleed into neighboring sectors, softening lines and blending colors.

The Georgia Tech students are modifying the Stella open source Atari emulator to simulate these CRT behaviors and patch their changes into the main build, allowing players to create authentic Atari video effects.

From Georgia Institute of Technology
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