Since my exposure to the Atari 2600 only dates back to the latter days of its existence, my personal impression on the platform is that of a console of diminishing returns. (Unfairly) comparing its ports of Donkey Kong Jr., Pac-Man and even Space Invaders to the more arcade-perfect Famicom versions, even as a youngster it was clear that the vintage 1977 unit did not bring enough horsepower to the dance (insert Wii U joke here).
Now let’s all pretend that we live in a parallel universe, one where Nintendo signed an exclusivity deal with Atari to bring Super Mario Bros. stateside; only as an Atari 2600-exclusive. Apart from possibly setting gaming back twenty years, we probably would have a product similar to homebrew effort Princess Rescue. Available at the Atari Age store for a paltry $30, the game actually looks to be a fun, low-rent version of everybody’s favorite platformer. Inspired by a retro “demake” of Mega Man for the same faux wood-trimmed console, animator Chris Spry built the game in a few months using a programming library called Batari BASIC.
It’s a fairly impressive effort given the limitations of the hardware; smooth scrolling was not possible on the 2600 without elaborate software-side tricks, so I’m sure even the simplest of motions were—with zero knowledge of the hardware—quite a chore to perform. Hey, he even managed to use Mario’s sprite from Super Mario Bros. 3. Take that, 1985!