All Your Protos Are Belong To Us!

Of Banks and Worms

Today we have two new prototype reviews for the 2600.  First up is Bank Heist which is a relatively unknown 20th Century Fox game that's actually a lot of fun and went through a variety of names before it was released.  Next we have Worm War I which was one of the earliest efforts by David Lubar who had a fairly prolific career on the 2600.


While everyone knows that RealSports Soccer was released on the 5200, did you know that it was also ported to the Atari 8-Bit computers?  Atari even made a few upgrades to the game before deciding not to release it.  Check out the new Atari 8-Bit RealSports Soccer page for more details.


Thanks to the tireless efforts of Ken Van Mersbergen, we now have two WIP versions of Gremlins for the Atari 5200.  These new versions were recovered from programmer John Seghers own development disks and provide an interesting peek at the development process for this amazing game.  Check out the updated Gremlins page for more details.


Today we have not one, but TWO versions of Tarzan.  Best known from its release on the Colecovision, Tarzan was also planned for the Atari 2600 and Atari 8-Bit computers.  Although the Atari 8-Bit prototype has been floating around the internet for a long time, the Atari 2600 version was still missing (although rumors said that it did indeed exist).  Now it appears that two different copies of the 2600 version have been found!  The first copy was auctioned off on ebay back in February of 2023 and the second one turned up in January of 2024 (this one complete with a production style label).  So are either of these long lost prototypes worth playing?  Read the reviews to find out!


It's not often you see a 2600 Coleco prototype, especially one that turns out to be different from the final.  Today we present a late beta for the 2600 port of Roc n' Rope that was recovered from some development disks.  While the gameplay is the same as the final version, there are some small differences in the level layouts.  Check out the brand new Roc n' Rope page and tell them Tempest sent ya.

5200 Demo Madness!

Thanks to fellow prototype historian Ken Van Mersbergen we've successfully compiled and archived four different demos for the Atari 5200.  While some of these demos were already archived, they were not compiled properly due to the lack of proper tools and had missing features. 

The first two demos (Galaxian and Pac-Man) were made for the Atari 5200 kiosk unit and are the same as their home version counterparts minus the splashy kiosk splash screen and the fact that they reset after each game.

The other two  are both personal demos made by Atari programmer John Seghers.  John made Space Race (based on the 1973 Atari coin-op) as a learning exercise on how to program the 5200.  He also made the 3-D Asteroids demo as an example of how the 5200 might still be able to compete in light of the then upcoming Atari 7800.  Be sure to read up about these interesting pieces of Atari history.

The Barroom Baseball page has also been updated to reflect information found on internal memos about the project.  A new version for the game was also discovered but it appears to only differ in some formatting on the title screen.


It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.  Well ok, technically no one HAD to do it, but done it was.  Thanks to the generosity of AtariAge members Shadow460 and Ianoid, we have a wealth of Starpath/Arcadia prototype reviews.  Shadow460 first released his prototypes back in 2009, but somehow we missed them (those responsible have been sacked), while Ianoid released his today.  Between these two finds we now have prototypes for 11 out of the 12 released games (only Party Mix is not covered), and two unreleased games (Going-Up?? and Sweat).  A third Starpath prototype cache was found several years back containing tapes marked as 'incomplete', but sadly not these were not dumped at the time.  We have included links to the pictures of these tapes on the appropriate pages.

Please enjoy these reviews...  Or don't.  I'm not the fun police.

Phaser Patrol
Communist Mutants From Space
Suicide Mission
Escape From the Mindmaster
Killer Satellites
Rabbit Transit
The Official Frogger
Sword of Saros
Survival Island
Going Up??

Hobos & Spiders & Tanks, Oh My!

Ianiod is at it again!  This time he has very generously shared the roms for three previously unknown Atari 2600 games by UA Ltd.  Some of you may already know of UA Ltd.'s three other games (Cat Trax, Pleiades, and Funky Fish) that surfaced as prototypes back in 2003 and were released by AtariAge.  As it turns out UA Ltd. had three more games lined up for the 2600: Hobo, Spiders, and R2D Tank.  Interestingly all six titles have now been found as production cartridges complete with boxes and manuals.  It would appear that UA Ltd. was much closer to releasing these games than previously thought.  Are they any good?  You'll have to read on to find out.


Cross another one off the list!  A prototype for the Atari 2600 version of Choplifter has been found.  Long rumoured to exist somewhere, a working copy finally surfaced in the collection of a former programmer.  The game looks amazing, but only appears to be around 50% complete.  Still, what's there is very impressive.  Head over to the brand new Choplifter page for more info.


This actually isn't a new proto, in fact the rom has been floating around the net for over 13 years.  The problem was that while the code tested differently, no one wanted to actually play Airlock to find out what was different about it.  Well wonder no longer as your prototype master extraordinaire has 'bit the bullet', so to speak, and found out what the changes were.  Was it worth the torture of having to play Airlock over and over again?  Check out the new Airlock page and found out.


Thanks to AtariAge member Thomas Jentzsch we now have an understanding of how the debug code in Rush Hour works.  Although many people know the Rush Hour was a unreleased Commavid game for the Atari 2600 that was finally released at CGE in 2002, they may not know that three different prototypes for Rush Hour also exist.  These three prototypes have some very strange debug code running in them that takes a little explaining.  Head on over to the Rush Hour page for more info on these three 'new' prototypes.

Jr. Pac-Man Update

Thanks to AtariAge member Kr0tki we have discovered that the Atari 5200 version of Jr. Pac-Man which was always assumed to be the final version, is in fact a late WIP with several differences.  While it plays well enough, it has some rough sounds and has a bug that can soft lock the game.  It was always assumed that a genuine bug fixed version of the game didn't exist but a few years ago an Atari 8-Bit prototype of Jr. Pac-Man was found with a much later date turned up.  This prototype was not thoroughly investigated at the time for some reason.  As it turns out, this prototype appears to be the complete and final bug free version!  Be sure to check both of these prototypes out.


Dare you delve into the mysteries of the human mind?  What if I said the inner workings of the human mind played a lot like Robotron?  Psyclotron is a Robotron inspired game developed by former Atari programmer Jeff Milhorn, but was never released due to poor market conditions at the time.  Not only is Psyclotron a blast to play, but it's a graphical and technological marvel as well.  Go take a look, your mind will thank you.

If action games aren't your thing, then you may be interested in a new non-game prototype for the Atari 2600 called Bicycle Trainer.  This program was meant to be used in conjunction with an exercise bike and measured the users speed, heart rate, calories burned, and many other stats.  Check out the Bicycle Trainer page for more information.

5200 Prototype Extravaganza!

Thanks to the generosity of AtariAge member Ianoid, we now have nine twelve new Atari 5200 prototypes to explore.  While many of these protos are late stage WIP versions with tiny differences, they're still interesting to examine.  The best of the bunch is a mid-level WIP of Dig Dug which has many interesting differences.  The other prototypes include: Asteroids, Berzerk, Joust, Qix (new page), two versions RealSports Baseball (2-11-83 and 7-6-83), RealSports Soccer, Sport Goofy, Moon Patrol, Spitfire, and Robotron.  Be sure to check them all out.


Once again thanks to John Hardie we now have a disk image for a completely different version of M*A*S*H* than what was released for the Atari 8-Bit computers.  This version is was developed by programmer Frank Cohen (of Clowns and Balloons and Ghost Chaser fame) and plays rather differently than the 'Dallas North' Atari 2600 game.  Be sure to check it out on your way to surgery.


Thanks to the tireless efforts of John Hardie we now have a rom for a rare educational prototype game called Factorman.  Do you love simplistic and poorly constructed games?  Do you love to discuss joint injuries at length?  Do you have a unquenchable desire to 'Get Factor'?  Well then, Factorman is the game for you!

Super Pac-Man Update

Thanks to the efforts of AA user Kr0tki, we now have a fairly definitive list of all the changes for the Atari 5200 and 8-bit versions of Super Pac-Man.  I'll look the other way while you go and check them out.

Late Breaking Protos

Thanks to the generosity of John Hardie, we now have new WIP versions of several Atari 5200 games.  All these prototypes are very late WIP versions, some dating to only the day before the final version.  What changes were made at the eleventh hour?  AtariProtos is busy trying to figure that out!  Until then, check out the following new prototype pages.  The roms for these protos can be found on

Choplifter 1-13-84
Gremlins 5-15-84
Millipede 1-4-84
Stargate 1-13-84
Asteroids 4-1-81 (Atari 400/800)
Missile Command (
Atari 400/800)

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