Supercharger
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10  |  You Can't Get Much Better Than This
Darryl B. , 1/18/2005 2:59:52 PM
As far as accessories and extras for the Atari 2600 went, you really couldn't get any better than the Starpath Supercharger.

The Supercharger wasn't a game in itself: it boosted the paltry 128K of 2600 RAM to over 6,000 bytes. This allowed for games with multiple loads, more detail to graphics, several different games in one, and even some extras.

You plugged the Supercharger into your 2600 and turned the 2600 on, which you were given instructions on the screen to "rewind tape, press play". Supercharger games came on cassette (the Supercharger would plug into a stereo, walkman or tape deck), but not the crappy kind for the C-64, TI-994A, etc., that took eight or more minutes to load, had crappy games that would freeze up or whatnot, it only took about 30 seconds (not counting if a game has multiple loads) from starting your 2600 to actually playing the game (plus they cost roughly about half as much as a new cartridge game back in the day would).

Even though most of the games weren't very original (Fireball was just Super Breakout, Communist Mutants from Space was Galaxian, etc.), they were still fun, and I've heard of people saying "there isn't a bad one in the bunch", which I can't say that for sure, since I only own (/have played) only a third of the Starpath library, but I've enjoyed every single game. And if you need a break after gameplaying, just turn the 2600 off, press play, and for a lot of the games, you'll see a preview (or more) of an upcoming game!

Only downside is that the Supercharger can get kind of irritatable, where, if the Supercharger or tape player/stereo is too close to the tv or the Atari, it could cause the games not to load...plus you have to mess around until you find exactly what volume selection actually WORKS, too (I recommend marking where to turn your volume knob to get the games to load with either a white crayon or a grease pencil). And sometimes if it's a double-cassette player, some games will load on one of the tape decks, but not the other (*one* of my games likes to engage in this behavior, for some reason).

Even though a lot of the games won't make anyone with an XBox raise an eyebrow nowadays, back then this was a really killer application.

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