Atari 2600 “Pancake”

See I haven’t given up on portables – I just spent a solid month hardly working on any. But I did manage to work on this project a little and finish it up once I had the Port Washington music done.

First off this has a very heavily hacked Atari 2600 4 switch motherboard inside. This was kind of a custom job (did it for the last Phoenix buyer since I ran out of parts for that model) so I decided to do some weird things.


Hacked down to a 3×4″ square, with a rewired right-angle cartridge slot.

The next strange thing was to use a PS1 5″ LCD screen. In the past I could never get these to work with an Atari, but after coming up a new video circuit (see my book’s site) the PS1 screen is now useable.


As you can probably tell the buttons/joypad have to fit between the screens’ motherboard and the front of the case – not a lot of room. I pulled a dirty trick and put the switches on the bottoms of the buttons themselves, and then they click against the screen’s motherboard. Sneaky, to be sure. Of course, hot glue was quite useful.

Here’s the back of the case. I had to arrange the battery holders in a clever way to make them fit around the cartridge yet inside the shape of the case.

A photo of the cartridge slot interior. To make the “cartridge door opening slots” I simply used 2 size 4 screws on either side of the card edge connector. Worked fine!

A top view of the unit. The cartridge slides nicely down the back just like a Gameboy or Atari Lynx (Which is the coolest portable of all time)

The back of the finished unit. As with the NES Micro I used “professional” screw wells to sink them off the surface. The battery doors have tabs and magnets to hold them in.


That’s about all I have to say about this portable. Sorry I don’t have more photos or an elaborate making-of, time didn’t permit. If you’re hankering for some good old fashioned Ben Heckendorn ramblings, why not visit the Port Washington site and read through the production notes? It’s quite the story, and unlike my adventures infiltrating “secret bases”, it’s all real.

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