Software Santa

FREE and/or Open Source Desktop Software! => Arcade Games and Simulators and Emulators => Free Games => Game Console Emulators => Topic started by: Software Santa on July 19, 2009, 08:28:43 PM

Title: Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released as open source
Post by: Software Santa on July 19, 2009, 08:28:43 PM
Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released under the GNU General Public License (

The Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS), introduced in 1977, was the most popular home video game system of the early 1980's.  Now you can enjoy all of your favorite Atari 2600 games on your PC thanks to Stella!

Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Stella was originally developed for Linux by Bradford W. Mott, and is currently maintained by Stephen Anthony. Since its original release several people have joined the development team to port Stella to other operating systems such as AcornOS, AmigaOS, DOS, FreeBSD, IRIX, Linux, OS/2, MacOS, Unix, and Windows. The development team is working hard to perfect the emulator and we hope you enjoy our effort.

On this site you'll find information about downloading, installing, using, and enhancing Stella.  You'll also find useful information about the Atari 2600, emulation and homebrew development.

Stella is now DonationWare. Please help to encourage further Stella development by considering a contribution.

Stella is DonationWare!

As of release 3.5, Stella is officially DonationWare. What is DonationWare, you may ask? Simply put, the concept of donationware is where the developer requests donations that indicate appreciation for the project, and as an incentive to continue work on the project.

So who am I? My name is Stephen Anthony, and I've maintained Stella exclusively for the last few years. While I did have help many years ago (and owe a huge debt to Brad Mott, original Stella creator), I've been working on the project alone for quite some time. I've personally added over tens of thousands of lines of code to Stella, and coordinated several large merges from other projects (ScummVM for parts of the GUI, Distella for the debugger disassembler, etc). I've also created the Harmony Programming Tool software for the Harmony Cartridge, and a version of the KrokCom software for Linux/OSX - KrokCom for UNIX. So as you can see, I'm quite prolific in Atari 2600 development.

Let me say up-front that donating is completely voluntary. Stella is an open-source / free software project, and will remain so because of its license (GPLv/2). It's not my intent to guilt anyone into donations, or to threaten that the project will be discontinued if I don't receive any. Donations are simply a way for appreciative end-users to demonstrate their enjoyment of Stella, and to make me feel a little better about the long hours spent on this project.

I'll list a few reasons why you might want to make a donation:

    I've been involved with this project since 2001; I can't even begin to estimate how much time I've invested in this project, but it is easily in the 1000's of hours, probably approaching 10000 by now!
    My number one goal for Stella is cross-platform compatibility; if at all possible, nobody will be left behind
    Stella is one of the few (only?) Atari 2600 emulators still under active development
    One of the main goals of Stella is to help homebrew developers; as such, Stella contains an actively developed built-in debugger that IMHO is unrivaled
    You're a homebrew developer who feels that Stella has helped greatly in your development efforts
    If you just want to fire it up and play a game, the process is as plug and play as possible
    To see your name in print in the Credits List :)

What type of donations would I consider? I'm firmly of the opinion that beggars can't be choosers. That being said, I'm listing some of the things I'd like to receive (in no particular order):

    Esoteric controllers, such as a MindLink, KidVid, NTSC CompuMate, etc.
    For appreciative homebrew developers, a copy of your released cart
    2600 carts, particularly those of rarer vintage, or in any case with manuals and/or boxes
    Magazines or books on 2600-related stuff, or retro stuff in general
    2600 consoles (heavy-sixer, light-sixer, Vader, Jr, etc.)
    Anything 7800 related; I'm beginning to get into the 7800 scene, and have just the console and a few games at this point
    Games gifted to me on Steam (let me know beforehand, to make sure I don't already have it
    Anything else retro-related that you think is cool
    Cash donations

Note that I've ranked money at the bottom of the list. This isn't a mistake. While I appreciate any monetary donations I might receive, I'm not in this for the money. If I was, I would have abandoned the project after the first year. :) That being said, any monetary contributions I do receive will be used to purchase extra hardware, carts, etc for testing.

If you're interested in making a Paypal donation, my Paypal address is If using Paypal, please mark the contribution as a gift to save fees on my end (under "Send Money", select 'Personal', then 'Gift'). Otherwise, if you have something to ship, please contact me at the same address for shipping details. Note that I'm located in Canada, so your location in the world might cause some shipping issues. Also, let me know how you'd like to be credited in the Credits List (real name or a nickname, your personal webpage, other info about yourself, etc). Finally, please mark all donations as a gift valued at $20 or less; this will reduce customs charges on my end.
Thanks in advance for any donations I may receive, and for all past donations. Let's help keep the Atari 2600 emulation scene alive. (

Get ROMs for this emulator at Atari Mania (,3905.0.html)