Atari System 1
The Atari System 1 was Atari Games' first upgradeable arcade game hardware platform. Introduced in 1984, the System 1 platform was used for the games:
- Marble Madness
- Road Blaster
- Peter Pack Rat
- Road Runner
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Relief Pitcher
The hardware used a large circuit board with a Motorola 68010 main CPU running at 7.159 MHz, a MOS Technology 6502 sound CPU running at 1.789 MHz, a system ROM, text and graphics display hardware, and control interfaces. Two large edge-card connectors allowed a "cartridge board" to be plugged in; the cartridge board supplied the main program ROMs, sound program ROMs, graphics ROMs, graphics shift registers, a "SLAPSTIC" copy protection chip, a Yamaha YM2151 FM sound generator, a POKEY and (for some games) TI TMS5220 LPC speech synthesis chip. System 1 was capable of generating a max resolution of 336 x 240 with 256 colors from a palette of 1024 colors.
Converting one System 1 game into another generally required replacing the cartridge board, attraction marquee, control panel, and in some cases installing additional controls (e.g., foot pedal for Road Blasters).
Early System 1 boards and cartridge boards used large numbers of 7400 series TTL chips. These boards were later replaced by the functionally identical "System 1 LSI Main" and "LSI Cartridge" boards, which used ASICs for reduced manufacturing costs.
Modular or upgradeable video games were not commonly offered by the major video game companies in the 1970s and 1980s, because it was more profitable to sell an entirely new machine. System 1 and the Japanese JAMMA wiring standard were attempts to move to a modular solution, though there were many smaller companies that sold conversion kits for competitors' hardware.
The System 1 and its games are noted for the use of "raw" sounding FM Synthesizers for sound effects and music: that is, the music many times used instruments that had the modulation settings turned too high or too low to emulate realistic sounding instruments, instead creating a warbly or noisy sound.