Mental Kombat
The Development Project for the Atari 2600.



The Story of Mental Kombat

After years of programming on the Commodore 64, I recognized that the Atari VCS console contains a similar CPU and decided to develop a new game and create cartridges from it. To get started with VCS (or "Stella" as it was called internally back then) programming I decided to develop a small little game without too many usage of sprites. I also wanted to learn about playfield programming and the general check of the input ports. I remembered a game project from around 1998 on the Commodore 64, where a friend and me worked together: he did the gamecoding and I programmed the introscreen, the documents and did the design.

The Introduction Sequence

The intro starts with the "Mental Kombat" logo and the "Press Fire!" message dropping into sight from the top border along with some sound effects. The colors of the copyright text at the bottom should remind you of the game's origin: the Commodore 64.

Just as you'd expect it from a real arcade-machine: "Press Fire!" is flashing of course... ;-)

After pressing at least one button the following sequence prepares the players to get ready:

The additional sound of a bell starts the battle and the program continues...

General Rules

The startpattern of the game looks like this:

The players move the cursor (in the game it's flashing) in the middle of the screen. The cursor will then change places with the next tile in the moving direction. Example: If Player 1 pushes the cursor to the left, it will move one position left and therefore change places with the red square.

The little cursor below the players number at the bottom (in the game it's flashing, too) indicates, which player has to move next.

After some movement the screen could possibly look like this:

You see that player 2 has lost lost one bit of his energy, but player 1 has only got his last bit of energy remaining. As a warning to the player the energy bar will flicker when it is near to the end.

And some moves later again, Player 2 could have won the match:


Game Controls

Technical Details

The game consists of 4 KB (4096 Bytes) of coding, graphics and sounds. The development was performed on a Pentium-PC using a normal Text-Pad as editor and DASM V2.0 by Matthew Dillon as compiler. Testing was done using z26 V1.46 and V1.52 by John Saeger on PC aswell as on an original Atari VCS with a plugged in Arcadia/Starpath Supercharger.

Download of the Game

You can download the game file here and play it using a VCS emulator. Please notice that you use the emulator and my game at your own risk, I don't take any responsibilty for problems occuring to your computer when using an emulator.

Production of Original Cartridges

To deliver this game on the original platform there will be a limited run of 100 numbered and signed cartridges at first and afterwards an unlimited run of as many carts as requested. Every ROM of the limited edition is slightly different, because it shows the individual number of the cart in the Introduction sequence.

There was a label-competition held at AtariAge.com and everybody was able to enter the contest by sending a labeldesign. My favorite picture was designed by Jason Parlee and will be used for every cartridge.

The label for the unlimited cartridge will of course look a bit different, because the serial number and signature are only available in the limited version. This means that there will be as many carts produced as requests appear, but only the first 100 carts will be numbered, signed and boxed.

Every of the limited games will contain one red and one yellow headband with printing on the frontside. Every band will be 120 cm long and will fit every head.

Pictures of the Limited Edition


All the 100 cartridges.


A boxed cart with manual.


A pair of headbands showing their prints.


Bonus: free merchandise button from Hozer VG.

Sale of the Unlimited Edition

Please order your copy of the game cartridge with manual directly from this retailer:




Owners of the Limited Edition

# Name Country
00 Simon Quernhorst Germany
01 Jason Parlee Canada
02 Albert Yarusso (AtariAge.com) USA
03 Billy Eno USA
04 Andrew Dawie Australia
05 Matthias David Germany
06 Russ Perry jr. (2600 connection) USA
07 John K. Harvey USA
08 Mat Allen England
09 Ingo Boyens Germany
10 Randy Crihfield (Hozer VG) USA
11 Brad Vargovick USA
12 Joel Park USA
13 Rick Weis USA
14 Stephan Freundorfer (Man!ac) Germany
15 Lee Krueger USA
16 Joachim Hesse (PC-Action) Germany
17 Marco Wollstädt Germany
18 Joe Cody USA
19 Michael Thomasson USA
20 Tim Benish USA
21 Jim Croniger USA
22 Dan Cage USA
23 Steve Jacobs USA
24 Leonard Herman USA
25 Matthew Vigor USA
26 Kai Darius Kohl USA
27 Jerry Greiner USA
28 Edward Mann USA
29 Marc Oberhäuser Germany
30 Gregor Houghton England
31 r_type2600 Austria
32 Alex Aguila USA
33 Elizabeth Burgener USA
34 Kevin Staszkow USA
35 Thomas Linke Germany
36 Luiz Scocca Brazil
37 Marco Kerstens The Netherlands
38 Joe Santulli (Digital Press) USA
39 Roman Scharnberg USA
40 Ansgar Quernhorst Germany
41 Stephen Zoladkiewicz USA
42 Michael Thomasson USA
43 Ian Baronofsky USA
44 Mike Gedeon USA
45 Joe Grand USA
46 Collector's Cards and Games USA
47 Jens Klöpfel Germany
48 Mr. Atari The Netherlands
49 Wolfgang Meck (Retro-Magazin) Germany
50 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
51 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
52 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
53 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
54 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
55 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
56 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
57 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
58 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
59 Classic Gaming Expo 2002 Las Vegas, USA
60 Alex Herbert England
61 Ronen Habot USA
62 Jarett Waite (Packrat VG) USA
63 Michael Braun Germany
64 Chris Christovassilis Switzerland
65 Ron Slaminko USA
66 Günther Faulbaum Germany
67 Laura Currie USA
68 Jens Fickermann (Telespielomat) Germany
69 Kai Darius Kohl USA
70 Georg Fuchs Austria
71 Jah Fish Germany
72 John Christovassilis Switzerland
73 Jörg Konzan Germany
74 Jean Mariaud France
75 Walter Lauer Germany
76 AtariAge.com Shop USA
77 AtariAge.com Shop USA
78 AtariAge.com Shop USA
79 Brian Gordon USA
80 AtariAge.com Shop USA
81 AtariAge.com Shop USA
82 AtariAge.com Shop USA
83 AtariAge.com Shop USA
84 Jörg Lennhof Germany
85 AtariAge.com Shop USA
86 Carsten Herrmann Germany
87 Dieter König Austria
88 Michael Weiß Germany
89 Graeme Hinchcliffe England
90 Chris Wilson England
91 Winnie Forster Germany
92 Cyril Denis France
93 Jose Artiles USA
94 Sandy Hüner The Netherlands
95 Dirk Pelzer Germany
96 Jose Monzon USA
97 Steffan Ros The Netherlands
98 Reinhard Traunmüller Austria
99 Paul Slocum USA


I thank the following people for their documentation, help and testing of the program:

Eckhard Stolberg
Nick Bensema
Manuel Rotschkar

This game for the Atari 2600 was written in 2001-2002 and is (C) by Simon Quernhorst.
The URL www.quernhorst.de is owned by my brother, who is not to be connected
with the development of this Atari 2600 game, so don't bother him with mails.
Atari is a registered trademark, 2600 and VCS are trademarks of Atari Corporation.


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