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This dude built a functional Atari 2600 emulator inside of Minecraft

Published Dec 7th, 2016 10:02PM EST
minecraft games
Image: SethBling

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People have been constructing seemingly impossible things within the blocky building game Minecraft for many years now, but every once in a while a new project comes along that somehow surprises us all over again. Popular YouTuber SethBling may be the new king of insane Minecraft builds thanks to his ridiculously cool, fully functional Atari 2600 emulator that he somehow built using nothing but lots and lots of blocks.

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The massive project utilizes thousands of command blocks, which automatically execute custom commands and runs actual Atari 2600 ROMs. The game images have have been transferred into the game and stored as huge collections of blocks, using two different block types to represent the 1s and 0s of each byte. A “video card,” again made of command blocks, draws the game sprites and backgrounds on a towering display made entirely of blocks.

The entire system works like an original Atari 2600, albeit a bit slower than the on you can hook up to your television. In fact, it pretty much crawls, with a refresh rate of 60 frames every four hours, making the games themselves rather unplayable. Even if the blocky emulator could somehow approach the 60 frames-per-second that the original hardware produced, SethBling hasn’t actually built in any type of control interface, so none of the games ever go past the title screen.

Still, it’s a monumental achievement, and if you dive into the technical how-to video that shows the behind-the-scenes workings of the contraption, you’ll no doubt be amazed at the sheer scale of the build.