As I mentioned in a previous blog, in order to produce new homebrew games, existing carts need to be sacrificed. In some cases, new circuit boards for carts are available and only the shell needs to be recycled. In other cases, both the shell and board are reused. The most desired cart to reuse is the 7800 cart with out a dust cover. Later 2600 (mostly red label) carts also used this same shell. They are popular for homebrews as these shells can hold either 7800 or 2600 cart circuit boards.
It is a lot of work to produce homebrew games and one of the major challenges is tracking down donor carts. There are a few of us that help out the community, by buying up old carts and providing them to game developers and the places like AtariAge. Ebay is one place that donor carts can be bought, but the prices tend to be high, except in large lots. Other options include garage sales, swap meets, and retro game stores.
Yesterday, I visited a retro game store on Route 4 just east of Concord, New Hampshire called ‘Final Stage Video Games’. This is a small shop with all kinds of retro gaming equipment and games run by a great guy name John. Yesterday I saw all kinds of Atari, Nintendo, Sega, and Sony equipment and games. John even had a Commodore 64 in the original box! When I told John why I was there, he helped me dig through his Atari cart collection and find all of the later model 2600 carts a well as a few 7800 carts. With John’s help, I walked out of the shop with a bag full of potential donor carts
One day cart shells and 7800 boards may be manufactured again, but for now they have to be recycled. A few must die so that others may live!