Even through several iterations, the Atari Flashback 2 is still the favorite among console modders, collectors, and Atari enthusiasts. While we have seen our fair share of hacks, cartridge port mods, and of course, portables, none push the envelope quite like this. After 8 years of off and on planning, lovablechevy combined all her acquired data, knowledge, and skills to create the Pocket Atari, a complete portable inside an Atari 2600 cartridge.
As one may observe, there’s very little space inside the 2600 cartridge, but that didn’t stop lovablechevy from packing as many features as possible inside. She crammed a trimmed Atari Flashback 2 motherboard, 2.5” screen with audio amp (to save space as compared to a separate amp), two 3.7v li-ion 700mAh batteries, and an internal controller inside. Since there wasn’t any room for a paddle controller for a genuine Pong experience, a MicroUSB port allows the use of a converted plug-in controller for all your Super Breakout and Warlords actions.
Although the motherboard for the Flashback 2 is fairly small, you’ll still have to chop it down a good amount to get it to fit into a cartridge. Luckily, the motherboard is only one layer, so relocating needed parts is relatively easy. All in all, the board was cut down to about half its original size, with decent chunks being removed from each side. Additionally, the buttons and d-pad had to be sanded to reduce their thickness; every little bit counts.
On a portable this small, fitting all the needed parts is no easy task. The utmost care was taken to make sure every cut and placement was just right; this way, the motherboard, screen, speaker, batteries, controls, knobs and jacks all fit into place without any bloating. Wiring is the hardest part, it’s all too easy to create a rats nest. A fine effort in Tetrising.
All the supports, tabs and plastic bits that once held the game in place had to be cut out and sanded smooth. Marks were measured for the screen, buttons, and volume knobs and then carefully cut, filed and sanded smooth. As all the cuts were done on the back of the cartridge, it would look like a stock Atari 2600 cartridge at first glance.
So why else are the screen and buttons on the back of the shell? To make a custom label, of course! Using Atari’s classic photo design used on early 2600 carts, this label adds a custom touch that brings this portable over the top. A matching label is on the top, along with her signature on the front label, double as a warranty seal for future commissions.
So why else are the screen and buttons on the back of the shell? To make a custom label, of course! Using Atari’s classic photo design used on early 2600 carts, this label adds a custom touch that brings this portable over the top. A matching label is on the top, along with her signature on the front label, double as a warranty seal for future (possible) commissions.
After several years in the community, lovablechevy has made many a portable, most notably the Handy Gear. For more information on the Pocket Atari and other builds by chevy, you can visit her Bitfix Gaming forums, as well as her Youtube Channel, and even watch live builds on her Twitch channel.