2600/VCS tips and tricks

View credits:
Select game 2 or 3 and enter the maze in the Black Castle. Move screen to the left of the first maze screen. At the bottom center of this room is a closed cubicle. Use the bridge to enter that area and collect the "dot". Carry this item to the screen just above the catacombs, located one screen down and to the right of the Gold Castle. Note: The "dot" is the same color as the ground outside, so care must be taken not to lose it in transit. Drop the "dot" here, and bring two other items onto the same screen. Move through the line on the right side of the screen to view the programmer credits.
Slow end music:
Press Select immediately after ending the game to hear the ending music played very slowly.
Walk over title screen:
Start game play, then press Select to view the game selection screen, with the game number displayed in the center. Press Down to have your character appear and move over this screen.

Adventures Of Tron
Programmer credit:
Hold Select Down and turn on the Atari 2600 (or press Reset). The programmer's names/credits will appear under the title.

No small rocks:
Set the system to track approximately five objects with different velocities. Then, shoot a large rock to completely destroy it, without creating smaller rocks.

BASIC Programming
Scrambled line display:
Disable all windows except for "Program". Keep selecting "New line" until over nine empty lines have been entered. The number displayed for lines over 10 will be scrambled.

Control CPU player:
Use joystick two to control the CPU player.

Harmless shot:
When robots shoot horizontally, any shot the hits your character in the space just below the head will not cause damage.
Evil Otto smashes through a wall:
Use this trick on any level that has a top door. Approach the door until your character's head is just out of the door, but not enough to cause your character to exit the room. Wait for Evil Otto to appear and press Select (or move around so Otto does not get your character before getting to your left or right side). Otto will disappear out the door before a "laser beam" shoots to the bottom of the screen. Otto will "smash" through the wall below and float, not bounce, towards your character.
Random number display:
Press Select while a robot is exploding to display a random six-digit number at the bottom of the screen.
Avoiding Evil Otto:
Never run from Evil Otto along the bottom of the screen. Otto will take smaller bounces and outrun your character.
Shooting around the world:
Note: This trick requires a maze with both a left and right exit. To fire a shot that goes around the world, move your character as close as you can to the exit on the right side. This should be so close that one more step will make the player exit to the next maze. Then, while facing the exit, press Fire button to shoot "around the world". The shot will seem to repeat itself at the edge several times. It will then come out the right side exit and continue to move for a short distance. This is a great way to safely destroy robots on the other side.
Bizarre game play:
Note: The following tricks require a disassembled Atari joystick in order to activate two opposite directions at the same time.
Lose the gun
Hold Up + Down and tap Fire. At times, you will lose your gun. The gun will remain in one place and the robots can get killed if they walk into it. This may also work by holding Left + Right when firing. And if you try to shoot after losing the gun, your character's arms will rise but no bullets will leave.
Crazy bullets
Go to the left side of the screen, hold Up + Down and then hold Right. As soon as your character begins to move, press Fire. Note: You should be holding the three directions while pressing Fire. The bullets will start from the center of the screen and continue to the right. This is useful if there is a wall in the center and there are robots that you want to hit. Press Left instead of Right when all three directions are held causes bullets to leave from the guy's head.
If this trick is done on the right side of the screen it is sometimes possible to get the bullet to pass through the wall and come out on the left side of the screen.
Go to the right side of the screen, hold Left + Right and then hold Down. When press Fire, the bullet it will suddenly appear on the far left of the screen and not move form that location. If Up is pressed instead of Down, the bullet will appear not as far to the left.

Unlimited balls:
Choose any of the "catch" games and begin game play. Catch your last ball, press Select, then release the ball. Game play will continue in demonstration mode, with unlimited balls but no points scored.

Bump 'n' Jump
Continue game play:
Press Select after losing a life to resume game play from the last location played.
Extra car and points:
Begin game play and do not destroy any other cars. An extra car and 50,000 points will be awarded at the end of the level.

Canyon Bomber
Although paddles are the default controllers for the game, a joystick may be used during the Land Bomber games. 
Press Left to shoot from the red planes or Right to shoot from the yellow planes.

Programmer credit:
Hold Fire and power on the Atari 2600. A dot will appear in the top row of targets. Shoot the dot before it turns into 
a duck to display the message: "Programmed by S. Kitchen", (Steve Kitchen).

Instant win:
For an instant win press Left+Button, Right while playing.

View CPU moves:
Select game 6 or 7 and being game play. The CPU will move its pieces while calculating its next move.

Hold Reset + Fire to shoot to the other side of the screen.
Teleporting shot:
Place your tank just to the right of the top left corner and fire into that corner. The shot will leave the screen and appear
in the top right corner.
Spinning tanks:
Place both tanks in a position where one tank's turret is flat against the other tank. Turn the first tank so that its turret runs
into the stationary tank. Both tanks will begin to spin in circles.
Turbo tank:
Plug in paddle-controllers and press both buttons to speed up the tank.
Flying tanks:
Select game 9 and begin game play. Rotate the tank on the left 180 degrees and fire. If done correctly, the shot will bounce around the screen and hit the right tank. Both tanks should fly about three screens to the left before stopping.
Switch tanks:
Select game 9 and begin game play. Rotate the tank on the right 180 degrees and fire. If done correctly, both tanks will 
switch positions.

Bizarre game play:
Note: The following tricks require a disassembled Atari joystick in order to activate two opposite directions at the 
same time. The jet tricks can be used to hide inside a cloud and shoot short distance bullets that return.
White tank moves quicker and silently
Hold Left + Right + Down.
White jet switches directions
Press Up + Down + Right. Shoot while holding those buttons to have the bullets leave the jets and return.
White jet turns around
Press Left + Right + Down or Left + Right + Up.
White jet turns around and switches directions
Press Left + Right + Up + Down.

Communists Mutants From Space
Programmer credit:
Hold Fire and power on the 2600. The "HI" on the high score screen will change to "SHL", initials of the programmer:
Steven H. Landrum.

Cosmic Ark
Disable star field:
Use the Color/BW switch to toggle the star field display. Note: This only works with the cartridges with the lighter 
and smaller lettering on the label.

Crazy Climber
Crash opening song:
Press Select before the opening song ends to stop it on the final note. Press Reset to resume.
Cycle sprite data:
Press Select when a girder falls. Sprite data will cycle at the girder's location. This also happens when Select is pressed when the evil doctor drops items.
Broken eggs:
Press Select when the eagle drops eggs.
Pause game play:
Press Select while climbing or hanging. Press Reset to continue. This also will temporarily pause the game if Select is pressed while falling.

Dark Chambers
Pause game play:
Press the Color/BW switch: to BW.

Easy running:
Substitute the joystick with paddles during any running event. Then, alternately tap each paddle button rapidly for an easier way to run.
Higher pole vaulting:
Repeatedly tap Fire as the pole is released.

Programmer credits:
Collect a humanoid on the wave 25. Position your ship at the same height where it begins each wave, at scan line 25 on the screen. Remaining opponents on the screen will change to "BP", the initials of programmer Bob Polaro.

Demon Attack
Stuck demon:
Shoot the middle demon until only the top and bottom attackers remain. Then, shoot the bottom demon. The last demon 
will not dive.
Last wave:
The game will freeze after wave 84 is completed. Note: Game selections 5 through 8 start on wave 13, and will freeze after wave 72 has been completed.

Desert Falcon
Programmer credits:
Get a power-up, such as invincibility (bird-cane-feather), and swim near the top of a lake before it expires. 
The programmer's initials are displayed.

Dig Dug
Hint: Bonus points:
You can score bonus points for picking up vegetables that appear randomly in the center of the screen. Often, you will complete the level before a vegetable appears. However, if you make two rocks fall, a vegetable will appear a couple of seconds after the second rock falls. To score more points, make a couple of rocks fall before going after the enemies.

Give damage to next player:
Allow a fireball to hit your character's legs just when exiting the treasure room. Most of the damage will end up on the next player.
Run backwards:
Hold Fire to jump, then immediately press the Joystick in the opposite direction your character is facing while continuing to hold Fire. Your character will seem to run backwards before turning around.

Programmer credits:
Execute the "Use Shield" command while the image of the axe is displayed. "SHL", the initials of programmer Steven H. Landrum, will appear.
Harmless traps:
Intentionally die near a castle during the first attempt at game play. Press Reset and run into one of the castle traps before the copyright information disappears from the screen. Your character may now leave the trap without any penalty, although "Trap" will still appear. Note: There is a limit to how many times this trick may be done.

The Empire Strikes Back
Double points:
Use a controller with a rapid-fire feature to destroy each Imperial Walker twice to collect double the points. A total of forty-eight shots is normally required to destroy a Walker. Try to achieve eight more hits after the forty-eighth hit to get the double point award. If the last shot hits the bomb hatch, over 250 points will be awarded.
Temporary invincibility:
Begin game play, then immediately move your Snowspeeder to the very top of the screen. Remain at this position until the Snowspeeder begins to flash and the Star Wars battle music begins to play. The Snowspeeder will be indestructible for approximately one minute.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Mother ship crash:
Intentionally allow E.T. to die on the landing pad while waiting for the mother ship. The game will crash if Elliot arrives on the screen but not save E.T.
Too small mother ship:
Stretch E.T.'s neck just as the mother ship appears. E.T. will appear to be too tall, allowing his rear to appear from the bottom of the ship.

Fast Eddie
Select maze color:
Pause game play to cycle the maze through a variety of colors. When the game is resumed, the last color displayed will become the current color.
Select ladder arrangement:
Hold Reset to select a ladder arrangement.
Pause game play:
Press the Color/BW switch to pause game play.

Imagic address:
Release the mermaid seven times. The address for Imagic will appear at the bottom of the screen.
Programmers' initials:
Release the mermaid on level two, but swim up and leave before her cage fully opens. Transform into a seagull and fly to the left or right to a volcano. The initials of each programmer will form the volcanoes.

Teleporting frog:
Set the difficulty level to allow your frog to move off the screen while on a turtle or log. Begin game play and jump on a log that moves to the right, and ride off the screen. Jump left immediately after your frog appears on the left side of the screen to re-appear in the center.

Quick shots:
Hold Reset and power on the Atari 2600.

G.I. Joe: Cobra Strike
Programmer credits:
Select two player cooperative game and difficulty setting 1. Hit the fifteenth C.O.B.R.A. member eight times to display "JE".

Random score display:
Roll over the score to display random numbers.

Alternate head:
Approach the left or right edge of the screen. Carefully move towards the exit, without leaving, to place a dash on your character's head.

Ice Hockey
Easy goal:
Start the game. When the whistle blows, hold the fire button and then push backwards on the joystick. Your man will run after the puck, pick it up and toss it in the computer's goal.

Indy 500
Quick laps:
In some race selections, an unseen line along the center of the screen is used to count the laps driven. Drive in small circles in the center of the screen to quickly accumulate laps.
Alternate control:
A keypad controller, Star Raiders touch pad controller, or children's controller may be used to control the game. Press 0 + # to accelerate. Hold 5 and press 2, then release 5 to turn clockwise. Hold 2 and press 5, then release 2 to turn counter-clockwise.

Mad Bomber surprise:
Score at least 10,000 points to surprise the Mad Bomber.

Bonus points:
Keep jumping just above and below the cocoon on the web screen to increase your score. Note: This only happens when web strands are moving away on the easy difficulty levels.
Easy object collection:
Use a controller with a rapid-fire feature to take objects easily.
Persistent jumping sound:
Keep jumping after being touched by the spider in the web. The sound effect will continue to play even after your character has died.

Laser Blast
Stay in position:
Quickly fire to remain in "aim" mode, to prevent being moved up after hitting the three tanks.

Missile Command
Programmer credit:
Select game 13 and allow the incoming missiles to reach your cities, and fire all your missiles without scoring any points. The city on the right side will turn into "RF", the initials of programmer Rob Fulop.
Extra points:
Aim and fire three missiles at the highest part of the screen when game play first begins. Press Reset before the missiles explode. The missiles will remain in view and a varying number points will be added to your score after they explode.

Mountain King
Change ladder and plateau parts:
Toggle the Left Difficulty switch, Right Difficulty switch, or Color/BW switch during game play.
Secret room:
Go to the very top of the mountain, where the fire located. Then, move one ledge below and position your character just to the left of the bottom of the fire. Jump left and hold the Joystick in that direction. When done correctly, your character will skip and launch into the air. Just as your character is about to descend, a set of four "dashes" will appear in the following pattern:

     - -
     - -

Land on the dash, then jump up to reach a higher ladder. Hold on to the ladder to reach the secret room. Note: The game may crash while your character is in this location.

Quick scoring:
Go to the top of the biggest mountain, with the flame. Stand one level below the flame, near the left end of that level. Push Down to sit near that location and your score will rise very quickly without having to collect diamonds or other items.

      * represents the flame.
      X is approximately where to sit.
               _________        ____________________

Jumping higher:
Jump very high to catch ladders that lead to much higher places. Once up there, ladders can be added to allow even higher travel by plugging in paddles or other controllers in port two.

Ms. Pac-Man
Disappearing ghosts:
Press Select while the game is in demonstration mode. The ghosts will appear and disappear as they move within the maze.

Omega Race
Alternate controllers:
Instead of using the preferred "Booster Grip" controller, a ColecoVision joystick may be used, using Left Fire or 
Right Fire
to steer. Paddles may also be used, with the buttons used to steer and rotating the paddle clockwise to 
fire and move forward.

Unlimited lives:
Eat a ghost on maze 1, two ghosts on maze 2, three ghosts on maze 3, and four ghosts on maze 4. Then, press Up, Down, Up and intentionally lose a life.
Move through walls:
Enter the warp tunnel and quickly and repeatedly press Up, Down while inside. Make sure Down is the last direction pressed before Pac-Man re-appears to wipe across the screen. You may move Pac-Man up and down through the walls, but will not be able to move from side to side.

Pete Rose Baseball
Easy hit:
Begin game play in two player mode. Hold Fire as your team is leaving the field in preparation to bat. The opposing pitcher will automatically throw a strike for the first pitch, setting up an easy hit.

Ladder jump:
Climb to the top of a ladder and push down on the top of joystick handle, so all four directions are pushed at once. Harry will jump straight up and fall back down.

Planet Patrol
No random enemy bases:
Press Down to reach the bottom of the screen immediately after collecting the stranded pilot. The enemy bases that are usually randomly located will always appear in the three lowest positions.

Poker Plus
Always win:
Press Left + Fire during game play.

Pole Position
Slower braking:
Downshifting will slow your car more gradually than using the brakes.

Bonus points:
Collect over eight hearts, then intentionally lose a life. As soon as game play resumes, move to the right and collect the spinach located off the ledge. Quickly hit Bluto to increase your score to over 140,000 points.
Low pitched music:
Hold Reset during game play to play the music at a lower range.
Note: This trick will not work when the game is played on an Atari 2600jr or Atari 7800.

Extra points:
Jump to the top of the pyramid then wait for Coily to jump to one of the cubes directly below. Press Up/Right to jump 
off the pyramid just when he is ready to jump to your cube. Coily will also jump off and points will be awarded. 
However, Q*bert will not lose a life.
Jump through enemies:
With careful timing it is possible to jump through Coily or a Red Ball and land on the cube that your opponent previously occupied. This must be done just as your opponent is about to jump to your current location.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Yar appearance:
Take the Chai and an optional parachute to the flying saucer mesa area. Walk off the mesa and drop the Chai when Indy starts to fall. Yar, from the game Yar's Revenge, will appear at the top of the screen.
Programmer credit:
Enable the "Yar appearance" code. Then continue game play and obtain a high score. "HSW2", the initials of programmer Howard Scott Warshaw, will appear in the inventory after the game has been completed. Note: The "2" indicates that this was his second game.

Extra points:
Complete a game, then move your ship to the top of the screen and move as far into the corner as possible while the game is in demonstration mode. Your ship will eventually hit an invisible object that will add to your point total. Enough points can be earned in this manner to earn a bonus life and allow the game to be continued at the last point played.

RealSports Baseball
Easy homeruns:
To always have a homerun hit, press down when you are about to hit the ball. If done right, you should hear a ringing noise. It can still be caught, but if it makes it through the outfielders, it's a homerun

The Return Of The Jedi
Strange ending:
Lose your last ship while avoiding the explosion of the Death Star. If the current score is 200 points or less away from an extra ship, the extra ship will be awarded, but the game will end.

Easy mode:
Switch the Left Difficulty switch from B to A and back to B to re-enter your skier.

Sky Skipper
Restore fuel:
Get one of each animal in a group to get refueled and 500 points.

Solar Fox
Hidden message:
The layouts of the first six screens of the game spell the word "HELIOS".

Space Invaders
Double shots:
Hold Reset and power on the Atari 2600. Select game 1 and begin game play.

Spider Fighter
Extra points:
Set the Left Difficulty switch to A, the hard setting, and begin game play. Set the switch back to B during game play to 
earn the extra points allowed under the hard difficulty setting while actually playing under the easy difficulty setting.

Steer heads on score:
Roll over the score to display steer heads instead of numbers.

Star Raiders
New rank:
Complete the game, then press 3 (Hyperwarp) on the touch pad controller. Your ending rank may change, such as from Scout 3 to Cook 5 or from Pilot 1 to Atari 3.

Star Wars: Death Star Battle
Pause game play:
Press Select to blank the screen and pause game play. Move the Joystick in any direction to resume the game.

Control two horses:
Use a joystick instead of the default paddle controllers to control two horses by pressing Left and Right.

Street Racer
Quick points:
Begin game play in "Number Cruncher", then rapidly jog the paddle back and forth. At times, the game will become stuck on a number, allowing up to 99 points to be quickly accumulated.

Super Challenge Baseball
Easy home runs:
Hold Up and press Fire as soon as the ball is in the hitting zone.
Wild pitches:
Use the trackball controller in trackball mode while pitching.
Leave the infield:
Rapidly tap the joystick from side to side after reaching a base.

Super Football
Both teams celebrate:
When either team kicks a good field goal or extra point just as the time expires, both teams will perform the victory wave. Another way to accomplish this is to win by so many points that the score will roll over.

Easy mode:
Hold Fire and power on the 2600. Release the button after about two seconds. In this mode, Superman will not transform into Clark Kent, and the bridge will not explode, although its pieces will still appear in the subway. Simply capture Lex Luthor and his men and return to the Daily Planet to complete the game.
>Note: This trick will not work on later versions of the cartridge.
On later versions of the cartridge, when you drop to the phone booth press Fire when you are at the same level of elevation as a subway entrance and press Select. Wait for the screens to cycle to a subway entrance and move the Joystick to put you in the subway. Note: If you press Up it will look like Superman is trying to fly but keeps getting yanked down by gravity. In this state you can walk left or right or fly downward until you get to the bridge screen where you will automatically regain your powers without the bridge exploding.
Quick win:
Begin game play and move to the center of the screen to the approximate location of the Daily Planet entrance. Press Select and wait until the Daily Planet. If your character is aligned correctly, move to enter the Daily Planet and win the game.

Survival Island
Load second part of game:
Enter the following password to start the second part of the game with 99 lives, 9 food,9 water, and low duration.
Load third part of game:
Enter the following password to start at the third part of the game with 99 lives, the lantern, compass, amulet, and low duration.

Tape Worm
Select first prize dot location:
The location of the first prize dot can be selected with precise timing and a light touch on the Reset switch.

Tax Avoiders
Glitched screen:
Collect all objects on the first screen, including the Red Tape that is normally avoided.

Super hit:
Having trouble scoring on your opponent? Try running and hitting the ball with the far edge of the racket. The ball will fly across the court!

Tunnel Runner
Emergency transport:
Hold Fire and rotate the Joystick in the Full-Circle in either direction during a run. Note: This may only be done 
once per run.
Glitched game:
Successfully complete 127 levels.

Pause game play:
Press the Color/BW switch to pause game play.
Change maze color:
Pause game play and allow the maze to cycle through various colors. Press the Color/BW switch again to resume game play at the current color.

Glitch level:
Hold Reset, power on the 2600, and release the switch after the introduction music begins. Game play will begin without keys, guns, special weapons, or item displays. Note: There is no way to end this level.

Extra invincibility:
Collect the small "E-boxes" and gain extra invincibility time by running into an opponent. The invincibility music will restart each time an opponent is touched, allowing for a longer duration.
Hint: Stripe Zone:
You can fly either to the left or right while playing in the Stripe Zone. Stay on the right side until the Energy Pod appears, 
then follow the left side.

Go through walls:
Note: The following tricks require a disassembled Atari joystick in order to activate two opposite directions at the same time. Hold Left + Right to travel upwards diagonally and pass through the walls. Hold Up + Down to move downward and pass through the walls. Note: This also works when you get inside the rooms.

Video Pinball
Lower bonus points:
Press Reset after hitting the bonus-point rollover a few times. The number of bonus points will begin to decrease after the first ball on the next game is lost.
Demonstration mode:
Shoot the ball and press Select.
Manual control:
Shoot the ball, then hold Fire and move the Joystick.

Hint: Pass to partner:
Press Up when you go to hit the ball and it will pass to your partner. Do this as many times as needed.
Hint: Spike the ball:
If the ball is close to the net, you can run up to it and hit it while you are running.
Hint: Turbo ball:
Perform the same moves as when spiking the ball, except farther away from the net.
Hint: Hot spot:
There is a spot on the volleyball court that a serve will land at a blind spot where your opponent can not return it. Run down about two inches and serve the ball as you are running.
Hint: Shark:
When your game of volleyball ends and the screen starts to change different colors, wait for several (if not many) minutes after the sun at the top sets. Eventually a shark fin will appear near the top of the screen. It will move from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen.

Pause game play:
Press Color/BW twice to pause game play.

Yar's Revenge
Programmer credit:
Kill the Swirl in mid-air, then move Yar to a position where the spot on its back is vertically aligned with the black "streak". "HSWWSH", the initials of programmer Howard Scott Warshaw, will appear.