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Cuttle Cart 2

CC2 Menu Screen

For the Atari 7800



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A picture of the Cuttle Cart 2 Label.

Cuttle Cart 2 Prototype
Cuttle Cart 2 Prototype
(Click to Enlarge)

What is it?

It's an Atari 7800 cartridge which allows one to select 2600 and 7800 games from a menu for play on the Atari 7800.

You choose the games!

Which games are available are up to you, as you load the games you desire onto a Multimedia Card (MMC) which is then inserted into the Cuttle Cart 2. The game files are the same ROM images one would use to play the games in an emulator.

You also decide what order the games will appear in the menu, and what they will be called. List them alphabetically, group all of your favorites together, or both.

Cuttle Cart 2 manual display.
Manual Display
(Click to enlarge)

Game manuals too!

Game manuals can also be stored on the Multimedia card in ASCII text format for display on the 7800. No more searching for a game manual to determine which game variation has the settings you want, just view the manual on screen before playing the game.

User settings page.
User Settings
(Click to enlarge)

Color settings page.
Color Settings
(Click to enlarge)

User selectable settings!

Don't like the default color scheme? No problem, change it to a scheme that you prefer. Have a fancy TV or monitor that you use your Atari on? Turn on the screen saver to protect it. Like to pick up where you left off? Have the cart remember the menu position of the last game you played or manual your viewed, and start at the same spot the next time you load the Cuttle Cart 2. Or, if you have all your favorites at the start of the menu, leave this setting off and start near your favorites everytime.

Easily upgradable!

The Cuttle Cart 2 is easily upgradable. The menu software can be updated by loading a new version onto the MMC and then flashing it to the cartridge using the built in flash routines. There's even a backup boot system to allow one to recover from an error during a flash update (such as a power failure.)

Game bankswitching schemes are easily updated as well, because they're actually stored on the MMC as standard files and loaded along with the game. This means that adding a new bankswitching format is as easy as copying a new file onto the MMC.

Features in Detail:

  • 512KB SRAM for loading games. (Largest currently known game is 144 KB).
  • Infinitely reconfigurable bankswitching support. (Bankswitching schemes are stored on the MMC, and are loaded into the cart along with the game itself. Updating bankswitching formats is as simple as copying a new file onto the MMC.)
  • 256KB of primary flash RAM for holding the menu software and other code.
  • 32KB of secondary flash RAM, selectable via on board jumper. This RAM acts as an emergency boot RAM in case a failure should occur while updating the primary RAM. (Such as a power outage.)
  • 4 KB Battery Backed SRAM - Used for holding configuration information include user color settings and optionally restarting the menu at the location of the last game played or manual viewed.
  • Same size as a standard Atari 7800 cartridge.
  • Reads FAT-16 formatted MMCs. This is the standard format for 32 MB MMCs when purchased, or any 16MB or larger card can be formatted to FAT-16 under Windows..
  • Menu software is user upgradable.
  • Screen saver (only runs before a game is loaded.)
  • Includes socket for a POKEY chip, to add enhanced sound support for Atari 7800 BallBlazer and Commando.
  • High Score Cart Emulation
  • RS-232 serial connection for communicating directly with a computer for development purposes.
  • Menus and other screens are all controllable using a joystick in either controller port, or using the pause, select, and reset buttons - navigate the system even with paddles or other alternate controllers plugged in.
  • Bankswitching Formats Tested:
    • 2600: 2K,4K,F8,F8SC,F6,F6SC,F4,F4SC,Megaboy,Commavid,E0,E7,FE,FA,3F, Supercharger,UA
    • 7800: 16K,32K,32K-POKEY,48K,Activision,Absolute,SC-64K,SC-128K,SC-16KRAM,SC-144K,SC-POKEY
  • Self-loading Supercharger emulation - The Cuttle Cart 2 does not use Supercharger audio files, but instead loads the games off the MMC. An advantage to this method is that multi-load Supercharger games will load requested loads automatically with no user intervention, and do so in about a second.

Common Questions:

How does one load games onto the Cuttle Cart 2?

The games must be loaded onto the MMC using an MMC reader/writer. These are commonly available as USB devices for connection to a PC. They run about $15.00.

Are there any games that won't work?

Pitfall 2 will not work on the Cuttle Cart 2. It's special chip is too complicated to emulate in the Cuttle Cart 2's bankswitching logic chip. Other games might be found to be incompatible as well, especially as certain 2600 games will not work on 7800s. These games will most likely not work on the Cuttle Cart 2 either.

Can I use the Cuttle Cart 2 with an Atari 2600?

Absolutely NOT. The Cuttle Cart 2 requires an Atari 7800 to run.

How many games can it hold?

There can be up to about ~65000 menu entries as currently written, although scrolling would likely be slow at that speed. I've tested it with ~4000 entries and it works fine. Otherwise it's just what will fit on the MMC, which can be bought in capactities up to 128MB. I believe a single 32MB MMC will hold all the games made for the 2600 and 7800 along with text copies of their manuals.

Does it come with a warranty?

The Cuttle Cart 2, like all Schell's Electronics products, will carry a 90 day warranty against defects in material and workmanship.

What's a Multimedia Card, where can I get one?

A Multimedia Card (MMC) is a particular type of flash memory card, like those used in digital cameras. It's the predecessor of the Secure Digital (SD) Card. Unfortunately, while the MMC was quite common back when the CC2 was originally designed, it has largely been replaced by the SD card. So to get one, you'll have to order one online. Personally I recommoned Lexar or SanDisk brands.

Please note that while you can put MMCs into products designed for SD cards, it doesn't work the other way around. So you MUST use an MMC. An SD Card WILL NOT WORK. It won't even fit in the CC2 card slot.

Sept 16, 2007

Sold out / Discontinued

Cuttle Cart 2's are sold out and permanently out of production.

I do not have any remaining for sale, nor do I know anyone else that does.

If you're looking for one your best is either ebay or the marketplace forum on Atariage. I do not know of any other source for CC2s.


Jan 1, 2005:

Technical specification so the CC2 hardware are now available. If one was really ambitious these could be used to write a completely new OS to replace the one that comes with the CC2. The docs can be found here.

It would be nice if people could create their own bankswitching files as well. Unfortunately that requires access to tools to create Xilinx Spartan FPGA designs. Xilinx has made their Spartan place and route tools freely available, but nothing that will handle front end design entry. If anyone knows of a free or low cost solution for creating EDIF files for Spartan FPGAs please drop me a line! (Schematic, HDL, ABEL, whatever.)

Updates to the CC2 OS and utilities can be found here.

(Also includes the Manual, all Utilities, and Source Code.)