A program Atari on The 8-Bit Construction Set

The record The 8-Bit Construction Set dates back to 2001, and in a statement, the authors boasted of being the first to put programs on a vinyl record. If you’re reading this, you might have chuckled – the first attempts date back to the late seventies – but the record remains interesting. It indeed contains two programs, one for the Commodore 64 and one for the Atari 8 bits.

Instead of repeating all the previous articles each time, I’ll refer you to the dedicated page, which explains what I do with vinyl records and lists all the pages containing programs, explanations, etc.


The cover

The record itself is a sort of battle between Commodore and Atari fans, with samples from games and music crafted around these samples. It also contains two programs, and I started with the one for the Atari 8 bits (well, I’m starting here, but in reality, I tried the other way around first). This isn’t the first Atari 8-bit program I’ve found on a vinyl record, and I followed the same process: recording, filtering, amplifying. On the fourth attempt, I had a usable program with the same software as before (WAV2CAS).

I ran the program in Atari800MacX and it seems to work. First thing, you need to hold down the Start key for about ten seconds to start. Then you have three possible screens. The first is a thank you message, the second (the third in the video) is a sort of synthesizer that plays sounds when certain keys are pressed, and the third is a program that – apparently – displays somewhat random data that flashes. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure if that’s the intended purpose, but I don’t have an Atari on hand and no other emulators to test. I emulated an Atari 800XL without being certain (once again) if it’s the right model, but it works.

A little thing to note, documented on the cover, Atari tapes store audio data on the right track, and the left one contains music to listen to while loading. I recorded it, even though it’s not perfect: you can hear the program’s sound in the background. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or if the vinyl’s stereo separation is poor (which is possible).

I’ll talk later about the second part because the Commodore 64 program gave me some trouble.