How to Play Atari 2600 Games on Linux

Do you remember the Atari 2600? Of course, you do! Otherwise, you wouldn’t scour the Internet in search of instruction on how to play Atari games on your Linux machine. If you’re determined to embark on a retro quest, you’ll find our article particularly useful and informative.

Our tutorial focuses on installing and using the Linux Atari 2600 Stella emulator and suitable Atari ROMs that can be downloaded from RomsMode. Should you opt for another emulator compatible with Linux PC, feel free to use the given article for guidance purposes, as well.  

Installing the Stella Emulator

Presently, Stella remains one, if not the only, emulation program that enables you to run old-school Atari games on a Linux platform. Finding this program is not challenging at all. Open your browser and head to Stella’s official website. You can familiarize yourself with the information about the emulator you’re planning on using and select the necessary program among those available on the website.  

To download Stella, locate the “Downloads” section on the main page. You’ll come across the “Stable Releases” subsection you’ll need to search for the latest available version of the emulator. From there, select either a 32- or 64-bit Binary version for download.  

Once you select the appropriate version, click on the download link to the right of the selected version. In a moment, you’ll be asked to confirm your action by pressing OK. After confirmation, the new file will be saved to your Downloads folder.

Congratulations on downloading Stella! Now you can proceed to install your emulator.

The installation process is also quite simple. Just double-click on the obtained file, and it will start installing automatically.

For the binary DEB (stella-release-1_arch.deb) file, use the following command:

dpkg -i stella-release-1_arch.deb

For the binary RPM (stella-release-1.arch.rpm) file, type in:

rpm -Uvh stella-release-1.arch.rpm

Now you emulator is ready to run your favorite retro games. Still, you need to get them first.

Downloading Atari Games

Once the installation process is complete, you’ll need to create a special folder dedicated to the games you want to play. (Let us remind you that RomsMode offers the widest collection of Atari games you’ll be able to play with the Stella emulator on your Linux computer.)

To create the directory, open the file browser. Use arrow keys and Enter for navigation. Create a directory named “ROMs Path.” Feel free to create as many subfolders as you want to organize the library of your games and access them as quickly as possible.

  • Use your File Manager to keep abreast of the latest updates for your game folder released by Stella team.

It’s not a secret that the Atari 2600 wasn’t famous for the diversity of its games. After all, this vintage console was created more than forty years ago, where Pac-Man was considered the game worth dying for. Still, we bet you’ll manage to get a couple of mega-cool titles to play on your new emulator.

Use the default “Up” and “Down” keys to pick games within your game folder. And once you decide what game you want to run at this moment, select it and click Enter.

In a second or two, your game will open and you can start playing.

When you want to leave the game, press the “ESC” button.

Hope your guide has helped you reunite with good old Atari characters and quench your nostalgic thirst for old-school games. Follow up this guide to play Atari 2600 games on Linux, stay tuned for more.