How to Play Atari 7800 Games on Your Computer (ProSystem)

The Atari 7800 was one of a few consoles that were competing against the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It would also follow-up on the momentum gained by the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200. In this guide, we’ll show you how to play the classic Atari 7800 games on your computer using the ProSystem emulator.

The first thing we need is the emulator. For that, we can head over to the ProSystem website and download the latest version of the emulator.

Once you have finished downloading the emulator, find a convenient place on your hard drive and create a folder for all of your Atari 7800 needs. In that directory, simply create a directory for your ROMs and a directory for the emulator. From there, just extract the contents of the emulator archive you downloaded into the emulator folder. Next, put all of your ROMs in the ROMs folder.

After that, just open up the emulator by double-clicking on the Prosystem.exe file. You’ll get a screen like this:


Now, the first thing we need to do is determine what our controls are. For that, you need to go into the “Options” drop-down menu, then hover your mouse over “Input”, then click on “Controller 1”:


You’ll then get this screen:


You can use the pull-down menu’s to adjust the keys you want to use for your controller. If you don’t need to change anything (I found the default keys acceptable myself), just hit cancel as this was a good way to at least know what the keys are. If you did change something and want to keep what you have changes, click on “OK”.

Now, you need to know the console controls. For that, you go into “Options”, “Input”, then “Console…”:


You’ll get a screen that looks something like this:


You can make adjustments from here much like the controller. When done, if you’ve made changes, click “OK”. Otherwise, click “Cancel”.

Finally, for save and load states, you can use “CTRL+S” for Save and “CTRL+L” for load. These button seemed to be hard-wired into the emulator and cannot be changed.

Finally, before we open a ROM, we need to make sure it is uncompressed (this emulator doesn’t seem to have the capability of reading compressed ROMs. So, before you go to open a ROM, you have to decompress the ROM you want to play before opening it if they are in compressed format like .zip or .7z. Now, to load a ROM, you simply click on “File” and “Open” (Or “CTRL+O” for the speed key):


This emulator doesn’t seem to remember which directory your ROMs between shutting down and starting back up. So, every time you boot up the emulator, you’ll have to browse through the directories again to find your ROMs. As long as the emulator is running, it will remember the directory, but the moment it is shut down, it’ll revert to it’s internal default location.

Click on the .78 ROM file in the browser you want to load and click “Open” to start playing. When you are done with a game, click “File” and then “Close”. When you are finished with the emulator, click “File” and “Exit”.

That’s it!

Happy gaming!

1 thought on “How to Play Atari 7800 Games on Your Computer (ProSystem)”

  1. After you have played the emulator once, an INI file (ProSystem.ini) will be created. If you look near the bottom you’ll find a section labelled [Console], and the first entry beneath that will be [Save.Path]. By setting the save path to the path leading to your ROMs, ProSystem will always “remember” where your ROMs live, and will always open to that folder when you select “File” and “Open”. For example, it should look like “Save.Path=M:\SuperFun\Emulators\Atari 7800\ROMs\” (without the double-quotes, of course). Have fun!!!

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