Ex-Microsoft engineer SethBling has created an Atari 2600 emulator using nothing but Minecraft.

Redstone wizard SethBling has created an Atari 2600 emulator in vanilla Minecraft, recreating game cartridges and Atari hardware using dirt blocks.

While the emulator is impossibly slow, SethBling’s video details how the 1977 game console can be faithfully recreated by using Minecraft’s features and some scripting wizardry.

SethBling’s emulator uses a Minecraft armor stand to draw colored blocks to represent the game’s 8-bit visuals. It draws information from 128 bytes of “RAM” crafted from a huge slab of dirt and stone, designed to represent the binary code. Dirt represents zeros, while cobblestone represents ones. The video provides a very visual explanation of how information is handled by computational hardware to create animation frames.

SethBling also provided tools to allow people to try the emulator for themselves in the description of the above video, which even includes a tool to convert 4 KB Atari 2600 ROMs into block cartridges for the emulator’s Minecraft world state.

Microsoft is already offering Minecraft to schools to teach all sorts of subjects from maths to computer science. SethBling’s video exemplifies the game’s versatility in this area, particularly when it comes to engaging younger audiences with technical topics. I think I’ll stick to blowing up Zac Bowden with creepers, though.

A redstone master has constructed a functional Atari 2600 emulator in Minecraft