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For some reason every game I play on my Atari 2600 has a score that looks like a combination of numbers and random symbols. Every game does this. Only wherever counters/timers are in every game, certain numbers show up as strange symbols, like with Pitfall, some numbers show up as part of the Activision logo.

No other aspects of the game seem to be effected. Just scores and timers. It also happens regardless of the game being played. Space invaders, Donkey Kong, Battlezone all have the same issue.

I have a four switch Atari 2600 with the wood panel on the front. It's model number is CX-2600A, manufactured April 30th 1982. I haven't been able to find any info on Google regarding this issue.

Everything else works great. Why does it do this?

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    Sounds like there's an issue with connector on the Atari. Unless those games where modded while you wheren't looking, it sounds more like the Atari is displaying the wrong sprites. - Is this happening in the same part of the screen in each game or only wherever a counter is displayed? – NBN-Alex Jul 1 '16 at 22:21
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    Hi, thanks for your reply! Only wherever counters/timers are in every game, certain numbers show up as strange symbols, like with Pitfall, some numbers show up as part of the Activision logo. No other aspects of the game seem to be effected. Just scores and timers. It also happens regardless of the game being played. Space invaders, donkey kong , Battlezone all have the same issue. – Tyler Jul 1 '16 at 22:59
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    NBN is most likely right about sprites. It may be confusing indices as a result of bad or partial data sent through a particular routine. Remember super mario brothers when you did that infinite man trick the numbers would eventually be weird graphics. It was programmatically unseen that the player count would get that high so likely the connection of int to sprite index wasn't limited. They just took it blind. So some bad, worn, aged connection on your machine may not be sending the correct data to the score routine. Old age. – Kai Qing Jul 2 '16 at 0:17
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    Thanks for your input. That makes a lot of sense. The strange thing is that I've scoured the Internet, and can't seem to find even 1 other person reporting this problem with the score sprites with an Atari 2600. Everything else works flawlessly. I just wish I knew if it was a fixable issue. If I could swap out one of the chips on the board, or if the board itself is just suffering from some digital form of score dimentia. – Tyler Jul 2 '16 at 1:22
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    It seems like the Atari is jumbling game logo sprites and they are showing up in the score. My Atari is confused. It's too bad because the whole point of Atari 2600 games is trying to top your high score...Looks like I'm stuck with a senile Atari! – Tyler Jul 2 '16 at 4:06
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If you can find an Atari Hangman or Surround cartridge, you may want to see what happens when you play those. I would not expect that the memory within a 2600's RIOT (RAM+I/O+Timer) chip would be likely to go bad, but if those games exhibit "stuck" pixels, bad memory would be the only likely explanation. I suggest those games in particular because they use a significant portion of the system's RAM to display a bitmap, and any problems in those portions of the RAM would manifest themselves as stuck pixels without any other side-effects.

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