Stella free download for Mac


23 March 2020

Atari 2600 game emulator.


Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Stella was originally developed for Linux by Bradford W. Mott, however, since its original release several people have joined the development team to port Stella to other operating systems such as OS X, AcornOS, AmigaOS, DOS, FreeBSD, IRIX, Linux, OS/2, and Unix. The development team is working hard to perfect the emulator and we hope you enjoy our effort.

Oh, for those of you too young to remember, the Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS), introduced in 1977, was the most popular home video game system of the early 1980's. Now you can enjoy all of your favorite Atari 2600 games on your Mac thanks to Stella!

Note: While the software is classified as free, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development.

What's new in Stella

Version 6.1:
  • Because of major event remapping changes, all remappings will be reset to defaults; if you had custom mappings, they will need to be re-entered again.
  • Because of major internal changes, all state files are now invalid.
  • Major improvements to display mode handling in NTSC vs. PAL. The window is now the same size for both modes, and scaling is applied to simulate the height of scanlines (in PAL mode, there are more scanlines and hence each is narrower). This more properly emulates how the display would look on a real TV.
  • Removed the 'Display_Height' property, changing it to 'Display_VCenter'. This new feature, along with the display mode changes above, almost completely eliminate having to manually tweak each ROM so that it will not have part of the image cut off.
  • Removed the 'Display_YStart' property and all automatic detection of ystart. It caused problems on some ROMs, and was not the way a real console would work anyway. Related to this, ROMs now load much faster.
  • Major improvements to event remapping
  • Allow mapping of modifier-key and button-direction combinations
  • Physical controllers can map the same action to different events on different virtual controllers
  • Many more events can be remapped
  • Events can be filtered by type in UI
  • Paths have been simplified
  • The following file/directory locations are no longer configurable
  • (statedir, nvramdir, cheatfile, palettefile, propsfile); they are now all under the base directory
  • Removed cfgdir; Distella config files are now placed with their associated ROMs
  • Added 'basedir' commandline argument, which allows to change the base directory where almost all config-related items are stored; related to this, discontinued the 'basedir.txt' functionality
  • Added 'baseinappdir' commandline argument, which sets the base directory to the application folder (Windows only for now); this replaces the functionality of 'basedir.txt'
  • Added automatic controller detection.
  • Controllers can be changed during emulation (no ROM reload required anymore).
  • Added support for Light Gun controller.
  • Added limited KidVid support (8, 9 and 0 start the games).
  • Removed superfluous controller option 'PADDLES_IDIR'.
  • Added configurable paddle dejittering.
  • Key-repeat mode improved; entering Time Machine by holding down a key combo continues to send events (previously, you had to release and then press the combo again).
  • Certain buttons in the UI can now be activated repeatedly by holding down the mouse button (Time Machine, debugger step/trace/frame advance, etc.)
  • Added option to configure mouse double click speed.
  • Added option to configure controller input repeat speed.
  • Added high quality scaling.
  • Made scanlines better aligned to scaling.
  • Added 'HiDPI' mode, which scales the UI by 2x when enabled. This is meant for 4k and above monitors, but can actually be used at any lower resolution that is large enough to display the scaled UI.
  • Fixed TIA 'Center' option, Stella now remembers the last windowed position.
  • Added fractional (25% increments) TIA zooms.
  • Removed 'tia.fsfill' option, replacing it with 'tia.fs_stretch'. This new option allows to preserve TIA image aspect ratio in fullscreen mode, or stretch to fill the entire screen.
  • Added configurable 'Overscan' option for fullscreen modes.
  • Fullscreen TIA modes no longer assume that desktop taskbars, etc are present, hence they are scaled to the proper fullscreen size.
  • Added option to display dialogs in screen corners.
  • Added hotkey for sound on/off.
  • Enhanced 'Command' menu to display current state and more commands.
  • Added option to save and load all TimeMachine states at once.
  • Added option to automatically load/save states when entering/exiting emulation.
  • Added option to change pitch of Pitfall II music.
  • ROM Info Viewer size is not limited to fixed zoom steps anymore.
  • ROM Info Viewer can now display multiple lines per property and the bank switching type.
  • In file listings, you can now select directories by holding 'Shift' on the first character entered. Entering characters in lowercase still selects files, as before.
  • Fixed bug when starting ROMs via MacOS finder.
  • Added various developer options for oddball TIAs
  • stuffed player, missiles and ball move
  • delayed playfield bits and color
  • delayed players and ball VDEL swap
  • Disabled some developer options for 'Player settings'.
  • Writes to RAM read ports are ignored now.
  • Added Developer setting, which breaks on writes to read ports.
  • Improved breakpoints to now consider the banks.
  • Improved debugger's TIA display and zoom windows.
  • Improved hotkeys, now many emulation keys work in debugger too.
  • Fixed display of negative values in debugger; sometimes they were shown as positive.
  • Reworked ROM properties database, making it load faster in certain cases.
  • Updated internal ROM properties database to ROM-Hunter version 16 (thanks go to RomHunter for his tireless research in this area). Related to this, updated the snapshot collection.
  • Fixed 'Dancing Plate (Unknown) (PAL)' to use joystick.
  • Fixed cheatcode handling in 2K and 4K ROMs.
  • Fixed bug where ROMs smaller than 64 bytes were not recognized.
  • Fixed bug where frying one ROM was continued with the next ROM.
  • Fixed not working 7800 pause key.
  • Enhanced UA bankswitching to support certain Brazilian carts.
  • Fixed WD bankswitching.
  • Added FC bankswitching for Amiga's Power Play Arcade Video Game Album.
  • Added auto-detection of display format based on filename.
  • Auto-detection of bankswitch scheme by file extension now includes more human-readable formats (not restricted to DOS 3-char length). See the documentation for the new names.
  • Fixed bug in DPC+ scheme; 'fast fetch mode' was enabled at startup, when it should be disabled by default.
  • Some more work on DPC+ playfield 'jitter' effect for certain older DPC+ driver versions; more ROMs are now detected properly. Special thanks to SpiceWare for his research in this area.
  • Added proper Retron77 port.
  • Added proper libretro port, and fixed display for OpenGLES renderers.
  • PNG/ZIP image support is now conditionally compiled into Stella. All major ports (Linux/macOS/Windows) have it enabled by default.
  • SDL/GUI support is now conditionally compiled into Stella. All major ports (Linux/macOS/Windows) have it enabled by default. This is currently needed by the libretro port.
  • Updated included PNG library to latest stable version.
  • Updated UNIX configure script to work with the gcc version 10 and above.

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16 Stella Reviews

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Rate this app:

12 February 2018

Most helpful

Remember you were a kid once? Now I do! Thank you soooo much!!!
Like (1)
Version 5.1
25 February 2018
love this app
Version 5.1.1
12 February 2018
Remember you were a kid once? Now I do! Thank you soooo much!!!
Like (1)
Version 5.1
31 October 2015
Awful graphics, awful sound, awful controls, ... I LIKE IT ! :-) Best 2600 emulator
Like (4)
Version 4.6.7
04 August 2015
Can I find documentation somewhere on how to use it? I have ROMs in .bin, .stx, .tap, .cas, .atr, .cpgz, .st formats and only the .bin can be recognized? Is that normal? And at first the .bin ROMs appeared in the "browse" window of Stella, now they are all gone but they still are in the folder? Would lvoe some help figuring it out :)
Version 4.6.1
02 June 2012
Nostalgia all the way. A must have for every dedicated 'old-school' gamer (read: +40 year old kids) ;-)
Like (6)
Version 3.7
1 answer(s)
01 November 2012
Hecks yeah! I still remember arcades with pinball machines in them! Galaga on the 2600 was my sht!
Like (1)
31 December 2011
It's not listed here but still available for Tiger/PPC: Great nostalgic fun!
Version 3.5
1 answer(s)
23 March 2015
Based on your information, thanks, I found that this link works to download version 4.2, for Leopard:
Like (1)
08 September 2010
If you are nostalgic, you have owned or always dreamed about owning an Atari 2600 and in the mood of playing some old games that have made history, well look no further since you won't find any better emulator than Stella.
Like (1)
Version 3.2.1
22 April 2010
Maybe not right place but where canI find the roms?
Like (1)
Version 3.1
1 answer(s)
16 September 2010
You can also find some legal ROMs on the fantastic website of AtariAge: Mostly homebrew games made in these years by fans, most of these games are really impressive... check out "Thrust" by Xype, my favourite game:
Like (4)
Version 3.2.1
22 April 2010
A free Atari 2600 emulator that runs the games perfectly. Written with love and much appreciated. Thank you!
Like (3)
Version 3.1
25 March 2006
It unexpectadly quits everytime I open it, anyone know a way to fix it? I'm on an iMac 10.1.3 OS X
Version 2.0
1 answer(s)
22 April 2010
The system requirements are listed as OS X 10.3.9. You are using 10.1.3.
Like (1)
Version 3.1