Atari 2600

The Atari 2600 was released in October 1977, and is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code. The first game console to use this format was the Fairchild Channel F. However, it was the Atari 2600 that made the plug-in concept popular among the game-playing public.

Have you played Atari today?

Originally known as the Atari VCS—for Video Computer System—the machine's name was changed to "Atari 2600" (from the unit's Atari part number, CX2600) in 1982, after the release of the more advanced Atari 5200.

It was immense successful, and during the 1980s, "Atari" was a synonym for this model in mainstream media. The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game: initially Combat and subsequently Pac-Man.

Atari

The console that refused to die

Atari 2600 in its 1986 cost-reduced version, also known as the "2600 Jr."Although not formally discontinued, the 2600 was de-emphasized for two years after Warner's 1984 sale of Atari's Consumer Division to Commodore Business Machines founder Jack Tramiel, who wanted to focus on home computers. In 1986, a new version of the 2600 was released, and the new redesigned version of the 2600, unofficially referred to as the 2600 Jr., featured a smaller cost-reduced form factor with a modernized Atari 7800-like appearance. The redesigned 2600 was advertised as a budget gaming system (under $50) that had the ability to run a large collection of classic games.

Its final European release was Acid Drop in 1992. The Atari 2600 was officially retired by Atari on January 1, 1992, making it the longest-lived home video game console in US game history. It had a lifespan of 14 years and 2 months, nearly three times the typical lifespan of a console.

Homebrew games

At the turn of the millennium, 25-years-plus after the launch of the Atari 2600, new home brew games for the Atari are still made and sold by hobbyists with several new titles available each year. The console and its old and new games are very popular with collectors because of its significant impact on video game and consumer electronics history and also due to its nostalgic value for many people.

Additionally, Benjamin Heckendorn has created several different versions of a portable 2600, created by cutting apart full-sized vintage units, adding screens and putting them into new enclosures.

Atari Flashback

The Atari Flashback 2 console, released in 2005, contains 40 games, with four more unlockable by a cheat code. The console implements the original 2600 architecture and can be modified to play original 2600 cartridges by adding a cartridge port, and is compatible with original controllers.

The Atari insignia has become an iconic pop cultural logo.

Links

Updated: 12 October 2020

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Atari 2600 value and price guide

What's your Atari 2600 worth? Here are some recently sold items.

Picture Title Date Price
space invaders atari 2600 vcs boxed complete Space Invaders Atari 2600 Vcs Boxed Complete... 03/2021 £14.99
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razer kishi gaming controller for android black Razer Kishi Gaming Controller For Android Black... 03/2021 £58.95
tv plug to rf phono socket aerial adapter for Tv Plug To Rf Phono Socket Aerial Adapter For... 03/2021 £1.95
raspberry pi 3 case atari 2600 retro style uk Raspberry Pi 3 Case Atari 2600 Retro Style Uk... 03/2021 £6.99
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices05/2021£-.--

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