Only 2 million times more RAM? Are they sure that's enough, given how software is written nowadays?
Hotly anticipated video games like Starfield not your cup of tea? Crave something a bit more retro? You're in luck: Atari has just teased a "faithful recreation" of the 2600 console model launched in 1980. Atari, or rather what remains of it today, yesterday described the 2600+ as having been built to mimic everything you miss …
So it was launched in the UK in 1978 for £169.95 or £200 depending on where you look in this thread. Either price is quite pricey for 1978. It apparently sold 125,000 units in 1980.
Then the ZX80, 81, and Spectrum were released.
Then if you click here, search for "Numbers of units sold by Atari in 1984" for European sales figures, it's become a rounding error all over Europe compared to home computers.
Yeah, '78 sounds good for UK, I was pretty sure I'd seen it before '80. Stateside was 1977.
Finally found the page I was looking for, from The Centre for Computing History: Atari VCS.
Couldn't find a 2600 price, but for a reference point, the Atari 800 was released in 1979 for, wait for it... an initial price tag of $999.85!
by 1984 it was outdated so of course is sold fuck all, and nice pick of year (that was the year gaming collapsed in a slump).
Also gaming in 1978 wasn't anywhere as large as the only computers were very expensive, it would later become a larger market after 1980/81 when stuff like the zx80/zx81/zxspectrum released.
you seem to be under the impression gaming was much more popular back then than it really was, it was very small but growing and atari 2600/VCS was the initial push that made it bigger among normal households .
as i said your memory sucks
Gaming and home computing did not collapse in a slump in Europe in 1984. The Atari VCS alone did though, probably because it was crimping out games like ET then burying them in a hole in the ground.
The only lead the VCS would have had this side of the pond would have between 1978-81. But still, I can't remember anyone I knew having one from 82 onwards. With game prices like these, nobody would want one. I can imagine them being sold on to the unwary to part-fund a home computer.
Had you been working there in the late 70's when the VCS first hit these shores, I suspect your opinion of how well it sold would be different - by '83 it a) was somewhat outdated and b) up against the myriad of newer systems all competing for our attention, so I'm not surprised you didn't see it flying off the shelves.
The 2600 was the first gaming system or home computer I had hands-on IIRC, and that was before summer of 1980. There weren't many home computers around then, being Acorn Atom and ZX80 times. That's after the Apple II ('79). I'm fairly confident, but can't cite, that the VCS would have been cheaper. Happy to be wrong.
Released in 1978 as the Atari VCS, It did ok in the UK as there wasn't a huge competitive market at the time. It was rebranded as the Atari 2600 around 1980 or 81 along with a massive price drop. I remember getting one for xmas 81 or 82... and then selling it a couple of years later to help pay towards the Commodore 64 I was going to get for xmas 83 or 84.
The rebrand and the price drop were because of increased competition from things like the Spectrums
My memory might be slightly corrupt after 4 decades of not being fully refreshed, but I'm fairly certain my first encounter here in the UK with a games console was courtesy of the VCS one of my school friends owned. And if that honour actually went to the Philips system another friend owned, or with the Binatone system I had, then the VCS was certainly right up there at the dawn of my personal computer games timeline, and from what I recall of wandering around the shops at the time, it was also the system that had the commercial support - I think I might have seen an Intellivision system once in-store, otherwise my only exposure to that or the Colecovision were in the catalogues.
More tactfully, it is indeed easier to see the past through rose-coloured glasses than it is to accept the truth. By today's standards the games, and the console, are very rudimentary but that will certainly attract a number of retro aficionados - the question is, will that be enough to justify the development and production costs?
Except it's not a question of rose tinted glasses - measured against the standards of the day, some of these games genuinely do justify being described as, at the very least, good, and in some cases even more than that. Yes, by *today's* standards they don't even begin to measure up, but to criticise them as *never* having been good in the first place is crossing the line into pure balderdash and historical revisionism.
That's a massively unfair take - in the context of the time they were originally released, they actually WERE good.
It's no different to any other retro gaming activity - when I feel the urge to indulge in a spot of nostalgia and fire up a Spectrum or Amiga emulator to play some of the games I absolutely LOVED back in the day, it takes quite a while for my 2020's era brain to get used to the audio-visual quality, frame rates etc, so if I was just an impartial onlooker without any personal interest in those games, then I might very easily dismiss them as a festering pile of crap.
It's only when you wind your mental clock back 3-4 decades to the time when these games really were state of the art, pushing the boundaries of what the systems were capable of , that you can properly rate them. By the sounds of things, you either weren't around back then, or had no interest in gaming back then, or have completely forgotten what gaming was like back then, because trust me, if you HAD experienced the unimaginable thrill of powering up a VCS or similar era console and being able to play even the most rudimentary of games in the comfort of your living room rather than needing to head to the nearest arcade with a pocket full of loose change, then you'd not be writing them off like this.
1. or at least, what the programmers believed they were capable of at that point in the history of the system - year on year, games pushed the hardware harder and harder as programmers learned more tricks to eke out ever more performance, such that games considered to be good examples of what the system was capable of within the first year of its launch would, a few years  down the road, seem quite clunky in comparison to what the same hardware was able to deliver then.
2. and in the case of those retro systems which have continued to attract developer attention over the intervening decades, some of the stuff being written for them now is genuinely mindblowing.
err, i was one of the original nerds so I do actually understand why we "thought" the games were any good and later actually coded/fixed some 2600 stuff (i raced the beam, clock counting in 6502) which I later used in c64, atari st to break border limits.
so don't try telling me I wasn't fucking there sonny.
that shit was all we had.
You saw an article about an object that doesn't interest you. You opened it and at least skimmed it. You then opened the comments of that article and posted about how much you disrespect the object and it's enthusiasts.
If this is your idea of a fun pass time, then I really think you ought to give the Atari VCS another chance. I think you'll find it at least as much fun, and, god willing, it will keep you out of the forums for 15 minutes.
Bah! I wanted to
love... complain about... love complaining about the CX40 first! Wah!
Not microswitches on the CX40, it was those kind of two-bits-of-solder-held-apart-inside-a-flattened-plastic-bubble switches - can't think what they're called.
But man! I got through dozens of those! Those white plastic rings for tension/centring, shocking! The first microswitch joystick I recall was a Quickshot, well, decent one at least.
thanks for the memories:
Joint wracking pain, button thumb, defeat, small victories, fleeting triumph, fights over controllers, no-name knock of titles sold by the candy in the checkout aisle of the grocery store.
Still, an absolute classic, and I may by one just to play missile command and tank pong from the Combat cart.
The last time I saw Atari carts for sale, outside of the most rarified collector shop or eBay eqv. (in other words, just at a garage sale or thrift store), was the late 1990s.
We are, I fear, at least 25 years too late to luck upon these carts for a bargain. That is what fails to attract me to this 2600+. Its already over priced, and then I need to get into a bidding war on eBay for each attempt to expand my game library?
No thank you.
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Yes, this hardware is way more powerful, but it's not natively running the 2600's chips, it's just a software emulator. So it needs the extra power to overkill it. This is basically just putting a RaspPi in a case, cheap and easy - though adding the hardware to read the old carts into memory is a nice touch.
And this seems way more practical than the stupid 'next gen console' nobody wants that they've been promising for how long now?
... and I'll be downvoted to oblivion, but I've always felt that the 2600 is just too old, too simple, to be truly enjoyable these days, and even as a child I remember it being extremely crude.
Maybe there's a reason everything crashed until a decade later when Nintendo and SEGA showed the way, with graphics that good enough that you don't need a fantastic imagination to read them.
Don't get me wrong, I've read Racing the Beam, and have respect for what was done with so little hardware, but that for me doesn't really translate in to an experience that I have much desire to re-live.
But for many it will be, so it's great that they're catered for.
Depends on what you mean by 'enjoyable' - sure, many of the games are extremely dated but that doesn't stop them from being fun - Namco's Pac-Man is over 40 years old now but people still enjoy playing it, partly due to nostalgia I'm sure but also because it's just a great game.
The VCS' library is certainly littered with cheap arcade clones and hastily thrown together games to cash in on the video game craze of the time, but it's also home to classics like H.E.R.O, Yars' Revenge, Adventure, Pitfall/2 and a few of my other personal favourites (Battlezone, Berzerk, Haunted House and Enduro).
I don't play these games very often - but when I do sit down to play them I always enjoy them.
I think the ColecoVision is probably the most primitive thing I can imagine enjoying. It very much bridged the gap from 2600 to NES. My parents managed to return the Vectrex when the company discontinued it shortly after Christmas and replaced it with a used Coleco instead. I think I was happier for it overall, even if the Vectrex would have had better nostalgia value.
(In the end I got a C64 and forgot about consoles entirely for a decade)
"Maybe there's a reason everything crashed until a decade later when Nintendo and SEGA showed the way, with graphics that good enough that you don't need a fantastic imagination to read them."
While I agree re the 2600, there were better systems out there long before the NES (nee Famicom only in Japan a bit earlier), eg C64 and similar 8-bit home computers.
there is way too much rose tinted glasses when looking at the past.
I lived those times and to be honest, 2600 sucked ass, as many of it counter parts also did (I will admit at one point I did help program and fix some 2600 crap, so yes I "raced the beam").
I find the retro scene filled with stupidity praising stuff that is obviously just bearable shit only played back then because that is all we had!!!.
If you don't count the binatone pong machine with light gun that we had (but wasn't actually bought for me)... the 2600 was the first gaming machine I ever had. Bought as an xmas present for me one year in the early 80's as a little kid. A couple of years later, it was sold along with all of the games to help fund a new xmas present for me. A Commodore 64.
Very fond memories... but having downloaded the Atari 50th Anniversary games collection... and played versions of their arcade games and finding some of them pretty unplayable and unenjoyable... I'm not sure having even more terrible versions of those games is going to interest me.
I'd buy it, play it a few times and then it would sit on a shelf or in a box doing nothing for years.
I already have enough junk doing that... old GPU's I keep saying I'm going to strip down and create a shadow box for, motherboards, CPU's, ram.... I had all these ideas how to decorate my office/cinema room... and I'll probably do none of it. Just shelves and display cabinets with movie/game/tv collectables in/on them.
If the author's VCS had only four switches, it was probably not "original" (Heavy Sixer) which
had a sextet of switches. Perhaps an younger sibling had "salvaged" a few parts for a Science Fair project?
Meanhwile, I "got the message" about VCS popularity when my home was burgled. The thieves took the time to disconnect my VCS from the (17 inch diagonal CRT) television.
left the VCS, took the TV. (1984 or so). Great way to convey "OK, Boomer"