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ATARI 2600 VCS
(August 1977-1984)
The original king of video games


This is my prized Atari Collection! Some will think I'm crazy to this many games while others will think it's just too small. There is also the 7800 and games pictured here.

This is what VideoGames101 is all about! It all started for me right here with this wood grain machine, the Atari 2600 Video Computer System. The Atari 2600 VCS is actually an 8-bit machine and not a 4-bit system like some people would assume, but the system's power is still very limited in comparison to other 8-bit machines like the NES or Sega Master System thanks to the weak cartridge Ram space, and poor sprite detail. As you may have guessed, you won't find an Atari 2600 system in about 95% of the game stores here. You are better off going to a garage sale or any store that sells really old stuff (but not too old of course) to find your own Atari system. Be sure to get everything with it like the AC adapter, old RF hook up, and the TV and Game switch. The Atari 2600 can only work on older TV's with the twin screws in the back unless you buy a new RF switch from an electronics store like Radio Stack.

You can also buy an Atari 7800 (the more powerful 8-bit system that can play almost any of the 2600 games) and maybe just forget the 2600 altogether. There is another old Atari system called the Atari 5200, but it never really caught on and it won't play your 2600 games unless you buy a special adaptor, and finding one of those can be pretty difficult too.

But enough with the upgrades, let's get back to the 2600 itself. Atari sold well over 10 million 2600's in the early 80's, and it was just cool to have one back then because of the then-recent arcade hits like Space Invaders, Missile Command, and Asteroids being available at home for the first time ever. The 2600 was the Playstation of its time. The Atari 2600 also has a lot of options on the system itself to alter your games like Type A or B switches, game select, and even an option for Black and White or Colour. Nothing could stop Atari back then, not the Intellivision, Colecovision, or Vertrex, so how did Atari fail in the first place? Their games for one!

COOL 2600 TOYS
The 2600 Controller
The Controller is just a simple black analog stick with one red button on the left side; very basic, but it works great. You could easily play for hours with the Atari 2600 joystick. The two controllers Atari gave you only had one button so the games are really simple to play, but this created a problem for some games like Mouse Trap, where an extra button would have helped with the game play (opening doors and then switching into Dog mode gets very confusing). Some controllers like the Sega Master System controllers are even backward compatible with the Atari 2600 to add more choices for players.

The 2600 Paddles
These twin roller controllers were specially designed for games like Super Break Out, Warlords, Circus Atari, Kaboom, and many others. They are kind of like mini trackballs found in old arcade titles but they only go left or right.

Rating: 72/100
Bottomline:The Atari 2600 VCS is really old and I can not recommend a game system that nearly killed off the entire Video Game Industry especially to casual players. With all the recent updates by Namco and Midway and their legendary classics being re-released for other gaming systems like the Playstation and Sega Dreamcast, the Atari 2600 just cannot compare with the memory cards, extra buttons, or better graphics of today. Also remember that the Atari 7800 will play almost every 2600 cartridge out there, but the Atari 7800 controllers are very uncomfortable and many prefer the 2600 joysticks to the 7800 ones. Be careful, the Atari 2600 game system really sucks compared to today's standards and sometimes it's best not to look back. Still the Atari 2600 is great for reliving the past and you can't overlook all those classic arcade games either.


Rare Scale: 3/10
The Atari age as come and gone so it's not has common has it used to be. The more compact Atari 2600 jr. is a bit rarer than the older wood grain version.

There are over 800 games for the system, here are the most common ones:
AIR SEA BATTLE
ASTEROIDS
COMBAT
DEFENDER
DONKEY KONG
E.T.
FREEWAY
MISSILE COMMAND
PAC MAN
SPACE INVADERS
YAR'S REVENGE
These games should only be a DOLLAR or less. E.T. and Atari PAC MAN were so bad and so overstocked they crashed the Video Game market in 1984.  "Thanks a lot Atari!"

VERY RARE ATARI 2600 GAMES
COMBAT TWO (Atari, 2001)
This is a recent release of a previously unfinished Atari sequel.
ELEVATOR ACTION (Taito, 2001)
Also discovered at the 2004 Classic Gaming Expo and released in limited numbers.
HALLOWEEN
A rare horror/adult game for the Atari 2600.
KRAZY KLIMBER
PEPSI INVADERS (Atari)
Q BERT QUBES (Parker Brothers, 1984)
A rare late release during the Great Market Crash.
RESCUE TERRA 1 (Venture Vision)
RIVER PATROL (Tigervision)
A very rare Tigervision game, a company few people heard of.
RUBIK'S CUBE/VIDEO CUBE (Atari)
This game could only be purchased by mail order. Video Cube is the rarer version but both games are the same.
SWORDQUEST: WATERWORLD (Atari, 1984)
The third game in the poor selling Sword Quest series was not released to the public. The fourth game (Air world) in the series wasn't even finished.
TOOTH PROTECTERS
These games should be around $50-$500 depending on the shape they're in.

StarSoldier's personal Top 10 Atari 2600 games:
(These games are really old but they play pretty well. Nothing has beaten Moon Patrol yet.)
#1. MOON PATROL (Atari/Irem, 1983)
2. SPACE INVADERS (Atari/Taito, 1980)
3. FROSTBITE (Activision, 1982)
4. FROGGER (Parker Brothers/Konami, 1982)
5. PITFALL II (Activision, 1983)
6. MS. PAC MAN (Atari/Namco, 1983)
7. MEGA MANIA (Activision, 1983)
8. MIDNIGHT MAGIC (Atari, 1987)
9. KEYSTONE KAPERS (Atari, 1983)
10. MISSILE COMMAND (Atari, 1981)

Most Disappointing:
SWORD QUEST: Earth World
PAC MAN
E.T.
DONKEY KONG JR.

The Worst:
FINAL APPROACH
STAR MASTER
SWORDQUEST: Earth World
SWORDQUEST: Fire World

Most Underrated:
MOON PATROL
FLASH GORDON
JR. PAC MAN
FROSTBITE


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