Atari 2600

» Man­u­fac­turer: Atari Inc » Year: 1977 » cost: $199 (launch), £25+ (to­day)

Retro Gamer - - A MOMENT WITH -

When de­sign­ing the Atari 2600, there was so lit­tle prece­dent that Atari had al­most no guid­ance as to what a games con­sole could or should look like. The re­sult was so in­flu­en­tial that it’s still recog­nis­able for its pur­pose over four decades later, while clearly be­ing a prod­uct of its time – the black plas­tic and wood­grain ef­fect panel is a com­bi­na­tion that could only have been ap­plied to Seven­ties tech­nol­ogy. Still, there are pe­cu­liar­i­ties. The bank of metal switches on the front of the con­sole is in­dica­tive of a time when in-game op­tions menus just didn’t ex­ist, and the de­ci­sion to put the con­trol ports at the rear of the ma­chine is un­usual. The Atari 2600 (or VCS, as it was known dur­ing its early years) went through a num­ber of de­sign re­vi­sions over the years while still re­tain­ing its recog­nis­able form fac­tor. The early ‘Heavy Sixer’ mod­els had six switches on the ma­chine and a very thick plas­tic base, and the much more com­mon ‘Light Sixer’ is what you see here. Later mod­els cut six switches down to four, and the ‘Darth Vader’ re­vi­sion re­placed the wood­grain with a black panel. The clas­sic model was fi­nally su­per­seded by the Atari 2600 ‘Ju­nior’ in 1986.

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