Atari 2600

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A wood panel 4-switch model.

The Atari 2600, originally called the Video Computer System, is a video game console created by Atari and first released on 1977-09-11. It is powered by a MOS 6502 microprocessor.

This was the very first home video game console I ever played, somewhere around 1985. My parents bought a used system with a bunch of games, and I played it a lot. Our set included two wireless joysticks, two regular joysticks, two paddle controllers, and one of the 4-switch models (I think the all-black one). A friend of mine in 1988 had a later Atari Jr. model.


See all Atari 2600 Games.

These are the Atari 2600 games that are important to me:




  • Compared to its competitors, this platform had the best game library of the day.
  • The joysticks were very solid and could take a lot of abuse, many of them are still working today. Atari also used the standard 9-pin D-connector rather than invent a proprietary plug which was nice for 3rd party designers.
  • For a system designed to be able to play Pong and not much else, it did amazingly well.


  • Having only one button on the joystick made it pretty much impossible to make a complex game. Several developers tried with only limited success.
  • The vast majority of the games released on the platform are terrible.
  • The system's audio capabilities are very primitive.
  • The controller ports are stupidly placed on the back on the console.


  • Nothing.


  • Nothing.




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