RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jan 5th 2009 at 11:15:26 PM by (NESman93)
Posted under Atari 2600, video games, Atari, 2600, classic gaming, review


Back in the 1970s, in a time when video games began to increase in popularity after the success of games such as Pong, companies, such as Atari and Magnavox released home versions of the game. Then, Atari's engineers designed a way to play video games at home via cartridges, making it possible for home gamers to own one system, but play many different games. Finally, in October 1977, Atari released the Atari Video Computer System, or Atari 2600. The system didnt become an instant success until around 1978, when Atari gained the rights to the game Space Invaders, and ported it to the 2600, becoming the world's first ever ported arcade game.

Now, like many of you on the site, along with me, consider the Atari 2600 to be one of your favorite video game systems. Many of you may remember the hours you spent in front of your tv playing favorites such as Missile Command, Asteroids, Pitfall!, Berzerk, Combat, Centipede, and Ms. Pac-Man.

Looking at the system, you see that the system is very simple, despite the number of switches on it. Originally, the first run of Video Computer Systems came from the Sunnyvale, California plant with black plastic, a woodgrain front, and six switches. The weight of the system and the number of switches on the front, the early run of the systems became known as the "Heavy Sixer."  As time went on, Atari continued to downsize the system. Some revisions were a 6 switch with less weight (Light Sixer), woodgrain front with 4 switches (4 switch woody), and an all-black 4 switch model (the Darth Vader model).

Another good point of the system was the controller. It remains today as one of the simplest controllers for a video game system. The controller is simply a joystick and one button. The other controllers made for the system are the paddle controllers and the driving controller. The paddle controller is a simple spinning knob made for pong and breakout style games. The driving controller was the same as the paddle controller, but the paddle is a continuous 360 degree spin. On top of this, literally hundreds of third party controllers were designed and released for the system.

As the 80s came around, more arcade games made more possibilities of ports for the 2600. Unfortunately, these were also the years when the 2 worst 2600 games were released. First off was the 2600 port of Pac-Man. The biggest problem with the game was the fact that it looked nothing like the original arcade game. This was because of the fact that when Todd Frye, programmer in charge of the game, presented the prototype, Atari released the prototype. Millions bought the game and were extremely disappointed. The other game is the infamous E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The game was so bad that the 5 million unsold copies were buried in the New Mexico desert.

In the mid 1980s, fierce competition came from companies such as Nintendo, causing people to begin to abandon the 2600. At this time, Atari redesigned the 2600 as the new Atari 2600 (called the Atari 2600 Jr.), with a new "The Fun Is Back" campaign. This boosted sales of the 2600 for a few years. Finally, Atari discontinued the Atari 2600 in around 1992

As you can see from this review, the Atari 2600 has had a very long and exciting history. As of late, popularity of the 2600 has exploded, and fandom of the system is alive and well. Recently, homebrewers have began creating and releasing brand new Atari 2600 games, via Atariage. http://www.atariage.com/store/  (link to the atariage store)

Even though I wasn't even born when the system was out, it has become one of my highest rated video game systems. This one deserves a perfect 10/10.


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Comments
 
Great review. According to your article I have a "4 switch woody". Smiley

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