V is for...........
The ATARI VCS (2600) is in my opinion the most iconic video games console of all time.
The original “Woody” version is classic late 70’s design and it still looks great today.
It was almost like a piece of furniture, something that didn’t look out of place in the family front room.
For me when I was growing up it was the console I thought of when I was growing up.
When I was bought my ATARI 800 XEGS it even had a picture of the VCS on the back of the box as ATARI were still selling the 2600 even then. It kind of made me want a 2600 even more.
The funny thing is I never actually owned one……..
A lot has been said of the 2600 and its design and the fact is the machine has everlasting appeal as it was the first truly successful home console.
It came out in 1977 and was a mainstay for over a decade of video gaming! That illustrates how great this machine is and highly regarded it is amongst us retro gamers. It was still being made until 1992.
The minimal system specs on the VCS meant that programming a game was always a challenge and a challenge that designers and programmers relished at the time and still do so to this day.
Apparently even when the VCS was released the hardware was already nearly obsolete at the time so for it to last all that time was a minor video gaming miracle.
The VCS had 128 BYTES….yes BYTES…..of RAM to work with so the programmers had to be ingenious to get the most out of the wooden beast. Surely that’s the ultimate test for any programmer, to be able to create fun addictive games with the kind of restrictions imposed by the voracious VCS…
The VCS could also only display 5 interactive objects at a time which was another set of rules the programmers and designers had to consider.
It’s amazing to think that the VCS was the first home console to have Arcade games ported to it. Granted, these were limited versions of the original arcade games but they were very popular as players accepted that it was never going to be ‘ARCADE PERFECT’
Over the course of its retail life the VCS took a few different forms and was reincarnated a number of times.
The key models were:
1). The Heavy Sixer (VCS) – These were the original 1977 models and were heavy beasts as they were laden with aluminium innards.
2). Light Sixer (VCS) – Sharper moulding angles reduced the weight but it still had the aluminium inside.
3). Atari 2600 (Darth Vader) – The first model to use the Atari 2600 name and nicknamed the Darth Vader as it was now all black plastic.
4). Atari 2600 jr. – The Jr. has a scaled down form factor and came out in 1986 as a budget 2600 that could play all the 2600 back catalogue at a knock down price.
So there you have it, the 2600 is a classic that should never be forgotten……
I’m to eBayto get me a nice 2600 jr. !
What’s Your Favourite Atari 2600 model?
Let Me Know In The Comments Box Below
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