Atari 2600

Nickname: Video Computer System, VCS
Manufacturer: Atari
Predecessor: Home Pong
Successor: Atari 5200
Release Date: 10/9/1977
Discontinued Date: 31/12/1991
Additional Sizes: -
Display Palette: 128 Colors
Initial Price: US$199 (equivalent to $822.77 in 2018)
Supported Game Media:

Although the Atari VCS 2600 is not the first video game console ever, it is one of the most famous second generation consoles. The first concept of the console was developed in 1975 by Atari and Warner Bros., its parent company.

Initially, the console was designed to have integrated games in ROM, but at the last minute, Atari preferred to create a version with detachable cartridges. The first game for the Atari 2600 was "Combat". The most important thing about this first cartridge is that made console owners look forward to the next few months for the release of new games. A first series of 8 games followed later with famous game titles such as: Air-Sea Battle, Basic Math, Blackjack, Indy 500, Star Ship, Street Racer, Surround, Video Olympics. Then the Space Invaders followed, a game title that made worldwide success and sales of more than $100 million.

In two years, Atari has sold more than 25 million consoles and earned sales of $5 billion, mostly from cartridges and optional accessories. Many third-party companies has been also successful, such as Namco with Pacman.

The features that made the Atari 2600 better than all other video game systems (pong) were the detachable cassettes, the detachable controls with stick/paddle, the tv/color switch on the front part of the device that made it compatible with all TVs (black and white/ color) but also the difficulty options did not let you get bored easily.

With a processor of 1.19 MHz MOS 6507, RAM 128bytes and 4kB ROM resolution 192 × 160 pixels with 128 colors managed to gather the whole family in front of the TV for games that pleased all tastes.

There were two different versions of the six-switch models, so named for the six protruding aluminum switches on the front of the console.

CX2600 “Heavy Sixer” - These early units differ from the next units by their thick plastic bottom and sides of the case, as well as the curve on the front of the unit, but also by the fact that they are heavier. Due to their heavier weight, these first consoles are referred to as "Heavy Sixers". Most Heavy Sixer consoles were built in Sunnyvale, California. Due to the generally higher quality of components used in these early models, collectors claim that Heavy Sixers are superior to the next 4Switch and Light Sixer models. Heavy Sixers are considered rare due to their limited production before Light Sixer models make their debut.

CX2600 "Light Sixer" - These models were released in 1978 and remained in production for about two years. The thick plastic on the sides and the curve on the front gave way to thinner plastic reducing the weight of the system, and more abrupt angling.

In 1982, the VCS became the "2600", followed by new versions Atari 5200 and Atari 7800. However, the 2600 continued to be produced and new games appeared until 1991. The VCS/2600 console lived this way for 14 years, a longevity record that never reached any console or computer.