Atari 2600

Tuesday 13 April 2004

I had told my twelve-year-old about the Atari 2600, and how I had played it when I was his age (more or less). I impressed him with stories of how primitive it was. He likes to compare current video game systems based on their graphic power, so I thought he would turn up his nose at the laughably crude 2600 games.

He downloaded an emulator, and we played some games together, and now he’s a fan. He likes them because they have simple titles, and you know what they are about. We also had fun playing the games, without worrying about epic backstories (“or any storyline at all” says son).

If you want to go back even further, there were “video games” before the 2600: has tons of information about the Pleistocene era of video games.


Have you seen this joystick that comes with an Atari and 10 games built into it? Incredible.
Ah, the good old days, where "Adventure" counted as an RPG. :)

As a programmer, I'm most awed by how much stuff they could cram into so little memory.
The Atari 10-in-1 joystick is neat, but unfortunately (and I've tried 2 different joysticks to verify this) they don't seem to provide the noise waveform on the sound output. That means a lot of the explosions (such as the classic apocalyptic sound at the end of Missile Command) don't sound like I remember them. It's disappointing.
You can also pick up various arcade and classic console collections for Playstation/PS2. Activision's is the only one with 2600 games that I know of, but the Intellivision and arcade collections have a ton of games with just pure gameplay.
I guess I am the real geek here since I have a 2600 sitting in my garage. I keep meaning to get around to hooking it up, but never seem to find the time to get the kids off the PS2 and XBox to show them where it all began. Maybe I will use this as motivation to bring it out of storage and see if I can beat my top score on Space Invaders. Unfortunately, the old controllers were destroyed from over play and I have to use a pair I bought as an upgrade so many years ago.
Not the only geek Sean - I picked up 2 2600 consoles and about 30 games from a streetmarket a while back

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