Back to basics – my new Atari 2600 VCS

For the past month or so I’ve been enjoying a revisit to the golden age of video games and one system I keep coming back to is the Atari 2600 VCS. In it’s extensive library are some pretty damn fine arcade conversions and home to some original classics lime River Raid, Pitfall, Hero and many more.

I owned one of these consoles many many moons ago but it was soon relegated to the loft when my first computer arrived. It’s not that i didn’t enjoy the VCS, it’s just that at around £45 per game back in the 1980’s was way out of reach for a young kids pocket money as opposed to the £1.99 budget titles that had swamped the stores for home computers. That particular 2600 console is long gone and yet despite all of the old consoles and computers I now have in my collection they sadly omit a good ol fashioned Woody….until now.

I picked this one up on eBay for about the prize of a pizza. Most can be quiet expensive (some even ridiculous) but more often that not, examples in good condition can be picked up for a bargain price.

This six switcher model came with two classic Atari Joysticks, two analogue spinners (which might also be useful for another project I’m adding to my list) and four game cartridges. It might be nearly 30 years old but is still provides hours of fun.

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Although it a six switch model, the straight cornered wood grain effect on this one shows, as opposed to curved lines, that this isn’t the rarer ‘heavy sixer’ model. No matter, as long as I can play Space Invaders 🙂

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Gotta love the VCS’ retro styling of black, wood and orange.

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These spinners are great for games like Pong and Breakout. This particular one sounds like it’s got some thing loose inside though so I’ll may need to take a closer look/raid my spare parts bin.

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The four games included are –

Yar’s revenge – my favourite amongst all of these.

Demons to Diamonds – never heard of this one before.

Pac Man – classic game but this early 2600 port isn’t great. Ms Pacman is the one to get.

Space Invaders – perfect.

Most game cartridges can be brought reasonably cheaply too as they’re quite robust in design and so many are still around since the 80’s. Hopefully I can start adding more titles to my collection and include some of the classic coin op conversions and a whole host of Activision greats. I’m also a fan of those wonderfully painted SciFi box and cart artwork so I’ll be looking out for titles like Moon Patrol and Gravitar.

I’ve also ordered a Harmony cartridge fro AtariAge which will allow me to play lots of modern home brew games and hacked versions of originals titles.One in particular I’m looking forward to trying is the speech enhanced version of Berzerk.

Until then, it’s back to the eighties!

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