The Atari 2600 is the best known video game console to predate the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is famous for popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and ROM cartridges using game code even though the previous Fairchild Channel F and RCA Studio 2 were able to do this first. It was made in 1977.
Why It Rocks
- Brought popular arcade games into the home.
- Many games are in the arcade genre of gaming, focusing more on a high score than actually beating the game.
- Quirky and fun sound effects.
- The basic controller of the 2600 is a joystick and a button and very easy to learn.
- Over 596 games were made, counting homebrews.
- The secondary controller, the Paddle controller, allowed for rotation and made it great for games like Break-Out.
- You can plug a Sega Genesis controller and it'll work.
- Due to its old age, finding a functional unit can prove difficult. It can also be expensive because collectors hunt them down.
- It's very difficult to use with a modern TV because those no longer have ports for the cables the Atari 2600 uses. You can play 2600 games in modern TVs via Plug and Play systems or compilations, but they aren't the same.
- Lack of control over quality and publishing resulted in its library being flooded with Shovelware made by people trying to make a quick buck form the Video Game craze. This made the Atari 2600 a major contributor to the Crash of 1983.
- The Paddle controllers wear out over time and created jittery movements.
While not the first to do so, the Atari 2600 is often credited for being the one that made the use of exchangeable game cartridges viable. It is also considered the one that made gaming popular. Mike Matei of Cinemassacre is a huge fan of the system and owns nearly the entire library.