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Thread: What's your memories of the Atari 2600?

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    Red face What's your memories of the Atari 2600?

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    So, I was roaming through the Internet, and I have seen some people who grew up with an Atari 2600 at a young age. Personally, I was born in 1996 (which was years after the Atari 2600 became obsolete for the time), so I don't have any childhood memories of the system. But I do own an Atari 2600 and did enjoy some of the games that it held (considering of how I'm a video game collector). But if you did grew up with an Atari 2600, I'm curious; what was your memory of the system? How did the video game crash of 1983 affected you?

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    I was born in '78 and my first system was the Atari 2600. I remember thinking Atari was absolutely amazing. Being cognizant that different companies made different games, I realized that Atari's label was on the lion's share of my favorite games. Activision, Imagic, and, to a lesser extent, Nintendo also garnered my attention and respect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoteRangers View Post
    How did the video game crash of 1983 affected you?
    As a young child I had no idea whatsoever of any video game crash, and for the record I thought E.T. sucked on the 2600, but Pac-Man was somewhere between good to meh until the Commodore 64's version rolled out a few years later. When the NES came out I thought "Wow. That looks better than my Commodore 64" rather than "Hosanna! The video game industry is saved!"

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    Old enough to own one very young, but didn't, had the test launch NES in 1985. Had a friend or two with one. I found most of the arcade conversions not that fun, but I did like some of the oddball titles, also the Nintendo DK and MB conversions weren't too bad. I remember for some reason liking gremlins, but even in that era I thought it all looked and sounded terrible vs arcade machines.

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    I was born in '83 so I didn't own or play one when they were new.

    But my grandparents had one at their house in the basement hooked up to a very old 13" TV and they had a ton of games that they had purchased at garage sales very cheaply. I remember my older brothers and myself playing it when we would visit. While the games couldn't hold a light to our Sega Genesis we still had a blast and I remember always loving H.E.R.O.

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    I never played a 2600 until about 1989 or so (I was born in 82) and already having an NES by that point I thought the 2600 was complete crap. And to be honest my opinion hasn't really changed. I can understand the love from people that had one when they were a huge thing, but there's a fine line between retro and totally antiquated, and to me the 2600 is far over that line.

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    Ah nice memories, 1984, my mother died, I inherited a huge lump of $$$s.
    First stop my local toyshop, purchased a Vader (pack-in Phoenix) and Enduro, Ms.Pac-Man and Super Cobra.
    Of course, there was no crash in Europe as it happened in USA, and games and consoles were still expensive, so that lot was approx. $1500 in 84s monies.
    From then on daily trips to toyshops, computer shops, radio shops or any other place selling VCS games and buying VCS games by the bucket load.
    I remember using my lunch break (1/2 hour) racing to town (10 min) parking the car (sometimes in a no-parking zone), run to the shop buying the game, and back to the car (10 min), racing back to work (10 min). Sometimes a parking ticket was stuck on the windshield, how did they do that? Hanging around just for me to arrive? I never figured that one out. Fun times.

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    I'm old enough to remembering getting one for Christmas of '81. I remember the joysticks (not controllers, what the hell are those things?) always breaking on me and having to get replacements several times. I remember getting ET new for Christmas and it costing Mom $35 from Montgomery Wards in '82. I never recalled anyone hating ET until it became an internet fad to do so. It was just any other game like the rest, none really stood out as being any better or worse than the others, most where average other than perhaps Pitfall which was THE BEST game at the time like how people look at Zelda for the NES today.

    I remember laying on the floor with my brother and playing 2P games. I may have old photos of us unwrapping Atari stuff from Christmases past. I also remember budget bins at the drug store being loaded with extra copies of the common games that no one wants. I think that was in '84? But I never knew this was because of some gaming crash as back then over production and deep discounting was typical of the '80s. They just made a ton of everything and it trickled down to the cheap crappy stores until it sold. Stuff would sit in warehouses for years and no one cared. Now days no company behaves like that. I do remember scoffing at this crappy drug store trying to sell a few hundred beat up boxed copies of Defender for under $1 each. I think 10 cents each or something insane like that? That's how I managed to get a lot of my Atari games, under $5 each.

    I do recall being so confused at seeing strange games for obscure (to kids) systems like the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, VIC 20, etc. and being extremely scared of them because they looked so intimidating. I still have an irrational fear of these strange games and old PCs today stemming from my childhood. Because I loved gaming so much, my parents thought it was a good idea to send me to "computer classes". At no time was I aware that computer classes meant computer PROGRAMMING classes. So I naively went there thinking I'd learn how to PC and play games and enjoy using the computer. It turned out to be a really intensive beginners course in Basic programming, well above the abilities of an average nine year old. I imagine I could have handled a MODERN 2000s version of a class like this where they spoon feed you with childish programs and make using a PC fun, but this was right into cold Basic Progamming with intents to to lead the person into Cobol or Fortran for the next course. How is that at all fun for a kid? So when it was time for me to evaluate the course, I said that I felt it should have had more fun gaming and that the programming stuff was boring. In the end I got yelled at by the teacher and was told not to return back for the second course. I ended up being so shocked and terrified by the experience that I avoided programming until my college years and loving gaming all that much more.

    Kids around us had Intellivisions and Colecos, which I admired for their higher graphics, but I hated for their general lack of ease. Too many crazy buttons to mind and lousy gamepad joysticks. Kids with Intellivisions and Colecos were also considered upper class and ritzy compared to us Atari owners. I guess because of higher cost and better graphics, but then again it was not really considered cool to have an Atari around '83 or so for reasons I never really knew why nor cared.

    I found ET rather hard, but it was the only game I was ever able to beat for the Atari 2600. The others just went on and on (pac man) and stuff like Earthworld and Adventure I had no clue as to what was going on. At least ET I was able to figure out after several days of trying. No matter what the game was, back then I had imagination and patience for all games, so everything was a joy to me even if I could not really play it properly. There were no really bad games, just ones I preferred to play more than others.

    I never knew about any video game crash as TV had 'Saturday Supercade' well until Summer of '85 to keep the hobby going though the "down" years. There was always video gaming something to keep kids focused. Around that time I got my Commodore 64 as it was the next logical gaming system evolution. I never used it as a PC and they had killer price wars at the time to sell those things. Also getting "free" C64 games from the other kids did not hurt either. So the poor Atari sat collecting dust as I moved on. It got sold in a garage sale or something like that in the late 80s. Not sure what happened to it really.

    I've been home video gaming for some 32 years now (longer if you consider Pong home systems), yet sadly I find it rather hard to enjoy the Atari 2600 today. It really has not held up well and I prefer the NES/SNES era of gaming the best. I play some titles before reselling them on eBay, but I'm lucky I can devote more than a few minutes before realizing how awful it really is and giving up. I think I've done Atari 2600 to death and the memories are better than the real thing now. Yet for some reason I still have 3 Atari 2600s (two boxed) and several dozen games in my personal collection. It's just the gamer collector in me I guess.

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    I've got tons of memories of playing the 2600 with my dad as a child and enjoying games like E.T, Pac-Man, Ice Hockey, Boxing, Dr J vs Larry Bird, Megamania, Atlantis, Cosmic Arc, and many others. For me, the fun of the 2600 lives on and is still enjoyable today and I make sure to play it every so often to bring myself back to my gaming roots. I bought one at a flea market years after originally owning it and had a blast playing the 2600 in 1994 and inviting friends over to relive memories, but I didn't keep I long and eventually bought another some years back to keep fr good. Its an amazing system.
    Last edited by TheRetroVideoGameAddict; 06-04-2013 at 08:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRetroVideoGameAddict View Post
    I've got tons of memories of playing the 2600 with my dad as a child and enjoying games like E.T, Pac-Man, Ice Hockey, Boxing, Dr J vs Larry Bird, Megamania, Atlantis, Cosmic Arc, and many others. For me, the fun of the 2600 lives on and is still enjoyable today and I make sure to play it every so often to bring myself back to my gaming roots. I bought one at a flea market years after originally owning it and had a blast playing the 2600 in 1994 and inviting friends over to relive memories, but I didn't keep I long and eventually bought another some years back to keep fr good. Its an amazing system.
    funny that today E.T. gets flamed all day long, but back then, as a kid, I loved it. It was obviously quirky even then but I played the hell out of that game.

    I wish I still had mine but my 2600 fried itself like 8 years ago and then my parents just threw out my 7800 and ALL the games (probably 60 of them between 2600 & 7800)

    So mad....My earliest childhood memories of gaming, and things like E.T. being earliest childhood games I remember getting brand new. I probably would never pick up another 2600 or 7800 unless I got really lucky and found a huge lot of stuff for next to nothing.

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    I remember one Christmas where we got a TON of Atari games. My parents must have found them for the super cheap at a store and stocked the hell up because we didn't have a lot of money back then. It could have been marked down items because of the crash but I wouldn't have noticed as I wasn't paying that much attention to things like that back then. A picture of the stack of games we got was taken if I remember correctly but I'll be damned to know where that picture disappeared to.

    My younger brother and I spendt HOURS playing the 2600, blowing into the carts and the whole nine. while I don't recall where our unit was purchased from, I do know that it was the woodgrain unit. If I had to venture a guess, I would say it was purchased from Sears because that was one of my parents favorite stores. I do remember the first three games we got for our system though; Speedway, Combat, and Gunslinger.

    The 3rd party stuff always fascinated me with their offbeat cartridge designs. The shells for the Activision games weren't too much different from the standard Atari ones and were rather uniform when stored. I always liked the Parker Brothers, Sega, and Imagic carts the most and was always afraid to handle the M Network carts because they felt so flimsy.

    I'd list out my favorites but that would be a laundry list and a half.
    "Ai Oboete Imasu Ka?"

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    I remember many neigborhood friends coming over to play my 2600 during Summer of 1987 and being rude because they had previously played Nintendo and felt it was much better, which it was.....but still. Between 1984-1988 when I originally owned one I put so many hours into playing games on it that it probably took up a solid year of my life time, I absolutely loved it.
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    My folks remember atari my dad had one (he doesn't remember the model) and playing tennis? I'm guessing pong? IDK. I got a 2600 heavy sixxer a few years back but couldn't fix it sadly ended up getting rid of it.

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    We bought our first system in 1981 and we bought Asteroids and Outlaw to go along with the Combat pack in. Played the hell out of it for many years and its, obviously, my favorite video game system, period. The crash never really affected me since I jumped straight from the Atari 2600 to the Tandy color computer and those early 80's computers were immune to the game crash, even though I remember hearing about it.

    My favorite memories were playing with my friends or cousins on the weekends either at my house or theirs. I remember one of my cousins being so good at Missile Command that his brother beat the snot out of him because he was hogging the thing for so long and wanted to play. Also remember the first time playing Adventure and jumping everytime the red dragon popped out on the screen. I can still remember buying Video Pinball and loving the trippy physics in the thing and being able to nudge the ball to rack up the point multiplyer. Ah good times.

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    **please delete, wrong post***
    Last edited by TheRetroVideoGameAddict; 06-04-2013 at 08:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atarileaf View Post
    We bought our first system in 1981 and we bought Asteroids and Outlaw to go along with the Combat pack in. Played the hell out of it for many years and its, obviously, my favorite video game system, period. The crash never really affected me since I jumped straight from the Atari 2600 to the Tandy color computer and those early 80's computers were immune to the game crash, even though I remember hearing about it.
    I really didn't think there was any kind of crash, I just remember everyone moving on to computers in the early 80's and the VCS starting to look dated. My old man bought a TRS-80 CoCo and quit buying VCS games for the family.



    My family got the VCS for Christmas in 1978, with Combat. I was 10 at the time, so I have pretty vivid memories of the console's value to kids of that era. We only had Combat to play for a good solid year + and don't remember getting any other games until Night Driver (with Paddles) and Space Invaders were available for Christmas in 1980; I played Space Invaders so much, that I could roll the score everytime I played it. The following year, we got Missile Command and Asteroids for Christmas in 1981; I never got bored with playing those 2 titles. And the last titles my parents bought for the console were Pitfall, Centiped and Swordquest: Earthworld. I was so good at playing videogames, that my dad thought I'd actually win the prize for Swordquest, but the game was a confusing mess. Since my patents stopped buying games for the console, I continued to purchase games like Berzerk, Defender, Star Wars: The Empire Strkes Back, Decathlete, Pac-Man and Haunted house, using birthday money and cash I'd save up from odd jobs. My last purchases were games I'd found in bargain bins for $5 each, including Mountain King and Buck Rogers.

    I still played the VCS in 1983, but my interest in videogames started moving towards the home computer (quit calling them PCs!). My dad had bought the TRS-80 CoCO, which I had a mild interest in and I had a friend with a Vic-20. I would eventually start hanging out at a couple of friend's houses to play their C-64 and ended up buying my own C-64 in late 1985. To me, videogames didn't die with the VCS becoming obsolete, I had moved on to gaming on the C-64, well into the late 80s'.

    I inherited the VCS from the family, years after I'd moved away. My parents felt that the console really was mine, when it came to interest in it. I still have that (working) busted up unit sitting in a bin somewhere, but I eventually bought a prestine 6 switch unit back in the mid 90s. I have about 30 games for the console and still play it once or twice a year for a trip down memory lane. Most of the games haven't held up well, but I stil enjoy a good round of Missile Command, Mountain King, Asteroids and Space Invaders. Long live the little system that revolutionized home videogames!
    Last edited by Gamevet; 06-04-2013 at 09:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRetroVideoGameAddict View Post
    **please delete, wrong post***
    Born in 1975, Pappy had an Atari for us three boys and we loved space invaders, combat, adventure don't make me stick you with an arrow you fukkking sea horse get me out of your belly! And Indy 500 love them race wheel joysticks ahead of there time. I still hear the creak of my Atari joystick with the rubber handle. Crrrreak. My day soon upgraded us to a commodore 64 and then vectrex!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    Old enough to own one very young, but didn't, had the test launch NES in 1985. Had a friend or two with one. I found most of the arcade conversions not that fun, but I did like some of the oddball titles, also the Nintendo DK and MB conversions weren't too bad. I remember for some reason liking gremlins, but even in that era I thought it all looked and sounded terrible vs arcade machines.
    I've seen too many people claim that they have a test launch NES. If you lived in NY in 1985, it's very possible that you have one. If you did, it would be worth a lot of money.

    http://www.sodahead.com/entertainmen...ibaf&q=&esrc=s

    Quote Originally Posted by farout
    I think most of you don't realize what is on sale here. This is not "a N.E.S" ,
    - This version of the Deluxe Set is the first product ever distributed by Nintendo of America to American retailers. Nintendo's test market originally consisted of 100,000 copies of the Deluxe Set distributed in specific New York retailers who agreed to tryout their products, all with a return guarantee in case it doesn't catch up like expected. The first wave went well, so later in early 1986 Nintendo of America expanded their test market to the areas of Los Angeles, and thereafter the Nintendo Entertainment System was offered in 12 of the most important centers in United States. It is believed that no more than 350,000-400,000 of these initial Deluxe Set packages were distributed before the official nationwide launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System.
    Last edited by Gamevet; 06-04-2013 at 11:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamevet View Post
    I've seen too many people claim that they have a test launch NES. If you lived in NY in 1985, it's very possible that you have one. If you did, it would be worth a lot of money.

    http://www.sodahead.com/entertainmen...ibaf&q=&esrc=s
    Other than a low serial number on the bottom of the system, are there any differences between a test launch system and a later released one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by treismac View Post
    Other than a low serial number on the bottom of the system, are there any differences between a test launch system and a later released one?
    Maybe the box it came in.

    I just see a lot of people believing that they had the system at launch, when most of the country didn't even see the console until 1987. I lived in Phoenix from 1986-1989 and I didn't see the console until early 1987, and it was being displayed with Rob the Robot and Duck Hunt as the pack-in.

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    The history behind the 2600 is really interesting, especially since it was basically Ray Kassar who wanted to keep the system alive when Nolan Bushnell wanted to kill it and move onto a newer console. I love reading about the backroom politics and the management struggles, it's really interesting and many people forget that Atari was once the fasted growing electronics company in the history of the United States. Cool, huh?

    Love live the 2600.
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