Atari 2600
The Atari 2600 with its standard joystick controller
The Atari 2600 with its standard joystick controller.
Developer(s) Atari, Inc.
Release Date(s) North America
October 14, 1977
October, 1983
Price(s) $199.99 USD
Colors brown
Units Shipped 30 million (as of 2004)[1]
Best-selling game Pac-Man, 7 million (as of September 1, 2006)

The Atari 2600 is a video game console released by Atari in autumn of 1977. The Atari 2600 was the first console to use the Fairchild Channel F format, and receives credit for making the plug-in concept popular among the game-playing public.

History Edit

Initially named Atari Video Computer System, the Atari 2600's name changed upon the release of the Atari 5200. The name of the console was changed to be after the part number CX2600, dubbing the Atari VCS "Atari 2600."

In Japan, the Atari 2600 was released under the name "Atari 2800" in 1983, six years after its initial release in North Amercia. Due to the release of the Nintendo Famicom, the Atari 2800 didn't sell well with the Japanese market.

The initial release of the Atari 2600 was not much of a success. Several clones of the Atari 2600 were released among a variety of developers and companies. As such, the Atari's initial 1977 release only sold 250,000 units. The sales the of the console dwindled in its first years, and as such, Atari Inc. founder Nolan Bushnell stepped down and left the company in 1978.[2]

Atari reached decline when programmers of the company's best-selling franchises weren't being credited for their works. Being so, the developers at Atari eventually left for independent companies; this began the formation of the ever-growing developer Activision. Shortly after losing main developers, and quickly loosing third-party support, Atari was losing profits fast. This is cited as one of the initial causes of the video game crash of 1983, which led Atari to eventually try to develop something new over the dead market.

Atari released the Atari 2600's successor, the Atari 5200, in the autumn of 1982. Production of the Atari 2600 ceased on January 1, 1992.[3]

Atari 2600 Jr. Edit

In 1985, Atari unveiled a new version of the Atari 2600, the Atari 2600 Jr. This new version of the Atari sported a much smaller design as well as an appearance similar to that of the Atari 7800. The Atari 2600 Jr. had a very low cost value of merely $50 USD, however, due to its release in the mid-1980s, people lost interest in the Atari 2600 Jr. and looked forward to consoles from developers at Sega and Nintendo.

Technical specifications Edit

  • CPU: MOS Technology 6502
  • RAM: 128 bytes of RAM
  • ROM: 4 kB ROM
  • Colors: For NTSC format, a 128-color palette is provided, while only 104 colors are available for PAL. Additionally, the SECAM palette consists of only 8 colors.
  • Sprites: one-pixel "ball," and a 40-pixel "playfield" that was drawn by writing a bit pattern for each line into a register just before the television scanned that line.
  • Sound: Television Interface Adaptor

References Edit

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