An icon returns!
While unpacking some boxes the other day, I happened upon a rather pristine copy of Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I was scouting through cyberspace in the hopes of tracking down one of the famed wood-clad consoles. But, shortly after I began flipping through the endless online listings, I realized I had a problem. Even if I could somehow get my hands on a clean 2600 at a decent price, I have no way to play it. You see, released all the way back in 1977, these consoles were designed to connect to a television via a coaxial adapter or RCA. There is simply no way to hook them up via HDMI.
Have advancements in consumer electronics officially killed off one of the most definitive gaming systems in history? One now only to be experienced via emulation or online play?
Announced just last month, the Atari 2600+ is an updated version of its timeless predecessor that allows gamers to enjoy all of their favourite 2600 and 7800 titles on one system. Additionally, the new console features easy-to-connect HDMI output and a widescreen mode meant to work in conjunction with today’s modern televisions.
UNDER THE HOOD
Powered by a Rockchip 3128 SOC microprocessor and featuring 256MB of both RAM and fixed internal storage, the 2600+ allows fans to jump right in on the fun with a wired CX40+ joystick and a 10-in-1 game cartridge that includes some of Atari’s most beloved games like Adventure, Missile Command, Video Pinball and Yar’s Revenge.
Of course, re-releases of classic consoles are nothing new. In recent years, everyone from Nintendo to SEGA has gotten in on the action with miniaturized versions of their most popular gaming systems. However, the 2600+ is the first of its kind to be compatible with hundreds of Atari’s classic 2600 and 7800 game cartridges as well as the original joystick and paddle controllers. This means you finally have a reason to head up to the attic and dust off your beat-up copies of Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
Slated for release in November, the Atari 2600+ is currently available for pre-order through the Atari website and a number of specialty retail partners for around $129.99 USD.
ATARI… THEN & NOW
Founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Atari is a video game manufacturer that helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. Eventually bringing the fun into homes across the globe with the launch of the hugely popular 2600 in September of 1977 (originally branded as Atari VCS), the company would go on to amass a catalogue of hardware that included such gaming systems as the 5200, the 7800, the Jaguar, and the revolutionary Lynx – the first 16-bit handheld in history. As of 2023, Atari has once again returned its focus to video games, even celebrating its 50th anniversary with the release of a special box set offering 10 classic cartridges.