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How 2600 reaches 90s when better consoles fail


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#1 Serguei2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:10 AM

I always wonder how did Atari 2600 reach 1990s when 5200, Intellivision, Colecovision didn't



#2 monzamess OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:15 AM

Cheap. Huge user base and library. Simple-ish to clone. I think those things made it popular in emerging markets and kept it going so long.

#3 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:20 AM

It's not really a mystery... the 2600 was the first-ever hugely popular console.  It was millions of people's first introduction to video gaming, and as such, it stayed popular for a long time, and is still warmly remembered today. 

 

The other consoles you mentioned simply didn't reach the same kind of popularity.  (And they all had controllers that weren't terribly comfortable to use.)  They may have had better graphics, but they just didn't catch on with the public in the same way, and thus were pulled from the market long before the 2600 was.



#4 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:23 AM

No denying the 2600's mostly awesome and compelling library that has stood the test of time. As if that's not enough, the system and its games continue to get better and better, thanks to a vibrant homebrew scene, replacement controller options, competent a/v boards, etc. And with products like the Flashback units, people are (re)discovering how excellent the system really is and was.    :love:



#5 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:55 AM

Who told you they were "better"? ;)



#6 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:09 PM

5200 wasn't that popular and Atari Corp didn't feel the need to keep it on the market past the mid-89s; meanwhile the 2600 continued being a major seller for them - and dominated the low end of the gaming market - through the late 80s. It was inexpensive to produce, still had a lot of recognition from dominating the early 80s game market, and had proven to be an adaptable enough system to still be able to produce decent games even at that late stage in its life.

 

Coleco discontinued the Colecovision in 1985 and got out of gaming entirely - ended up going bankrupt in 1988, too. It was a popular system, but the Adam misstep sunk Coleco's home gaming division.

 

Intellivision held on until 1989, but sales tanked in 1988 and weren't much better in 89 despite the low-overhead, low-end of the market approach INTV took towards the system. It probably could have made it to 1990 had it gotten a little more market traction.



#7 bikeguychicago OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:21 PM

I always wonder how did Atari 2600 reach 1990s when 5200, Intellivision, Colecovision didn't

Intellivision made it as a company up to 1989. It had games slated for release in (and copyrighted for) 1990. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt before these games were released.



#8 krslam OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:34 PM

The 2600jr sold for under $50 in the early 90's with an available library of over 400 games.  They pretty much had the low-end console market to themselves.



#9 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:35 PM

I have the same question about the GameBoy. Terrible system, and yet it crushed the Lynx and all other comers in the North American market. See? Rarely does the "best" tech translate into the highest sales.



#10 Serguei2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:44 PM

I have the same question about the GameBoy. Terrible system, and yet it crushed the Lynx and all other comers in the North American market. See? Rarely does the "best" tech translate into the highest sales.

 

There're no terrible systems. Only bad games make systems terrible.



#11 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:18 PM

There're no terrible systems...


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#12 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:26 PM

There're no terrible systems. Only bad games make systems terrible.

 

And having a ton of games leads to more games being made. VCS and NES had a lock on the the quantity angle. 



#13 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:30 PM

I always wonder how did Atari 2600 reach 1990s when 5200, Intellivision, Colecovision didn't

 

After it died in the west, sales in the third world kept it afloat for years. 



#14 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:33 PM

Intellivision made it as a company up to 1989. It had games slated for release in (and copyrighted for) 1990. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt before these games were released.

I believe INTV finally discontinued the Intellivision in 1990.  Their last game, Super Pro Pool & Billiards, carries a 1990 copyright date.
 
As others have said, the Intellivision and Atari 2600 were both able to survive years past their prime mainly because of their established user bases.  In 1984, Mattel divested themselves of Mattel Electronics, and later that year, Atari was sold by Warner.  In both cases, there were still plenty of people actively playing both systems; the original companies just couldn't support them any longer because of the crash.  The new owners of Atari and Intellivision (the Tramiels and INTV Corp, respectively) were able to keep their expenses lower, which allowed them to profitably support both systems for several more years.

 

Atari was helped by the fact that the 2600 had a large user base to start with, and they also attracted new customers by targeting the overseas and budget-priced markets with the 2600 Jr.  But even though the Intellivision user base was always smaller, it was (and is) a highly devoted one, and it also helped that almost all of the latter-day INTV releases were excellent games.



#15 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:25 PM

I believe INTV finally discontinued the Intellivision in 1990.  Their last game, Super Pro Pool & Billiards, carries a 1990 copyright date.
 
As others have said, the Intellivision and Atari 2600 were both able to survive years past their prime mainly because of their established user bases.  In 1984, Mattel divested themselves of Mattel Electronics, and later that year, Atari was sold by Warner.  In both cases, there were still plenty of people actively playing both systems; the original companies just couldn't support them any longer because of the crash.  The new owners of Atari and Intellivision (the Tramiels and INTV Corp, respectively) were able to keep their expenses lower, which allowed them to profitably support both systems for several more years.

 

Atari was helped by the fact that the 2600 had a large user base to start with, and they also attracted new customers by targeting the overseas and budget-priced markets with the 2600 Jr.  But even though the Intellivision user base was always smaller, it was (and is) a highly devoted one, and it also helped that almost all of the latter-day INTV releases were excellent games.

Deep Pockets Pool didn't actually make it out the door - it was completed, but INTV barely had the money to scrape together its Stadium Mud Buggies and Spiker runs for 1989's holiday season, so the pool game never made it out the door at all. So says the intellivisionlives website, anyway - they were in some financial straits after the intellivision market shrank in 1988.


Edited by ubersaurus, Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:25 PM.


#16 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:27 PM

The VCS had the gruff to make it through hard times. The simplicity. The durability.



#17 trent OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:33 PM

What makes a good system goes beyond specs on paper. Intangibles that, IMO, make the 2600 'better' than the three examples you listed

 

* Better controls. In particular against the Inty/5200/Coleco, the 2600 has much more precise and ergonomic controls. 

* Game library - others have already mentioned this.

* Reliability. 2600 is a tank.

 

Then there are things like timing and marketing, which have nothing to do with the system per se. 

 

If you compare 2600 to its true contemporaries (Channel F, O2, Astrocade), its longevity is even more lopsided



#18 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:35 PM

NES was an early console like Coleco and 5200. NES from 1983 - 2003, winner.



#19 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:11 PM

NES support went until 2003? I don't think so.

#20 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:22 PM

I have the same question about the GameBoy. Terrible system, and yet it crushed the Lynx and all other comers in the North American market. See? Rarely does the "best" tech translate into the highest sales.

The best tech is the tech the best meets user needs. The Game Boy was cheap, durable, and it wouldn't run out of juice on a long car ride. Those advantages outweighed color graphics and back lit screens. There were a few other systems with similar tech (Gamate! SuperVision! Game Master! MegaDuck!) But they had trouble getting decent software.

 

</Gameboy fanboy>

 

And I see you put best in quotes, so you you probably knew all this.

 

The 2600jr. stayed around so long 'cause the fun was back:

 

 

;)



#21 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:24 PM

NES support went until 2003? I don't think so.

Famicom support: http://atariage.com/...amicom-in-2003/



#22 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:31 PM

We could say that the Atari VCS is getting more new games (via AtariAge's home-brew store) than NES, in that case. 

 

 

From the same discussion

The NES was discontinued in America in 1995, so while it's true the Famicom enjoyed time on the market for much later, that market was pretty much limited to Japan and maybe other parts of the Orient.  Beyond that, we'll need our Japanese forumites to tell us just how much of a market presence the Famicom had during that time.

 

 

As far as I heard, retail support for the Famicom after 1996 was only in the form of Disk System writing machines being stil maintained, no hardware no cart games, only rewriting your Disks to pick up games.

 

 

Nintendo did continue supporting disk rewrites through 2003, but they also continued manufacturing Famicoms during that time.  Famicom repairs continued even later, finally ending in 2007.


#23 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:01 PM

Deep Pockets Pool didn't actually make it out the door - it was completed, but INTV barely had the money to scrape together its Stadium Mud Buggies and Spiker runs for 1989's holiday season, so the pool game never made it out the door at all. So says the intellivisionlives website, anyway - they were in some financial straits after the intellivision market shrank in 1988.

True enough, which is why I didn't say that it was released in 1990, but only that it carried a 1990 copyright date.  I believe that INTV's Intellivision catalog for 1989 was their last, and that they were still supporting the system into 1990.  For whatever it's worth, Wikipedia claims that they were required to discontinue it at that point because of licensing agreements with Nintendo and Sega.

 

So, even though the Intellivision barely made it across the line, the Intellivision and the Atari 2600 are the only consoles from the 1970s that were still receiving first-party support into the 1990s, which I think is pretty impressive.



#24 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:00 PM

I'm going to be an idiot and admit that I had a Virtual Boy, and I loved it. I bought it on clearance and only had a few games for it, but I played the hell out of it. As far as I was concerned, it only had 2 flaws. The first was the small library of games and the second was that it ate batteries. I corrected the battery issue by finding a power supply that worked and wiring it to the battery connectors. I had it for years, but finally traded it for a Gameboy Advance. Since then I've thought a lot about how much fun I had with a system that everyone thought was a failure.



#25 GoldLeader OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:12 PM

 

Awww the Virtual Boy...

 

But if it's terrible,  How come I want one?

 

Come on people Why?  WHY??   haha

 

Seriously if anyone has one for sale cheap,...Do let me know...A few years back a guy at work was supposed to sell me a Virtual Boy his wife owned.   But he never came through...I even bought some games figuring I'll get one eventually...








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From: How 2600 reaches 90s when better consoles fail

By Serguei2 in Robin Gravel's Blog, on Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:10 AM


 
Source: How 2600 reaches 90s when better consoles fail
 
It's awesome when a 1977 console is still popular in 1990s.

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