A story first. Then a question or two. Feel free to skip to the questions.
Today, I went to a retro video game store. It's the first time I've visited this one. Upon entering, I realized it was the same old thing that I've seen in other retro video game stores: Wall-to-wall Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, and XBox. I Asked the guy working there if they had any Atari games, and he said "Oh yeah, a lot. We've got a section over there (pointing), and we've got some more in that tub over there (pointing at a plastic bin)." Fine and good, but then he said, "We don't take Atari seriously. We keep them on hand because we're a retro game store, and it looks good to have them, but we probably only sell an Atari game once every six months or so."
And by the way, they really didn't have much Atari at all, and it's no wonder they don't sell many. Their prices were so high. The cheapest cart I saw was six bucks. And they had Kaboom for $9, and that cartridge was cracked with a big chunk missing from one side. But I was more concerned with the thing about not taking Atari seriously. All of the sudden I had a flash back to 1988 in the six grade when a Nintendo kid made fun of me for wearing an Atari t-shirt.
1) Why does Atari have such a stigma? The kid in the 6th grade who made fun of me - I get that. It was middle school, and Nintendo was the system of choice back then. But even now, Atari is second tier compared to Nintendo, Sega, etc. It gets no respect.
2) Why do we keep coming back to it? For the money I've put into my Atari hobby (Refurbishing, modding, controllers, fleshing out my game collection), I could have bought a $35 RetroN NES console and several NES games. The NES had more advanced games, better graphics (even though the 7800 console was more powerful), and better controllers. So why do we stick to Atari? What is it about Atari that gets us excited?