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Was the Atari 2600 your first video game system?


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Poll: Was the Atari 2600 your first video game system? (477 member(s) have cast votes)

Was the Atari 2600 your first video game system?

  1. Yes. I got it back in the day. (247 votes [51.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 51.78%

  2. Yes. I got it much later, though. (28 votes [5.87%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.87%

  3. No. I had a different system back in the day. (93 votes [19.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.50%

  4. No. My first system was from a later generation. (96 votes [20.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.13%

  5. No. I have still never owned one. (13 votes [2.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.73%

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#51 Mr_8bit_16bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:24 AM

Would 1988 be considered later, or much later?

My folks almost got us an NES in 87 (my younger brother and I were 6 and 7, respectively). They even went so far as to take us to best buy to look at games for it, but then, at the last second, they decided against it. (crushing blow!)

But in the summer of 88, while we were out "garage saling" we happened upon a darth vader 2600 with 17 games for I have no idea how much. Thus began the obsession with video games and the immediate plunge of my grades from A level to C- level. :)

While it was almost the NES, my first system was the 2600 in 1988. NES ended up being my second system (Christmas 89)

#52 SteveW OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:34 AM

I had a Pong machine before the 2600, a Coleco Telstar. But it wasn't really a programmable, cartridge based machine, so I won't count it.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I originally wanted a Magnavox Odyssey2 instead of a 2600, because it was such a cool looking console in the catalogs my brother and I used to look through leading up to Christmas. My brother's the one who wanted the 2600, and luckily he won out. We got a 2600, with the games Asteroids (mine) and Space Invaders (my brother's). I quickly came to love the ol' Atari VCS. Incidentally, I finally bought an Odyssey2 at last year's Oklahoma Game Expo, and I'm really, really glad I didn't get one in the day. It's not an impressive machine in use.

#53 Atarifever OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:02 AM

I had a Pong machine before the 2600, a Coleco Telstar. But it wasn't really a programmable, cartridge based machine, so I won't count it.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I originally wanted a Magnavox Odyssey2 instead of a 2600, because it was such a cool looking console in the catalogs my brother and I used to look through leading up to Christmas. My brother's the one who wanted the 2600, and luckily he won out. We got a 2600, with the games Asteroids (mine) and Space Invaders (my brother's). I quickly came to love the ol' Atari VCS. Incidentally, I finally bought an Odyssey2 at last year's Oklahoma Game Expo, and I'm really, really glad I didn't get one in the day. It's not an impressive machine in use.

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Honestly though, I bet if the Odyssey 2 really had been your first system then you'd have a soft spot for it right now. I don't like the system either, but I'm sure if I had one in the day then I'd love it now. There's a lot to be said for a system after it becomes tied to memories involving ring pops, Saturday morning cartoon watching, and pretending you're in your room at homework.

#54 Mr_8bit_16bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:03 AM

I had a Pong machine before the 2600, a Coleco Telstar. But it wasn't really a programmable, cartridge based machine, so I won't count it.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I originally wanted a Magnavox Odyssey2 instead of a 2600, because it was such a cool looking console in the catalogs my brother and I used to look through leading up to Christmas. My brother's the one who wanted the 2600, and luckily he won out. We got a 2600, with the games Asteroids (mine) and Space Invaders (my brother's). I quickly came to love the ol' Atari VCS. Incidentally, I finally bought an Odyssey2 at last year's Oklahoma Game Expo, and I'm really, really glad I didn't get one in the day. It's not an impressive machine in use.

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We almost had a similar experience (though probably 10yrs later) Christmas of 92 was coming, and we had asked Mom and Dad to either get us a SNES, or TG-16...we told them our first pick would be the SNES, but a TG-16 would make us real happy too. Well, I'm not proud of this, but about a week before Christmas, Mom and Dad were both out at the same time briefly, and so my brother and I went sneaking...and we found... a TG-16!! (YAY!) Then comes Christmas Morning, and my brother and I are all smug. We know what's coming. :) So after all the other presents are opened, I'm handed a box, I open it, it's Zelda III...I'm thinking, what the hell? Dad then whips the SNES out from behind the couch. (More YAY! mixed in with a little, Hey!) It turns out Mom got the TG-16, then went back out to get a couple more games for it, and was making idle conversation with the clerk when she asks "Do you think I got them the right one?" The rest is history. I have a TG-16 now, and am happy to have it, but thank God she asked that clerk or I would've missed out on a lot more not having the SNES than I would've enjoyed having the TG-16! :)

#55 tr3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:04 AM

yes, it was my first console but i did not taken it in 1977 =)

#56 Mr_8bit_16bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:18 AM

I had a Pong machine before the 2600, a Coleco Telstar. But it wasn't really a programmable, cartridge based machine, so I won't count it.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I originally wanted a Magnavox Odyssey2 instead of a 2600, because it was such a cool looking console in the catalogs my brother and I used to look through leading up to Christmas. My brother's the one who wanted the 2600, and luckily he won out. We got a 2600, with the games Asteroids (mine) and Space Invaders (my brother's). I quickly came to love the ol' Atari VCS. Incidentally, I finally bought an Odyssey2 at last year's Oklahoma Game Expo, and I'm really, really glad I didn't get one in the day. It's not an impressive machine in use.

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Honestly though, I bet if the Odyssey 2 really had been your first system then you'd have a soft spot for it right now. I don't like the system either, but I'm sure if I had one in the day then I'd love it now. There's a lot to be said for a system after it becomes tied to memories involving ring pops, Saturday morning cartoon watching, and pretending you're in your room at homework.

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You're right. Nostalgia, in all honestly, may be an even more important factor of a game or systems value to you than the game or systems own merits.

I don't think for instance, I would love Star Control on the Genny nearly as much if it didn't remind me of the Urbandale pool in the summer, or I don't think I'd enjoy the CD-i nearly as much if it didn't remind me of going over to my Uncles Chris and Steve's house (who at ths particular time in the past lived litterally five houses from where I do now) with Mom and Dad and grilling out and watching movies on his big screen and playing CD-i.

Then again, it works the other way too... I don't think I'd enjoy Urbandale pool nearly as much as I do now if it didn't remind me of games like Star Control or Donkey Kong Country etc etc etc.

For me, I remember most of the events in my life by what game I was playing at the time, (and to a lesser extent, what song I was listening to at the time) and most places I go have a video game tied to them too. Sometimes it works that way with people too. My uncles Chris and Steve, for instance. They're great hosts, pleasant conversation, nice people, I like them, but I don't think I'd be as compelled to visit with them were it not for that air of reliving the old days.

But then again, that too is a two way street. I sometimes also remember the games by what I was doing and who I was hanging with at the time.

Nostalgia is powerful, in small doses, it's a huge upper, and in large doses it's a huge downer, at least for me...it's bittersweet, but were it not for nostalgia, I wouldn't be half the retro gamer that I am now.

Then again, there's one other aspect to retro gaming, where you can enjoy it for nostalgia sake even though you never had it, like Steve W's Odyssey 2. You could've spent your childhood lusting after it, yet never acheiving it (or aquiring I guess is a better word) and then when you get it, it's the realization of a childhood dream. Such for me was the Jaguar, the 3DO and the Neo Geo. It's indirectly nostalgic. It doesn't stir memories directly, but your fullfilled quest makes you feel like a kid again, at least for a bit.

Edited by Mr_8bit_16bit, Sat Jul 16, 2005 1:13 PM.


#57 atwwong OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:52 PM

I had a Pong machine before the 2600, a Coleco Telstar. But it wasn't really a programmable, cartridge based machine, so I won't count it.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I originally wanted a Magnavox Odyssey2 instead of a 2600, because it was such a cool looking console in the catalogs my brother and I used to look through leading up to Christmas. My brother's the one who wanted the 2600, and luckily he won out. We got a 2600, with the games Asteroids (mine) and Space Invaders (my brother's). I quickly came to love the ol' Atari VCS. Incidentally, I finally bought an Odyssey2 at last year's Oklahoma Game Expo, and I'm really, really glad I didn't get one in the day. It's not an impressive machine in use.

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Our family got a Coleco Telestar back in the day. I think it was a gift for Christmas. It's still sitting in the basement at my dad's. It has a switch to choose 3(?) games IIRC, so I'm counting that as my first system before we got the Atari a few years later.

#58 Mot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:32 PM

I'm probably older but my family had a pong system before the Atari 2600 back in the day.

My dad worked at Woolco as store manager in Tucson AZ and think my dad brought home a second 2600 that was a store demo. I remember in High School having friends come to play at my house. I even made Asteroid button with real arcade buttons for the 2600.

Then I went to collage and the family got a NES and a Commodore 128, I would play Zelda when I came for x-mas.

I latter ask my mom what happened to the old Atari(s) and arcade buttons she didn't know.

#59 ferrarimanf355 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:17 PM

My first system was an NES.

#60 Atariboy2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:09 PM

My first was the Atari Super Pong back in 1976 then a year later my mother got me the first gen Atari VCS with the 9 games for my birthday, that same year she took me to see Star Wars^_^

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#61 Ite OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:03 AM

Yes. I got it much later, though.

#62 HP Atari King of Michigan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2005 9:00 AM

The Atari 2600 was my first real game system. Then the Vectrex and the NES.

#63 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:15 AM

I had an Odyssey 2, bought secondhand from a rich kid who got a Colecovision. My parents thought that the keyboard and the Master Strategy games were more sophisticated and less likely to turn me into a game-addled moron.

I wanted an Atari VCS but I played it almost every day at friends' houses. I managed to get one at a yard sale around the time of the crash, after which I happily gobbled up all the $1 cartridges I could find. I also got a clearance Intellivision about the same time.

I believe that if I had one of the popular machines at the time, or a Commodore 64 and infinite dupes of popular games, I might have gotten my fill of games and wouldn't be such a ravenous consumer of this crap today.

#64 phaxda OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:30 AM

this is a good thread to revive! our first system was a coleco pong machine, eventually replaced by the atari 5200. i wanted a 2600, but we couldn't afford it at the time--my aunt and uncle bought us the 5200 as a christmas gift.

i totally agree that if i'd gotten the games i wanted in 1983, i would not be the collector that i am now! even when we did get the 5200, we couldn't splurge on lots of games. but now, some 20 years later, i have every single one of them. life is good!


I believe that if I had one of the popular machines at the time, or a Commodore 64 and infinite dupes of popular games, I might have gotten my fill of games and wouldn't be such a ravenous consumer of this crap today.

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#65 Foxy Cleopatra OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:07 PM

I'm not counting the Pong unit that my folks had in the mid-'70s, so my first system was the VCS my dad brought home in 1981. All we had for a few months were Space Invaders and Combat. I drooled over the green catalogue and made up my own games on paper.

A few months later, I talked him into getting Asteroids, and then my birthday presents were Missile Command and the wretched Pac-Man. That was it for several more months. He was a well-off doctor, but thought (rightly) that forty bucks was too high to keep buying games based only on my whims.

For Christmas, I got Adventure, which started a lifelong obsession with multi-location exploration games that's run right through Doom and GTA III. I ordered Vanguard from Atari Age with my own money, and got Defender and Centipede for yet another birthday.

I didn't score further substantial carts until they changed the name to the 2600 and I found all sorts of games on sale at drug stores for two to five bucks apiece. E.T. and RotLA were high points, with Montezuma's Revenge and Pitfall II easily the highest. Joust was my favorite action game at the time; I was shocked at how well it had been ported (or "translated," as we called arcade-to-home titles) to the VCS.

Then my obsession with the Commodore 64 started, and then music, so I didn't get back into my old VCS, which I still had along with all the carts (some things you just don't throw away, like comic books), until around 1994, when I was part of the first group of nutcases to start writing articles, essays, newsletters and, eventually, websites about "classic gaming." Then it got silly, people started fighting about the superiority of their knowledge (how irrelevant can you get?) and collections, the prices all went up, and I stopped buying new old shit and pared down my collection to only the games I played frequently.

What was the question again?

Oh, yeah. The VCS, 1981. :)

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I'm going to respond to Chris because he can't talk back to me. Pong counts. That was the first game system I had. I was 3 years old, the year was 1975, and I was better at it at 3 then I am now. But we got the 2600 when it came out.

Missed lots of polls, voting now, probably change the whole dynamic of the results, might need to re-evaluate the outcomes, sorry for screwing up the statistics... I'm tired, I'm going to bed..................

#66 Famicoman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:23 PM

No, I got mine about 3 years ago.

#67 Shark05 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:48 PM

Come to think of it,i had the pong game system,too. It was black & white & had those big knob controllers. Then later,i got the the atari 2600,some christmas ago,in the 80's. But that is when they were around. In the 70s or 80s. I wonder if any1,has the 2600 still around?

#68 Foxy Cleopatra OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2006 10:49 PM

I wonder if any1,has the 2600 still around?

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Ummm, I'd say yes to that question.... we have 3

#69 calfranklin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:12 PM

I'll never owned the 2600. I picked up a used 2600 Jr. a few years back, but it didn't work. But I do still have my Coleco Gemini that I bought back in '83 or '84 (shortly after I was married) and I own most of the 2600 games I bought back then. I'm hoping to buy either the 4 or 6 switch 2600 console this year (as soon as I find one at the right price).

#70 LYNXGUY OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 1, 2007 7:17 PM

No. My first system was from a later generation however my 3 nephews had a 2600 and I used it more than they did.

#71 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 1, 2007 7:21 PM

my first system was a SNES, best system eva; super mario world is the best!

#72 Miss 2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 6, 2010 5:08 PM

My first system was a 1975 Odyssey 200 Video Game system by Magnavox (the white one) that my parents got me at a yard sale. It only played 3 versions of Pong, but I was still fascinated by it. Just being able to control something on the tv screen was amazing to me. Soon after my folks got me my 2600 and that was the end of the Odyssey.

#73 LYNXGUY OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:09 PM

No. My first system was from a later generation however my 3 nephews had a 2600 and I used it more than they did.


I need to correct myself as I owned a TELSTAR back in the day that I believe preceded ATARI.......

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#74 Crazy Climber OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:43 PM

You guys know this topic is 5 years old right? :D
I missed it also though (since I was not even a member in 2005) so I voted too. Yes, 2600 was my first system and yes, got it back in the day :)

#75 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:29 PM

Well, as Zeus says in Altered Beast: "RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!!"

I think the order of my systems goes:
Nintendo
Sega Master System
Atari 7800

It took full adulthood to seek and procure a real 2600. It was always that "other" system people had in their basement with the old TV. Despite the sucky graphics (kids perspective) I was able to deduce 2600 was better in that, unlike Nintendo games, there was never an "end" to Atari. Zelda only had a second quest. SMB had the mushrooms replaced by beetles. Pac Man and Asteroids JUST KEPT GOING.

Rock on Chicago! Rock on Atari!




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