Jump to content
AlecRob

2600 in the NES era? 2600 jr users in the 80s?

Recommended Posts

What was it like to be a 2600 owner in the late 80s when NES was all the rage?  Were new games easy to find still or were people mainly buying them at yard sales, flea markets, etc? i got to thinking about this because i recently acquired a 2600 jr, which seems to be an odd beast of a console... clunky 70’s tech in a very sleek compact almost high tech modern 80s package.   I’m a younger atari fan (24 years old) so i’m very interested to hear older folks perspectives on this.  In the mid to late 80s, was the 2600 seen as outdated junk or was it still a respectable console?

 

 Were any of you faithfully sticking with the 2600 even when faced with the likes of the NES, Master System, 7800, or even the PC Engine?  Secret Quest came out in 1989... Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 were coming out in the US that year too!  I find it amazing that the 2600 was supported for so long..

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

you know whats funny all the game mags posted online and i cant find hardly a single mention in late 91 or the beginning of 1992 of the discontinuation of VCS

Edited by chewy
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was good, the 'red box' range came out, featuring some awesome games which allowed for some new gaming experience.

Nevertheless, I still purchased a SMS and NES to play some great games on those systems.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, AlecRob said:

What was it like to be a 2600 owner in the late 80s when NES was all the rage?  Were new games easy to find still or were people mainly buying them at yard sales, flea markets, etc? i got to thinking about this because i recently acquired a 2600 jr, which seems to be an odd beast of a console... clunky 70’s tech in a very sleek compact almost high tech modern 80s package.   I’m a younger atari fan (24 years old) so i’m very interested to hear older folks perspectives on this.  In the mid to late 80s, was the 2600 seen as outdated junk or was it still a respectable console?

 

 Were any of you faithfully sticking with the 2600 even when faced with the likes of the NES, Master System, 7800, or even the PC Engine?  Secret Quest came out in 1989... Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 were coming out in the US that year too!  I find it amazing that the 2600 was supported for so long..

The NES came to the USA in 1983, but I don't remember it being a big deal until 1985. At that point, everyone wanted one.

 

 

The Atari 2600 on the other hand had already liquidated most of their stock back in 1983 when the big North American Video Game Crash occured. When Time Warner sold Jack Tramiel Atari, he wanted to focus on the computer lines (Atari 800, etc.) and dropped all development of the consoles (including Atari 7800). When Nintendo entered the market and was so successful,  Atari branded their Atari 2600 as a budget alternative.

I would expect most people who wanted an Atari 2600 probably already got one during the big liquidation. any new purchases were from parents who weren't able to get an NES during Christmas and figured it was a video game system. Sort of how some parents probably bought Dreamcasts for $99 when the PS2 shortage occured in 2000. There were millions of VSC carts out in the wild back in the late 1980s, so I expect few new games were sold.

 

By the late 1980s, the VCS was probably seen as outdated junk. There were some new releases as late as 1989 (or KLAX in 1990), but when you compare the graphical and audio power of the NES, or Atari's own 800/5200 computer/console line, or the moth-balled 7800, the VCS was just no match. I did play my Atari 800 and VCS well into 1987, since my parents didn't want to purchase a new game system when I had a perfectly good one at home with hundreds of games. I loved the 800 even after getting an NES, because the games for the computer were so very different from the NES.

 

After getting the NES though, I rarely played our VCS (or Bally Astrocade). I would still play it on occasion,  especially the simultaneous multiplayer games, because those were the best kinds of games when sitting at the couch with your friends. The NES was amazing when it came out, and with the plethora of video game rental shops, most NES games could be rented for a weekend and beaten for $3-$5 before you had to return them. Then when the SNES/Genesis came out it was pretty much boxed up, and not touched again.

 

I didn't start to replay my old Atari until many years later after discovering the High Score Club on AtariAge. I still have an appreciation for some of the amazing games that were pulled off with so little to work with in the original hardware, and do still like many of the multiplayer VCS games, but it was always difficult to find worthy opponents after all the new hardware came out. Few people want to play the old classics.

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off for context I was born in Nov 79. I vaguely remember us having the radio shack pong unit but the first real console I remember us having in the house was a ColecoVision in 84 or 85. My dad had scored a great deal on one with a bunch of games during the crash. I played it a lot and actually have fonder memories of it than I do the Nes which I got Christmas of 86 or 87. I didn't get my Atari until I got a light Sixer in 90 or 91 which became the console in my room. I played it quite a bit but almost every game I owned was a hand me down. I remember buying 2 games at Odd Lots once , one I know was Solaris but I can't remember the other. Oddly I have no clue what happened to it. I fear I likely traded it for a few comics or sports cards.

Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I played the Atari 2600 a lot in the 80's until I received the Colecovision. 

Over the last 5 years or so I predominantly play Atari 2600, 7800, Colecovision, and NES.

I own a PS4 but almost never play it. I still prefer playing those older video game consoles and many of the homebrew games.

 

 

 

Edited by funcool
edit
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I had a 2600 at the beginning of the 80s that I was obsessed with and really enjoyed playing.  The funny thing is, when the NES came out, I wasn’t so interested.  I had 2 different cousins with an NES and I certainly had the opportunity to play it regularly, but it never really tickled my fancy (I think I found the palette really drab compared with the vibrant colours of the VCS).

 

At some point my original 2600 stopped working, so I bought a Jr. and some of the newer games (Solaris, Midnight Magic, Title Match Pro Wrestling, Skateboardin‘) and continued to enjoy the system until I received an Amiga, at which point I had a new machine to be obsessed with :)

 

I will say that exploring the NES library these days (via MiSTer and a CRT) has given me a better appreciation for the system, although it still doesn’t rank among my favourites.

 

What I WOULD have killed for back in the day, however, was a Colecovision...

Edited by Jstick
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My oldest brother won a 2600 in Scouts back in the early 80s. We played that growing up and then it died. (Knowing what we know now about Atari...it could have been that the power supply died but regardless the 2600 went bye bye). Since we already had a bunch of 2600 games our parents decided to get us a 7800 since it would play the old games. We were now in the Nintendo era and I was enamored by the NES...but we had an Atari and according to my parents "that's good enough". They didn't understand at all that there was any difference between them. We ended up with a COUPLE 7800 games but otherwise the 7800 was only there to play all of our 2600 games.

 

 I've recently bought both a 2600 and a 7800 for my collection and while there are a few original games I'll be picking up my main interest in having these consoles now is for the homebrew games that can demonstrate what they were capable of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a clearance $40 7800 from some mall record store (like Sam Goody, etc) around 1988 or so. Games were plentiful and cheap, it was like an aftershock of the 1984 crash, but this time around, they started out less expensive, instead of being discounted. Toys R Us had lots of variety as did toy stores like KB Toys and other big box stores. 

 

I was in college but left my NES at home. It was fun to have the simple Atari games for house parties while away at school. Housemates weren't sure what to make of the odd console (is that a 5200?) but it was backwards compatible with all the 2600 games. Lots of friends commented that so many of the games were like mini games, with the same little task over and over again. Pitfall in particular. 

 

I miss the days of being able to find cartridge video games at flea markets, thrift stores, video stores, and yard sales, but having easy access to everything over the internet nowadays more than makes up for it. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my answer. Anyone who grew up during this may remember...

 

Only 50 bucks.  50 bucks?  Isnt that nice, oh yes sir ee, the fun is back from A TAR EE...

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I was around for it.  Everyone else seemed hypnotized by NES, but we were already past the VCS before that, Commodore 64 had taken over and I stuck with that way past the NES era.

Also by that time, I was already on my 3rd or 4th VCS unit....and during the NES/SNES era I was able to snag up a healthy amount of 2600/Intellivision/Coleco carts for dirt cheap prices at flea markets.

And there was the entrance of x86 series of IBM compatibles that opened the way for VGA graphics, so yeah, 2600 was a dying breed right before the early 90's.  Most gamers then wanted PC's for better games.

Edited by eddhell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From vague memory in the UK during the late 80s and early 90s there was a mail order option to buy games from the "Tele-Games" brand.  I can remember bumping into them at the alternative (read old) computer format fairs.  They were selling off old stock.  New unboxed games at good prices (I think they had boxed too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have gotten out of playing VCS in the late 80's if my parents and grandparents weren't calling it a baby game and that I should grow up and get a job. Eventually I was thrown out of the basement.

 

  • Confused 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had played the 2600 at a friend's house and with the occasional visits to my cousins circa 1985-89; but maybe about '87 is when everyone I knew had an NES - except for me. I had a TI 99/4A at home, but my parents couldn't afford an NES. IT was 1990 when they took me to a Kay Bee Toy Store and I can remember standing at the front desk looking at their wall of games to pick out the two free 2600 titles that would come with it (both in the red box). On a side note, I'm sitting inside of that same store as back then, as my arcade biz is currently located in the space; I'm typing this from the same front desk area, although I did update the desk (and don't have any 2600 games around). 

 

Finally having it at home was awesome. Yeah, I wanted an NES like any other kid (and had no idea that the 7800 existed), but I was content with the 2600 and enjoyed all the games that everyone else grew up with - and I even had an ok time with E.T., just finding it fun to beat.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My brother and I were just talking about this today.  We had a friend across the street who had NES and he would bring it over and we would play it.  We basically forgot about the 2600 because of this.  He wanted a NES bad and ended up getting a 2600 Jr. for his birthday. We were both pretty bummed out, but made the most of it.  Not long after, a NES did come into the family and the 2600 was left on the side of the road.  My sister ended up with the system when she was young in the mid 90's while we played SNES, then N64 and so on,  because we were playing the "better" systems.   It wasn't until about 4 years ago that I started collecting for the 2600 and now we are back to playing the 2600.  I appreciate the system way more now then back then in the 80's.  Granted, my family had a lot of fun playing the 2600, but when Nintendo hit, it just fell by the way side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mid 80s, I was in high school lol (damn Im old!) I played both my 800XL and 2600 almost every day - didn't really get to play with a NES until college when one of my friends had one. I remember being a bit unimpressed at the time and I hated the controller.  I picked up a 7800 around 1989 when i found one on clearance for cheap. I think I bought a NES from a pawn shop in 1991 and a few games, but never really got into into it except for a few arcade conversions, and still kept playing my 2600 games on the 7800. :)

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I sold my Atari 2600 in 1983 to purchase a home computer, but I occasionally played at friend's places from the mid-1980s through the early-1990s. 

 

There were still some new games available for sale into the early-1990s at large department stores, but these were mostly remaindered stock on clearance. There were tons of 2600 games to be found cheaply at garage sales and the like. 

 

I never did buy an NES (I still do not have one), so I paid very little attention to those games. 

 

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm uk based, also a bit younger than the others here, but 2600 was my first console and nes my second. 

 

I've never really kept up with the in console, I've always been behind,there was a brief stint for ps2 when I tried to keep up with my peers but it quickly faded. 99.9% of my games is second hand, I can still count the console games I bought brand new on one hand. 

 

What this means is that I pretty much picked up my initial collection pre Internet at boot sales and second hand shops, I have to admit the nes did take over but the 2600 still got some screen time. I blame not really knowing the 2600 games at the time for the reason for this, I had no magazines to read or any arcades where I was to visit to get the "arcade" feel, I only ever had console. 

 

So yes, nes did take over, up until I got a master system, and then that was it for Nintendo from me, nes suffers from a strange pallete that does look dull and dark most of the time and choppy graphics, I see Americans rave about it all the time but I really don't get the fascination. Yes games like smb and solar jetman seemed amazing compared to 2600, but then phantasy star, sonic, even transbot just seemed so much better than what nes had to offer. 

 

I barely play the nes nowadays, and the 7800 is usually out and plugged in, and I tend to play more 2600 than 7800 games. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Tifany said:

Mid 80s, I was in high school lol (damn Im old!) I played both my 800XL and 2600 almost every day - didn't really get to play with a NES until college when one of my friends had one. I remember being a bit unimpressed at the time and I hated the controller.  I picked up a 7800 around 1989 when i found one on clearance for cheap. I think I bought a NES from a pawn shop in 1991 and a few games, but never really got into into it except for a few arcade conversions, and still kept playing my 2600 games on the 7800. :)

 

Wow this is almost my story exactly but I never fell prey to the NES. Jumped to the 800XL in 1984 & that & the 2600 consumed me. In 1989 I wanted to play Mario Bros at home so i bought a 7800- being an Atari fanboy I'd never buy the Nintendo version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my part, I was too young to really see this all go down (born in '85), but I vaguely recall seeing 2600jr. systems when I was at Sears with my mom once. Had to have been around 1990 or 1991. That fuzzy, possibly distorted fragment of a memory is all I can remember seeing of the Atari 2600 during its original retail life. A couple years later, the Bit Wars are in full swing, and anything that wasn't Nintendo or Sega was particularly fascinating to me. "Atari" was already the stuff of folklore by now, but that's essentially when I really became interested in going back in time, games-wise.

 

The red-label games Atari Corp. put out are some of the best on the platform (Activision did some admirable work, as well, even if the results are a mixed bag). Although, in hindsight, they probably should have been 7800 games instead.

 

19 hours ago, AlecRob said:

My late 1980s atari 2600 setupPG6MHIy.jpg

You had a Europad BITD? Tell us that story, please!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 7800 from 1986 or 1987 (got an NES a year after) and still bought 2600 games new along with 7800 and NES games. I definitely remember buying Double Dragon new and the Atari Corp. rerelease of Basic Programming and I think Swordquest: Fireworld. All my new game purchases probably came from Toys 'R Us or KayBee Toys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, BassGuitari said:

For my part, I was too young to really see this all go down (born in '85), but I vaguely recall seeing 2600jr. systems when I was at Sears with my mom once. Had to have been around 1990 or 1991. That fuzzy, possibly distorted fragment of a memory is all I can remember seeing of the Atari 2600 during its original retail life. A couple years later, the Bit Wars are in full swing, and anything that wasn't Nintendo or Sega was particularly fascinating to me. "Atari" was already the stuff of folklore by now, but that's essentially when I really became interested in going back in time, games-wise.

 

The red-label games Atari Corp. put out are some of the best on the platform (Activision did some admirable work, as well, even if the results are a mixed bag). Although, in hindsight, they probably should have been 7800 games instead.

 

You had a Europad BITD? Tell us that story, please!

Maybe he is European.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/27/2020 at 2:23 AM, CapitanClassic said:

The NES Famicom came to the USA Japan in 1983...

 

Fixed for you. 🙂

 

Quote

The Atari 2600 on the other hand had already liquidated most of their stock back in 1983 when the big North American Video Game Crash occured. When Time Warner sold Jack Tramiel Atari, he wanted to focus on the computer lines (Atari 800, etc.) and dropped all development of the consoles (including Atari 7800). When Nintendo entered the market and was so successful,  Atari branded their Atari 2600 as a budget alternative.

 

Tramiel/Atari Corp.'s focus was the 16-bit Atari ST, yes, but would still have relied on revenue from video games to support its development. The 7800's national/worldwide release was held up by legal wrangling between Tramiel and Warner over who was going to pay GCC for the development of the 7800 and the games they had done for it. By the time that was cleared up (Tramiel paid GCC himself, out of pocket) and the 7800 could be released, the NES had already moved in. As for the 2600, between the NES, Atari 7800, and even vestigial hangers-on like the INTV System III and Colecovision (via Telegames, Radio Shack, and mail-order companies), it couldn't be anything but a bargain bin system anyway.

 

It's also worth noting that the Atari 2600 still sold in numbers that would have been respectable were it not for the gaudy numbers it generated in the preceding years. IIRC the 2600 still sold a million units in 1985.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...