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JohnnyRockets

Time to buy! Atari 2600

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Hi all,

 

I think it's time to buy an Atari 2600!

 

Any ideas on what model, where to buy, what price to expect, how much is too much, etc?

 

I'll follow that up with a Harmony cartridge I'm thinking, or whatever is the latest device like the Harmony.

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

JR

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Heavy Sixer.:) I've heard they have the best video output quality. Plus they were the first Atari model.:cool:

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19 hours ago, JohnnyRockets said:

I think it's time to buy an Atari 2600!

You've been very patient, to wait this long!

 

More common are the light sixer, the four switch/Vader , the 2600 junior, and the 7800, they all play VCS 2600 games.  Having owned them I can say they all have quirks which you get used to.  It all comes down to personal preference, what choice is available to your budget at the time.  Worry more about the condition, the price and what else you get.

 

I'm surprised that you're not already looking around to see what the market is like, both online and locally.  If you can make it on to this site, you can certainly go to sites like ebay etc.

 

Any piece of hardware is only as good as the software made to run on it.  Research the games too, especially the classics and the homebrews.

 

 

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I've had quite a few of the 4 switch models and never got a good picture from rf or modded systems.  Never had my hands on a sixer, heavy or light, but most people say they have better picture quality when modded. My go to console is my 2600 Jr. The RF on it looks better than any of my modded 4 switchers ever did. I haven't had to replace any caps or anything in it. The only thing I did was add a ferrite core to the rf cable. I paid $30 for the Jr and got a bunch of games and joysticks.  A Harmony Encore is a must have. I also recommend rebuilt original joysticks, driving controllers and paddles. An Atarivox is nice for high score saves and voice, but a SaveKey is all you need for just saving high scores on a lot of Homebrew games. Just do your research and don't overpay for anything. Post in the "wanted" forum or browse the "for sale" threads. It's pretty safe to deal with the members here, but eBay is a completely different story.  The main thing is to research EVERYTHING. Joysticks are as important as the console, some people spend more on custom built controllers than on their 2600. You don't have to do that, unless you can afford it. I just rebuilt all mine with new parts. That should be plenty of info to get you started, but there's a lot more info on the forums that you need to read. It's just a lot of work to hunt it down.

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On 4/14/2020 at 6:25 PM, JohnnyRockets said:

...what model...

 

Yes.

 

Sort-of real answer: whichever one you think looks the coolest. 😄

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Posted (edited)

Everyone is going to have their own preference.  For me, I love the look of the Sears Telegames Heavy Sixer.  That was the first "Atari" I ever played.  Then, we got our own Atari and it was the heavy sixer.

 

So, for me, I'd go with either Heavy Sixer.  The 4-switch models have always felt "cheap" to me, but again, that's only my opinion.

Edited by Deteacher

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Thanks everyone!

 

Seriously, I really appreciate all of your comments!

 

As I am mostly learning Assembly right now, I am in no hurry to buy anything fast.

 

That said, I do have a decent "hobby budget" so I'm also looking to buy some nice stuff.

 

 

Thank you greatly for the great advice!

 

 

JR

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My preference is either the Jr. and the Coleco Gemini -- both because of their small physical size. I have never encountered any incompatibilities with either of these two consoles. 

 

I quite like the look of the Sears console; sadly, that is the only model that I do not own an example of. 

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I'm starting to look for a clean wood grain sixer (heavy, light) myself as that was my VCS as a kid. It'll be for display only as I already have a 7800 and Retron77.

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Prolly a good time to get a Harmony Encore

 

I don't code so I dunno all the nuances of the different systems so you might wind up wanting to get them all :D

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On 4/15/2020 at 11:03 PM, BassGuitari said:

Sort-of real answer: whichever one you think looks the coolest. 😄

Ditto. It really boils down to personal preference. however, I'd steer clear of the Coleco Gemini unless you know your way around a soldering iron. Geminis are infamous for having cracked solder joints due to Coleco using cheapo solder on the motherboards.

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I'd recommend the Light Sixer. The 6-switch config is iconic. And as mentioned, it's cheaper than a heavy and more readily available.

 

I wouldn't worry about image quality differences. As any mod you may do would lift the quality above anything or any any stock variance. A whole different class in otherwords.

 

Then for image consistency and stability and adjustability, you can't beat emulation. Do both real and virtual hardware for the best of both worlds!

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