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How many of you still stuck with the 2600 during the NES years?

Have You Still Played Atari in the Late-80's?  

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  1. 1. Have You Still Played Atari in the Late-80's?

    • Yes
      53
    • No
      11

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  • Poll closed on 01/31/2022 at 01:30 PM

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I didn't have a 2600 when they were in stores but I did have an 800XL from early '84. I guess I was about 6.  I received an NES for my birthday in late '89.  By that time the Genesis was out and I wanted that instead.

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We didn't have an NES, but did have a Coleco Gemini that got a ton of play time in the 80's.  A neighbor kid across the street used to bring his NES over so we could play.  My brother really wanted an NES, but ended up getting a 2600 Jr. for his birthday.  So, that got some play time.  Not long after, a NES did come and the 2600 was put away.  In the late 90's, my little sister started playing the 2600, while we played SNES, N64, etc.  Then, about 6 years ago, I brought the 2600 back out and started collecting for it, so it is loved once again, even with a PS5 and a Switch in the house.  Intellivision, Colecovision, Odyssey 2, and the 7800 has since joined it.  

 

But, yeah, for a time, the 2600 was played during the beginning of the NES years growing up, because that was all we had.

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I was born in '85 so I didn't have much say in what consoles I got to play as a little kid at the tail end of the 80's, but my half-brother who was 10 years older than me had a ColecoVision with an Atari 2600 expansion module that I played a ton growing up. I remember the first video game I ever played was a Ms. Pac-Man cocktail cab arcade machine that I took a liking to when I was 4 years old in 1989, and after that my brother let me play Ms. Pac-Man on his ColecoVision's Atari 2600  expansion module whenever I wanted; which was pretty much constantly :lol:

 

We never did get an NES, but I played the heck out of Ms. Pac-Man, Venture, and a few other Atari games until I eventually got a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1992 :)

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A friend had an NES and told me about Zelda, so I decided to watch him play. It bored me to tears. To this day, I have never been an NES fan. I think I finally picked one up at a garage sale, but the cartridges only worked sporadically due to the NES wonky cartridge insert issue. I REALLY wanted to play "Pools of Radiance" on the NES, but it seemed REALLY buggy when playing and was a disappointment.

 

Because I had a Commodore 64 at the time the NES was released, I considered the NES far inferior both in gameplay and features. I realize that I had to wait for games to load with my C64, but the depth of games I had on my Commodore blew away the NES.

 

I still had my Atari 2600 if I wanted a quick game that lasted just a few minutes. I didn't play the Atari often once I had my C64, but I never liked the NES.

 

"Need for Speed: Underground" hooked me on the Game Cube. I LOVED that. That was my first real "love" for a Nintendo system. The Game Cube got me into Kirby Air Ride as well.

 

 

Edited by keithbk
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We had a 2600 light sixer, and an Atari 800 which I rarely used (only had a couple carts).  The NES was really not on much of anyone's radar until I would say mid-1987.  My next to door neighbor got one, as well as my best friend and one of my cousins by the end of the year.  I was 9 and they were at most 11 years old.  My cousins who were teenagers, and had originally shared their 2600 with me when I visited, had no interest in video games by that age, more into music and sports.  Nearly ALL of these people I mention wound up just giving me 2600 carts!  So by 1988 I had amassed a pretty good Atari collection, ha ha.  I really enjoyed many of the games I had, plus you could buy new old stock VCS games at toy stores for peanuts. 

 

However, I wasn't a fool, I WANTED the NES big time.  I'd seen the Intellivision in the past, and I knew the A800 had better games than the lowly 2600.  Then came the NES, which was astounding to me.  Just playing what now would be an atrocious game, NES Baseball, with at my friend's house after school in 4th grade, was such a thrill.  He had that and Punch-Out, my cousin had Zelda, my neighbor had other games.  So it was fun, and probably annoying for them to placate my desire to get as much NES time as I could when hanging out, ha ha. 

 

I didn't get an NES quite yet because, for one, my family couldn't afford it as quickly as the others, and my father was highly skeptical because of having to spend a lot of money in the past on repairing the 2600.  The AC Adapter and joysticks often broke, and I was left system-less for months at a time.  That plus whether the console would simply become a fad, and I wouldn't use it again after a year, which was kind of how I was with the 2600.  The games didn't have an enormous replay value for me. 

 

Long story short, my summer 1988 birthday present wound up being the NES Action Set, with Punch-Out and RC Pro-Am.  Still one of my favorite toys I've ever gotten.  The NES and its games, many frustratingly, provided tons of replay value, not to mention the games that were multiplayer.  Loved being able to constantly discuss the console and upcoming games via Nintendo Power with my friends in school.  As well as trading the old Topps cards, and watching the Super Mario Bros Super Show. 

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I got an Atari 2600 for Christmas in 1983 and played it quite a bit for the rest of the 80s, even though we eventually got an Atari 800XL also.

 

We skipped the NES generation, but I played the NES a lot at friends' houses and loved it.

 

Then I specifically remember running across a shopping cart full of overstock Atari 2600 red box releases at a Big Lots. That must have been around 1992? My aunt was with us and asked what I wanted for Christmas that year, and I picked out a bunch of games for $1 each. She seemed surprised that I wanted 2600 games, lol. I got some good stuff like Sprintmaster, Crossbow, Gravitar, Defender II, Secret Quest, Solaris, Dark Chambers, etc.

 

We may have even had our SNES at that time, but it didn't matter. I wasn't too uppity to play the good old Atari also! I just like VIDEO GAMES!! 🙂 

Edited by graywest
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Mine was really in between. I started on an 2600 Jr, but we got a NES before its lifespan was up.

 

It was like we were a .5 behind the current generation. I think it gave me an appreciation for the older stuff. I did get to play a chunk of NES before we got one because my uncle had it so I didn't really ever have a FOMO feeling with NES.

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I never had NES neither any other console except Atari 2600 Taiwanese clone in early 90s that all of my schoolmates had PC, Game Boy, Sega Genesis and similar consoles :)

I had 128 PAL games integrated, mostly modified or hacked version. I still play these games on my PC, Raspberry and also on original Atari using PlusCart.

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I sold my original Atari 2600 in Spring 1983 to buy a Coco. I did my gaming on that until I got a PC for Christmas 1988.

 

About Summer 1989, I bought a 2600 at a local rummage sale. Used cartridges were plentiful (and cheap), and a few local retails still had NOS games gathering dust. 

 

Technically, I still do not own an NES, though I do have several xxx-in-one Famiclones (and an NES Classic that has never been out of its packaging).  

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I remember investing heavily in the NES during that time frame, and was completely hooked on it, buying everything I could and the games I really wanted for it (mostly Final Fantasy...it was a big favorite). Had a poster of the NES promo on my bedroom door, too. I had the lightgun, ROB the Robot, etc. Those were good times for me. My Atari 2600 was a thing of the past at that point, having left it with my parents when I moved out on my own. 

 

However, around 2000 or so I started getting back into Atari and now have a sizable collection of boxed and loose games for my light six-switch. No NES in sight, unless you count it being emulated on a Raspberry Pi. :)

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I didn't have a 2600 until 1991 when I was 11 and asked for one for Christmas. The family already by that stage owned a C64, Sega Master System and an Amiga 500. It was bought new from the store and the reason I wanted it was because here in Australia that final model of the Jr that Atari released had the 128 games built in. I knew going in that the games were primitive compared to what I already had. The fact that there was so many of them for free and the consoles were cheap made it worth it, even in the "NES years"

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I had a 2600 but sadly I had to sell off the whole thing in '84 because I couldn't get a replacement for a worn out power supply.  But I had a CoCo to tie me over for games until I got an Atari 130XE on my 13th birthday in '87.

 

Meanwhile I did get a NES about a year or so later when they were extremely hot, but aside from Super Mario & Zelda most of the games I've played were rentals because the carts were too expensive.

 

I still got to play 2600 games at my cousins' house because they felt so "unique" compared to the same-look-and-feel all NES games shared.  Plus I had some "retro-arcade" titles on my Atari 8-bit.  I did remebering wanting to own a 7800 to play 2600 carts along with new Atari games but there wasn't a store within 30 miles that sold anything that wasn't Nintendo...

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4 hours ago, MrMaddog said:

I had a 2600 but sadly I had to sell off the whole thing in '84 because I couldn't get a replacement for a worn out power supply.  But I had a CoCo to tie me over for games until I got an Atari 130XE on my 13th birthday in '87.

 

Meanwhile I did get a NES about a year or so later when they were extremely hot, but aside from Super Mario & Zelda most of the games I've played were rentals because the carts were too expensive.

 

I still got to play 2600 games at my cousins' house because they felt so "unique" compared to the same-look-and-feel all NES games shared.  Plus I had some "retro-arcade" titles on my Atari 8-bit.  I did remebering wanting to own a 7800 to play 2600 carts along with new Atari games but there wasn't a store within 30 miles that sold anything that wasn't Nintendo...

I know the feeling!  I've had people raise eyebrows when I tell the stories, but my 2600 was frequently "out of commission" back then.  I don't know if we just left the AC adapter plugged in all the time or what, but it was always breaking down, and I'd be without it for months on end.  The local video store that "fixed" them we couldn't afford to keep bringing them too.  Controllers I could maybe borrow one off a cousin or whatever, not the AC.  It's funny because several years later, when the Atari was mainly dead and NES was beginning to explode, my mom had us in a local hobby store to look at Tyco racing cars I wanted for my 440X2 set.  Kind of out of the blue she mentioned the Atari that kept breaking down, so he pointed to some aftermarket adapter that had a half dozen connectors and a bunch of voltages on a dial.  We bought that and it was a miracle, the Atari worked and actually never broke down again, and it's still the one I use.  That adapter still works, but I have since replaced it.  I have no idea why we had constant problems with OEM ac adapters back then, but I do recall being very satisfied that nothing on my NES ever broke like that.

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Xmas of 81 I got my first computer, a VIC 20, and primarily gamed on computers after that. I seldom played the VCS after that, not even Yars' Revenge which was one of my brother's favorites.  I recall going to a friends house and thinking "yuck" when I saw his kid brother playing Centipede as I'd been playing Video Vermin. I didn't get back into consoles until I bought a PS1 after seeing Spyro the Dragon*

 

 

In 1996 or 1997 I reacquired a VCS to help with my port of Stella for OS/2. Knowing what I know now, having written a number of homebrew games, the VCS port of Centipede impresses the hell out of me.

 

I replay the Spyro trilogy about every 2 years or so, most recently in nearly 4K resolution via Duckstation.

 

Screen Shot 2021-01-10 at 9.30.23 PM.png

 

 

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My parents were on the lower end of the middle class range, so apart from never buying name brand cereals, they never were very interested in buying expensive game consoles for me until I wore them down with begging. They took me into a Kay-Bee Toy store to get an Atari 2600jr. (interestingly enough, I'm sitting in that same space as I type this - one of my arcades occupies the spot and I can remember standing on the other side of the desk and trying to decide which two games to grab with the system) and that plus a TI 99/4A (and I guess an old XT PC we had) we'd gotten back in '83 was it until my dad got a Game Boy when he was deployed as a part of a medical unit to Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm.

 

In hindsight, it's too bad that I didn't realize that brand new games had been released by Atari around that time I got the jr. I remember the wall was covered with the dark red boxes - lots of reprints but some that I didn't recognize. I can't remember which two games I picked (Asteroids and Star Raiders, I think?), but had I known how uncommon some of those newer releases were, I would've grabbed something like Solaris instead.

 

Granted, this was 1989 or 90 when I got the jr.; Prior to that, I had to enjoy video games vicariously through everyone else on my street that had a 2600 or an NES. I'd wanted an NES pretty badly back then because everyone I knew had one and it was the main topic of conversation at school. But I wasn't sad that I got a 2600, since I'd already spent years enjoying it. My best friend at the time had the 2600 and an 800XL which we would spend hours playing, but we'd also play the NES or sneak into his brothers' room to play the Master System. I can also remember meeting him when we had moved into the neighborhood - I was only a kid, a few years old. But the first time we met, we played the 2600 and games like Laser Blast. :) Which was certainly a game that was far more entertaining to me as a small kid than it was when I got older.

 

 

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian
added a paragraph
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I never had a 2600 in my youths, my parent was not thrilled with me sitting in front of the TV even more. I did have neighborhood friends that had pong, VCS and Coleco that I would play on. I was a big fan of Combat and the arcade ports on Coleco.

 

Around 87 I sold my G.I. Joe toys at a yard sale to make cash to buy a NES Action set. Our friends would lend games so we could maximize our library. I do remember when someone got Punch Out, we would take turns playing and when we would be waiting to get our assets handed to us by Mike, we would play 7800 Karateka. I'm sure they had stacks of 2600 I also played. That is one of the last times when 2600/7800 seemed relevant to me. 

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I got the 2600JR for my 5th in 1988 as they had that cheap sale and i liked missile command at a friend of the families house. My parents were separated though so on my dads side we had a DOS PC until the SNES came out. My mother wasn't well off so she was the one who got me the 2600JR. Basically skipped the NES all together, however played it at friends houses. I later acquired one as a hand-me-down shortly after getting a SNES. From the early 90's i basically became a collector as i would take everyones consoles they didn't want anymore like the Master System and Mega Drive.

 

So yeah my families weren't well off but i did have most systems when people were getting rid of them as id put my hand up to take them to a new home. Don't ask me why people would just throw their older generation systems away back then but i acquired a few. PS1 and on-wards were the first i bought with my own money

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We owned an NES, but my father went out and bought us an Atari 7800 during Atari’s comeback/sale period. Remember the commercials?

 

Edit: He bought the 7800 from Child World along with a bunch of new 2600 releases.

 

 

Edited by ColecoGamer
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I never had a 2600.  Only a 5200.  I spilled water on my 5200 in 1980 something.  Roof leak or something I think I forget.  I thought it was broken.  We got an Nintendo then in 1987 when I was in 6th grade.  I put it away for 10 years or so and forgot about it.  Then I hooked it up one day and still worked.  I was surprised.  Must of dried up.  Then in 1997 or so we gave it away and my Nintendo from 1987.  My originals are no longer.  Only ones I have are from eBay now.  And someday before I die in 30 to 50 years I will have to sell.  No scratch that.  I will dig a big giant hole in the ground and request to be buried with my entire collection.

Edited by 0078265317

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The way I distinctly remember that time period was that by the late 80s, I had significant 2600 fatigue and once I finally escaped its hold I wanted nothing more to do with it.  The 2600 was the mainstay game machine in our home for about 6 years straight and, from the perspective of a kid at the time who salivated over the latest and greatest in arcade and home video games, the humble Atari just kind of felt played-out by the late 80s. 

 

We may have had 6 years with the 2600 but the platform itself was 10 years old by that time.  This meant that, no matter what, the 2600 seemed like the bottom of the totem pole compared to literally everything else we came across.  Other neighborhood kids started getting computers (lots of C64s and TRS-80s) with their big boxes of disks packed with copied games and the Atari just started to seem so anemic in comparison.  This problem was thrown into even sharper relief when the NES and SMS started becoming more common around '87 or so.  We moved onto the 7800 at Christmas '87, and it was great fun for a while, but it ended up being a big disappointment due to the unimpressive game library, so we moved to NES in '89.  My interest in playing 2600 games at this time was probably... less than zero. 

 

Of course, with the passage of decades one gains perspective.  All of these games and systems are old now and the few measly years between them seem so insignificant in retrospect.  I now enjoy playing 2600 games just as much (probably more) than NES because I've grown to prefer the pick-up-and-play arcade style games that fit really well into short play sessions.  Nowadays I have about as much interest in playing a NES "metroidvania" style game as I had in playing Combat in 1989; that is, essentially none. 

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18 minutes ago, Cynicaster said:

Of course, with the passage of decades one gains perspective.  All of these games and systems are old now and the few measly years between them seem so insignificant in retrospect.

Well said.

 

I also remember the 2600's final push in the late 80s/early 90s when NES was king.  I got my NES in early 1987 and spent every moment living and breathing NES (and quietly coveted my cousin's Sega Master System).  But I clearly remember seeing Atari games in Kay-Bee Toys and thinking "oh Atari, you're still trying?  And those poor kids that are still getting Atari games."  I didn't know anyone who still played, or even wanted to play, Atari 2600 anymore.  The 7800 was a non-starter and Atari was basically dead in our view by that point, trying their mightiest to get in on the action again, but we all knew the higher quality games were on newer systems.

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My late 80s setup was the Atari 2600 connected to an old TV and at the other end of the room, a C64 and a Nintendo which shared the same monitor via a switchbox.

 

I sort of lost interest in the 2600 when I loaned four of my favorite cartridges to a friend (Millipede, Battlezone, Enduro, and Tutankham) and his parents accidentally sold my games with their Atari at a garage sale.  I'm not sure how easy it would have been to replace these games, but at the time, I was under an assumption that trying to purchase them from a store was either impossible or too expensive.  During this period, Missile Command and Ms. Pac-man were the only 2600 games I played occasionally.

 

I tried learning to program the C64 about as much as I played games on it.  I only recall a half dozen or so games that I really liked.  Its power supply and the 1541 drive died at some point in the early 90s and I still haven't tried to get it running again.

 

The Nintendo belonged to my sister, but I probably spent more time than she did playing it.  I only bothered with a small number of games.  I liked Tetris, got to the end of a couple Super Mario games, and almost completed Zelda, but that was it.  I didn't care as much for the newer games where the goal was to make it to the end rather than run up the score.

 

By the late 80s and early 90s, I got a Gameboy and probably put the most hours on it.  Like the NES, I only ever purchased and got interested in a half dozen or so games and probably played Tetris more than anything else.

 

The Atari 2600 was the only console where I had a couple dozen or so games and through the mid-80s was always wanting some new game to add to the collection.

 

 

 

 

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I was really young when my Mom brought the NES home so......yeah I forgot about my Atari. I play my heavy sixer today more than anything though.

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On 1/26/2022 at 12:43 PM, glazball said:

But I clearly remember seeing Atari games in Kay-Bee Toys and thinking "oh Atari, you're still trying?  And those poor kids that are still getting Atari games."  I didn't know anyone who still played, or even wanted to play, Atari 2600 anymore.  The 7800 was a non-starter and Atari was basically dead in our view by that point

 

This is essentially identical to what I remember as well.

 

The "under 50 bucks!" years may have managed to squeeze some last blood from the stone for Atari but pushing the budget priced 2600 out into the market at that stage of the game had the side-effect of making Atari seem like a bit of a joke around the schoolyard.  I remember back then, one of the most derogatory/pejorative descriptors we applied to things was the word "cheap."  We used the word "cheap" to describe things that were deemed low-quality, uncool, undesirable, etc.  For example, fellow Canadians my age would remember the store BiWay which was a "bargain" type store full of uncool low-priced clothes and shoes and knock-off brands - that was the ultimate in "cheap."  GoBots were cheap.  Some crappy Ford Pinto this neighborhood kid's dad had - cheap.  And yes, the Atari 2600 was considered very cheap.

 

Thinking about it now as an adult and parent, and how some parents back in those days would not have had enough money to buy anything for their kids more expensive than an "under 50 bucks" 2600Jr, I'm not proud to have taken part in making fun of it but as kids we were oblivious to such considerations.  Plus, I have a 2600Jr hooked up in my basement right now so I guess that makes me unabashedly cheap.  

 

  

 

   

 

    

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