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ZippyRedPlumber

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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12 hours ago, Cynicaster said:

 

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.  

   

It's the late 80s in Australia and as a kid I was starting to take an interest in perusing the video games sections of stores like Kmart, Target and Big W etc. It's when I first noticed the 2600 to any decent degree. Having a C64 at home I noticed that some of the games that I had for that and liked to play such as Double Dragon, Commando, Hero, Rampage, Ghostbusters etc were being sold on the 2600. I looked at the boxes and the screenshots and was rather shocked at how graphically poor the games looked. I also noticed that the 2600 versions of these games were a lot cheaper than on the other systems. In my childlike naivety I believed that the 2600 was a poor people's game console. I thought it was a game system made for a price for the low end of the market and that's why the games looked like they did. The penny only finally dropped about a year later when my dad and I went into a local pawnbroker. In the shop I saw an early model woody VCS and some Atari carts for sale including the modern titles I had seen in the retail stores. Until then I had only seen the Jr model and that looked modern. Seeing the older 1970s model is when I first realised that actually this system is freaking old and that's why it was so less powerful than everything else on the market at the time. Anyways got myself my first Atari shortly after in '91 and enjoyed it ever since.  

Edited by alex.james
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I hated Nintendo back in the '80s.  I hated their monopolistic practices, I hated their sudden domination of the market, and I hated watching my beloved Atari get pushed to the sidelines and forgotten.  Of course I didn't hate them so much that I wouldn't play Duck Hunt or Super Mario Bros. when given the chance at a friend's house, but I still hated them enough that I never wanted an NES for myself.  I kept my Atari 2600, a boy I occasionally babysat had an Atari 7800, and my mother's then-boyfriend had a Sega Master System, so I had plenty of exposure to the alternatives, enough to keep me happy.

 

Of course I later learned Atari's failures were largely self-inflicted, even with Nintendo strong-arming third parties.  Thankfully that practice also stopped, and by the time the Game Cube came around I was more or less happily in Camp Nintendo... even if the PS2 and XBox 360 still got most of my attention in later generations.

 

Funny thing, when the first Game Boy came around, I actually did save up and buy one.  I just had to have my Tetris fix, and I figured the Lynx wasn't going to do very well.  Atari's snake-bit reputation was well entrenched at that point.  But then the Lynx actually held on and started getting games I wanted that the Game Boy didn't have, titles like RoadBlasters and S.T.U.N. Runner, and I ended up selling my Game Boy when Mom surprised me with a Lynx for Christmas.  Naturally the Lynx market then went belly-up.  Oh well.  I kept it anyway.

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Yes. And I don't mean in addition to nes, I pretty much stuck with Atari 2600 till the 90's.

 

Drove my parents nuts. "Why do you want some old dinosaur?" Was a common question. Well, I like the games, the newer games were prettier versions of what 2600 already had (few obvious exceptions like smb, obviously) and best of all, while my friends would get a game or three a year (nes really brought cart gaming standardly north of the $50 mark) I could get new, when I could find them, far more often. And I wasn't to proud to buy used for a song (usually .25-$1) and there was and still is plenty I didn't have.

 

Did the same through the early 90's except it was 8 bit nintendo, and atari, rather than super nintendo/genesis.

 

In fact, the first console I had while it was still relevant, was 64. One of the first things I bought myself in my early working days. Xbox was the first console I bought day one, but to this day I still buy old stuff when I find something I don't already have, which is becoming increasingly rare.

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On 1/26/2022 at 5:13 PM, Cynicaster said:

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. 

 

My experience is a bit different, as being UK based, the NES just wasn't a big thing in the same way here. But the principle of "moving on" from the 2600 in the mid 80s still holds. It's just that for me, it was a Commodore 64 that I moved on to (for most kids in the UK, moving on from the 2600 meant a C64 or a Spectrum in the first instance). But I still played the Atari quite a lot at first, mainly because it took a while to build a collection of C64 games. We eventually left the 2600 at my Grandmothers house, and I played it occasionally right up until 1989 when she moved a couple of hundred miles away. It was still fun to play in short bursts, although by that time it felt (and was) a long way behind what was being produced on the C64.

 

You're dead right though, in that the gap between the 2600 and later 80s systems feels a lot smaller now than it did at the time. Compared to modern systems, all of the 8 bit systems (console and computer alike) feel ancient and pretty primitive. In that context , going from the 2600 to a NES or C64 feels like just an evolutionary step. But at the time, the move from the 2600 to the next generation of systems felt like a giant leap forward. The 2600 by the mid / late 80s felt like a throwback compared to the "up to date" systems of the time, although it was still fun in it's own way.

 

On 1/25/2022 at 11:08 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

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.

 

 

 

So so true. I loved Laser Blast when I was about 8. For the life of me I have no idea why now !

Edited by Jasonhrb
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7 hours ago, Jasonhrb said:

So so true. I loved Laser Blast when I was about 8. For the life of me I have no idea why now !

I think I was only 3 or 4, so it was even worse. :P I do realize the game is incredibly boring now, but back then I think it was just the imagination that we had about what was "really" going on in the game. I remember doing that with a few games like Star Raiders and Atlantis, pretending I was really in the game and such (I've not seen my own kids really do that with newer games). The same thing applied to cover art, I remember looking at that and coming up with what else was going on in the game and letting my imagination run wild. Can't remember when I stopped doing that, probably around when I was 10 or 11.

 

As for the NES hate - as a kid, I had no idea about any of Nintendo's practices going on then, so it didn't affect me. For me, I just loved video games in any form that I could find them (with some extra love given towards underdogs)

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On 1/1/2022 at 7:35 PM, ZippyRedPlumber said:

And if so, tell us your story :)

 

It's too late for me to vote "YES", but I wouldn't get a NES until 1991, having worked at Burger Slop to pay for it. By then, SNES was around the corner and the "yesterday's model" was more affordable. SMB was cool, Excitebike was okay, NIntendo Tetris was slick though I preferred Tengen's for being closer to the arcade in feel, Zelda (Adventure on steroids) ruled and still does rather, and Duck Hunt was cool, but they needed to rethink that light gun and in a way that made it work on new LCD technology that debuted almost 15 years  later...  

 

But I always loved Yar's Revenge, became addicted to Solaris, still liked Superman despite its simplicity, Revenge of the Beefsteak Tomatoes (silly title, basic graphics, but great strategic gameplay.)

 

I had a 7800 before the NES, around 1989 or so. Loved Asteroids - it had the best conversion. Definitely mostly great conversions of the usual staple of games, and yet Sinistar and Tempest and others never really got official releases... just the same old ones redone better for the most part...

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by CommodoreDecker
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From the day my family got our Atari (that was what it was commonly called in those days), there was never a period in which I stopped playing VCS games. The same with my C64, from '84 onward.

In the late '90s, I remember reading new terms in game literature such as "retro" and "classic." I thought, "Oh -- they're classic now, are they? Okay." I had just kept playing throughout, and buying more and more cartridges as they grew less and less expensive -- although I remember saving up for Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, which was still fully priced when it came out in 1984.

 

What's referred to as the "crash" nowadays was a glorious windfall for naive kids like myself. I could suddenly afford all sorts of games about which I had been curious a year or two before. So the console never got stale for me, which isn't to mention prior favorites that I still loved to play years after getting them, especially the multi-screen adventure games.

 

That might be why nostalgia isn't much of a factor to me. I never took a "break" from playing what where increasingly becoming old games, and even to this day, I'm always discovering new old favorites, so to speak. I don't think I'm alone there!

 

Concerning the Nintendo, I loved all three Super Mario Bros. games, especially the third, and got very good at them while playing at a bandmate's house. But in general, I wasn't as impressed with the NES as everyone else seemed to be. There were many more game-play styles on the VCS, and I remained far more interested in that than the NES. I didn't even own the latter until my buddy Adam kindly gave me one in 1997, when I was 25 -- along with the SMB games, of course!

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23 minutes ago, Chris+++ said:

From the day my family got our Atari (that was what it was commonly called in those days), there was never a period in which I stopped playing VCS games. The same with my C64, from '84 onward.

In the late '90s, I remember reading new terms in game literature such as "retro" and "classic." I thought, "Oh -- they're classic now, are they? Okay." I had just kept playing throughout, and buying more and more cartridges as they grew less and less expensive -- although I remember saving up for Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, which was still fully priced when it came out in 1984.

 

What's referred to as the "crash" nowadays was a glorious windfall for naive kids like myself. I could suddenly afford all sorts of games about which I had been curious a year or two before. So the console never got stale for me, which isn't to mention prior favorites that I still loved to play years after getting them, especially the multi-screen adventure games.

 

That might be why nostalgia isn't much of a factor to me. I never took a "break" from playing what where increasingly becoming old games, and even to this day, I'm always discovering new old favorites, so to speak. I don't think I'm alone there!

 

Concerning the Nintendo, I loved all three Super Mario Bros. games, especially the third, and got very good at them while playing at a bandmate's house. But in general, I wasn't as impressed with the NES as everyone else seemed to be. There were many more game-play styles on the VCS, and I remained far more interested in that than the NES. I didn't even own the latter until my buddy Adam kindly gave me one in 1997, when I was 25 -- along with the SMB games, of course!


Awesome post.  I really enjoyed reading this one.

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59 minutes ago, Leonard Smith said:


Awesome post.  I really enjoyed reading this one.

 

How kind. Thank you!

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My grandma bought me an Atari 2600 for Christmas from Kmart in 1981.  At the time, she also got me Asteroids and Space Invaders to go with it (it came with Combat). Every year after that, she and my great uncle would get me a couple of new games for it for my birthday and for Christmas.  I've bought a few since then.  The Atari was my one and only console for my entire childhood from 81 on. Before that, we had a Pong console that my other grandma got me in 77 I think.  We still played it a bit now and then after we got the Atari, but not very often, especially after we got Circus Atari which I liked much better than Pong.  

I never had any other console until I earned enough money in high school to start buying my own consoles and games.  In high school, though, I got into computers and bought a neighbor's old self-built PC and a box of games on floppy disks from him.  I didn't buy another console until I graduated from college. One of my roommates had a Sega Genesis that I really enjoyed playing, so after I graduated, I bought my own Genesis used at a pawn shop.  I still don't have as many games for it as I have for my Atari, but I sure enjoyed playing it. I sold it about 15 years ago when I needed cash badly. Now that I'm in better financial shape (and have learned that I really shouldn't sell such things because I miss them so much later on), I bought a used Sega Genesis 3 and several games from a hobby store.  I've played Sega games that have been ported to Nintendo's consoles like the DS and 3DS, but it's not the same as playing them on the original hardware. 

The next console I bought was a Gameboy Advance. I skipped the original Gameboy because I wasn't impressed with the tiny green screen and the battery hungry console. Then, I got a Gameboy Micro (which was a mistake - it was way too small for my big hands so I sold it), a DS, DS Lite, DSi and 3DS about as fast as those consoles came out. I kept the DS Lite because I found out that I could play Gameboy games in it which works well.  I really love the portability and huge library of GBA and DS.  I later traded my first 3DS for a 'new' 3DS XL which is much better. 

For a while, I had a PS2 and Xbox that I got used at a pawn shop.  They didn't really interest me as much for some reason. I decided they were too expensive to keep getting games for and sold them to get a Nintendo Wii.  The Wii worked great for a few years until it started overheating, so I gave it to someone who thought he could fix it and got a used WiiU which I still have and really enjoy.  

I never had an NES, SNES, N64, etc. when those consoles were new. I knew other people who had one and tried playing on theirs, but I didn't have the money to buy them at the time they were new.  For a while, I really wanted an Atari Lynx, but it was too expensive and the game library showed no signs of getting bigger. Years later, I got a Hyperkin system that plays NES and SNES games quite well.  I like the way it works much better than the original consoles, especially loading carts.  

All this time, I was also upgrading PCs, building my own usually, but occasionally getting an off the shelf one and upgrading it. I now have a PC that is like a spaceship compared to the early game consoles. :) I'm playing and loving the Ant Arcade.  I really love being able to play games from so many consoles and arcade cabinets that I couldn't possibly find the room nor money for. I've heard a rumor that it is owned by Atari. 

I've always kept my trusty Atari 2600 though.  I've kept going back to it and occasionally buying another game for it when I find a deal somewhere.  A couple of years ago, the RF Modulator quit working right. I tried following instructions on websites and videos on how to adjust it, but it just never has looked right anymore.  A friend of mine gave me a different RF Modulator, but I've yet to screw up the courage to try replacing the original one.  In the meantime, I missed playing the games on the cartridges (the remakes and ports are cool, but no the same), so I got a Hyperkin Retron 77 and installed ROMs on an SD card for it.  I still also play the original carts in it now and then for old times sake.  That Ranger controller that I got for the Retron 77 is an amazing bit of kit with a built in scroll wheel for paddle games and a fantastic joystick.  I love the scroll wheel because I hadn't been able to play the paddle games like Circus Atari, Night Driver, etc. ever since my original paddles quit working years ago.  I tried buying some different used paddles, but they were already worn out too.  I tried taking them and my original joysticks apart and replacing the worn out bits, but it only kinda helped. I love original hardware, but I have to admit that I score so much higher on these 2600 games with the Ranger.  

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On 1/29/2022 at 10:54 PM, Video said:

Yes. And I don't mean in addition to nes, I pretty much stuck with Atari 2600 till the 90's.

 

Drove my parents nuts. "Why do you want some old dinosaur?" Was a common question. Well, I like the games, the newer games were prettier versions of what 2600 already had (few obvious exceptions like smb, obviously) and best of all, while my friends would get a game or three a year (nes really brought cart gaming standardly north of the $50 mark) I could get new, when I could find them, far more often. And I wasn't to proud to buy used for a song (usually .25-$1) and there was and still is plenty I didn't have.

 

Did the same through the early 90's except it was 8 bit nintendo, and atari, rather than super nintendo/genesis.

 

In fact, the first console I had while it was still relevant, was 64. One of the first things I bought myself in my early working days. Xbox was the first console I bought day one, but to this day I still buy old stuff when I find something I don't already have, which is becoming increasingly rare.

It's funny that your parents thought you were nuts for not wanting a new console when you were a kid. My family was the other way around.  I'd circle and dogear pages of the Sears Christmas Catalog with newer consoles and games on them, and talk to my family about them, but they were like "You already have a game machine and it still works, you don't need another one."  In a way, they were kinda right - you can only play one console at a time, but in another way, it's great to be able to switch back and forth among a few different ones to experience different gameplay styles.  

I kept playing my Atari 2600 and didn't get a new one until I was out of college and could afford to buy consoles myself.  I did tinker with computers in high school - mostly used ones that I'd buy really cheap from neighbors.  The 2600 was still pretty impressive compared to early PC games. :) Especially when it came to getting the game to work. Those early PC games were a chore to get working compared to just blowing in the cartridge and sticking it in the port. 

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That was kind of my thing. My friends (and parents apparently) were like the vast majority of people even now. Its old so its not worth s#!%. 

 

Yeah, well, like I said, just a single generation, there's not a significant difference outside of its prettier. Also as a poor kid, getting new games was always going to be a rarer deal for me than most the neighborhood, why not make use of the richer local kids who are practically giving things away because it was old and not worth anything?

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On 2/1/2022 at 8:38 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

I think I was only 3 or 4, so it was even worse. :P I do realize the game is incredibly boring now, but back then I think it was just the imagination that we had about what was "really" going on in the game. I remember doing that with a few games like Star Raiders and Atlantis, pretending I was really in the game and such (I've not seen my own kids really do that with newer games). The same thing applied to cover art, I remember looking at that and coming up with what else was going on in the game and letting my imagination run wild. Can't remember when I stopped doing that, probably around when I was 10 or 11.

 

As for the NES hate - as a kid, I had no idea about any of Nintendo's practices going on then, so it didn't affect me. For me, I just loved video games in any form that I could find them (with some extra love given towards underdogs)

This is 100% true to my experience, too. After so many hours of indoors video game playing, we'd all go outside and "imaginate" the details. Or draw them out. Not all of us had active imaginations, but I think having one made the game experience richer.

 

To answer the question: yep, we had a 2600 up until my sister (the eldest) bought a Super Nintendo, maybe 1991? I then got a Genesis a little while after. From there the consoles blossomed, but the only interaction I had with a Nintendo was at neighbors' and friends' houses. I did love those games, though, so it wasn't by choice we didn't have a Nintendo.

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Did department stores like KMart carry 2600 games alongside NES & Master System?

I don’t recall any with this scenario with the exception of toy stores like Toys r Us and KB Toys.


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Let's see. First console was the 2600 in around '82. Sold at a yard sale for $50 with approximately 10 games (vaguely recall) in '85ish. NES in winter of '87, so answer to the closed poll is no.

 

I vaguely recall getting River Raid new at a cost of $35ish dollars*. I can't seem to recall any further details. Now gotta dig for a River Raid box w/price to see how badly my memory has failed me in this case. :) Fun Stuff!

 

*EDIT: Maybe $25 based on https://archive.org/details/RiverRaidAtari2600HiResScans

Edited by chilicheesefried

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On 2/12/2022 at 4:30 PM, ZippyRedPlumber said:

Did department stores like KMart carry 2600 games alongside NES & Master System?

In my recollection, yes they did.

I remember seeing mostly NES games and a few 2600 games in their gaming sections.  There wasn't much to choose from, but they definitely did stock both in my area.

SMS games were harder to come by in general.  Those were generally found in larger stores and/or the big name toy stores like Kaybee and TRU

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On 2/13/2022 at 9:03 AM, schuwalker said:


I don’t recall any with this scenario with the exception of toy stores like Toys r Us and KB Toys.


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Same.  I don't think places like Walmart were interested in carrying 2600 games, but the toy stores did sell 7800 and 2600 games at least until the end the '80s.  In fact, Toys R Us was where I finally convinced my mother to buy me my own 7800, despite the protests from the employee working the games section!  After that Christmas, I hit the KB Toys where a lot of 2600 games were heavily discounted on clearance!

 

And then of course there was every Atari fan's dream store in the early '90s: Big Lots!

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Same.  I don't think places like Walmart were interested in carrying 2600 games, but the toy stores did sell 7800 and 2600 games at least until the end the '80s.  In fact, Toys R Us was where I finally convinced my mother to buy me my own 7800, despite the protests from the employee working the games section!  After that Christmas, I hit the KB Toys where a lot of 2600 were heavily discounted on clearance!
 
And then of course there was every Atari fan's dream store in the early '90s: Big Lots!

I’m pretty sure after the sales crash, my Sears, Montgomery Wards, Kmart et.al nixed their console section till the NES era.


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4 hours ago, schuwalker said:


I’m pretty sure after the sales crash, my Sears, Montgomery Wards, Kmart et.al nixed their console section till the NES era.


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Yeah, pretty much every store dumped all their video games in the clearance bin after the industry crash.  That was a good time to go shopping too.

 

The NES era saw department stores stick with Nintendo and maybe Sega, at least at first, while the toy stores were more democratic.

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I sold my 2600 and games to get into the 8bit micro era around 1985-6, but I ended up going back to the 7800 after getting a NES after the 8bit micro thing faded for me.

 

The urge to go back to the  2600 came back about 1989 after getting disheartened with the 8bit micro era which I didn't enjoy that much. I didn't have an opportunity to pick a 2600 up where I was living at the time though. I got a NES around 1991 after experiencing a Playchoice 10 cabinet in the pub I worked in Summer 1990 as a student. After starting full time work in IT, I spotted a 7800 in 1992-1993 and picked that up and some old 2600 carts. I was playing them both quite a bit until the SNES arrived. Still have the 7800. The NES had long gone because I wanted to move on from PAL gaming and I got quite a bit of money for the boxed games. I still would like a Famicom with a few NES games as I did enjoy that old console. Have 2x2600s now - a PAL woody and a composite modded 4 switch US woody. I still play Asteroids on the old 7800 even though I own a refurbed Deluxe cabinet. Great port.

Edited by davyK
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On 2/12/2022 at 5:30 PM, ZippyRedPlumber said:

Did department stores like KMart carry 2600 games alongside NES & Master System?

 

The only K-Mart near where I lived was located about 30 minutes drive away in the far suburbs of another city and so I very rarely went there, so I cannot speak to that store, but both Zellers and Woolco had both 2600 and NES games in stock into the early-1990s. I doubt that they were actively ordering new 2600 games, but they remained on the shelf.  

 

I do not recall Sears ever having sold video games; Eatons went from selling the ColecoVision to the Genesis -- they had stopped selling games for some years.   

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Remember, Sears even had their own brand of video games for a while.  Sears was where I bought Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, the first thing I ever really made an effort to save money for.  I imagine like most other "high-end" and mall department stores, Sears abandoned video games in the mid '80s and didn't look back.

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On 2/15/2022 at 10:55 AM, FujiSkunk said:

Yeah, pretty much every store dumped all their video games in the clearance bin after the industry crash.  That was a good time to go shopping too.

 

The NES era saw department stores stick with Nintendo and maybe Sega, at least at first, while the toy stores were more democratic.

Yep, kmar sears etc. stopped

Sears catalog kept selling, so if you had a sears surpluss nearby they would sell on occasion.

 

Toys r us, Lionel playworld, kaybee toys carried, but not in the main run, towards the end sometimes dump bins.

Hills dept store carried them forever.

 

I do remember one day, a sales guy at Kay bee having to remind a customer she had a 2600 not a 7800 so she could not purchase that game, as all atari boxes were similar some using the better graphics in game picture on back of box this had to be an issue

 

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I cant pinpoint the exact year but I first got an NES second hand from a guy in my neighborhood. I’m guessing because he upgraded to SNES or sega genesis. So I played atari until around 1989 or 1990. Although I did have friends with Nintendo. I remember watching them play more than me playing it myself then. I was born in 77. The atari was my brother’s system. The first new system I got was a sega genesis probably around 1992.. 

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