My Atari history

By | September 14, 2008

Just recently, when I began shifting some stuff from my old residence to my new one, I noticed this game console in one of the old boxes. It was my old Atari set, which I had all but forgotten. I took a pic of it and you can see it below, it is pretty much an antique by today’s standards, but back then, it was THE thing to have.

“Back then” would be circa 1983, when there was practically no Internet in the sense of the word today, let alone DVDs, notebooks, or tablet PCs, and all PC games were rendered in monochrome. So, I as a young kid would fill many hours of my time playing games on this video game console. And I learned since then, the Atari 2600 more than any other, laid the foundation for the advent of the Nintendos and Playstations of today, and still leaves behind a lasting legacy.

As you can see, this is the 4 switch, wood veneer CX 2600-A version, with the dual difficulty switches placed at the back of the console. Each Atari set came supplied with 2 joysticks and 2 paddle controllers. The durability of the joysticks wasn’t so satisfactory IMHO. I found that the joysticks got worn out within less than a couple of years, and it was the main reason I stopped playing Atari games thereafter.

Basically, the Atari 2600 ran on 128 colors, had a CPU of 1.19 MHz (8 bit) and mostly used external ROM memory rather than its miniscule RAM of 128 KB. Its architecture also allowed for third party peripheral add-ons.

My Atari 2600

My favorite Atari game was Phoenix, but I also thought Space Invaders and Pac Man were cool. The game that I didn’t quite fancy was Combat. I do remember playing the tank pong games and found them boring. On the other hand, Phoenix was cool, as you had different phoenix birds to tackle on each level, including the mothership boss at the end level!

Looking back, Atari was the actually the first video gaming device I ever played, and that’s why it still leaves me with many fond memories, even though that set of mine has been in cold storage for decades now. For die-hard enthusiasts, the Atari 2600 can still be emulated today on Windows XP using an open source emulator called Stella.

Space Invaders game from Atari 2600

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