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Atari 2600 in Toy Hall of Fame

Old 11-10-07, 09:55 AM
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Atari 2600 in Toy Hall of Fame

I'm not much in retro gaming but I gotta give to this. I had one and probably like most here it was my "First Love" in terms of home video gaming. I had played other early and I dare say, "primitive", video game consoles that had 8 versions of PONG pre-programmed in but obviously the 2600 took things to a whole new level.

Story here.

The Atari 2600 makes the Toy Hall of Fame

Magnavox released the Odyssey, the world's first home video game console, in 1972 -- and failed to change the world. In 1976, Fairchild Semiconductor unleashed a console of its own, the Fairchild Channel F, which also sort of withered on the vine.

Then, in the fall of 1977, Nolan Bushnell* and Ted Dabney, two entrepreneurs whose company, Atari, had already made a big splash with the game "Pong," put forth a stout little box they called the Atari VCS, for Video Computer System. The VCS -- later renamed the 2600 for the system's catalog number, CX2600 -- sold for $199, and initially had a library of 9 games. It was an instant success, selling 250,000 units within a matter of months, and bringing home video games to the masses.

And thus the 2600 belongs to history. On Thursday the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, named the Atari 2600 as one of the newest members of its National Toy Hall of Fame.

"The 2600 had better games, more colorful graphics, and sharper sound" than the systems that preceded it, Jon-Paul Dyson, a curator for electronic games at the museum, says in a statement explaining the induction. He adds: "And what games! 'Combat,' 'Space Invaders,' 'Pac Man,' 'Frogger,' and countless others mesmerized an entire generation and made video games a part of everyday play in the home. The Atari 2600 was a true game-changing toy."

It would be hard to discount the 2600's place in video game history -- there'd be no "Halo 3" for XBox 360 if there weren't "Space Invaders" for Atari in 1980. Atari sold 2 million consoles in 1980, and by 1982, kids everywhere were demanding it. It sold 8 million units.

But that was the height. The explosive growth of the nascent video game industry and a glut of pretty poor games led to the video game crash of 1983, which hit Atari hard. Its future systems never matched the success of the 2600.

Still, through the 1980s, as competing systems and newer technologies came along, the Atari 2600 continued to putter along. It was officially retired in 1992 -- 14 years after its game-changing introduction, after selling more than 40 million units around the world.

The 2600 becomes the youngest toy ever to be inducted into the hall of fame. This year's two other inductees are much older. Raggedy Andy was first produced in 1920, five years after his doll sister, Raggedy Ann, made her debut; he enters the Hall of Fame five years after Ann got in.

The kite, meanwhile, is at least 2800 years old. Patricia Hogan, a curator at the museum, offers this rhapsodic explanation for its induction now: "A kite needs only a bit of abreeze, a wide open field, and a kid who wants to play.... nothing sends the human spirit soaring so well as a colorful kite aloft in a gentle breeze."

Click here for a list of previous inductees into the Toy Hall. Among them: Crayola crayons, the Easy Bake Oven, Barbie, the Slinky, alphabet blocks, the Duncan yo-yo, and, puzzlingly but not completely misguidedly, the cardboard box. The museum offers this paean to that toy: "With nothing more than a little imagination, those boxes can be transformed into forts or houses, spaceships or submarines, castles or caves. Inside a big cardboard box, a child is transported to a world of his or her own, one where anything is possible. "

*An interesting fact about Nolan Bushnell: In addition to co-founding Atari, Bushnell also launched Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants. The guy seems seriously into fun.

Last edited by Giantrobo; 11-10-07 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:14 AM
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As well it should be. This (and of course Pong) is why we are enjoying 360s and Wiis today.

I still have every game we owned and have my (working) Atari 7800 (which was backwards compatible with the 2600 games). My original Atari 2600 was sold for the 7800 but still worked after years of playing an abuse when I got rid of it for the 7800.

And to think my Dad used to pay the same price for games on the Atari 2600 in 1982 that I am paying for now on the 360 25 years later.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by brianluvdvd
And to think my Dad used to pay the same price for games on the Atari 2600 in 1982 that I am paying for now on the 360 25 years later.
The Atari 2600 launched in 1977 for $200. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $680 in 2006 currency.

And people complain about the rising costs of video games.
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Old 11-10-07, 11:31 AM
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I loved playing Kaboom on my 2600 with the special controllers.
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Old 11-13-07, 09:44 PM
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Wow, it wasn't retired until 1992?!?
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Old 11-13-07, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Indy Jones Fan
Wow, it wasn't retired until 1992?!?
That's right. A neighbor of mine purchased it for $50 in 1992 and it came with 2 games.
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Old 11-14-07, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by spainlinx0
I loved playing Kaboom on my 2600 with the special controllers.
Kaboom is an insanely fun game. i still play it on the 2600 that i have. i am very partial to the paddle-controller games.
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Old 11-14-07, 08:10 AM
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Kind of ironic that that this happens the year that Atari goes under (for good from the sounds of it).
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