Atari VCS / 2600 | The Console that Launched an Industry

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● Credits
Pong Footage: https://youtu.be/fiShX2pTz9A
Pong Cabinet: https://youtu.be/YmzH4E3x1_g
Atari Staff Photo – ALLAN ALCORN / COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM
Computer Space footage: https://youtu.be/dCQkR8udfW8
Cyan Engineering: https://youtu.be/bfFGrQLuY8s
Adventure footage: https://youtu.be/LQZDRELOqoI

● Description
Few systems can say they changed or created an industry. The Atari VCS is one of them, and this is the story of how it came to be and what became of it following the North American Video Game Crash.
Thank you to Neil for loaning his 2600 collection to The Cave.

● Music
Aural Imprints 1 – Gunnar Johnsén
Crystalline Lens 1 – Gunnar Johnsén
Follow The Tracks – Mochas
Not Even In Dreams – Chaxti
Small Circuits 2 – Gunnar Johnsén
Subtractions 1 – Gunnar Johnsén
Vivid Space 1 – Daniel Gunnarsson

50 Comments

  1. Brandon B on April 19, 2021 at 12:02 am

    Defender had the best cartridge art.

  2. jaxtraw on April 19, 2021 at 12:03 am

    I remember for a while Woolworths had a display of Pongs, constantly surrounded by kids playing them including me. It seemed amazingly advanced at the time. Even then it was however apparent that all the different models were exactly the same thing in different boxes.

  3. stufaman on April 19, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Atari – Fun in local multiplayer.
    PS4 – Banned local multiplayer.

  4. Chris Ridenhour on April 19, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Growing up in the 80s was awesome! So happy to have been a GenXer

  5. Nigel Draycott on April 19, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Brilliant

  6. Robert Baker on April 19, 2021 at 12:05 am

    I really enjoy all the videos you do on restoring old systems. After years of begging, my parents finally dug my Atari 2600 out of their basement and sent it to me. The majority of the parts and cartridges are extremely dirty and only partially functional. It would be great if you could get your hands on an old 2600 and restore it and its joystick!

  7. Travis Ruston on April 19, 2021 at 12:06 am

    It doesn’t matter how old you are, you have nostalgia for the 2600.

  8. Wonder Woman on April 19, 2021 at 12:08 am

    Great video! As an Atari collector, I think this is awesome!

  9. bartsimpson83 on April 19, 2021 at 12:08 am

    Atari Pac-Man was the first video game I ever played as a kid and I still have a soft spot for it.

  10. Kerveros1904 on April 19, 2021 at 12:12 am

    An old story from 80s, in Palaio Faliron, at "Dekaton Dimotiko Sxoleio" (Tenth Primary School)
    I remember back in 1986, one of my schoolmates, was trying to sell me the Atari 2600 that his (pretty) cousin owned. To do this, he started calling me to visit his home and play together with his personal 2600. It was my first introduction to a game system. The plan was to show me how nice it is, to get me addicted, and then throw 7500 drachmas to his cousin. The plan backfired though, no matter how many hours we played, my 10 year old eyes and my brain instructed me that these games were nothing special and i did not like the huge dots – clarity suffered. The only games that were acceptable were the : River Raid and Phoenix, but even these, became boring very fast. I passed on this video game console and that was a good move without knowing it. Besides, the era had expired, people were already in home computing era and in NES/Master System generation. So when i was introduced to CPC6128, and i saw that i could write commands and tell the machine what to do, i was sold! Also the games were 10 times better – expected as the technology was 10 years more advanced than the VCS 🙂

    PS: one of the funniest he had told me to promote this was : "it is unused!, my cousin has started it only 10 times!: Her Game System was sold along with her 20 games. Do the math, something does not compute huh ? 😉

  11. Carlos Fandango on April 19, 2021 at 12:12 am

    I think people who entered this field at the start probably had one of these. I had played in the arcade, followed by a home pong machine. I can’t quite remember but got a VCS in 80/81. Next was Spectrum, C64, Amiga, PS1, PS2, Win XP PC along with PS3 up to current date.

  12. Illuminated Skeletons on April 19, 2021 at 12:16 am

    Excellent film, clearly a lot of work went into that, which the VCS deserves! Not sure if perceptions were different across markets, but I never saw this much discussed negativity towards the likes of Pac-Man and Defender. Even as kids, we knew this was a VCS, not the arcade. We thought both games were fun, and played well. We didn’t ever really question them, or critique them against the arcade versions.

  13. Alan Rizkallah on April 19, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I was only just old enough to be able to get into gaming at about the end of that console generation so my first system was it’s competitor, the ColecoVision. But had I been of the age and wherewithal around 1978-79 where I could make an informed choice, I would have gone with the Magnavox Odyssey 2 over the VCS. Having both now as a collector and seeing what kind of uniqueness each can offer, the Odyssey 2 tickles my fancy far more, especially with those video/board game hybrids.

  14. Rafael Malmegrin on April 19, 2021 at 12:18 am

    The 2600 is still getting new games to this, Champ Games has been releasing some trully impressive games for that system lately. The Atari Age store is full of awesome new Atari games.

  15. Hadoken on April 19, 2021 at 12:18 am

    More of a c64 boy back in the day but by George interesting stuff 👍

  16. andyman aus on April 19, 2021 at 12:21 am

    THANK YOU for using a 6-switcher Atari as the example of the "original" Atari VCS. It’s a pity it’s not the rare heavy-sixer but at least it’s not a four-switcher.

  17. Bandai Next on April 19, 2021 at 12:23 am

    That’s wierd, I have the same Sony as you and wierd enough I use my Vader on it too!

  18. Ian Hughes on April 19, 2021 at 12:23 am

    What a fab history lesson thank you Neil brilliant

  19. S/V Lusca on April 19, 2021 at 12:24 am

    Whats the name of the helicopters in the the clouds shooting the self, I remember playing that game

  20. Henrique Moreira on April 19, 2021 at 12:24 am

    👏👏👏 from 🇧🇷 like

  21. unknown being on April 19, 2021 at 12:25 am

    he had the tv type switch on black and white

    e w

  22. [Klaxcore Nightcore] on April 19, 2021 at 12:26 am

    No internet, no problem! … those days before things would bug out if u have somewhat bad internet

  23. ed campion on April 19, 2021 at 12:27 am

    I enjoyed that my first console was pong then atari 2600 with the wood grain.Classic.Great memories

  24. Alan Rizkallah on April 19, 2021 at 12:28 am

    I was a post-crash gamer kid in the 80s but my first console was a hand-me-down ColecoVision from my older brothers and I played that to death even while the NES was dominating the console market here in the States. I was of an age of being oblivious that a crash even happened and approaching every game’s experience that was new to me with an open mind, even the older stuff in the arcades. It’s one of those things where if you weren’t there for it firsthand, you’re more likely to not have a biased outlook on it one way or another. Frankly, I really dig the 2600, it’s a system with many good examples where smooth and responsive gameplay will always be more important that better visuals (Looking at you GORF).

  25. Ashtree81 on April 19, 2021 at 12:29 am

    6:29 Abraham Lincoln

  26. MVE on April 19, 2021 at 12:29 am

    Legendary machine! 😄

  27. Adam Poll on April 19, 2021 at 12:30 am

    That Computer Space cabinet 💕

  28. Crazycraigy on April 19, 2021 at 12:30 am

    Just 169.95…when did they change it too.. ONLY 169.95

  29. Bill Dineen on April 19, 2021 at 12:31 am

    As someone who grew up in the 80’s I can tell you what caused the crash was simply Parent’s were going to keep buying new consoles. It’s very different today. It took us kids non stop begging for us to upgrade from the Radio Shack Electronic Scoreboard . We got the 2600 so when the 5200 came okut My father so said. and that was the case for everyone. People stopped buyign because people weren’t going to keep buying new consoles.

  30. ropersonline on April 19, 2021 at 12:34 am

    Man, that branding at 4:23. Not at all sexist or evocative of ye olde "wham, bam, thank you ma’am" frat humour. /s

  31. Mike the Mechanic on April 19, 2021 at 12:36 am

    Got one in 1980 when I was 5. I played it before school and after school. I had my own room and Tv with my Atari 2600. I miss trading Atari games in school. I purchased the slimmer 2600 model in 1984. In 1985 I purchased a SEGA master system. I had Rambo 2 for it. To bad everyone else had the NES.

  32. Crazycraigy on April 19, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Ahh my 2600 with Basketball and Centipede…how much ram did it have im not sure…but it was lightning….😂

  33. onyachamp on April 19, 2021 at 12:39 am

    Stelllllllaaaaaaaaaaa!

  34. waverly2468 on April 19, 2021 at 12:41 am

    I remember playing Pong in a bar at Aspen, Colo. in 1973. We were all amazed. (this was the era of pinball) However I never got interested in home video games, preferring coin-operated arcade games. But recently I sat in on a class on the Tiva Launchpad controller board (similar to the Raspberry Pi) which got me interested in chip architecture which has gotten me further interested in the early (and groundbreaking) 8088 and 6502 chips that started the home computing revolution.

  35. The Jason Knight Fiasco Band on April 19, 2021 at 12:43 am

    The system is a little before my time and would have loved one like a pet but my damn mom would only provide me w/ musical instruments because writing music promotes more meaningful growth within my psyche but Pac Man couldn’t🥺

  36. mpforeverunlimited on April 19, 2021 at 12:43 am

    Imagine going to 1972 and showing an avid pong fan a video of someone speedrunning doom eternal

  37. Stazia Kibera on April 19, 2021 at 12:43 am

    Sinister cause presents the force awakens on YouTube

  38. SMIFFY on April 19, 2021 at 12:49 am

    2:29 Nolan Bushnell looks like Fred West.

  39. Carl Ciadella on April 19, 2021 at 12:50 am

    I still have the mazes memorized from Adventure. It’s weird how I still remember those mazes after 40 years.

  40. Sarreq Teryx on April 19, 2021 at 12:50 am

    o0 24:42 what makes the Nintendo Entertainment System a "NES Version"?

  41. Arkdov on April 19, 2021 at 12:50 am

    While most people are talking about the Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch, I still play Atari. E.T. and Adventure are my two best games on the Atari 2600.

  42. King Voxel on April 19, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Atari sure got Jewed on the ET license. $25 million? Aye carumba!

  43. The Retro Byte on April 19, 2021 at 12:53 am

    The 2600 was my second console as i inherited a Binatone TV Master from my big sis. But the 2600 was the first console i got for crimbo.. it came with Combat and Spiderman the first game i got lol #memories

  44. lee2217 on April 19, 2021 at 12:53 am

    I had a hand me down woody
    Their was a, discount store on my town and I bought a, new indy 500 with driving controllers
    I had loads of games I loved the atari but eventually went to the 48k spectrum
    My cousin had the cbs, colecovision but he ended fitting the atari expansion pack to it

  45. Ken The Janitor on April 19, 2021 at 12:55 am

    If I’m not mistaken, the version of Pac-Man that Atari sold was a prototype that they hastily published.

  46. Tev Tate on April 19, 2021 at 12:56 am

    Can you tell me what would have had a similar controller to the Fairchild? I remember playing that controller, but don’t remember the console…..

  47. Patsfan 4life on April 19, 2021 at 12:58 am

    Many of the 2600’s games didn’t hold up very well over the years, but there are some fun competitive head-to-head games like Activision’s Tennis, Freeway, Ice Hockey, M Network’s Frogs and Flies, and Atari’s Super Football, Outlaw & Warlords. For 1 player there’s Activision’s HERO, River Raid, Keystone Kapers, Pitfall II & Seaquest and Atari’s Phoenix, Berserk, Ms Pac Man

  48. Smetroretro on April 19, 2021 at 12:58 am

    2600 was ace

  49. Manic Marley on April 19, 2021 at 12:59 am

    How do you connect one of these to a modern TV

  50. RMC - The Cave on April 19, 2021 at 12:59 am

    A special thank you to Neil who loaned his 2600 and games collection to The Cave to share with you. The 2600 was a generation before I got on board with computers and gaming, and it wasn’t anywhere near as big in the UK as the US so I enjoyed learning more about it. What are your memories of Atari’s line of consoles? Neil – RMC

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