by Dark Watcher
The Atari VCS (Video Computer System), later called the 2600, was released in 1977 and became the dominant console in the 1970s.
The system boasted amazing specs for its time and amassed a huge library of games. The popularity of the 2600 grew even further
when the arcade game Space Invaders was ported for the first time to a console. The success was also in part to the many arcade
and movie licenses acquired by Atari. These licenses gave Atari the marketing edge over other consoles of the time. The
console introduced an enormous variety of games and controllers and was the console of choice well into the early 80s even when
graphically out performed by newer consoles.
The success of Atari spawned many console redesigns. One example was the reduced sized Atari 2600 Jr., released in 1986 as part of a campaign to rekindle the console's success. Also the Atari 2800, which essentially was the same build, but offered 4 controller ports instead of 2. The controllers were also redesigned to be a hybrid of both a joystick and paddle. The 2800 model was sold in the US under the Sears label Tele-Games II. This model was also the first official Atari released in Japan in 1983 and retailed for 24,800 Yen.
The success of Atari 2600 also triggered its fall from glory. The console spawned numerous clones and adapters (these adapters
allowed 2600 software to be played on other consoles). The Atari 2600 cart format also contained no restrictions, which allowed
anyone to make their own 2600 games. These factors contributed to the fall of Atari in early years and played a role to the
Videogame Crash of 1983.
FACT: The Atari 2600 was the first console to play adult type games such as Bachelor Party and the infamous Custer's Revenge.