What People Used To Say About The Atari 2600

Do you think people get emotional about today's gaming consoles? Have you noticed that the people running PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo sometimes say weird things? Or make some bold claims?

Well, this is what people used to say about the Atari:

  • "At the heart of the programmable video games is a microprocessor, a logic-function control device similar to but a little larger and much more flexible than the circuits that activate the single TV games. It provides the potential for an almost unlimited variety of games." — Ellen Roseman, The Globe and Mail Canada, November 26, 1977.

"Unlimited variety" here translates to "slightly different scenarios where you beat high scores." Hey, still beats playing Pong all the time.

  • "We're guaranteeing that you won't get tired of the game for at least the next seven years." — Jim Morrice, product manager for Paragon Entertainment Products Inc., the Montreal-based distributor for the Atari 2600, in The Washington Post, April 28, 1978.

Seven years!

They may have overestimated the new games' staying power ever-so-slightly. Just a little bit.

  • "It's better than dropping quarters in the machine all the time." — High school senior Miguel Villasenor in The Associated Press, March 16, 1982.

Above: Atari teaching youngsters financial responsibility.

  • "I'd buy the entire Atari setup to get the Pac-Man cartridge... "I'd save a lot of money." — 17-year-old Brian Allen who "spends up to $US12 a day to play the game in arcades." — The Associated Press, March 16, 1982.

I take solace in that gaming addiction was a thing even back then.

So, what about you? Do you have experiences, emotions or thoughts on the Atari 2600 of your own? Share them below.


    My mum waking us up around midnight when we were kids because my dad finally beat Kung Fu Master.

    Pitfall. So awesome. And Star Raiders! Holy crap did I love Star Raiders.

    Pitfall and Chicken! (a Frogger knock-off) were the bomb back in my day.

    I don't remember too much about the Atari (was quite young at the time), but I do remember playing Pitfall and failing at ET.

    I never did finish Enduro. I wonder if I still have the old machine...

    My first console was the Atari 2600. Such fond memories playing Pitfall, Barnstorming, Atseroids and Mario Bros. A also remember putting my Genesis controller into the 2600 port and using that to play games.

    Last edited 02/02/13 6:09 pm

    Joust. So many hours. I can still hear the flap of those wings. It haunts me so...

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