2nd generation - Atari 2600

This video game console was the first cartridge-based system to be invented; it was developed by Cyan Engineering (which was acquired by Atari in 1973) under the codename ‘Stella’. Atari 2600 was release in September 1977 for $249 per unit, to lower its cost price the console had 13 pin addresses instead of 16 pin and the memory was reduced to 4KB but could be upgraded to 8KB which was useless since the games where usually not larger than 4KB. It featured a Central Processing Unit (CPU) that could read custom code fed through a cartridge but unfortunately it was one of the weakest-powered consoles introduced to the market. The console’s original name was Atari VCS (Video Computer System) but Atari Inc. changed its name to Atari 2600, this was named after the unit part Cx2600. Atari 2600 had two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers and a cartridge game originally Combat and later on Pac-Man; all included in the bundle when a customer purchases the video game console. Atari 2600 had an 8 bit, 1.19MHz processor and 16 colours available, its screen resolution was 302x200 resolution and 128 bytes RAM, 4 kB ROM.

It was designed to give a retro-futuristic look featuring a wood panel and a black plastic-rimmed hood. Since the console wasn’t that much of a big deal when it first came out, co-founder Nolan Bushnell departed from Atari in 1978, when this happened Atari focused on acquiring influential titles to attract the market and make profit. When Space Invaders was released in January 1980, it greatly increased the unit popularity. Atari 2600’s formative hits were Pitfall!, Asteroids and Defender and it’s licenced games were Star Wars and James Bond. Atari 2600 was a great success which is why later Atari 5200 was released.


Atari 2600 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2015. Atari 2600 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 2015].

AtariAge - Atari 2600 History. 2015. AtariAge - Atari 2600 History. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 2015].