Ask any video game lover in their 30s or 40s what sparked their love for games, and they’ll probably answer, “Atari.” Atari is one of the most famous and earliest video gaming consoles that created the current adult video game audience.
So, can you still buy Atari? Yes, you can. You will have difficulties finding a brand-new original Atari console; however, it is relatively easy to find used Atari consoles for sale by online retailers or up for auction on online auction houses.
What is the Atari?
The Atari 2600 is a popular home video game console that was released by Atari, Inc. in September of 1977. This was, quite literally, a game-changing console that allowed a player to play games by inserting game cartridges instead of only allowing pre-downloaded games to be played.
The Atari was originally called the Atari Video Computer System, or Atari VCS for short. It only became known as the Atari 2600 after a newer version of an Atari, the Atari 5200, was released in November of 1982.
The original Atari 2600 was sold in a bundle that included the video game console, 2 joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a single game cartridge. In the first releases of the Atari, the game cartridge that was included was Combat; in later releases, Pac-Man was included.
How Can I Find One?
It is pretty impossible to find a brand-new Atari 2600 in its original packaging being sold in a store. However, sites like eBay and Amazon carry the Atari in very good used conditions. Also, the site DKoldies.com has this vintage console in their online inventory.
The pricing varies greatly on these Atari listings because the prices depend on the condition of the console, what is included with the console, and whether or not it is in original, undamaged packaging.
For instance, some of the Atari prices on eBay are as follows:
- US $99.95 – Atari 2600 VCS 4-switch system, original box, controllers, and games included. The box is battered, but otherwise in decent used condition.
- US $102.50 – (auction with 24 hours left on it) Atari 2600 +20 game bundle, nice condition – guaranteed by the seller. Pictures support the claim.
- US $1,795.99 – Atari 2600 Console Complete System Display Unit in Original box – shows pictures of the box – excellent condition.
Prices on Amazon resemble the following:
- US $109.95 – just the 4-switch Atari 2600 console and one joystick, good condition
- US $119.88 – all-black “Darth Vader” Atari 2600 console with power cables, one new joystick controller, and 2 games – Millipede and Centipede
Prices on DKoldies for the Atari VCS look like this:
- US $149.99 – a refurbished Atari 2600 console, all cords, one joystick, and three games – Pac-Man, Asteroids, and Defender
- US $114.99 – a refurbished Atari 2600 console, all cords, two joysticks, and the game Combat
- US $89.99 – a refurbished Atari 2600 console only
You can even find the Atari 2600 listed on lesser-known sites like Mercari and on sites not usually know for electronic sales like Etsy.
Where Can I Find Atari Accessories?
You can find all the Atari 2600 accessories you’d like on eBay and Amazon. Additionally, you can find Atari accessories at DKoldies.com, a retro games online store that specializes in selling 100% vintage gaming consoles, games, and accessories.
On DKoldies.com, you can find accessories like:
- The original Atari 2600 joystick controller for $19.99
- The original Atari 2600 paddle controllers for $49.99
- An Atari faux leather brown console cover for $19.99
- An Atari 24ct game storage rack with lid for $39.99
- Tons of Atari game cartridges for under $10 each
Even though you aren’t actually sitting with a brand-new Atari 2600 VCS in 1977, it sure will feel like you are when you have an original Atari, complete with all the accessories you could want.
Is the Atari 2600 VCS Still Made?
The Atari is not currently still made, but it has truly left a legacy in its wake. Most everyone knows what Atari is – even those that don’t play games. The name Atari has become synonymous with video games in general, and even people who were not around to enjoy it in the late 70s and early 80s celebrate its lasting mark on the video game world.
Lovers of the Atari can still enjoy its classic games, even if they aren’t playing them on the Atari itself. As with most classic gaming systems, the Atari has gotten multiple modern makeovers over the years.
Atari Classics 10-n-1 TV Game
This combination of 10 classic games all neatly packed into an oversized joystick controller is produced by Jakks Pacific. It includes 10 pre-downloaded games that can be played with the joystick controller once the joypad is plugged into the television.
TV Boy, TV Boy II, and Super TV Boy
The TV Boy, TV Boy II, and Super TV Boy are all handheld devices with pre-downloaded games that were released in the 1990s. These gaming devices can be plugged into a television and players can enjoy 127 games.
The 127 games that are loaded onto the devices are all hacked adaptations of Atari games that have been renamed. These gaming devices were sold by Systema, Akor, and NICS.
Atari Flashback Franchise
The Atari Flashback franchise includes a series of gaming consoles with built-in games that were released by AtGames under license from Atari, Inc.
The Atari Flashback franchise includes the following plug and play consoles:
- Atari Flashback (2004)
- About 20 games and wired joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 2 (2005)
- Includes 40 games and wired joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 2+ (2010)
- Includes about 40 games and wired joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 3 (2011)
- Includes 60 games and 2 wired joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 4 (2012)
- Includes 75 games and 2 infrared wireless joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 5 (2014)
- Includes 92 games and 2 infrared wireless joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 6 (2015)
- Includes 100 games and 2 infrared wireless joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 7 (2016)
- Includes 101 games and 2 infrared wireless joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 7 Deluxe
- Includes features and accessories of the 7 plus 2 wired paddle controllers
- Atari Flashback 8 (2017)
- Includes 105 games with wired joystick controllers
- Atari Flashback 8 Deluxe
- Includes features and accessories of the 8 plus 2 wired paddle controllers
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold (2017)
- Includes 720p HDMI video output, two 2.4GHz wireless controllers, and the option to pause, save, and rewind games
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold
- Includes all the features and accessories of the 8 Gold but adds in 2 wired paddle controllers and includes 120 games
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision
- Includes HDMI video output, wireless joysticks, 130 games, and the option to pause, save, and rewind games
- Atari Flashback 9 (2018)
- Includes 2 wired joystick controllers, 110 games, 720p HDMI video output, SD slot for firmware updates, downloading games, and saving and resuming games, and a 5V/1A MicroUSB power adapter with cable
- Atari Flashback 9 Gold
- Includes all the features and accessories of the 9 but switches the wired controllers for wireless controllers
Clearly, there are quite a number of alternatives for those who are interested in playing the classic Atari 2600 VCS and cannot get their hands on the original system.
While nothing will replace the feeling of holding a piece of video gaming history in your hands, these modern consoles with pre-downloaded classic Atari games will more than likely scratch that gaming itch you’ve had since the 80s!
Did You Know…?
Did you know that Atari, Inc. actually started working on an updated version of the Atari 2600 that replaced the wired joystick controllers with updated wireless ones? This update of the original console was to be called the Atari 2700.
The prototypes, nicknamed “Val,” were discovered in two different offices in 1982. Unfortunately, the project never saw market production.
If you have the desire to purchase an original Atari 2600 and the funds to back it up, you can definitely make that dream a reality. You can catch amazing deals by watching auctions on eBay, and, if you are too impatient to wait for an auction to end, you can find great deals on all your retro gaming needs at DKoldies.com,
The Atari is not just an icon for those that lived through its humble beginnings. It is a symbol for an entire generation of boys and girls that grew up in a technology-centered computer age. The Atari was a beacon of hope for the video gaming world; it showed the possibility that video games could live at our fingertips.
Some cannot appreciate the games when they look back at the graphics; however, if you’ll talk to someone who lived through Atari’s first years and then lived on to experience better, improved consoles with graphics that looked more real with each game release, you’ll get an idea of how absolutely amazing living through video game history is.