Atari VCS (1977)

Atari 2600

Last Sunday, like every second Sunday of the month, I went to the flea market of Udine (I live 10 minutes away from the city). I hadn’t found anything interesting in months, but this time I brought home an Atari VCS, renamed “2600” a few years later, with a dozen games and some instruction booklets, but without joysticks or paddles.

The first owner of this console lived most probably in the UK: there was a UK power supply unit, a small catalogue of service centers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and a form to join the Atari Club that had to be mailed to an address in Slough.

The third party power supply unit was unsafely adapted for use in Italy with some duct tape:

Atari 2600 - Power supply

To be honest I already have a VCS, but I lacked some of the games and the console was really in good shape. I bought it for 20 euros and spent a couple of hours taking it apart, cleaning it and taking some pictures. The cartridges were moldy and the main unit really needed to be disinfected.

Atari 2600 - Dirty

Here are the cartridges after being gently cleaned with a damp cloth:

Atari 2600 - Cartridges

AtariAge reports the game H.E.R.O. as “rare”, at least on the North American market. I played this game on the Commodore 64 – I still remember the sound of the fuse burning and the explosion of the bomb!

Atari 2600 - H.E.R.O.

Besides the games manuals, there was a promotional booklet dated 1982 that presented all the new games, including the unfortunate “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” that we have all heard about recently.

Atari 2600 - Manuals and leaflets

The console is the second version known as “light sixer”, with three switches on every side and the motherboard protected by a metal shield to prevent electromagnetic interferences; it was made in Hong Kong. It can easily be taken apart in a few minutes.

Atari 2600 - Exploded_view

I borrowed a joystick and a power supply from another 2600 to play Dig Dug.

Atari 2600 - Joystick

Some other pictures of the console:

Atari 2600

Atari 2600 with cartridge

Atari 2600 - Detail

Beam aboard the Atari Club!
– Captain Atari

Atari 2600 - Beam aboard the Atari Club

2 thoughts on “Atari VCS (1977)

  1. Anon

    You have an interesting version – the PAL version I’ve never seen before. Notice the “P” on all the spines of your cartridges. I doubt they’d work on an NTSC Atari in the US. The programming of the video circuits was known as “racing the beam” on the CRT, and the 2600 was only capable of computing one line at a time on the screen. There wasn’t enough memory. Likely the code was modified to meet the needs of the PAL system.

    1. Giacomo Post author

      Well, since I live in Italy this is for me the “usual” version of the console.
      I’d like to find an original heavy sixer, and that only sold in the US… well, sooner or later I will get one, I hope!


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