On This Day

The Atari 2600

An Atari 2600 video game console
An Atari 2600 video game console

Historical Context

The Atari 2600 was the first successful home game machine. Released in 1977 it sold for $199 and included a console, two joy stocks and a game cartridge and was manufactured until 1982.

Many of the games Atari produced for video arcades had versions for the Atari 2600. Its first big hit was with Space Invaders in 1980, which became the first game to sell over 1 million copies.

However by 1982 the market was saturated with game consoles. This coupled with the rise of the home computer led to the 1983 video game crash. The Atari 2600 was particularly hard hit as the company has invested in two big games - Pac-Man and ET which failed spectacularly.

The Atari 2600 was added to the US National Toy Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2009 IGN called it "the console that our entire industry is built upon".

Photo Info

Location taken: Sunnyvale, California, USA

Related Events

  • 1977-09-11 The Atari 2600, originally known as the Atari Video Computer System (Atari VCS) is released in North America, revolutionizing the video game industry

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