Growing up in the 80’s, I could not help but be a little envious of some of my friends who had an Atari. You didn’t need to call it anything more than that (until the 400 and 800 computers were released around 1983) To be honest, I don’t remember the ‘2600’ designator even being a thing to concern ourseves aboutin the australian market, until the product was almost at end of its production run. It did take me a little while to come to realise that the 2600 I read about in American Computer Magazines of the era were referring to the same Atari VCS that we had in Australia.
And so we looked forward to weekends, or long, lazy summer holidays, staying with friends, and playing games on the Atari until a little later at night than we should. The Walnut finish on the plastic case would have matched perfectly with the cabinet of our late 70’s colour TV. If only we had one.
2022 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Atari brand, started in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell, and the release of the coin operated game Pong, or as we thought of it ‘TV-Tennis’. It was the Atari Video Computer System (as it was called on its release, rebranded as the 2600 in 1983).
Today, The LEGO Group announce the near imminent arrival of 10306 Atari 2600. Going alonside the Nintendo Entertainment system, released in 2020, this set is full of nostaligc hits for kids of the 80s.
With 2532 pieces, this set is close to the size of the oricinal version. It is 33 cm wide, 22cm deep and 8cm high.It comes with one minifugre and wll cost $239USD or $369.99 As well as the console itself, it comes with a number of plug in cartridges (before we had game streaming services, we had USB keys, before then, we had Floppy disks, and before then, we had cartridges, effectively providing plug’n’play functionality, and minising ther load uup time of whatever we were playing.
In this version, we have cartridges for Centipede, Adventure and Asteroids. (featured in the 10497 video screen from 1979, the Atati VCS/2600 version of asteroids had the same game play, but relied on raster, rather than vector graphics. as such, the home version could never compete with the version seen in the arcades. As well as the cartridges, we also have reimagined vignettes, based on the graphics for the cartridges of the time.
The set also has a surprise reveal, demonstrating a 1980’s living room, complete with Atari, Vintage TV and more: Between the ‘wall mounted telephone’, the roller skates and boom box (to say nothing of the VCR cassette), this set looks like it will be full of great Easter eggs.
Of course, it weould not be an Atari, without the definitive Atari Joystick: 8 direction, one button. Even the Minifigure is carrying one. I love this figure – pretty sure it will be a popular one for collectors to get, with his toothy gap, as well as the great 80s T-shirt print.
19th July 2022: Today, the LEGO Group reveals the new LEGO® Atari® 2600 set, a nostalgic recreation of one of the most famous video game consoles of all time. The iconic Atari VCS/2600 was an instant hit when introduced in 1977 and the new LEGO set is based on the four-switch revision which debuted in 1980. The release of the new LEGO set also comes in celebration of Atari’s 50th anniversary.
From the unboxing experience through to adding the final brick, building this intricate set is an evocative journey within itself. Activate challenge mode as you build your own console in brick form and take a nostalgic journey uncovering features such as the controller with a joystick that moves to feel just like the original. Brick builders and gamers alike will enjoy sliding open the front and unveiling a pop-up scene from an 80’s gaming room, reviving memories of hours spent trying to get a new high score.
The set also includes three video game cartridges of iconic Atari games in brick format: Asteroids™, Adventure and Centipede™. The cartridges can be stored in a case and built into mini versions of the games. In addition, the console includes a switch to select whether you have a colour or black and white television.
When it came to choosing a LEGO Designer for the set, there was only one person for the job. Lifelong Atari fan Chris McVeigh, who said about the design; “The Atari 2600 was one of the most memorable gifts I got as a kid. I recall spending hours and hours in front of the TV, absolutely amazed that I could play arcade games in my own home. There were so many legendary titles, too, including Asteroids, Adventure, and Centipede. This is why it has been such an incredible experience to bring two icons together, Atari and LEGO, in this awesome set. We hope that building this classic console takes you back to those halcyon days when a handful of pixels meant a world of adventure.”
The LEGO Atari 2600 set is available from the 1st August 2022 via LEGO Stores and www.LEGO.com/Atari at the recommended retail price of $/€239.99.
I love the look of this set: at first glance, I got all of the retro feels: it comes across as being just the right size and shape, and capturing all of the necessary details from the original device. This set will certainly have a broad reach: the original console was on the shelves for over 10 years, and certainly defined an industry.
It will be available in US/Europe from 1st August, while the Australian release has been held back to 1st September. That will give us a chance to save up again after the 90th Anniversary sets have been released.
What do you think of this set? After the Nintendo NES, I am starting to wonder if a series of Video game consoles might be trickled out over the next few years. Playstations (1,2,3?); Sega Megadrive/Genesis; or even move onto the early gaming computers, such as the Commodore 64. What would you like to see turned into a LEGO Set? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time…