This reimagining of the Atari 2600 console is a big deal for all gamers. Veterans can dig up their old cartridges and breathe new life into them, passing them on to younger players. Atari fans no longer need to pay hefty fines for wanting to own a real console, and newcomers to the gaming scene have a good jumping off point. They can experience one of the earliest consoles in the same way that the players of old did: by switching out cartridges and hoping the game works.
Atari’s recent 2600+ console takes gamers back to the past, now with HD output and support for old cartridges. TItles such as Pitfall and Missile Command are accessible for the new generations of gamers with the old school flair. It’s a move that other game companies ought to follow, for the sake of the game.
The Atari 2600+ is unique in the freedom it gives players.
Similar retro offerings from Nintendo and Sega all have a fixed set of games. With the SNES Mini for example, 21 titles are all you get. No more, no less. Their redeeming factors are the plug-and-play nature and authentic designs, though that’s nothing the 2600+ can’t offer.
While it’s true that playing these games digitally is much easier and cheaper, it takes away from the experience of playing a game. Reading the back of the box, looking through the manual for tips and lore, and switching out the cartridges is part of what makes gaming fun. Clicking on an icon and waiting for the game to load is less so. Not to mention, digital storefronts all close sooner or later. That leaves you with no choice but to pirate or repurchase the game elsewhere. Once you have a cartridge or disk, it’s yours forever.
Here’s to hoping that the Atari 2600+ will set a precedent. Consoles like it offer gamers young and old an authentic way to keep experiencing the games of years past and helps preserve video games for decades to come. Digital is convenient, physical is forever.