August 3, 2013

Revisiting Atari 2600

Roughly one year ago, I featured a post entitled "Atari Celebrates 40th Anniversary!?!" (or by visiting which was prompted by the fact that the end of June 2012 happened to be the 40th anniversary of Atari Corp.  Today, Atari still exists as a company that sells digital games and licensing, including mobile games which has proven to be an attractive business for the company.  However, in January 2013 (if you read the P.S. at the end of the aforementioned post, you'll see more details), the company went through a separation with the company based in France which owned Atari.

In hindsight, the post was informative and timely, but lacked much in the way of interactive content that I try to include in most of the posts at Harvest Gold Memories.  Although I noted some links (some of which can still be found in the right margin of this blog under the heading of "Links I Like") which still exist, there are a few excellent videos (each is only a few minutes in length) about the original Atari Video Computer System which was subsequently branded as the Atari 2600.  I suspect that consumers of today that went back to play the Atari 2600 would be shocked at how rudimentary it was (although, as noted in my post on "Preservation and Resurrection of Classic Handheld Electronic Games", visit for that post), has found a bit of resurrection as the original target market (Generation X) for the product becomes middle-aged.  Retro has always had a market, and will likely still have it 50 years from now (although the retro products at that time will be for people who are children in 2013).

In any event, as I already noted, there are a few YouTube videos which I really recommend watching.  The first one is a nice (and informative) overview of the Atari 2600 video game console.  The video is below, or you may visit

That video discusses the long-running Atari 2600 video game system (which, for the record, remains one of the longest-selling video games in history), but doesn't provide much perspective on the actual games for that.  In my mind, there were really two games for Atari 2600 that ruled: the first one is Activision's Pitfall! created by David Crane.  That was probably one of the best video games ever created for Atari (or any other system, for that matter).  Sure, its simple, but can entertain players for hours, which is what makes it such a classic.

For the record, The Retroist [] which is best known for its podcasts although they have a slick website and professional-looking videos they create themselves (you will also note that I've borrowed their Pac-Man image and added it to the design for Harvest Gold Memories), has a phenomenal overview of the original Pitfall! for the Atari 2600.  The YouTube video can be watched below, or by visiting

Beyond Pitfall, which was from a third-party (not Atari) known as Activision, Atari had a video game that in my opinion, deserves a place as one of the best.  That title is Ms. Pac-Man (Pac-Man for Atari 2600 really sucked; not only was it not a very good game port, but the graphics even for Atari 2600 were terrible, there were no intermissions and the maze never changed.  In short, in spite of paying a fortune to have Pac-Man, I ended up a bit disappointed with it).  However, Ms. Pac-Man enabled Atari to redeem itself in my eyes, although I would later "graduate" to a ColecoVision game console and put my Atari 2600 into the attic.

Catch a thoughtful and well-done post from The Retroist on Ms. Pac-Man for Atari 2600 below, or on YouTube by visiting

In recognition of what's now the 41st anniversary of Atari, I'll sign off.  I hope this post was entertaining!

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