I’m fortunate enough to live in an area where there are lots of places for those wishing to purchase retro games and systems such as the NES, CollecoVision, and Atari 2600. Whenever I go into one of these stores I always see a bunch of Atari 2600 games and while I sometimes see people look at them, I’ve never once seen anyone purchase, or trade-in anything for the system. It’s interesting as I’ve never really met anyone who even knows a thing about the Atari 2600 despite it being known in history as one of the best selling and first video game consoles in the world. So it raises the question, is Atari 2600 collecting dead?
After doing some research I did find people who found the Atari 2600 interesting, and surprisingly it was usually young people. There are groups of high school and college students who are fascinated with the history of video games and are purchasing games for the system. I believe this along with several other factors help with other factors make the Atari 2600 appealing. The first of course is the fact that the controller is very basic and easy to just pick up and play. Since it only consist of a joystick and 1 button, it’s very good if you are looking to get somebody into video games. Another reason is the price of the games. While there are some Atari 2600 games that are extremely rare and demand some of the highest prices in video game history, there were also a flood of games. Keep in mind that the Atari 2600 and the saturation of games being released lead to the video game crash, so you can actually get a bunch of good games for the system for $5 or less. This makes it where you can go to a retro video game store and purchase the console along with 10 games for less than $100 depending on what games you get.
Of course this only proves that the Atari 2600 community isn’t completely dead, but it doesn’t answer why. The biggest reason to be is because it’s not nostalgic anymore. Most who grew up with systems like the Atari 2600 and the CollecoVision are in their 40s and 50s and are not going through that midlife crisis anymore. If they are, then they’ve more than likely moved to more expensive tastes like sports cars and motorcycles. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there like Mark Bussler of Classic Game Room who are in love with the Atari 2600 and the Vectrex, but most have moved on. If you are interested in getting into the Atari 2600 by collecting, or just wanting more information you can always go to a retro game store and ask. If you don’t have access to one you can always watch Classic Game Room or visit AtariAge. If you are already into it or just getting into it, happy hunting.