Atari 2600

Atari 2600 four-switch "wood veneer" version
Manufacturer Atari Inc.
Type Video game console
Generation Second generation
Retail availability NA October 1977
EU 1978
Units sold 30 million
Media ROM cartridge, Tape
CPU MOS 6507 @ 1.19 MHz
Controller input Joystick
Paddles
Driving Controller
Trak-Ball
Keypad
Online services GameLine
Best-selling game Pac-Man, 7 million
Predecessor Atari Pong
Successor Atari 5200

The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in October 1977. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. The first game console to use this format was the Fairchild Channel F. However the Atari 2600 is credited with making the plug-in concept popular among the game-playing public.

Originally known as the Atari VCS — for Video Computer System — the machine's name was changed to "Atari 2600" in 1982 following the release of the more advanced Atari 5200. The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game—initially Combat and subsequently Pac-Man.

The Atari 2600 was wildly successful. During the 1980s, "Atari" was a synonym for this model in mainstream media and, by extension, for video games in general, similar to "Nintendo" and "PlayStation" in the later 1980s and '90s.

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