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Atari 2600

Atari 2600
Atari 2600 four-switch "wood veneer" version, dating from 1980-1982
CaptionAtari 2600 four-switch "wood veneer" version, dating from 1980-1982
ManufacturerAtari, Inc.
TypeVideo game console
GenerationSecond generation
North America : October 14, 1977
Europe : 1978
Japan : October, 1983 (Atari 2800)
DiscontinuedJanuary 1, 1992
Unitssold30 million (as of 2004)
MediaROM cartridge, Tape
CpuMOS 6507 @ 1.19 MHz
Memory128 bytes RAM, 4 KB ROM
Driving Controller
PredecessorAtari Pong
SuccessorAtari 5200
Top GamePac-Man, 7 million (as of September 1, 2006)

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The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in October 1977 by Atari, Inc. 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 receives credit for making the plug-in concept popular among the game-playing public.

The console was originally sold as the Atari VCS, for Video Computer System. Following the release of the Atari 5200, in 1982, the VCS was renamed "Atari 2600", after the unit's Atari part number, CX2600. The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game-initially Combat and later Pac-Man.

The Atari 2600 was wildly successful, and during much of the 1980s, "Atari" was a synonym for this model in mainstream media and, by extension, for video games in general.

In 2009, the Atari 2600 was named the second greatest video game console of all time by IGN.

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