CX 2600 P

CX 2600 P - 01
Atari VCS - CX 2600 Sunnyvale Edition  This is the original 1977 
Atari Video Computer System, and this particular design was only 
produced for one year.
Because it features six chrome-like switches and has heavy internal RF
Shielding, some collectors refer to this as a "Heavy Sixer".
At first glance it looks just like the CX2600 that follows in 1978,
but it is noticably heavier when compared, and has some extra plastic
molding around the back and sides of the unit.
These units were manufactured in Sunnyvale, California, and there is a
tag on the underside from the manufacturing plant to indicate this.
There is also a serial number on the unit itself with a matching serial
number sticker on the box.
The later model was manufactured in Hong Kong.
Atari VCS - CX2600   Introduced in 1978, this CX2600 was very similar to
the first run of VCS's, but there are some cosmetic differences.
It is lighter, due to reduced RF shielding internally.
Some of the thick molding around the back and sides are gone, giving it
a slightly more streamlined appearance.
This unit was produced for about two years before Atari redesigned it.
It was packaged with two standard joysticks and a Combat cartridge.
Most of these were made in Hong Kong as opposed the original VCS which
was made at Atari headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.


This is the first version of the ATARI Video Computer System, the VCS.
It dates back to 1977.
Specific for this first version is the wooden front and the number of
six switches on top.
The second version had only four of them: the two switches for left
and right difficulty selection had moved to the back.
Codename for the 2600 ( model number CX2600) was Stella.

2600 cycles produced the tone needed by telephone companies to give
access to long distance telephone calls.
People producing small "blue boxes"  sold their devices to buyers that
wanted free access.
It is said that one ATARI engineer produced such boxes, hence the name.
The subsequent 5200 and 7800 were multiplications to the 2600.

Heart of the machine is the MOSTEC 6502, on 1.19 Mhz.
(like in the ACORN Atom, the BBC, the Electron, the APPLE II, -IIc, -IIe,
-III, the ATARI 600 XL, the COMMODORE PET 2001, the legendary ORIC Atmos
and many others).
ROM: from 2 to 16 kB. (sometimes even 32 kB.), RAM: 128 bytes. 256 colors.

Engineers were: Joe Decuir, Steve Mayer and Ron Milner.

The Atari 2600, originally called the Atari VCS, is the godfather of
modern videogame systems, and helped spawn a multi-billion dollar industry.
Atari sold over thirty million of the consoles, and together with other
companies sold hundreds of millions of games.
Cartridges for the system were produced across three decades, and there
are still new games being produced today. But it almost didn't happen.

In the early 1970ís, video arcade games gained commercial success for the
first time.
The American public was introduced to Pong, Tank, and other interactive
video games which populated amusement parks, bars, and arcades.
The games were successful enough to create interest for home versions, so
in 1975 Atari released Home Pong and it was a smash hit.
Although other companies such as Magnavox had beaten Atari to market with
their own home pongs, it was Atari that popularized the home game systems.
Then in 1976, Fairchild Camera and Instrument introduced the Channel F
system, the first cartridge based home video game system.
The industry recognized that cartridge systems were the future of video
gaming, and began development in that direction.
In January 1977, RCA released the Studio II, another cartridge based
system, although it only projected in black and white and seemed to be
focused on educational titles.
Then, in October 1977, Atari released the Atari VCS
(Video Computer System) with an initial offering of nine games.
This system, later renamed the Atari 2600, would come to dominate the
industry for many years.
Because of oversupply, the Christmas season of 1977 was very rough on the
video game industry, and the Atari 2600 was the only system that managed
to emerge unscathed.
Atari enjoyed strong sales in 1978 and a fantastic holiday season, as
Atari released more games such as Outlaw, Space War, and Breakout.
Internally however, Atari was at odds.
Nolan Bushnell, the inventor of pong and founder of Atari, wound up
leaving the company and purchased Pizza Time Theater, which later became
the successful Chuck E. Cheese!
In 1979 Atari continued their trend and released 12 more games which met
with continued success.
However, Atari was now facing some stiffer competition from the Mattel
Intellivision and the Magnavox Odyssey2.

Atari needed a mega-hit in 1980 in order to squash the competition, and
they found it in the home version of a game from Japan called Space
It was so popular that people were buying the Atari 2600 just so they
could play Space Invaders at home - the first videogame 'killer-app'.
Following that, Atari released Adventure, which was the first video
game to contain an Easter Egg - placing an object in a certain area
revealed the programmerís name, Warren Robinett.
1980 was important for another reason - the creation of the first ever
third party software producer, Activision.
The company was formed by four Atari employees who were unsatisfied
with the working conditions at the company.
They released four games initially: Dragster, Fishing Derby, Checkers
and Boxing.
The games were very well received by the public, and revealed that the
Atari 2600 was capable of better games than Atari themselves had been
Atari tried to prevent Activision from selling games, but they failed
and Activision grossed $70 million that year. 
By 1981, the video game industry was basically a horse race between
the 2600 and the Intellivision.
While the Intellivision was technologically superior in some respects,
the 2600 continued to lead in sales.
Atari released the home version of Asteroids, which was a huge success.
Inspired by the success of Activision, another software development
group called Imagic was formed.
They would not release any games until 1982 however.
Another company, Games by Apollo, was formed in Texas and released
several titles that year. 

Coleco entered the market in 1982 with the release of the graphically
superior Colecovision.
To combat this new system, Atari produced the 5200, a technologically
comparable system.
The 2600 dropped $100 in price in order to remain competitive.
Then a company called Arcadia released a peripheral called the
Supercharger which played games in an audio cassette medium.
This allowed for multiple loads and expanded the 2600ís capabilities.
Atari released Pac-Man and E.T. that year, two incredibly hyped games
which were critical flops.
Although Pac-Man sold many copies, it was considered to be a poor
translation of the arcade hit.
However, there were many fantastic games produced for the 2600 during
this period, and it was still selling strong. 

Ever since the inception of Activision, Atari had been fighting to keep
third parties from producing cartridges which they felt were stealing
profits from them.
Finally the issue was settled when Atari agreed to allow third party
manufacturing in exchange for a royalty.
Suddenly software companies began popping up all over, and 1982 saw
releases from companies like Venturevision, Spectravision, Telesys, CBS,
20th Century Fox, US Games, M Network, Tigervision, Data Age, Imagic
and Coleco.
There was even a company that released a line of X-Rated games for the
2600 called Mystique.
The year was financially successful for Atari, however there seemed
to be a glut of software.
Although there were many quality titles still produced, there was an
increasing number of rushed games as manufacturers attempted to cash
in on the craze. 

More companies jumped on the band wagon in 1983.
Zimag, Ultravision, Amiga, and others were also producing games and
It seemed as if there was just too much product to meet the demand,
and as it turned out there was.
By the end of the year, companies began folding.
US Games, Data Age, Games by Apollo, Telesys and others all closed
their doors from poor sales.
A video game crash was occurring, and all companies were taking it on 
the chin. 

For the Atari 2600, 1984 was a much more subdued year and the price
of the system had now dropped to $40-$50.
Many were saying that the video game industry was dead.
However, Atari surprised everyone by announcing the release of
the 7800, and also promising more 2600 games with improved graphics 
and sound.
Unfortunately, neither of these things happened in 1984 because Atari
sold their home video game division to Jack Tramiel who believed that
home computers would replace video game systems.
No further mention of the 2600 or 7800 was made that year, and it 
appeared that those systems might be dead. 

1985 was another very quiet year for Atari and video games in 
general, although a few games were released for the 2600 by third
party companies.
Activision produced Cosmic Commuter and Ghostbusters, but with little
fanfare or marketing, these games did not sell well.
However, because of the huge game library and cheap price, Atari 
still sold over a million 2600 consoles in 1985. 

There were very few plans for home video game systems by any company
in 1986, since the market appeared to be dead.
Then, to most peopleís surprise, Nintendo brought the NES to America
and it was a smash hit, proving that video games still had a place
in the US.
Atari decided that maybe it would be a good idea to release the 
7800 units it had in storage, and produce some more 2600 games.
Initially, the 7800 was released with only 3 games available, although
it was compatible with the entire 2600 library.
They also redesigned the 2600 as the 2600 Jr., a machine with the same
abilities, but a new look and marketing campaign.
It was sold for less than $50. 

Video games were once again selling phenomenally in 1987.
Atari released several new titles, including Jr. Pac-Man, and also
licensed a number of games from other companies such as Donkey Kong 
and Q*Bert.
These new titles sold for $10-$15.
Interestingly, a number of titles began appearing again from third
party companies such as Epyx, Froggo, and Exus.
It seemed that the 2600 was not dead yet!
In 1988, Atari rehired Nolan Bushnell and announced a number of new 
titles, including Secret Quest, a game written by Steve DeFrisco but 
sold under Nolan's name in the hope of increasing sales.
Atari continued to manufacture these games until 1989.
However, it was apparent that the 2600, a decade after its introduction,
was finally at the end of its run.
Although it was still produced and marketed outside of the US, the
Atari 2600 finished its run in America.
No other console has had such a long history or sold as many systems
in the U.S. 

Today, the 2600 still has a large number of fans who remember the 
countless games played over the years, and the years to come.
There are even games being produced today by hobbyists, often in
cartridge format with a full color label and an accompanying manual.
Finally, the recent trend in retrogaming has introduced many more
video game fans to the 2600, and it continues to live on 24 years 
after its release! 


Manufacturer Atari Name VCS 2600 jr.
Type Console Origine Sunnyvale, California
Introduction Date 1986 (CX-2600 jr. REV.A/ B/ C) End of production ???
Built in Language ??? Keyboard -
CPU UMC UM6507 Speed 1.19 Mhz
Coprocessor UMC UM6526P1 TIA (Television Interface Adaptor) @3.58 MHz Amount of Ram 128 Bytes (128x8 SRAM) integrated in UM6532
Vram ??? Rom cartridges with 2 to 32 KBytes capacity bankswitching was needed for carts greater than 4 KBytes
Text Modes ??? Graphic Modes 320x192 in 1 bit depth (=monochrome)
Colors 128 at 80x192 (16 colors x 8 luminances) Sound 3 voices mono (generated by TIA)
Size / Weight ??? Built in Media None
I/O Ports 24 pin cartridge connector (on its top); 2x 9 pin controlpad/ lightpen/ lightgun; HF-out (for TV); power supply connector OS -
Power Supply External Introduction Price ???
Sold ??? Serial Number ???
Other Extras Boxed, 19 games Bought Where Zelzate
Bought When ??? Condition Good
Price Paid 500 Bfr. Specs of my Model ???
Setup Today ???

Left View

Serial Number The Smurf Game


Bought via ebay on ??? (??? Ä)

The Boxed Smurf-game was also bought on ebay (the Netherlands) 
on ??? for ???Ä
It was the first video game I ever played (euh... I think).