A Line at a Time: The Atari 2600, Now with S-Video

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2023-09-19 07:00:03

From Pitfall II to the Channel F to the NES cartridge port, a spectre has lurked in the background of Nicole Express: the spectre of the Atari 2600. The best-selling console of the second generation, an icon, and yet to date, I have not covered it, or even owned one. That all changes today, and we’ll find out what the deal is with this strange artifact from the past. Plus, we’ll get some S-Video.

This is my Atari 2600. There are many like it, but this is mine. Don’t mind that it sprouted a tail, that tends to happen to consoles that hang around here.

This specific Atari is a 2600jr, even more specifically a “short rainbow” model. (Note that the linked site is a bit inaccurate, as I believe there were RF boxes included with this model– mine isn’t boxed though so I can’t confirm. The signal coming out of the RCA jack on the back is modulated)

The 2600jr was released in 1986 by Jack Tramiel’s Atari Corp., but seems to have been a product of predecessor Warner Communications subsidiary Atari Inc., shelved when Atari collapsed in 1984. Some “short rainbow” machines, especially PAL models, have stickers reporting Atari Inc., though mine, like most NTSC 2600jrs, does have an Atari Corp. FCC notice. This is a contemporary of the NES! But a bargain basement console for sure. It’s super lightweight and feels cheap, because it was.

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