Atari 2600+ review – A fabulous flashback to gaming’s golden age | Gaming | Entertainment

5 min read

Atari 2,600 console and controller (Image: ATARI)

If you have any interest in collecting retro consoles and old-school games, then you’re going to love the Atari 2,600+

What we love

  • Authentic look and feel
  • Connects to modern TV sets
  • Plays original 2,600 and 7,800 cartidges
  • Comes with 10 games including Missile Command

What we don’t

  • Only comes with one controller
  • There are cheaper ways to play old Atari games
  • Could do with more new games/collections

I’ve really been enjoying Atari’s output over the past couple of years. From compilations like Atari 50, to recharged remakes, virtual reality games and even LEGO sets, Atari is really scratching that nostalgic itch. The Atari 2600+ is another fine example of the company successfully transporting the past into the present, providing a powerful blast of retro goodness, but with a modern twist. 

The Atari 2600+ is a largely authentic reimagining of one of the company’s most iconic consoles.

It’s got the same delightfully old-fashioned wood-grain look as the original 2600, complete with fully functioning switches to power off, reset the console and even change games to black and white.

It’s a bit smaller than the original console, but this just means there’s more space to fit it under your TV.

Best of all, however, is that the cartridge slot in the middle of the device isn’t just for show.

Indeed, this isn’t just another mini console with a selection of built-in games, but rather a fully functioning Atari console capable of playing original 2600 and 7800 cartridges.

Atari 2600+ console and controller

Atari 2600 console and controller (Image: ATARI)

Whether you’ve got a library of old Atari games gathering dust, or are thinking of starting a collection, you can play the vast majority of original Atari carts on your brand new 2600+.

Old-school Atari cartridges are generally quite reasonably priced online (although don’t expect many to come with boxes and manuals), and there’s an official list of compatible games that you can check before you buy.

It’s a really good way of breathing new life into those vintage video game carts, all the while giving collectors a more convenient and reliable way of revisiting classic titles.

This convenience comes from the fact that the Atari 2600+ contains a HDMI port, which means it can be used with modern television sets. Gone are the days when you would need a special adapter or bulky old TV to enjoy the golden age of gaming.

In addition to a HDMI port, the back of the device also features  a switch that lets you flip between display modes (16:9 and 4:3), plus a USB-C power port and difficulty switches.

Priced at £99.99 there are cheaper ways to experience Atari classics, but the 2600+ does at least come with a 10-in-1 game pack containing titles such as the addictive Missile Command (my personal favourite), Yars’ Revenge, Adventure, Dodge Em and Combat.

I would have liked one or two additional games to make the cut (like Centipede and Pitfall), but thankfully I managed to find some copies pretty cheap.

There’s also a highly recommended 4-in-1 cart that comes with two paddle controllers, not to mention a couple of brand new releases like Berzerk Enhanced (now with voice effects), and Mr. Run and Jump.

While it doesn’t have the same level of depth as the current-gen version of Mr. Run and Jump (which I would also recommend), the Atari 2600 version is a fast, fun and unforgiving platformer that will keep you coming back for more.

Atari 2600+ 10-in-1 games collection

Atari 2600 10-in-1 games collection (Image: ATARI)

One slight drawback to the whole thing is the CX40+ controller, which is an authentic recreation of the one-button joystick from the original console.

I used to love Atari’s 2600 controller when I was a child and still appreciate its simplicity, but find it a bit too small to use for any extended periods of time now that I’m older.

It’s also got the annoyingly short wire that all retro controllers seem to have, which means you might have to sit close to the TV in order to play.

You’ll also need to spend another £20 on a second controller if you want to enjoy some multiplayer.

Despite one or two issues, however, there’s something enormously satisfying about jamming an old game into a cartridge slot and just playing, without any messing about.

Indeed, if you have any interest in collecting (and actually playing) retro consoles and old-school games, then you’re going to love the Atari 2,600+.

It looks the part, it’s compatible with original cartridges from the 1980s, and crucially, it can be used on modern television sets.

This makes it a more practical choice for anybody with an existing assortment of Atari classics, or for gaming fans looking to start a collection from scratch. 

If you’re not a collector, don’t care about authenticity, but have an appreciation for retro games, then you’re probably better served picking up a copy of Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, which was one of my favourite releases of 2022 (and has just been updated with 12 additional games).

The Atari 2,600+ won’t be for everyone, but I’ve really enjoyed my time with the console, and recommend it to anybody with a love of old-school classics. 

VERDICT: 4/5

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