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More Games, More Fun: Remembering the Atari VCS (1978)

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I officially entered the video game era on Christmas morning, 1978, when my parents — or was it Santa Claus? — gave me and my sister a remarkable and unforgettable gift: the Atari VCS (Video Computer System), which also goes by the designation of Atari 2600. I was nine years old.




We enthusiastically the unwrapped the huge, flat, rectangular box, but had no idea what an Atari was. My folks explained, simply, that it is a game you can “play on the television.”

That sounded….different.

My father hooked up the Atari to our family room TV set (a zenith, color model), and quickly unpacked the first game cartridges: Combat, Missile Command, and Space Invaders.

We played Space Invaders first.  And from the first moment the strange aliens began their downward march on screen (to a military-sounding thump…), I was hooked.



Today, millions of Generation X’ers share my love for the Atari 2600.  The Atari Video Computer System box reads:

“Atari brings a powerful computer to your home television.  This system allows you to build a Game Library with additional Game Programs and controllers.




The Atari Video Computer System Includes:

Video Computer System Console

2 Sets of Controllers

COMBAT Game Program including 27 action-packed game variations.

TV/Game Switch Box

AC Power Supply.”

Below are some commercials from the 1970s for the Atari Video Computer System, a toy that absolutely lived up to the advertising promise: “More Games – More Fun.”







  • Mack Bonham

    One aspect you didn’t mention was the fantastic box art on the Atari’s games. It seems like wanted to help your imagination fill in the gaps left by the primitive CPU and so they made the games come alive in those illustrations.

    If some enterprising rights-holder was to collect all that box art into a coffee table book I’m pretty sure it would sell.

    • John Kenneth Muir

      Mack, you are so right. The box art is beautiful for those Atari games. Sometimes, the great art made the games seem not as great, because the boxes promised such amazing sights. I would buy the coffee table book you suggest right now! 🙂

  • Maggiemay

    Up yours Plimpton! Atari was the video game of the People!