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LEGO's Atari 2600 is a nostalgic tribute to the 8-bit video-game
LEGO Atari 2600
Video: Courtesy of LEGO

LEGO's Atari 2600 is a nostalgic tribute to the 8-bit video-game

The LEGO group unveils a replica of Atari 2600, one of the most famous video game consoles of all time.

by Anushka Sharma
Published on : Aug 19, 2022

The Atari 2600, initially dubbed as the Atari VCS or Atari Video Computer System stepped into the world of gaming in 1977 and immediately skyrocketed to stardom, so much so that the name ‘Atari’ was used interchangeably with the console in particular and with video games in general in mainstream media in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This year, on Atari’s 50th anniversary, the LEGO Group takes a trip back to the eighties with their recreation of the iconic Atari 2600. This new version of the VCS takes all video-game lovers on a nostalgic cruise to a time when virtual games were limited to desktop systems and immobile consoles. The new LEGO set that launched on August 1, 2022, is based on the four-switch revision of the retro game console which debuted in 1980. “It has been such an incredible experience to bring two icons together, Atari and LEGO, in this awesome set,” says Chris McVeigh, LEGO Designer for the set. “We hope that building this classic console takes you back to those halcyon days when a handful of pixels meant a world of adventure,” he adds.

LEGO’s Atari 2600 is a realistic replica of the retro console Image: Courtesy of LEGO
The hidden vignette in the set reveals a 1980s scene Image: Courtesy of LEGO

This 2532-piece set takes gaming fans right back to their childhood, allowing them to relive the ecstasy of owning the Atari through a journey that is reminiscent right from the unboxing experience to assembling the console before beginning the game. Accompanying the obligatory elements like console, game cartridges and joystick, are captivating scene settings–a spaceship shooting at asteroids, a castle and a centipede with mushroom builds–brimming with fond memories of the three most sought-after Atari games Asteroids, Adventure, and Centipede. The three video-game cartridges, each flaunting artworks inspired by the original Atari designs with a pinch of LEGO spirit, can be stored in a case, slotted into the vintage-style console just like the original and built into mini versions of the games. Moreover, the console includes a switch to select whether you have a colour or black and white television.

The Adventure cartridge is accompanied by a mini version of the game Image: Courtesy of LEGO
The set includes the popular Asteroids, Adventure, and Centipede cartridges Image: Courtesy of LEGO

“The Atari 2600 was one of the most memorable gifts I got as a kid. I recall spending hours and hours in front of the TV, absolutely amazed that I could play arcade games in my own home,” shares McVeigh. This replica version of the Atari 2600 console comes to life with authentic details that one would remember from the original retro design with a few LEGO twists that only add to the excitement. A hidden vignette in the assemblage–a walk down the memory lane–shows a kid playing Asteroids in a 1980s room with intricate details like the classic TV, boom box, posters, retro phone and roller skates to reproduce through design a beloved time and memories of hours spent trying to get a new high score. Builders and gamers alike will enjoy sliding open the front and unveiling a pop-up scene from an 80’s gaming room. As one builds their own console in brick form, they take a nostalgic journey of rediscovering features such as the controller with a joystick that moves to feel just like the original.

The joystick moves and feels just like the original Image: Courtesy of LEGO
LEGO’s Atari 2600 pays homage to the iconic console Image: Courtesy of LEGO

This LEGO set continues a series of sets designed for adult building fans who love collectible models and appreciate design details, all while maintaining the toy company’s signature safety and quality. For Chris McVeigh, a lifelong Atari fan, this project went beyond just product design. It was a process of paying a visit to–and replicating–the golden years of retro consoles and arcade gaming, an era of collective admiration that has now morphed into a mutual nostalgia. LEGO’s Atari 2600 underlines a significant piece of video-game history that a lot of young gamers and enthusiasts might be oblivious to–giving the first console that carved its path into thousands of homes globally the veneration it deserves.

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