The Atari 2600+ unlocked my nostalgia, but left the fun in the past

Source: Pocket-Lint added 21st Jun 2024

  • the-atari-2600+-unlocked-my-nostalgia,-but-left-the-fun-in-the-past

Key Takeaways

  • The Atari 2600+ reproduces the original console almost perfectly, offering a nostalgia-inducing experience.
  • The simplicity of the games may not translate to fun for everyone due to outdated graphics and lack of instructions.
  • Whether the $130 price tag is worth it depends on how nostalgic you are for retro gaming and if you have space for it.

Over the last few years, retro video games have been all the rage and Atari certainly leaned into the ongoing demand with the release last year of the Atari 2600+ to the market. It seems that while video games and video game consoles get more high-tech and more expensive, there’s definitely a demand for simpler times and simpler games. At least games that are simpler looking, even if they might be quite difficult to master.

The question has to be asked as to just how long nostalgia can carry a console. Is it worth $130 to buy something that only plays games with graphics dating back more than 40 years? How about instead of the well-known D-pad, you use a joystick that has exactly one button? And of course, instead of a disc, you use a cartridge. Can this kind of thing live on nostalgia alone? Can it turn into something that leads to hours of fun?

Atari 2600+

Atari is back with a new $130 game console that plays original and newly-released Atari 2600 and 7800 cartridges on modern TVs. 


  • Looks and plays like the original from 1977
  • Ability to play in color or black and white adds to the nostalgia


  • Corded controller isn’t long enough
  • Several games on the 10 in 1 cart are two player, but it includes just 1 controller
  • Included games don’t come with instructions
  • Price tag is too large for throwback piece


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Price, availability, and specs

The Atari 2600+ is available both for purchase directly from the Atari website and from several approved retailers for $130. For that price, you get the console, one wired controller, an HDMI cord and a game cartridge that has 10 games loaded onto it.

There is no storage or save games beyond the titles saved on the cart, just as it was back in 1977 when the original Atari 2600 was released. Other cartridges can be purchased for the game system for various price points depending on what’s included in the package. Atari promises that the system can also play the newer Atari 7800 carts but those are sold separately as well and were not tested as part of this review.

Atari 2600+

What’s Included
Console, 1 controller, Cartridge with 10 games


Wide Screen Compatible

Game support



13.74 x 4.61 x 10.24in

3.23 pounds

What I liked about the Atari 2600+

Reproduction is almost perfect

I have to give Atari credit. The company leaned into the nostalgia of one of the video game consoles that started it all. If a company is going to offer this level of nostalgia, they need to make sure that out of the box, the thing looks exactly as people remember. People who remember the Atari 2600 are the ones who are going to be the ones who buy the 2600+ and it can’t be “kinda, sorta” like the original.

Just opening the box brought back a ton of nostalgia. The joystick not only looks like the original, but it acts like it in that it’s stiff and doesn’t move around anywhere near what you see on joysticks in modern controllers. What goes along with that is that the joystick feels like it’s got some heft and toughness. It doesn’t feel like something that’s going to break if I jam on it too hard.

The games are what I remember, especially titles like missile attack. There are no cutscenes or backstories to wade through. Throw the cartridge in the console, hit the power button and just get to work trying to shoot down the incoming missiles. Being old enough to remember what that felt like the first time, it was definitely a walk down memory lane. Atari did a great job of reproducing something from nearly half a century ago.


What I didn’t like about the Atari 2600+

Nostalgia never really turns into fun

The Atari 2600+ almost perfectly recreates the original gaming console. That alone is impressive. The problem is that while there were waves and waves of nostalgia, they eventually needed to give way to actually being fun. And while the simplicity of the games that are included and that can be bought can be a nice change of pace, they’re a bit too simple in a world full of story beats and realistic graphics.

I did not, for a second, feel like I could sit and play the Atari 2600+ for hours the way I did as a kid. And the fact that the games just weren’t that fun was only part of it. One big part of the reproduction is the corded controller. After all, Bluetooth didn’t exist back in 1977, so I can’t have a cordless controller now. But Atari could have made the cord longer.

Maybe this is the exact length of the original, but considering the original 2600 also didn’t have an HDMI cable, it’s clear Atari didn’t have problems changing a few things here and there. Seems like a controller that actually reaches from the entertainment center to my chair would have been a nice touch.

There were also no instructions or explanations for the game I was playing. Certainly, I could have gone online and looked, but that would have killed the nostalgia. There were several games in which I had no idea what I was supposed to do, which certainly hastened my interest in just turning the thing off.


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Should you buy the Atari 2600+?

Depends on how much you love nostalgia

With a price tag of $130 and $30 games on top of that, if you want to play more than the 10 that come with it, the answer to “should you buy” is really, “your mileage may vary.”

The Atari 2600+ is not a bad piece of equipment. It operates exactly like it’s supposed to. So the decision on whether to buy or not depends on just how nostalgic you are for a game console that is very, very out of date and whether you have enough space in your usual gaming space to put another device that might not get a lot of use in the long run.

If you believe that you can have more fun than I did playing some very old games, then it’s not a terrible purchase. Just realize that this isn’t a tiny price tag. Normally, games and devices that play on nostalgia are priced down quite a bit because the companies that make them seem to understand why they’re being purchased. Unfortunately, this nostalgia trip comes with quite a high price tag.

Atari 2600+


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