If you’ve ever heard old people rave about Atari products, you might want to take a look at the Atari 2600+. This revamp brings the original hardware up to modern standards with HDMI support, new cartridges, and even compatibility with original cartridges from the 1980s.
There’s something quite magical about the Atari 2600+. It’s been proven that – beyond raw visuals that require a lot of imagination on the part of the player – console games often hold up surprisingly well, with simple controls and responsive inputs allowing for more enjoyable play sessions. This is especially true for direct addresses such as Pinball video And go ahead Which remains a blast to play.
However, there are some design flaws that prevent the Atari 2600+ from being a must-have product. The included joystick controller is unbearably solid, and is your only option for playing many games since the controller doesn’t have a USB port for alternative controllers. Other design oddities, such as controller ports on the back of the console, may be compatible with the original model, but are nonetheless inconvenient for wired-only controllers.
Price and availability
The Atari 2600+ is available for purchase from November 17, and can be pre-ordered now for $129.99 / £99.99. The basic package includes the controller, CX40+ joystick and 10-in-1 game cartridge. Additional supported cartridges are also on sale for $29.99 / £24.99 each. In the US and UK, all of this can be purchased from the official Atari 2600+ store page or alternatively from Amazon.
If you want to enhance your experience with the Atari 2600+, the manufacturer is selling a Paddle Pack that includes two CX30+ paddle controllers and a 4-in-1 game cartridge for $39.99/£29.99.
Design and features
The Atari 2600+ certainly looks the part. Unlike the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Mini consoles, the Atari 2600+ sheds much of the size and weight of the original model while maintaining its look and feel. The unit is a real eye-catcher, with the front wood grain panel contrasting nicely with the sturdy black plastic.
There is a row of four dip keys on the front of the controller, located around the cartridge slot. The far left is your power switch, the switch next to it allows you to switch between color and monochrome display. To the right of the cartridge slot is another pair of toggle switches that let you reset the game and choose maps and modes within each if the game supports that feature.
However, things get messy at the back of the console. Here you’ll find two ports for joystick and paddle controllers. There’s also an HDMI port for display and a USB-C port to power the console. Finally, there are some difficulty switches that change the challenge of some games.
I found the placement of the ports, in particular, somewhat awkward. Having the console ports on the back of the unit means that your wires will extend around the side of the console, which sometimes resulted in them moving out of place on my desk while moving the console. It’s not all bad news here, though I appreciate the toggle that lets you switch between widescreen and native 4:3 resolution, allowing for a more authentic gaming experience.
Now let’s talk about the built-in controller. In the box, you get a recreation of the popular CX40 joystick. Unfortunately, it’s disappointing here because the stick is uncomfortably stiff and requires a fair amount of grease to use. As a result, gaming sessions that required the joystick had to be kept short so I could rest my arms.
Fortunately, the CX30’s paddles (sold separately) are much better. It’s great to use, with the turntable working responsively in titles that require it go ahead And Berzerk: Enhanced Edition.
If you can get past some of the issues with the Atari 2600+’s design, you’ll find that there’s a lot to really like about this old system. Its games on the system run natively via cartridges, and the fact that they are compatible with 2,600 existing cartridges is very impressive. If your nan hides a copy of Eastern time, Pop it into an Atari 2600+ and it works fine.
Now, these are Atari 2600 games, so the visuals are fairly simple, raw and blocky across the board. It also doesn’t look particularly great stretched across an HDMI-enabled display, so I recommend flipping the back switch to 4:3 resolution.
However, there is something very captivating about playing these Atari 2600 games. Aside from the joystick frustration, the games are largely responsive, easy to understand, and a lot of fun.
Play Berzerk And go ahead With the CX30 paddles I felt great. The responsive turntables match the action on screen, ensuring that these games from the 1980s remain perfectly playable today. Likewise, a whole new game, mr run and jump, It provided a very clear platform that I couldn’t turn away from.
There’s also something to be said about the relatively primitive sound design these games put forth. The sharp beeps and sounds that grace these titles are undeniably mesmerizing, as are the stylized approximations of explosions that serve as their own bonus. Special mention should also be made of the sound of the ocean crashing onto the shore Real sports volleyball.
The crunchy, almost rusty nature of such sound effects is strangely soothing and lends an almost otherworldly kind of immersion to these titles. This feeling is exacerbated by the general lack of music as well; It’s just you and the developers’ rough estimate of what things should look like within these constraints. Try playing at night with all the lights off, and you’ll see what I mean.
Should I buy an Atari 2600+?
The Atari 2600+ certainly does what it sets out to do, providing a modern way to play these old games that helped pave the way for gaming as a whole. Although this can be a significant investment given the high cost of individual cartridges and some of the increased difficulties with a solid joystick, it is an excellent way to experience many relaxing classic games via a more modern gaming setup.
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
How we reviewed the Atari 2600+
I tested the Atari 2600+ over the course of a week by connecting it to a computer monitor at 1080p via HDMI. I’ve tried playing a wide range of built-in games using both the CX40 joystick and CX30 paddle controllers, including Mr. Run and Jump, Pinball Video, Yaris’ Revenge And Berzerk: Enhanced Edition Among many others.
Are you looking for slightly updated games? Consider checking out our listings for Best PS5 games And Best Nintendo Switch games To support your library with a collection of modern classics.