Gen X-ers and Boomers will Love The Atari 2600+ — If they have a boxful of Atari games in the attic

My latest video is a review of the Atari 2600+, a replica of the original beloved gaming console that works on modern HD televisions. It’s designed for those who still have a collection of Atari cartridges, offering a way to play these classic games on modern televisions.

The Atari 2600 Plus is about 80% the size of the original console, featuring a similar build quality with the characteristic fake wood paneling and stiff switches that are reminiscent of the original. It comes with an HDMI output, replacing the RF output of the original, and includes ports for original Atari controllers, including paddles. The package includes one controller in the box that’s a replica of the original 2600 version that also works on the original console too. The system outputs at 720p and includes switches to go into black and white mode along with a widescreen mode.

The console operates via emulation, using Stella for Atari 2600 games and ProSystem for Atari 7800 games. The emulation quality is high, with seamless controller compatibility and no need for button mapping or menu navigation. The system takes a little longer to boot up vs. the original console as it has to boot its OS, dump the ROM off the cartridge, and then load up the emulator.

Playing a game like “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” a cartridge from my childhood, on the Atari 2600 Plus was a smooth experience. The sound and visual quality were impressive, capturing the essence of playing on an original Atari, albeit with the modern convenience of HDMI output.

However, the console does have its limitations. It requires original cartridges to work, and there’s no option for loading games via SD card or USB. This means that for those without a collection of Atari games, the Atari 2600 Plus might not be the best choice. Additionally, flash cartridges like the Harmony cart are not compatible with this console.

Despite these limitations, the Atari 2600 Plus stands out for its authentic replication of the original console’s feel. The tactile experience of inserting a cartridge, flipping the switches, and using the controllers is remarkably close to the original. This makes it an excellent gift for someone who cherishes their Atari memories.

The Atari 2600 Plus is a well-executed blend of nostalgia and modern technology. For those with a trove of Atari cartridges, it’s a fun way to rekindle childhood memories. But if you don’t have a collection already there are far better ways to explore what the 2600 had to offer.