LEGO Celebrates ATARI's 50th Anniversary With The Console That Started It All For Gamers
LEGO Icons 10306 - ATARI 2600 Video Computer System
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 1st August 2022 (1st Sep for Australia).
After the resounding success of LEGO's Super Nintendo model, fans have long since wondered where LEGO will take the classic gaming console evolution next. Will it be the Nintendo 64? Nintendo Gamecube? Playstation 1?
No! LEGO surprises all of us and takes us on a trip backwards in time to the ATARI 2600 - the popular gaming console that dominated the gaming market of through the 80's to the early 90's.
But as we strap in for a blast to the past, is this set going to meet the popularity of the 80's or crash like the gaming market of 1983?
First off, this thing just emanates nostalgia. The console is so distinguishable in its style, shaping and colour palette that we would almost mistake it for the real thing. The sleek black and orange aesthetic one thing, but the vintage style wood panel that adorns the front has a mix of brown and dark orange that really gives the set character you can't overlook.
It's a Chris McVeigh, and you can tell.
The buttons and knobs of this set, to some degree, 'work'. The on/off button and the colour/black-white knob all click into position, whereas the reset and game select knobs have more of a spring loaded play feature and bounce back.
And the joystick actually tilts and resets! Win!
These features are awesome - and hold a 1-up over the LEGO NES, which didn't have as many intricate buttons to play with by comparison.
Hidden away inside the set is a feature that nobody asked for and everyone is thankful for. This little section that hides away on the inside of the console pops up to reveal a classic 1980's styled home, complete with vintage boombox, posters on the wall, mini-Atari and even vintage wired phone on the wall.
There are so many things to love in this small little build - and I for one love the use of colour. The olive coloured carpet, nougat coloured walls and use of the brown for the house frame sends us right away to the 80's.
One thing to note here is that the Johnny Thunder poster on the wall is a double reference - Johnny Thunder was LEGO's own Indiana Jones inspired theme back in the 90s, after the time of the ATARI. The inclusion in this set is to remind people about Indiana Jones - which debuted in 1981!
Lastly, our figure in the set comes with an exclusive ATARI torso, and what I believe is a new recolour of Lloyd's hair from the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Clearly this would have to be one of the designers envisioning themselves as a kid here.
The set comes with a small simple stand to hold the classic ATARI game cartridges - the three of choice being Asteroids, Centipede and Adventure.
Each one of the cartridges come with a LEGO-fied version of the original artwork on the cover, as well as a nifty little build on the side to represent the games.
Who doesn't know Asteroids? Who doesn't LOVE Asteroids?
This game was definitely part of my childhood - although I was more commonly aware of it through Flash games and Arcade Machines...
The cartridge for the game features the underside of the spaceship in the game, very much LEGO-fied with a bit of a Classic Space twist to the ship. The little build on the side features a recoloured black plant stem to simulate the destroyed asteroid breaking apart from ship fire - and I could not be more happy with this effect. Hot damn.
The second cartridge to appear in this set is Centipede; a classic game much akin to space invaders but filled with a lot more, well, hell. I was never good at centipede - but seeing this artwork on the cartridge makes me wish I was.
The build on the side of the cartridge gives us the classic centipede build, using a fun technique of gearstick parts for the eyes. Outside of this though, the set is somewhat bland, but it's not really LEGO's fault here. They were originally just red dots!
Well, if I'm being honest, I did not know what this game was from looking at the cartridge or LEGO build, but one quick google reminded me of this game.
I didn't play Adventure growing up, but came across it as an adult with my Father-In-Law's original Atari. For those who haven't played it - I recommend you google it. This is a wild ride.
The Adventure cartridge is a fantastic LEGO-fying of the original Adventure artwork - with a classic 1990's LEGO dragon design replacing the serpent on the artwork. I personally think that the artwork conveys really well - but the build is a bit different.
The castle build is quite bland, and the serpent build is a bit basic - but once again - NOT the designer's fault. Looking at the original game, there is almost nothing to go off to pull off this effect. I appreciate LEGO sticking to their guns with a cartridge + build idea, but this was probably not the best choice for them to land on if this was in mind.
Overall, I love how well this ATARI set conveys the nostalgic and retro factor that the original console had. The character is there, the colour palette works, and the side builds and house build thrown into the mix is a nice surprise all round.
My real question is, how well will it sell? The ATARI definitely reeks of nostalgia, but I'm not sure how this will work in the market. I definitely don't think it will sell as well as the LEGO NES (due to the Mario Factor and being a console + TV), but I'm really curious to see how this will play out.
If you were thinking about this set, would I recommend you buying it?
Heck yeah - this build was really surprising at times. The hidden feature of the living room was an unexpected touch, and the cartridge builds are (mostly) pretty neat. There's a lot to build and a lot of nostalgia to unpack, but it seems pretty darn worth it if that's what you love.
That being said, probably not the easiest thing to display because of how much you get, but I would go for it regardless.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this please leave a comment below.
This article was written by Tim & Dannii.
Find them on Instagram at @legobuildingwithtimanddannii
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