The Atari Video Computer System CX2600 was the most successful classic video game console. This article by Keith Ainsworth from RETROGAMER fanzine tells you how it all began.

Everyone had a VCS. Most people had an old Tennis/Pong game around, some had an Intellivision but in Britain if you liked video games the VCS was your man.

It is now famous for it's huge size, corrugated plastic top and woodgrain frontpiece (its not hi-tech, its part of the furniture). There are six silver switches across the top including one for black and white televisions which changed the colour palette to make things show up better if you used such a set.

There were two separate difficulty switches for player one and player two. This was a hangover from the Pong days and in games like Breakout you could make one bat smaller than the other to act as a handicap. It was bundled with two joysticks which had this unusual ribbed rubber cover to them.

They also had the word TOP printed on the upper front just in case you were completely thick. Also in the pack was one pair of paddle controllers (two controllers attached to the same plug), an AC adapter, a TV switch and the CX2601 Combat game cartridge. Combat was great. Today's consoles are just again discovering the joys of two player games. Combat was two player ONLY.

You had to play with a friend, family member, anyone you could drag in off the street.

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