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Review: LEGO Atari 2600By LillySwifty At 24.08.2022 09:41

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Some will have fond memories of the 1980s, and of getting their hands on the Atari 2600 console. A console design that sat comfortably in its time-period with a snazzy wooden front panel. For others, the Atari 2600 may have been passed down to them from a parent or other family member. Others again may have only read about it, secretly wishing to try it out for themselves, or being lucky enough to play at a friend's house. Regardless, the Atari 2600 made an impression at the time, and most gamers have heard of or even acquired this piece of gaming nostalgia. Also known as Atari Video Computer System (VCS), it was one of the earlier gaming consoles allowing players to play games stored on ROM cartridges. Now, in 2022, LEGO has come in and designed a set allowing to build the LEGO Atari 2600 for old time's sake. What will it be like?

The LEGO Atari 2600 set needs a big box to fit all of the 2532 individual pieces. Seeing the slick, black design of the box causes excitement to ensue immediately. Clearly targeted at an older generation rather than children, the build promises to be challenging and satisfying.

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Upon opening, builders are greeted by more than 16 bags of pieces. Building this will take a few hours, if not days. Taking a look at the manual first, it is immediately clear that designers knew what they were doing. The manual itself is designed in a way that evokes the look of gaming manuals of the time and contains some amazing facts about Atari and the different types of consoles and games Atari released, before getting to the instructions.

Slowly easing the builder in, the first part to build is one of the game cartridges, of which this set contains 3 in total: Adventure, Asteroids and Centipede. Unfortunately, there are stickers that must be added by the builder - in this case this can be quite stressful, as nobody wants a wonky sticker on their game cartridge! The cartridges are insanely detailed for what they are, even including the connector slot with green inside to mimic the chip board. It gets better. Each game comes with its own little diorama, a wonderfully creative little build, capturing the core of each title on its own little pedestal. These little pieces of art really add to the set and making display the whole thing at the end even better!

After building a cartridge, the question of where to store it (or in this case, display it) may pop up. LEGO has got this covered as well, proving yet again that the designers for this set really thought through every single aspect. This set comes with a little shelf that perfectly fits three game cartridges. It has a nice dark wooden look to it and stores the games so that the text on the sides can be read.
As expected, building the Atari itself is challenging, but in a good way. The instructions are great, circling the new pieces added in red as to show where they go on the build. This makes things much easier. The console is built in several steps, and the parts are then fitted together at the end. As expected, pieces fit together easily and feel sturdy, but that is what LEGO is known for.

The Atari, once built, looks amazing. It is difficult to describe how realistic it looks. The front panel has four working switches for power, TV type, game select and game reset, as well as the game cartridge slot which can hold any of the 3 cartridges included in this set. Even the back panel is extremely detailed, with channel selector, power slot, slots for the left and right controllers to be plugged into and left and right difficulty switches.

By default, the console simply looks exactly like the Atari 2600, however even here the designers have added a bonus feature. By pulling out the top layer, a hidden pop-up scene is revealed that brings back feelings of the 1980s: A living room with '80s décor and a LEGO figure playing his Atari 2600. It makes this set extra special.

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The controller, which is built last, can be plugged into the controller slot, making it feel that much more realistic. This set comes with one controller only. The moving joystick feels surprisingly realistic, but the red button is only for display and has no real button-clicking ability. It would be interesting to see if LEGO ever decides to release small add-on sets with other game cartridges and an extra controller - it is definitely worth an idea!
 
The LEGO Atari 2600 set is a must-have for anyone in love with LEGO and the Atari console. Beautifully designed, this set offers so much more than the realistic 1:1 representation of the iconic console. This set is full of loving details and hidden gems. It is a wonderful piece to collect and display.

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