There have been several versions of the console that started it all. Looking back at the technology now of course seems minor. But at the time it was state of the art. In 1980 even though the price was almost cut in half, ram was expensive. 16k chips were like 28 dollars each. proms were quite a bit less but 4x8k chips were 20 bucks. The first bank switched 8k carts were still a couple years off. And the 16k ROM's like Solaris or David's midnight magic were four years in the future. The hardware was limited in it's resolution based on TV scan lines. And the number of simultaneous objects was even more limited. Programmers had to be creative. Good games had to be a mix of perfect use of the best resolution and the tightest code possible. Some of these programmers were geniuses. The use of scan line interruption to switch modes several times on the screen. To be able to execute code while the scan line was turned off while making it's way to the other side of the screen. And all the major computational stuff being done in the time the scan was in the blank area at the bottom and making it's way back to the top. I wonder when the last time any programmer used vertical blank time..
If I'm not mistaken there are more versions of the Atari 2600 VCS than any other cartridge based video game system. Not counting the multiple versions of the same unit you still have the following.
I have all but two of these. Can you guess which two?
People have played their Atari today.