Before there was Nintendo, Sega, Sony, or Microsoft, arcade game and console-maker Atari reigned supreme. On Tuesday, Lego announced a special collab with the gaming pioneer to commemorate its 50th anniversary and provide a new spin on an old classic. The limited-edition Atari 2600 console set, which will be released August 1 with a price tag of $240, may just seem like a reissue of the company’s legendary silhouette and popular games. But, as with the Nintendo entertainment system set, scratch the surface and fans of the both brands will find a product that evokes the excitement of the original while adding a few details that pay homage to its past.
Longtime gaming followers understand the significance of Atari: While not the first, it was the first large company to establish the video game console market, which brought the arcade into family rooms and basements across the U.S. and around the world. Games like Pong, Centipede, and Pitfall!, which the company debuted, have since ascended to pop-culture shorthand. While the company ultimately succumbed to the shifting winds of corporate mergers and acquisitions, it remains a cult favorite among many, including Lego model designer Chris McVeigh.
McVeigh, who cut his teeth with DIY Lego kits he designed on his own before being brought in-house in 2019, envisioned the re-released console as an homage to the original. “We hope that building this classic console takes you back to those halcyon days when a handful of pixels meant a world of adventure,” he said.
Asteroids, Adventure, and Centipede return, albeit in a Lego brick format. The cartridge-based games, which fit neatly into the body, can also be individually built into scenes and characters. Additionally, the console’s slide-open front reveals a pop-up scene from an Eighties gaming room that’s sure to bring back memories. Modeled off the 1980 four-switch version, the package includes a joystick that moves and feels like the original.
While your original Atari 2600 may have long since been relegated to the garage sale of your youth, the Atari x Lego reissue is sure to bring back a few memories.