Atari 2600 (a2600)
Atari VCS, later called the Atari 2600, came Christmas 1977 and became the dominant game console of the late 1970s — early 1980s. It was the first successful console with games cartridges. In the 1980s in the United States, the word "Atari" was synonymous with "Atari 2600". The model is usually supplied with two joysticks or two paddle controllers and one game — first it was Combat, and then Pac-Man.
In 1975, Atari acquired a research company Cyan Engineering to develop game systems of new generation. For some time he conducted the work on creation of the prototype known as "Stella" (the name of the bike one of the engineers). In contrast to the systems of previous generations, contains several games programmed in the form of a set of logic elements, - Stella was a real CPU, which used a MOS Technology 6502 in a cost-reduced version, known as the 6507. He was associated with the chip memory and I / o MOS Technology 6532 as well as video and sound chip, TIA (Television Interface Adaptor) own design. In addition to these three chips, the first version contained one — chip standard CMOS buffer. Thus, the number of chips was very small and the construction cost was relatively low. In later versions of the console chip buffer was removed. First, the use of cartridge not expected, but seeing the likeness of the cartridge on another system, engineers realized that they can put games on cartridge, only adding to it the socket and packing.
In August 1976 Fairchild Semiconductor released their Video Entertainment System based on a microprocessor. Stella is not yet ready for production, but it becomes apparent that she needs to be released before will be a series of products in the style of "me too" — as happened after the release of PONG. Atari simply did not have enough money to quickly complete the development of the system, as sales of PONG have come to naught. In the end, Nolan Bushnell goes to Warner Communications and sells them for $ 28 million with the promise that Stella would be released as quickly as possible.
A key contribution to the success of the console was the hiring of Jay miner (Jay Miner), a developer of chips that managed to simplify the circuitry in such a way that TIA was placed in a single chip. After that, the system has been tested and was ready for release. At the time of release in 1977, the development costs of the console was about $ 100 million.