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Japanese Atari 2800 VCS System

The Atari 2800 is the Japanese version of the Atari 2600, released in 1983. It was the first release of a 2600 designed specifically for the Japanese market, despite companies like Epoch distributing the 2600 in Japan previously.

The 2800 never captured a large market in Japan. It was released a short time after the Famicom, which was the obvious dominant console there at the time.

Codenamed “Cindy”, and designed by Atari engineer Joe Tilly, the Atari 2800 had four controller ports instead of the standard two on the Atari 2600’s. The controllers are an all-in one design using a combination of an 8-direction digital joystick and a 270-degree paddle, designed by John Amber.

The 2800’s case design departed from the standard 2600 format, using a wedge shape with non-protruding switches. Around 30 specially branded games were released for the 2800. Their boxes are in Japanese and have a silver/red color scheme similar to the packaging of Atari’s 2600 branded games of the time. The cartridges themselves had identical labels as their 2600 counterparts.

Sears actually liked the design of the Atari 2800 so much, they opted to sell a version under their Tele-Games label. It was released in the US in 1983 as the Sears Video Arcade II, and was packaged with 2 controllers and Space Invaders. The Atari 2800’s case style was also used as the basis for the Atari 7800’s case style by Barney Huang.

Auction Here (Thanks Stu!)

These are actually more rare to see on eBay than valuable, but boxed (unlike this one) they can fetch a couple hundred.

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