It’s a marketing push that started in 2020. That’s when LEGO released LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System, which came with a replica of the Super Mario Bros. (1985) and re-creation of an old television set. When I turned the crank, the TV offered a rotating, buildable 8-bit level, complete with Mario jumping. In 2021, LEGO released a file huge question mark block. When you opened it, you were treated to three mini boards of Super Mario 64 (1996). By designing and promoting these two sets from Nintendo, LEGO targeted an audience that was in their late twenties to late thirties.
By comparison, the audience who played Atari was in their forties and fifties. LEGO’s illumination of this new set and its anticipation of its profitability show just how much the demographic has transformed in just two years. Aside from the kid or teen who is specifically precocious in vintage games, the LEGO Atari 2600 is a collection for adults, through and through.
LEGO Atari 2600 is a retro ride, recreating the architecture and proportions of the original console. There is little use for LEGO Technic; The console body is largely made of bricks. The designers created an angled exterior by building two separate walls and connecting them together in a series of interlocking hinges. The console’s distinctive wood finish is accomplished by alternating tan bricks with shards of dark brown. The black vents lining the top of the console are depicted with smooth tiles, laid end-to-end. The color and game selection keys are equipped with rubber bands, which provide feedback when pressed. The end effect is quite convincing. Stand at a slight distance, and you can easily confuse the console with the original article.
The joystick is a bit of an innovation, not only for its look but also for its feel. The base of the wand is stocked with rubber on four sides, which gives some resistance and pressure when rotating the wand, and returns the wand to its neutral position once you let it go. It’s an excellent fax for the real thing.
The console comes with three game cartridges (Adventure, Centipede and Asteroids), a shelf to hold them and a miniature board for each individual game. All cartridges can be inserted into the console. The color visuals in each panel are based on the cover art of each title; It’s a reminder of how simple the graphics were in 1982, and how far apart the concept of the game was from its technical reality.
There is also a small surprise on one of the panels. Atari game conspiracy He is widely credited with owning one of the first Easter eggs for games: a secret room where designer Warren Robinet took credit for designing the game. On the back of adventure The painting is a small egg on an easel, in appreciation of this important milestone.
But the piece of resistance is the secret compartment in the console itself. Pull the top back, and a hologram of the 80s living room appears. Move it forward – back into place – and the diorama will retract again. After installing the sliding top, you install a separate mechanism that “grabs” and completely prevents the top from sliding. It’s a great party trick for house guests who see the replica and assume there’s nothing more to the console than meets the eye.
As for the dioramas themselves, they are filled with stylized images of ’80s pop culture. There is an adventure series poster, the hero of which is very similar to Indiana Jones. There is another poster promoting a new wave of rock music. There are small printed accessory pieces depicting a boombox and VHS tapes. And in the middle of the living room is a mini TV and Atari, with a mini LEGO game to play. Shooting something with hundreds of bricks is one thing, allowing the LEGO designer to capture the subtleties and nuances. It’s another thing to visualize something in this abstract way, and still achieve the same end result.
It’s a fitting reflection of what the Atari 2600 has accomplished. Due to technical limitations, its developers have created the impression of a space battle, monster invasion, or labyrinth of booby traps, with little more than lines, dots, whistles and a single joystick. And then, trust our imaginations to carry us the rest of the way. It’s easy to look at it now – in the age of 4K graphics and 14-button consoles – and wonder how something like this could get people’s attention. But everything has to start somewhere. This collection is a beautiful tribute to this humble origin.
The LEGO Atari 2600, Set #10306, retails for $239.99. It consists of 2,532 pieces and was designed by LEGO Designer Chris McVeigh. that it Available now.