People who are fans of retro gaming will probably want to add an Atari 2600 to their collection. As they browse the endless numbers of them for sale online, they are probably wondering, how much did they cost “back in the day.” Unsurprisingly, the answer changes by year. Just like all technology, the Atari 2600 got cheaper over time. In 1981 the Atari cost about $130. Jump ahead a few years and things change dramatically. So how much did the Atari 2600 cost in 1984?
Atari 2600 Ad from a 1984 Sears Circular
Three years later and the Atari was down to $44.99. Which is over $100 in today’s dollars accounting for inflation. This seems about right when you consider the rapid change in technology and the dreaded, Video Game Crash of 1983. At this point Atari saturation was very high. So I have my doubts that Sears, where this ad is from, would move many of these beautiful “Vader” style models.
When we ask what an Atari 2600 cost in 1984, we also gotta wonder, was it even worth that price? Well for those who saw the NES as the next big thing, probably not. But many of us were still hardcore Atari 2600 fans.
Personally, I was still a big Atari fan in 1984. It would be sometime before I would finally make my move to the NES. When this ad was printed, I was still using my family’s old Woodgrain Atari and would do so until late 1986. When it finally died, I would get an Atari 2600 Jr.
At some point, one of these Vaders made it into my collection, and it is the system I still use most of the time for my gaming.