Atari VCS: Happy Anniversary!

Atari_VCS_TitleImagine it is September 11, 1977. If you were living in North America, you may have been lucky enough to receive the console that would transform the video games market forever – the Atari VCS (Video Computer System, later rebadged as the Atari 2600).

On this day (September 11) all those years ago, Atari made history by releasing their Atari VCS console, the first commercially successful home video gaming system. The video games market exploded with the VCS, and then imploded in the early 80s, but we won’t speak of the implosion here. Today is a day we celebrate the Atari VCS, that beautiful wood-veneer machine that brought many a joy at home, with families huddling around their TV in the lounge room to play Space Invaders and Pitfall.

I remember my first memory of the Atari VCS as if it were yesterday. My dad and I were walking along the local shopping strip when I stopped at the electronic retailer’s window TV display to be mesmirised by a little triangle shooting dots at flying rocks. The game was of course Asteroids, and I fell in love with the Atari VCS right then and there. I begged my dad to buy the console, but at $300AUD, the answer was always going to be no. Luckily for me, I had cousins that got the Atari VCS, so I liked visiting them even more than I used to. Ah, to be young again and enjoy the wonders of simple games. What were your first memories of the Atari VCS? – engage with us on Twitter or Facebook!

Well, with 30 million units sold worldwide and a long lifespan (games were being released for the VCS/2600 till 1992!), the Atari VCS built the foundation that latter consoles would stand on and make history for themselves. Happy anniversary, Atari VCS/2600!


image sources: gamester81 and blacknerdproblems


Operation: Atari Lynx LCD Mod

Should we allow our retro gaming gear to age gracefully, or do we do what everyone does in Hollywood, go under the surgeon’s scalpel in the hope of looking better? In this instance, having an Atari Lynx II upgraded with McWill’s LCD modification (with VGA out) was an easy choice. This surgical transplant was well worth sacrificing one Atari Lynx II out of the many sitting there to be used at ComLynx parties. The only difference being, I would have the best looking screen at the next meet *wink*

In its original form, the Lynx II’s screen isn’t the best, you are constantly angle it or mucking around with the contrast to get that perfect view. With the new LCD, that is all gone! No more mucking around with the contrast knob, and you certainly do not have to angle the Lynx II to get a better vantage point. The new screen is super sharp, able to be viewed clearly at 180 degrees! Not only that, you can also play your Lynx II on the big screen via the VGA out interface! Cor blimey!

Just like any delicate surgical procedure, I left this modification to the expertise of Dr Curlytek. With precision, Dr Curlytek was able to salvage the old screen (to be used as a spare part if need be!) and install the new one without a hitch. The mod isn’t as straight forward as the instructions lead you to believe, so it is best left for those that have steady hands and exquisite soldering skills. So was it all worth it? A photo comparison can’t do the new screen any justice – you have to see it in real life to get an appreciation of its sharpness and vividness! Imagine if Atari had installed these screens originally? Perhaps they would have sold more Lynxes!

A huge thank you to Serblander for sourcing the LCD kit and to the surgeon himself, Stacey “Dr Curlytek” Borg for his exceptional skill in transplanting the new screen into the Atari Lynx II.

The surgeon prepares!

Open that sucker!

The Lynx II opened up

Out with the old (screen)!

The new screen awaits its new host

The Lynx II patiently waits for its new internal organ

Read the instructions twice and perform surgery once – great plan!

The delicate work continues

Additional body part for the Lynx II

The Atari Lynx II in post-operation recovery

The screen test begins! Wow, looking super sharp!

Testing the VGA output! Looking good.

Let the Lynx II screen battle begin!

And the winner is……. Ah, it’s an easy choice

Interactive Family Tree Of Retro Controllers


John Kowalski (Sock Master) has created an awesome interactive retro controller family tree which takes us from Atari 2600 and Intellivision to PS3 and Wii controllers. Click on the pictures in the tree and you will find out key information about each controller – for example, the Atari 2600 controller was first released in 1977 and was sold until about 1991! While the WaveBird is notable for being the first wireless first-party controller.

As Sock Master describes:

‘I’ve put together a chart, or controller family-tree, that tries to connect all the current console controllers with their predecessors… a lot of the information presented here is my opinion. I try to keep things accurate, using facts that I know, but also making some of my own conclusions where no hard evidence is available… 

There are still a number of gaps in the family tree, as a lot of controllers are still missing from the chart. Eventually, I will try to fill in some of the holes. Current things that are missing are controllers I couldn’t get my hands on, controllers from less popular consoles, and most of the 8-bit era.’

Sock Master’s Interactive Retro Controller Family Tree
controller family tree

Source: Sock Master via Geekologie


msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Editor and Researcher at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter



Nolan Bushnell: Welcome to Your World, Your Way

Nolan_Bushnell_at_FW_TITLELast night we had the unexpected pleasure of spotting Nolan Bushnell on the telly. No, we weren’t watching ‘Atari: Game Over‘, it was a new ad campaign for ANZ Bank – ‘Welcome to Your World, Your Way’.

The campaign – which aims to inspire people to shape their own world, and their own future – features a raft of ‘Worldshapers’ or ‘inspiring individuals with drive, commitment and imagination in transforming the world around them’.

Nolan Bushnell is undeniably a Worldshaper! As ANZ describe:

‘Back in 1972, few could have imagined a game console in the home. But Nolan did, and the world took note… The world has changed a lot since 1972. And Nolan has played a big part in changing it.’

The Atari co-founder is filmed playing old school arcade machines at Forgotten Worlds, an awesome barcade in Collingwood, Victoria. Ah, if only we knew Nolan was there, we would have challenged him to a game of Asteroids!

Source: ANZ Australia on YouTube

Atari Lynx Heaven at Retro Tuesday

Lynx_0_TitleOn a cold and miserable night in Melbourne earlier this week, eight hardened retro gamers converged on Wadham House for the monthly Retro Tuesday meet.

Serblander, of Weird and Retro fame, convinced the organisers to make the meet all about Atari‘s little feline, the Lynx. With all members contributing their Lynx wares, there was ComLynx action aplenty. Checkered Flag provided some friendly rivalry (Ed: and some very colourful language!), while Dr C. stamped his dominance, yet again, on the 8-Player Slime World.

The night wasn’t just for great gaming fun (which it was!), the display that Weird and Retro had put together for the Lynx was a great homage to the Atari handheld! Check out the pics and drool over that store stand and all those different Lynx boxes!

As usual, it was difficult to leave my Lynx friends, but good things must always come to an end. After leaving the Retro Tuesday meet, I was informed that a new California Games BMX bandit was crowned – well done & congrats to Serby!

Thank you to: Aleks, Stacey, Jerry, Pedro, Callum, Paul and Mal for an awesome night of Lynx action! Can’t wait to do it again!

The Great Wall Of Lynx

The one and only, Atari Lynx

Badges of honour

The Games!

The Lynxes!

Travel in style, keep your Lynx in a pouch

Fan magz – Lynx User!

Serby preparing the awesome Lynx stand!

Jerry is the BMX bandit on the big screen!

Dr. C cautiously approaches the ledge! Double backflip coming up! 

ComLynx gaming = heaps of fun!

Yours truly giving the thumbs up! Too bad my car was off the road!

More Checkered Flag action coming up!

8P Slime World! Let the smack talk begin!

LCD comparison: Original vs McWill’s LCD modded (with VGA) Lynx II

Easter Retro Gaming Hunt At The Amazing Mill Markets

While kids everywhere were busying themselves on their Easter egg hunt, Ms. ausretrogamer and I were busy going on a different kind of Easter egg hunt. On our way to Queenscliff, we decided to pop in at the amazing Mill Markets in Geelong to see what was on offer. Upon entering the market, we knew we had hit the jackpot – there were all kinds of antiques, memorabilia and collectables to discover, from books and vinyl records, to toys and classic video games. We’ll let the photos below show the breadth of cool stuff that was on offer at the market.

What started as a quick visit turned into a three-and-a-half hour hunt – the Mill Markets is the kind of place you need to take your time to look in each stall and search for that little gem that others may have passed in their haste. Our nostalgic senses were in overdrive as we found items of interest in almost every stall!

There were retro games and systems aplenty, with most items being at reasonable prices. We were pleasantly surprised to discover retro gaming gear in a number of stalls on the ground floor and the mezzanine – obviously, our go slow and meticulous hunting plan paid off. The temptation to walk out with a boot full of stuff was hard to resist! I did manage to buy a few items, with the Milton Bradley Berzerk board game being my favourite of the lot.

If you happen to like going to vintage markets, even for a look, then Ms. ausretrogamer and I highly recommend The Mill Markets. There are three Mill Markets in Victoria – in Daylesford, Ballarat and Geelong (Newcomb). Best part is, they are all open 7 days a week from 10am till 6pm. What are you waiting for, go hunting!




















































The Jaguar Bares Its Claws

Jaguar_titleThe Sega 32-bit fan-people (Ed: that’s very politically correct of you!) may have their SaturnDay, but the diehard Atari fans also have their Jaguars purring on SatAtariDay!

There is great pleasure in sharing the intoxication of nostalgia with like-minded gamers. Weird and Retro’s Aleks ‘Serblander’ Svetislav definitely captured the nostalgia to provide the Atari Jaguar hit I was seeking.

With a huge Jaguar banner greeting me upon arrival, I knew I was in for a treat. Like a kid in a candy store, it was difficult to focus on any one thing that Serblander had in his awesome Jaguar collection.

My attention was quickly grabbed by the mouth-watering Jaguar gaming bling on show – from the never released Tiny Toon Adventures, to the ever-rare BattleSphere Gold! Oh yeah, let’s not forget the hardware bling, from the BJL’ed Jag, Pro-Controller and M.A.S. Super Pro-Stick, to the the beautiful CatBox connected to the back of the Jag with its eerie red eyes glowing when the big cat was purring.

With the Atari’s big cat out to play, it was time to get down to business and do the math – play some games! SatAtariDay truly was purr-fect!

Let the SatAtariDay shenanigans begin!
The Jag Bling!

Let’s get cracking then!

The Jaguar loot in box 1 (of many many boxes!)!

The ‘better’ Jaguar controller. And it’s Pro!

Ello ello ello, what do we have here then, aye?

More Jaguar loot! Woohoo!

Shhh, this is top secret stuff!

Are you an extremist?

Setting up just a few Jaguars!

Oh yes, games!

Oh yes, more games! Virtua Fighter, I mean Fight For Life anyone?

Forget Super Hang-On, go Super Burnout!

The sublime Impulse X – on cart and CD
Serblander smashing it on Impulse X! A rotary controller is the only way to go!

Value for money – Impulse X (cart) comes with two additional games!

Sheer Madness!

*wipes drool* BattleSphere GOLD baby!

Awesome rare platform action on Tiny Toon Adventures!

Let’s kick some ass!

Wanna make your own Jaguar game?

Woot, the BJL’ed Jag – more dev nirvana

This is the only way to play Raiden

Rayman was meant to be on the Jag

Preserving Atari’s big cat