The Atari 2600, originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System (Atari VCS) until November 1982, is a home video game console developed and produced by Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games stored on ROM cartridges (a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F in 1976). The VCS was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a game cartridge: initially Combat, and later Pac-Man.
The 1986 model has a smaller, cost-reduced form factor with an Atari 7800-like appearance. It was advertised as a budget gaming system (under US$49.99) with the ability to run a large collection of games. Released after the video game crash of 1983, and after the North American launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the 2600 was supported with new games and television commercials promoting “The fun is back!” Atari released several minor stylistic variations: the “large rainbow” (shown), “short rainbow”, and an all-black version sold only in Ireland. Later European versions include a joypad.