If there was any doubt that LEGO is leaning hard on nostalgia to empty the pockets of kids who grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, its latest video game console recreation is a brick-built Atari 2600 that includes a collection of classic carts and that all important faux wood grain finish.
First released in September of 1977, the Atari 2600’s success was a slow burn, partly due to its $280 price tag, which is roughly the equivalent of $1,320 today. The original 1977 version of the console included a bank of six toggle switches for adjusting settings and navigating game menus, but a new version of the console released in 1980 pared that down to just four switches, which is what LEGO’s recreation is based on.
Unlike the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System released back in 2020, the Atari 2600 doesn’t included a TV with an animated recreation of a classic game. It’s a standalone model designed to be displayed, but it does include a fun hidden feature: when you slide out the lid, a recreation of a ‘70s-era basement pops up, complete with a Lego minifigure wasting his life by playing those dang video games.
Lego’s Atari 2600 does include an impressive recreation of the console’s very unergonomic Atari joystick, plus three game cartridges that can actually be inserted into the console or stored in a faux wooden shelf: Adventure, Asteroids, and Centipede (why not Space Invaders, the 2600’s first big hit?), and three buildable vignettes recreating characters and scenes from each game — which is presumably our consolation prize for this set not including a buildable TV.
The 2,532-piece set, part of the LEGO Icons line, isn’t available for pre-order just yet, but will officially go on sale through LEGO’s website and its brick-and-mortar stores starting on September 1 for $369.99.