[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Atari 2600 Newspaper Ad

December 15th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Atari 2600 Advertisement in Newspaper - 1981Click to see the 2600 ad in context.

Now here’s something you don’t see every day: a vintage video game ad from a newspaper. The subject in this case is the Atari 2600, and it appears in a “Howard BRANDiscount” advertisement from 1981. It’s especially amusing to see the Atari 2600 marketed in this particular context, peddled among such diverse items as spray paint, pocket t-shirts, picture frames, and disposable diapers (click on the image above to see what I mean).

Remember my grandmother’s cedar chest I talked about in September? Well, this is from the same chest, from a set of newspapers that my grandmother saved. I scanned many things from those papers, so you’ll probably be seeing more examples of vintage newsprint ads in the future.

[ From The Oak Ridger — Wednesday, January 21st, 1981 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What do you think this ad says about the state of the video game industry in 1981?

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6 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Atari 2600 Newspaper Ad”

  1. Neslock Says:

    Brings back memories, that’s exactly how much I paid for mine ($150) by de-tassling corn for a summer. I played Combat for weeks till I could afford to buy Space Invaders.

  2. Ben Says:

    I think it shows that video games were seen simply as another commodity, rather thatn the huge industry it is today.
    And, being 1981, it’s just (technically) 2 years before the “Video Game Crash of 1983”, although the writing on the wall may have already been beginning to show even then. (It would be a few years still before I learned of computers/video games, so I can’t authoritatively comment 😉 )

  3. mark Says:

    prices sure haven’t changed much! of course $150 better than 20 years ago was the equivelant to buying a house now, but look what you got!!

  4. JayP Says:

    Around that time, grocery stores were selling carts and Big-box home improvement stores had the 2600 display, selling consoles and controllers.

  5. Matthew Faulkerson Says:

    I see you got a game and 2 controllers with the system just like the NES’s release. Nowadays companies are definitely greedier-400$ for a new system and just one controller and no game.

  6. Fernando Barbosa Says:

    Awesome post from a long time ago!!! I can’t imagine $15 in a game nowdays, lol!

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