Thoughts or opinions?
Add in that all the new ways to play Atari games like the Flashbacks, and the rise of HDTVs.
The last few years have seen annual editions of the At Games Atari Flashbacks, in addition to the older line of Jakks Pacific Atari Joystick and Paddle plug and plays. All of these units have at least a/v output, which is better output than the original RF. These lines have allowed millions to inexpensively buy back part of their childhood.
Add to that other ways to play Atari or Atari'ish games such as PC emulation, flash games, mobile games, ouya/game sticks emulation, on a crisp monitor screen or HDMI output. Add in that older hardware continues to degrade. Add in the rise in the last decade of HDTV has does not go well with those 2nd generation consoles native low res RF output.
The NES is in a stronger position, but its peak will pass too.
He also mentioned that a surprising amount of his business is previous-gen Nintendo stuff that GameStop doesn't carry anymore, mainly GameCube and DS.
If this trend persists, I figure it's a combination of what others have said: aging demographics, taste in gaming, etc. And scotland17's point about A/V is a very important one -- unlike later consoles, an unmodded Atari 2600 has only RF out, and doesn't get along well with most HDTVs. Even with a composite or S-VHS mod, the signal doesn't always agree with newer TVs.
The rare breed - the folks that collect CIB titles and shell out big coin for games like Halloween or Chase the Chuck Wagon....bless them. I respect and understand that type of commitment when it comes to collecting but count me out.
The new homebrews do keep the 2600 very interesting. Note to self: quit procrastinating and buy Stay Frosty 2.
I was excited to play old Atari games, to bring me back to my childhood and quite frankly I was disappointed. Those games were best left in my childhood. Nice to revisit once in a while I guess, but that's about it.
I was excited to play old Atari games, to bring me back to my childhood and quite frankly I was disappointed. Those games were best left in my childhood. Nice to revisit once in a while I guess, but that's about it.[/QUOTE]
I think the main strength of the 2600 lay in its paddle controllers. Breakout on the 2600, despite its age, remains the definitive version of that experience due to the smoothness and exactness of the controls. Centipede is really good for this reason too.
The paddle controllers are a real strength of the 2600. Another one is multiplayer; the system can be a hit with groups, since the games are short, easy to pick up, and high on action. Put the two together and you've got 4P simultaneous multiplayer, a console rarity until much later. My family regularly brings out the VCS when we all get together, and Medieval Mayhem's near the top of the list (along with Circus Atari and a few others).
That said, many of the paddle games demand superb reflexes, and the lag on many HDTVs makes those a lot less fun. Kaboom rapidly becomes unplayable on anything but a CRT, because there's just too much lag to react in a timely manner. Most NES games aren't quite so exacting, or allow for more ways to anticipate rather than having to react directly with pure "twitch" reflexes.
OTOH Mike Tyson's Punch-Out is a famous example of a game that becomes infinitely more difficult with just a small amount of lag. Everyone always laments their aging reflexes on that game -- "I used to be so much better at this" -- but anyone would feel clumsy playing Punch-Out on a modern TV with 100ms lag!
There are some nice hidden gems in the VCS library, or at least diamonds in the rough. The Avalon Hill games are rare but tend to be interesting. Death Trap is a nice one the Critic hasn't reviewed yet.