The classic console par excellence, although the original Atari console was not common in these parts: clones imitating the 2600jr were much more common. And is that Atari marketed up to three iterations of the console: the Atari VCS (the typical with the front imitation wood or black, with four or six levers, later renamed the Atari 2600), the Atari 2800 (only for the Japanese market, with four ports for controls, also sold in the United States as Sears Video Arcade II) and the Atari 2600jr.
As we said, the most accessible Atari in the Spanish market are the unlicensed copies of the 2600jr, with 160 games included in the console itself or in an ad-hoc cartridge. This kind of devices are cheap and could be found in bazaars until recently, without being released, for between twenty and thirty euros. If you want to get an original Atari, the price can increase significantly, depending on the age of the model (with six or four levers) and the extras that accompany it.
On the other hand, a 2600 PAL cannot be converted to NTSC directly. In fact, the modification would be so complex that it is much more sensible to get an American model and have two Atari, one NTSC and one PAL. The Japanese model, the Atari 2800, is best forgotten unless you have a well-stocked bank account.
All Atari 2600’s, whether clone or original, NTSC or PAL, have antenna output only. Several kits are sold to produce composite video and improve image quality, but it is necessary to unsolder some components and have average skill with the soldering iron. You can also make the kit yourself, the components are common and there are schemes for this on the internet. There are even comparisons of which kits and assemblies offer higher quality.
The most accessible Atari in the Spanish market are the unlicensed copies of the 2600jr, with 160 games included in the console itself or in an ad-hoc cartridge
Atari 2600 games are very common, and their prices do not usually reach exorbitant amounts, except for the rarities or titles that become punctually fashionable like the one based on the ET movie. An abnormal case is the games unearthed from the Alamogordo dump, which have been auctioned on the Internet in lots authenticated by the local council, for prices of around one thousand dollars.
In any case, you can buy flash cartridges with an SD or microSD card on which to record the entire 2600 ROMset for use from the original console. From this type of devices is still marketed the Harmony, whose price is around eighty dollars. Oh, and there are games that use optical guns, so let’s not forget that, to use them, the TV has to be a tube and work at 50Hz/60Hz.
A note: most of the contemporary consoles of the 2600 shared the limitation of the output by antenna. However, already in the early eighties, the possibility of connecting the console to the television by other means was beginning to be incorporated; especially in France, where the idea of the Europlug/peritel was born.
Many consoles marketed in France, such as CBS’s Colecovision, Mattel’s Intellivision, Philips/Magnabox’s Videopac or Atari’s 7800, include RGB output, in addition to the antenna output. We insist, this advance is only observable in French consoles (which for that reason can be much more expensive than those sold in other countries; the optimal search criteria to find them is to include the word péritel, for example “colecovision+péritel” or “intellivision+péritel”), but it never reached the Atari 2600: there is no French model of this console with RGB output. In fact, the French 2600 has no NTSC or PAL output, but a video mode typical of the other side of the Pyrenees and Eastern Europe, the SECAM.