Atari 2600


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Entering 1975, Atari had already had success with its arcade games and dedicated home consoles that recreated these games (such as Pong), but there was increasing costs and risks in these adaptations. The company wanted to push for a home console that could play multiple games, necessitating a microprocessor which were still costly. Breadboard development of this system, nicknamed "Stella", coincided with the release of the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, one of the first low-cost processors to hit the market; Atari worked with MOS Technology and established the use of their less-powerful MOS Technology 6507 for the platform. Further, Atari's Jay Miner led development of the Television Interface Adapter (TIA) chip which performed all the graphics and audio output to the television display necessary for the platform. These were coupled with the necessary input/output ports with a ROM cartridge reader and joystick controlllers to complete the system. Atari's system was still in development when the Fairchild Channel F was announced, leading Atari's owner Nolan Bushnell to sell Atari to Warner Communications in 1976, in exchange for a cash infusion to speed up development. Initial production for the console's November 1977 release was made at Atari's Sunnyvale, California location while future units were produced in Hong Kong.