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Light Sixer vs Four Switcher vs 2600 jr.


Slakteren
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I'm not in the market to replace my Four Switcher but I've just been wondering what model of atari 2600 is preferred. I'm leaving The heavy sixer out because of both the price and the fact that the heavy sixer is a debate all it's own. My basic concerns would be over build quality, video quality, any hardware issues, and possibly price. Also to be considered is modding capability, and if it can be refurbished easily.

 

As for me personally I've only ever played on a four switch if I recall correctly. So that'll be my pick I suppose.

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I prefer four switchers, woodies in particular.

 

One, it's what I had back in the day. Cousins had a light six, and it was the "odd ball" to me.

 

But for more practical reasons, now that I have a light six, it has a deeper/more recessed cartridge slot, which can make inserting and removing some cartridges difficult. It's can be a tight fit, and the cart housing can be scraped. The four toggle doesn't have that issue.

 

So although my light six puts out a pristine picture, I go to a four toggle instead for ease of use and as to not damage the carts in any way.

 

The junior is nice. And if it works, it works and it's great. But I don't believe it's as reliable or durable.

Edited by Brian R.
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I have two light sixers, and wasn't aware the four switch model has a more accessible cart port. I don't like how mine scrapes some of the newer carts. I really didn't think there was a good reason to own a four switcher, but there's one. I have a Jr that works great and is used more often. In a side by side comparison, I can't tell the difference in video quality. The Jr gets the most use, as it's small and easily accessed. My Harmony cart is always in there, ready to go.

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Light sixer for me ! It was the one I had back then, and it was the model how they wanted it to be at the start. Heavies were even more genuine, but they never been PAL. You could see a light 6 as the "bug" free version of the heavy :)

About the 4 switches, it always appeared absurd to me to put 2 switches out of 6 on the back of the console, how convenient !

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I have all the model variations. A Heavy Sixer, Light Sixer, 4 Switch Woody, Vader, and Junior. A Light Sixer model is an excellent choice as it has better video quality. The prices for a bare unit are around $35 for them. I like the 6 chrome switches up front and it stands out for all of the wood grain units. Also they are sturdy and durable.

 

Four Switch Woody systems on the other hand are more common to find and can cost up to and no more than $20 for a bare unit. The picture quality is not as good as a Light Sixer but if you have good basic soldering skills you can tinker with it to have the same ouput as a 6 switch unit. Like mentioned, the plus is the more shallower and wider cart slots to prevent and label damage if your cart conditions matter to you.

 

The Junior models are good to have if you want something compact and not taking up too much space. They are not my favorite appearance wise and also they look cheaply made. Not a fan of the plastic switches.

 

It depends on what you like. Picture quality and appearance get a Light Six, affordability get a 4 switch woody, and for cost and space get a junior. I prefer a Light Sixer.

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My preference is basically what I'm in the mood for at the time. It is hard to use the entire design of a revision as a preference because even within revisions there are revisions. There are different boards within them, things like the end of the line Heavy Sixers basically being the same as Light Sixers with a nicer looking rounded bottom or Four Switchers with Light Sixer bottoms with black tape covering the back, made in a variety of locations, some reconditioned at Atari Service Centers to add in aluminum strips for static electricity issues of the switches and other fixes, etc. In other words, I may prefer one Six Switcher over another, one Four Switcher over another, one Junior over another, etc. because they aren't as identical as they appear. So, my preference generally speaking about a revision is basically which looks better to me. If I'm in the mood for a Four Switcher then I prefer a Vader over a Woodie because if I were in the mood for the wood grain appearance then I might as well have six switches and if I'm going to have six switches then I might as well have a Heavy Sixer because it looks better than a Light. Then with Juniors it is simply that a long rainbow version looks better than a short rainbow version. In other words, a Vader is the best looking Four Switcher, a Heavy Sixer is the best looking Woodie, and a long rainbow version is the best looking Junior.

 

For a recommendation type of preference I'm starting to lean towards Juniors instead of having either a "You must worship the wood grain!" or "My dad bought a Vader so you must too!" attitude for a few reasons. They are younger so less likely to have as many owners, less likely to have as many hours played, less likely to have been opened up and messed around with, etc. In other words, they are more likely to be less used and more factory stock inside. Something that adds to this is it isn't as simple as unscrewing the screws to open it up and probably finding that someone else did first while tearing the statics strips that you would have to repair because a Junior is slightly more involved because you have some tabs to undo as well as screws and there are no static strips to tear anyway. There isn't any buying a used one with missing foam dust covers for the switches either because it doesn't have those. There is no having to take apart four to six metal switches to internally clean and lubricate with a refurbishing paddle controllers like process for each because it doesn't have those kind of switches. It has a power LED to not have any mystery about if you are getting power while trouble shooting. The RF cable is removable without opening it up. So, it is easier to change if torn and there are more options for the cable. For an example, you could get an RCA to coax adapter then get a well shielded coaxial cable. It takes up less room. It doesn't have a deep cartridge port. If someone isn't into collecting a variety of 2600's but wants only one but is interested in also getting a 7800 and/or 5200 then all their Atari's will match and look good together. Putting a Harmony Cart into a tiny Junior is a better Atari Flashback than an Atari Flashback. It just overall seems like it would be easier to start out with a Junior with less trouble shooting issues and in younger less used condition. I mean, there are Juniors around 14 years younger than the Heavy Sixer. That is a lot less wear and tear from use. Most are younger than the NES. The Heavy Sixer already had pubes when many Juniors were born.

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Six-switches are probably my favorite, but I like them all. Atari Corp. cartridges, with their fatter cases, don't seem to have been designed with old 6-switch consoles in mind, as they're often very tight-fitting.

I've noticed I have to tendency to only use Atari-branded cartridges that "match" the console. Text label carts on 6-switchers, picture label carts on 4-switchers (ditto with Sears; text on 6ers, pics on 4s and Video Arcade II), red labels and Atari Corp. reissues on juniors...I might have a problem. :|

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Light sixer for me ! It was the one I had back then, and it was the model how they wanted it to be at the start. Heavies were even more genuine, but they never been PAL. You could see a light 6 as the "bug" free version of the heavy :)

About the 4 switches, it always appeared absurd to me to put 2 switches out of 6 on the back of the console, how convenient !

 

By putting the 2 switches on the back, they were able to make the pcb smaller, which saves them money, and the big metal switches cost more money then the small switches on the back.

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My favorite is my Atari 2600 AP "vader" Made in Ireland - the picture quality is fine - better than all other 2600 A's i owned in the past.

 

 

A Light Sixer model is an excellent choice as it has better video quality. The picture quality is not as good as a Light Sixer but if you have good basic soldering skills you can tinker with it to have the same ouput as a 6 switch unit. It depends on what you like. Picture quality and appearance get a Light Six, affordability get a 4 switch woody, and for cost and space get a junior. I prefer a Light Sixer.

 

So although my light six puts out a pristine picture, I go to a four toggle instead for ease of use and as to not damage the carts in any way.

 

I'm not in the market to replace my Four Switcher but I've just been wondering what model of atari 2600 is preferred. I'm leaving The heavy sixer out because of both the price and the fact that the heavy sixer is a debate all it's own. My basic concerns would be over build quality, video quality, any hardware issues, and possibly price. Also to be considered is modding capability, and if it can be refurbished easily.

I personally would make the decision based on other factors than video quality since RF output is only option for all Atari 2600 models and while some are slightly better than others, they are all not very good. If you want better quality output, consider a composite, s video, RGB, or component (yes that exists!) modification. They all work on all non junior models and improve the picture by a lot. For the full experience I believe improved video output is a must, and I went for an RGB mod on my 4 switch woodgrain. It looks absolutely stunning and even has included s video and composite outputs in case I need them in the future. The cartridge slot works fine in my experience, and I have never really compared it to a 6 switch model. So the 4 switch is perfect for me :).

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By putting the 2 switches on the back, they were able to make the pcb smaller, which saves them money, and the big metal switches cost more money then the small switches on the back.

 

I guessed it was for an economic reason, but as a customer, I really don't care about why ! Switches on the back are annoying, plus that big case with 4 switches centered look very odd to me.

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I have a 4-switch woodgrain and it's nice. I also did the resistor mod to brighten the colors to look like a six switch. As for woodgrain versus black, it's all aesthetics and little more. So many modern consoles are black, so I vote the woodgrain because it stands out and it looks 70s retro. Having never owned one, the Juniors just look cheap.

 

As for the 4 versus 6 debate, I think the light sixers are more iconic look and feel though, but it's not worth it to swap out if you already have a 4-switch. I'd rather get a new system I don't already own than add duplicates of consoles to my collection. Not sure why people wanna spend extra dough on the heavy model either. All that extra plastic and metal seems wasteful. Just my two cents.

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Having never owned one, the Juniors just look cheap.

They were. They brought the fun back for the cheap price of only $50. :-D Seriously though, having owned a few along with many of most of the versions they seem as well built as all the others. Better in some ways and worse in others but the overall build quality seems about the same. If you have owned a 7800 then the build quality is like that. It is like a smaller 7800 that only plays 2600 games. Only the Heavy Sixer feels like it has a higher build quality then all the others. Everything after that you can tell there were price cutting choices being made while at the same time improvements being made in other areas.

 

I also don't understand why people want to pay extra for the Heavy Sixer. That is why I have chose to buy all of mine for around the same price as I have for any of my 2600 models. ;-)

Edited by Schizophretard
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I used to have a 4-switch woody back in the day, and of course, for nostalgia, I really prefer that.

But part of me would prefer the 6-switch over it because of the certain games that actually use the difficulty switches for gameplay.

I find that when playing Ghostbusters, trying to get to Stay Puft, reaching to find the small difficulty switch on the back is a pain in the butt.

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