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Atari Game Room Set Up


Hank Rearden
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I'm looking for inspiration on how best to set up my 2600 & 5200 systems. The more recent systems are more easily put on a shelf and you never have to move them but the 2600 has the stick ports in the back and the 5200 is so large it feels like you have to reach behind it practically to insert a cartridge.

 

Just curious if anyone is proud of how they have their systems hooked up and displayed so that there is eye appeal as well as convenience. Maybe share some pics.

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It's tempting to put classic systems on a shelf alongside modern systems, but they were originally designed to be set up on a table or on the floor, near the players and away from the TV. You'll notice this especially if you look at living room or game room pictures from video game boxes and magazine advertisements of the 70s and early 80s; that's one reason the 2600 in particular had such looong RF and power cables, and why the controller cables were relatively short. It makes perfect sense, too, if you think about it: cartridge-based consoles need to be within reach so you can easily swap out the cartridges and flip the console switches. Putting the console on a shelf close to the TV and extending the controller cords is an idea that came later, and in my opinion it's a configuration that doesn't fit the old systems very well.

 

My space is currently very limited, so my consoles are practically set up on top of each other. What I plan to do when I build my game room is to set up comfortable chairs arranged around the TV (a CRT, of course), with small tables between them for the consoles. The tables will be within arm's reach from the chairs, and will include drawers for controllers and a handful of favorite cartridges. Cartridges that are played less often will be in a drawer near the TV.

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It's tempting to put classic systems on a shelf alongside modern systems, but they were originally designed to be set up on a table or on the floor, near the players and away from the TV. You'll notice this especially if you look at living room or game room pictures from video game boxes and magazine advertisements of the 70s and early 80s; that's one reason the 2600 in particular had such looong RF and power cables, and why the controller cables were relatively short. It makes perfect sense, too, if you think about it: cartridge-based consoles need to be within reach so you can easily swap out the cartridges and flip the console switches. Putting the console on a shelf close to the TV and extending the controller cords is an idea that came later, and in my opinion it's a configuration that doesn't fit the old systems very well.

 

My space is currently very limited, so my consoles are practically set up on top of each other. What I plan to do when I build my game room is to set up comfortable chairs arranged around the TV (a CRT, of course), with small tables between them for the consoles. The tables will be within arm's reach from the chairs, and will include drawers for controllers and a handful of favorite cartridges. Cartridges that are played less often will be in a drawer near the TV.

Yeah, it's odd looking at the old picture with the units sitting in the middle of the floor. That's how I played it and I of course realize there aren't a lot of options. I was just thinking maybe someone came up with something truly creative for their setup. I've been thinking of some sort of side table on wheels that can be easily rolled in and out. Looks attractive yet you'd only see cabling when in use.

 

Maybe someone has come up with something interesting.

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I plan to minimize cable mess in my game room by running the wires through conduits in the floor (the game room will be in a corner of my basement; I'm envisioning a slightly raised floor for this area). Another option would be flat cable shielding that can be hidden under a mat or a throw rug. I want to avoid the need to drag the consoles out and put them away again before and after play, so one way or another, the setup I have in mind will be permanent.

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It's tempting to put classic systems on a shelf alongside modern systems, but they were originally designed to be set up on a table or on the floor, near the players and away from the TV. You'll notice this especially if you look at living room or game room pictures from video game boxes and magazine advertisements of the 70s and early 80s; that's one reason the 2600 in particular had such looong RF and power cables, and why the controller cables were relatively short. It makes perfect sense, too, if you think about it: cartridge-based consoles need to be within reach so you can easily swap out the cartridges and flip the console switches. Putting the console on a shelf close to the TV and extending the controller cords is an idea that came later, and in my opinion it's a configuration that doesn't fit the old systems very well.

 

Yeah, and it's the same way with the Flashbacks I have (I don't have the HD versions or working wireless controlers to go back to the menu) so I have to a table in front of my TV. Thankfully I have a small desktop with wheels attached and i keep my Flashbacks on top and controllers in a bin underneath. I just plug in the right A/V cable to my front end switchbox and the power supply also (ATgames PSUs will work on all their devices).

 

Maybe you can use a roll cart to put your Ataris on when playing them and to put away when you're done...

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I have a coffee table, well actually a Galaga cocktail cab in the center of my game room that I set the 7800 on when playing 7800 or 2600 games. When not in use, it sits on the shelf next to the other classic and modern consoles. I keep a box nearby that has the controllers for my game systems at the ready and usually keep the power supplies plugged into the systems but with the cord carefully bundled up and the power supply itself sitting on top of the console. I have OldJD's (R.I.P.), wife's covers on most of them so the power supplies don't harm the finish of the systems.

 

The 5200 is actually on a rolling cart that was originally designed for the 2600, but I purposed it for the 5200 instead. So when I want to plat that system, I wheel it over next to the cocktail cab/coffee table and play that way.

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