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Lego Atari 2600 is a brick-built console with basic recreation vignettes

Do you grumble when folks refer to Xbox games as ‘retro’? If so – and you like plastic bricks – the Lego Atari 2600 (£209.99/$239.99, available 1 August) will keep you occupied during rare moments when you’re not yelling at kids to get off your lawn.

The hit console had visuals so blocky their corners could take your eye out. But its primitive games captivated a generation. Lego’s brick-built take is an ideal way to celebrate Atari’s 50th anniversary.

Frustratingly, the set has 2532 pieces. (Come on, Lego – surely you could have added an extra 68?) But when complete, the main unit – based on the console’s 1980 revision – echoes the original’s wood grain effect, and has switches to flick and carts to plug in.

It evokes nostalgia in other ways too. Slide open the front and you’re treated to a pop-up scene from the 1980s, with a kid gawping at a chunky CRT telly while having a crack at topping a high-score table. And, like the Lego NES, the set goes the extra mile in other ways.

The joy of sticks

Of course, there’s a controller – and Lego’s version of the classic (if cramp-inducing) Atari joystick moves like the original. There are also Lego carts of classic Atari titles Asteroids, Adventure and Centipede that you can plug into the console. But you get parts to build little vignettes based on those games too. Ironically, given Lego’s blocky form, the results are more detailed and less chunky than the original game visuals.

The Lego Atari 2600 set was designed by Chris McVeigh – who you might recognize as the creator of a slew of dinky Lego games systems. “The Atari 2600 was one of the most memorable gifts I got as a kid. I recall spending hours in front of the TV, amazed that I could play arcade games in my own home,” he says, adding that he was a fan of the legendary titles immortalized in brick form within this set. “This is why it has been such an incredible experience to bring two icons together: Atari and Lego. We hope that building this classic console takes you back to those halcyon days when a handful of pixels meant a world of adventure.”

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