The Heavy Sixer is a classic recommended for serious Atari collectors.
First I want to clarify that this review is for the Heavy Sixer in particular, but that the info does apply largely to all Atari 2600 variants.
I purchased a Sears Tele Games Video Arcade, which is simply a re branded Atari 2600. It, too, came in the heavy sixer variant, and that's what I got. I purchased it because I wanted to know what the original 2600 units from 1977 looked and played like. I wanted to experience the class offered by the original. I wanted to know how well the original CX-10 joysticks worked.
I was not disappointed. Like many other 35 year old game systems, mine needed some repair. I completed the necessary repairs and loaded up some classic gaming goodness.
The console is built like a tank. You could cause blunt force trauma with this thing and it would still work. It's a 2600, so what's not to like?
The console has a classy look that invites gamers to play it. The controllers are just right for most games. The CX-10 joysticks are comfortable to use even for long sessions, the paddles (marked "Atari" or "Sears" instead of "Paddle") seem to be more durable than the newer varieties, and I've noticed little difference in the keyboard or driving controllers.
The things I don't like about the Heavy sixer are lack of channel select switch in most models, difficulty in disassembling the console to replace a failed component, and the incompatibility caused by an additional IC in the unit. Honestly, though, most gamers aren't going to notice this at all. They might, however, notice that the power adapter can actually be shorted out when it's being plugged into the console. This could fry the adapter.
Still, you just can't beat the 2600 for quick, easy to learn games. The fun stuff we all remember goes for a cople of bucks per game. One could find a lot with Pitfall, Asteroids, PAc-Man, and a few others for $10. The rare and expensive games aren't ones people are going to remember. I suppose there are some games that are expensive people will remember like Subterranea or The Official Frogger.
The Heavy Sixer's difficulty switches are easier to reach than the ones on newer consoles, but the controller ports are harder to reach. The inside of the case definitely has more plastic, especially on the bottom and where the RF cord is secured.
The Heavy Sixer probably isn't the console for a casual gamer due to the cost (hence my three star value rating), but it's something any serious Atari collector will want. IMO the brand doesn't matter unless you care about what color of woodgrain you want. The Atari unit has light woodgrain whereas the Sears unit has dark woodgrain, so take your pick.
On the other hand, if you're just looking for a 2600 in general, make that value rating five stars because you do get a lot of bang for your buck.Read full review