How much did an Atari 2600 Cost in 1981?

At a K-Mart in Massachusetts $131.88 before tax. A great price and at $27.88 Asteroids is a real bargain. Thanks to Bukanza for posting and sharing this important piece of history.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. This is excellent! I’m amused to note that the store took a check. $211.60 was a pretty large amount of money in 1981. Good luck writing a check for that amount in a store today without several forms of ID and an extensive screening process.

  2. Out of curiosity I just googled up an inflation calculator. It suggests that “What cost $211 in 1978 would cost $686.25 in 2009.” (2009 being the most recent year for which the calculator had data.) So… pretty pricey, but in-line with a modern-day first-gen machine and a few games?

  3. [Oooh – and I did my inflation check before seeing Retro J’s exclamation. Eerie!]

  4. Wow! great find. I’m surprised to be reminded that “odd pricing” isn’t a new thing. I thought it was only walmart who priced things with .88 cents added at the end… or .44 or .55!

  5. That kind of money buys you a top grade console with loads of games, a pretty good computer, something by Apple or maybe a wreck of a car.

  6. Seems in line with a full system and some new games when the system is pretty new. You can get a decent collection of games with an xbox 360 or PS3 nowadays. This system had been out for ~4 years at this point — so maybe it was a bigger hit to the wallet to own a system back then.

  7. wow! so back then K-mart employees could read AND write??!!

  8. Peachy, I also thought it was interesting that for a major chain store, the employees were still handwriting the receipts in 1981. Or was this just for big ticket items?

  9. I went through a bunch of department store receipts my Mom had in a box from the 1980s and a surprising number had a receipt like this along with a very simple (numbers only) printed receipt.

  10. For some reason the price “$50” sticks in my mind for the Atari ASTEROIDS cartridge. I think that was the going price of it when it was first released back then.
    And I think the $50 stickershock has stuck with me because I’m sure my mother exclaimed how expensive it is all the way to the store and, after purchasing it for me, all the way back home!

  11. I looked up this store by it’s store number out of curiosity because I live in MA.
    484 Boston Rd
    Billerica, Massachusetts 01821

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