Before Nintendo and its iconic mascot plumber, Atari used to run things in the console space. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw a slew of high-profile releases for the Atari 2600 console, from Pitfall to Pac-Man, but the once-popular gaming system was relegated to the dustbin of history, until now, as Atari just announced a brand-new physical cartridge for the console. Mr. Run and Jump is a 2D platformer that’s taken plenty of design cues from recent indie games like Celeste.
Atari says this is the first 2600/VCS cartridge launch for a new title since 1990, despite an active DIY homebrew scene that has created plenty of its own retro carts in recent decades. The Mr. Run and Jump cartridge ships in a sealed box and comes with an actual instruction manual, a rarity these days. The cartridges are manufactured using all new parts and materials, with modern design cues like beveled edges to prevent pin damage and gold-plated connectors. Preorders for the physical release start on July 31st with a price of $60.
The game was actually developed for the ancient platform to showcase the “enduring capabilities of the 2600 hardware, even four decades after its initial release.” Despite the old-school pedigree, a snazzier version of the title is also being developed for modern consoles like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC via Steam and Epic. This version includes more than 30 hours of gameplay, with a new time trials feature and a “glowing explosion of color, action and personality.” In other words, there’s no way it would run on the original 1977 hardware.
The Atari 2600 cartridge, however, does feature six worlds, 80 levels, five enemy types and a unique scoring system that decreases points when you collide with baddies, though does not include a download code for the modern version. Not bad for a console that once had to dump 14 truckloads of unsold cartridges into a landfill. Mr. Run and Jump will work with actual retro 2600 consoles, but also with newer VCS remakes.