How long can we expect a used, acceptable condition Atari 2600 cartridge to last if played less than ten times yearly?


1 Answer 1


To be fair this really depends cart to cart. Speaking as a vintage collector and having a large 2600 cart collection it really depends on how it was originally used. It also depends on things like solder joints on the connectors. More importantly the semiconductors can fail -- remember that these cartridges are approaching 50 years old. Most of my cart failures come from issues like these but there are others to take into consideration. Most of the Activision carts were cheaply made in Taiwan and have had higher than normal failure rates in my experience.

  • 4
    So then, the answer to the question is "We don't know"? Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 14:49
  • Can you add information on an ideal situation, perhaps? Admittedly, the question is quite broad in that regard, but that would give a clearer idea (in the same vein as "how long can we expect a compact disc to last").
    – Joachim
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 16:16
  • An ideal situation would look similar to this: In box in shrink wrap to avoid dust, preferably in temperature controlled room, with no direct exposure to sunlight. And since that would be rare at best the closest scenario is "in shrink wrap in box, stored in a box." Those are more common but still very rare.
    – Zissouu
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 16:34
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    I wouldn't worry about solder joints. What you should look for is data retention of the memory media.
    – Amarth
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 16:35
  • 2
    I wouldn't worry as in those are easily fixed even by a hobbyist.
    – Amarth
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 16:44

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