The Atari 2600 was the first home video game system to make a large variety of video games available to the general public. Previous to the release of the Atari 2600, most home video games were hard-wired with only one or a few games, and no way to upgrade or exchange games. Atari introduced exchangeable cartidges, making the home game system customizable, so that you could have your choice of the games you really wanted for a reasonable cost. The 2600 thrived on licensed versions of huge arcade hits such as Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pole Position and Pac-Man, as well as original titles like Asteroids, Adventure and Breakout. Released in 1977, the Atari 2600 had an amazingly long run. Even with competition from the Nintendo Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S.) through the 1980's, the 2600 was not officially retired until 1992.