When I first bought that Atari 2600 sitting on the counter of the used video game store, I didn't know where it would take me. Turns out it took me on a strange yet wonderful journey through the history of early video games.
Take Pac-Man, for instance. Released in 1981 to much fanfare, the game ultimately turned out to be what most consider the worst game of the system, along with E.T. The horrendous flicker makes it really bad to take a picture of. There are supposed to be four ghosts and four power pellets in the picture above, but the flicker is awful. Nevertheless, there are a few people (myself included) who don't mind it and like Pac-Man no matter what console he turns up on.
One of my favorite genres of video games has been the pinball genre. While I played Pin-Bot as a kid, and Pinball for the NES and Revenge of the Gator for the Game Boy, the pinball genre is well represented on the 2600 in the form of Midnite Magic, released around 1984. I also enjoy Video Pinball, released earlier in the 2600's lifespan.
As a kid, I thought racing games were impossible on the NES because I haven't seen one. Naive as I was, I had since discovered a lot of NES racing games, as well as a few for the Atari 2600. Yes, this is Pole Position, released in 1983.
People usually think because a company quits supporting a console a long time ago, people don't make games for it any more. Not true with the 2600, as there are many games released this millenium (called 'homebrews') for and by people dedicated to the console. These super-geniuses make wonderful games for the 2600 with amazing graphics and wonderful gameplay. One of my favorite 'homebrew' games is John Payson's Strat-O-Gems Deluxe, which plays like Columns, but with a few power-ups thrown in.
If you still have an Atari 2600, or are interested, there is a wonderful site dedicated to everything Atari (including the 2600.) AtariAge (http://www.atariage.com) has a whole bunch of info, forums, and even a store where you can buy homebrew games.