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June 2017 Retro Gaming Article


June 10, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

AtGames adds new consoles & features to their line of all-in-one Flashback consoles

AtGames Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition
We've grown accustomed to the yearly Flashback consoles, but this Fall they offer some cool new features and models. A brief overview.
With the onset of climate change, we seem to go from the blazing heat of Summer straight into the frigid chills of harsh Winters. Like seasonably warm Springtime memories, Fall has also left my recent memories. If the leaves didn't turn color and flutter to the ground, how would I even recognize the onset of the holiday season?

AtGames to the rescue! Fall springs to life when we are treated to the new game lists for the various Flashback consoles along with release dates. OK, I still rely heavily on my Ninja Turtle wall calendar, but AtGames will return to retail shelves with more options than usual. Sure, they'll have an Atari Flashback 8, but you'll have some cool features to consider this year!

All the typical Flashback consoles will return with a few additions and subtractions to the included built-in games. The ColecoVision and Intellivision Flashbacks appear to be the same versions originally released. Like the Sega consoles, they lack a version number - which makes it difficult to easily discern the version (the Atari Flashback 8 will arrive this year). They others can only be identified by knowing the specific games that change year-to-year.

AtGames Atari Flashback 8 Gold Edition

Atari Flashback 8

Starting off with the standard console we've grown to love over the years, the Atari Flashback 8 now comes with 105 built-in games. This version sports wired controllers and ports compatible with your original Atari joysticks. I wasn't a fan of the previous wireless joysticks as they used IR which saves money, but causes connection difficulties. But wait... the Atari Flashback 8 has two special Gold editions, hopefully improving controller connections!

AtGames Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition The first Atari Flashback 8 Gold Edition features 120 games, but the real treat is 720P HDMI output, scan line filtering, a save/pause/rewind feature for every game, and two 2.4ghz wireless controllers. Now you can play your favorite old games on your fancy wall-mounted TV and even use your original controllers to save games and adjust scan lines. These upgrades add $20 over the cost of the standard Flashback 8, but it seems like a pretty good deal!

The second Atari Flashback 8 Gold Edition console, the Activision Edition has the same specs as the plain Gold Edition. This console offers 130 games, 39 of which come from the Activision catalog. As a special bonus, while keeping the same pricing as the plain Gold Edition, you also get a set of paddle controllers letting you play games like Kaboom with more authenticity.

Sega Genesis Flashback

AtGames Sega Genesis Flashback Withe several releases under it's belt, the Sega component to AtGames' console line has been called, Sega Genesis Classic Game Console - having no "Flashback" moniker. While that console will return with 81 built-in games and a working cartridge slot, it too is getting a nice upgrade!

Like the Atari Flashback Gold Editions, there will be a Sega Genesis Flashback with 85 built-in games and the same upgrade seen on the Atari model. Thus you'll have legacy controller ports along with 2.4ghz wireless controllers, 720P HDMI output, scan line filtering, and a save/pause/rewind feature for every game!

You will also see a visual design change in that it looks more like the original console. This version will also command the $20 price hike over the standard edition.

The standard Sega Genesis Classic Console has had issues with sound in terms of replicating it properly and accurately. At this time we don't know how the emulation is being achieved on the new HD consoles - or if it's even been altered at all. When the consoles are sent to reviewers and retail stores, we'll have a better idea of how the Sega Flashback compares to the standard model in terms of reliable emulation.

AtGames Atari and Sega Portables

AtGames Atari Flashback Portable On the Atari side of the portable product line, the Atari Flashback Portable marked AtGames' first effort to add customization of games via an SD card slot. Through this innovation, gamers could add their own games (creating a legal issue no one wants to be party to) and homebrew titles. Containing 70 built-in games & rechargeable battery, you can take it on the road and play on the 2.8" display or connect it to your TV for a big-screen experience.

AtGames Sega Genesis Portable The Sega Genesis Ultimate Portable Game Player is back with both Genesis and Megadrive games, 85 in total. Functionally, it is identical to the Atari portable, with an SD card slot, and Sega gaming on the go or your TV.

Owning neither of the portable units puts me at a disadvantage for speaking to their performance, I hope to resolve that this year. The addition of the SD slots on both Atari and Sega units really makes me want them!

Overall Conclusions

This article is primarily to alert you to the new wireless control sceme and HDMI output on both the AtGames Atari and Sega Flashback consoles. I think the NES Classic Edition added new interest in nostalgia and an overall boost in casual interest for old games. While the Flashback consoles are made by AtGames via licensing, Nintendo was behind their recent mini console. Neither Atari nor Sega exist in the same manner as Nintendo, who are still actively creating modern consoles and games.

It's worth noting that all of these consoles are targeting those looking to relive childhood fun with Mario, Sonic, and classic Atari games. These consoles, while evolving and improving, are not designed with hardcore gamers in mind. I see a lot of bitterness about the choice of included games and level of emulation. While these are valid concerns, AtGames' consoles deliver a fun "flashback" to playing these games decades ago. If you seek perfection of that childhood experience, you will probably be happier with original hardware.

When you factor in the ease of use and the large numer of built-in games, these mini consoles are quite a good deal... and now they have improved wireless controllers and HDMI, opening them to wider TV compatibility. For a fun and quick way to jump into a favorite classic video game, AtGames makes it remarkably easy and cost effective. Go to the AtGames website for all the specs.

Look for these consoles at game and toy stores this coming holiday season!

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