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November 2017 Retro Gaming Article

November 21, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I love the visual of Ataribox's single-button joystick, but how will Atari handle modern games?

Ataribox consoles
The Ataribox joystick is beautiful, but modern games require modern controllers. Retro games are only part of what Ataribox claims to deliver.
Ataribox joystick I love the look of the joystick revealed today by Atari as the controller for their upcoming Ataribox video game console. It's a beautiful tribute to the Atari 2600 joystick. If this slick controller had a 9-pin connector for my aging Atari VCS, I'd be all over it in a heartbeat!

However, in the scope of Atari's upcoming Ataribox game console, can a single button joystick handle the "modern" games Atari claims it will play?

Atari's main claim to fame is it's vast library of IPs. They've used a licensing agreement with AtGames for many years to supply those retro titles, from the 2600 era, in a legal format. While the AtGames Flashback consoles have had their share of issues, $50 for ~100 games is a pretty good deal. Factor in the ease of it's plug & play interface and its hard to pass up.

More Than A Flashback?

The Flashback consoles will certainly give your feelings of nostalgia a happy jolt, but their product is for casual gamers. If you adore the Atari games you played in the 80s, you'll be much happier with an original 2600 and a pile of game carts. Each scenario has it's merits. I have several Flashback consoles and enjoy them a lot. I also like to pop a cart into my old VCS.

Modern Games Require Modern Controller Options

This modern single-stick single-button joystick looks very promising for Atari's vast library of 8-bit games. However, for the Ataribox to succeed, it has to do a lot more than a $50 Flashback micro-console. Ataribox is touted as a modern game console, capable of playing both original and existing modern games. Gamers have been accustomed to dual-stick controllers since the PS2 with a wide array of buttons both on the face and shoulders of modern controllers.

I hope Atari is debuting this gorgeous controller for it's retro base and will later show us an alternate modern controller to handle today's gaming demands. Info has been very slow to come to light, so we want to believe that Atari has a moe PlayStation-like controller waiting in the wings. At the very least, the Ataribox needs to be able to wirelessly connect so existing controllers. Time will tell.

Check out our video about the Ataribox Joystick.

Ataribox joystick The conical depression looks cool, but once snack crumbs and beverage spills funnel down into the core of your controller, the fun may well end.
Ataribox joystick I'm a bit concerned about the groves around the base. These flow nicely with the same design of the console, but what about comfort? Will ones hands be able to grip this surface comfortably for a long gaming session?

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