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May 2018 Retro Gaming Article


May 30, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

By lunchtime, Atari racked up 6,000+ backers contributing over $1 Million to the Atari VCS campaign

New Atari VCS game console
Are these sales driven by past nostalgia or do these backers know something about this device the rest of us do not?
Today is the launch of Atari's new VCS game console on Indiegogo. As the page loaded and the Indiegogo logo appeared I saw the campaign was set for a "flexible goal" meaning Atari gets all the funds even if they didn't reach their goal. This brings up an interesting quandary. Atari only asked for $100,000 and easily achieved it in an hour.

Atari VCS joystick One might ask if Atari was fearful they might not reach $100,000 in thirty days. One might assume this entire campaign is simply to gauge interest in the product. At the same time, $100,000 is nowhere near enough to develop a game console. How did they arrive at this figure? Who knows...

They have the obligatory video that is supposed to induce sales. It spends three minutes letting various folks discuss what Atari means to them. It provides no additional tech or marketing info that I would want to know before spending $200 or $300 on a game console with no controllers. yeah, either way you have to shell out more money for an Atari controller. Although most wireless controllers should function.

Atari VCS joystick Like the Flashbacks, the new VCS has built-in games. They apparently have loaded Atari Vault onto the system so you can play those arcade/2600 titles immediately. With the same vague verbiage we've grown accustomed to, there will be some sort of online store offering classic and new games. They won't list wither titles or developers. The OUYA ran into some issues in this area and they seemed to have a lot of devs onboard when their Kickstarter launched.

Outside of a few arcade classics, it sounds like it only contains built-in games from the 2600. On a "cutting edge" device... that's rather lame. There are plenty of great games outside the initial 2600 console. I guess you can load emulators and play any atari game, but I can already do that on many devices I already own.

Atari VCS joystick They say games will be available for download or stream and that Tempest 4000 "will be there". Where? It launched on PS4 at the end of March... for a few hours until it was removed from the online store. They say it is still "coming soon" for PS4 and XboxOne and now the new VCS. Right now they seem to have a handful of devs onboard, but no game footage to show.

Right now, I don't see the Atari VCS having any capabilities I don't already have on my computer. The premise of new games is nice, but the list is too shallow now to justify the cost of the VCS. $300 seems much better spent on a Nintendo Switch or PS4. A small investment in a single-board computer, like a Raspberry Pi, will give you much the same functionality - minus the swanky Atari logo.

Poor History of Delivering Hardware Recently

Lets also take into account Atari's recent track record of delivering hardware. The last console was the jaguar in 1993 - long before the Fred Chesnais era that currently seeks to release the new VCS. The Game Band and Atari Smartwatch are recent crowd funded products that have not delivered any product. A Game console is a much larger complex endeavor with many components internal and external to the device itself. I see no evidence they can meet the 2019 deadline or deliver product at all.

Atari VCS joystick My lust for atari's greatness in the 70s & 80s might prompt me to sign up for that slick looking 2600 modern joystick, but that's as far as I'd go. If this project is one day successful and delivers a cool niche product, I'd consider picking it up at a Best Buy - if they're still in business. But dumping money into a crowd funding hole, just doesn't seem smart based on prior deliveries and actions by Atari.

I Ordered A Joystick

My passion for Atari and the general awesome design of their retro modern 2600-style joystick overwhelmed me. I had to order one. So, as much as I'd love to add this to my collection, I"m anticipating it may never see the light of day. I'm hopeful, but also realistic. Now I have a vested interest in the success and completion of this project.

For all the negative comments I've had for the past year, I'm in this with you - although only $30 deep - so we'll all have to see how this hardware venture pans out as 2019 looms. Will Atari be social? Will they go dark for months at a time? I'm excited. I really want this joystick!!

Atari VCS menu screen

Atari Vault Game List

If the new Atari VCS simply uses the Atari Vault collection as it's "built-in game" source, here's a list of the titles we might expect to find...
  1. 3D Tic Tac Toe - 2600
  2. Adventure - 2600
  3. Air Sea Battle - 2600
  4. Asteroids - 2600
  5. Asteroids - Arcade
  6. Asteroids Deluxe - Arcade
  7. Backgammon - 2600
  8. Basic Math - 2600
  9. Basketball - 2600
  10. Black Widow - Arcade
  11. Blackjack - 2600
  12. Bowling - 2600
  13. Brain Games - 2600
  14. Breakout - 2600
  15. Canyon Bomber - 2600
  16. Casino - 2600
  17. Centipede - 2600
  18. Centipede - Arcade
  19. Championship Soccer - 2600
  20. Checkers - 2600
  21. Chess - 2600
  22. Circus Atari - 2600
  23. Code Breaker - 2600
  24. Combat - 2600
  25. Combat 2 - 2600
  26. Concentration - 2600
  27. Crystal Castles - 2600
  28. Crystal Castles - Arcade
  29. Demons to Diamonds - 2600
  30. Desert Falcon - 2600
  31. Dodge-Em 2600
  32. Double Dunk - 2600
  33. Fatal Run - 2600
  34. Flag capture - 2600
  35. Football - 2600
  36. Golf - 2600
  37. Gravitar - 2600
  38. Gravitar - Arcade
  39. Hangman - 2600
  40. Haunted House - 2600
  41. Homerun - 2600
  42. Human Cannonball - 2600
  43. Liberator - Arcade
  44. Lunar Lander - Arcade
  45. Major Havoc - Arcade
  46. Maze Craze - 2600
  47. Millipede - 2600
  48. Millipede - Arcade
  49. Miniature Golf - 2600
  50. Missile Command - 2600
  1. Missile Command - Arcade
  2. Night Driver - 2600
  3. Off the Wall - 2600
  4. Outlaw - 2600
  5. Pong - Arcade
  6. Quadrun - 2600
  7. Race - 2600
  8. Radar Lock - 2600
  9. RealSports Baseball - 2600
  10. RealSports Basketball - 2600
  11. RealSports Boxing - 2600
  12. RealSports Football - 2600
  13. RealSports Soccer - 2600
  14. RealSports Tennis - 2600
  15. RealSports Volleyball - 2600
  16. Red Baron - Arcade
  17. Return to Haunted House - 2600
  18. Save Mary - 2600
  19. Secret Quest - 2600
  20. Sentinel - 2600
  21. Sky Diver - 2600
  22. Slot Machine - 2600
  23. Slot Racers - 2600
  24. Sword Quest Fireworld - 2600
  25. Space Duel - Arcade
  26. Space War - 2600
  27. Sprint - Arcade
  28. Sprint Master - 2600
  29. Star Raiders - 2600
  30. Starship - 2600
  31. Steeplechase - 2600
  32. Stellar Track - 2600
  33. Street Racer - 2600
  34. Stunt Cycle - 2600
  35. Sub Commander - 2600
  36. Super Baseball - 2600
  37. Super Breakout - Arcade
  38. Super Breakout -2600
  39. Super Football - 2600
  40. Surround - 2600
  41. Sword Quest Earthworld - 2600
  42. Sword Quest Waterworld - 2600
  43. Tempest - 2600
  44. Tempest - Arcade
  45. Video Cube - 2600
  46. Video Olympics - 2600
  47. Video Pinball - 2600
  48. Warlords - 2600
  49. Warlords - Arcade
  50. Yars Revenge - 2600


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