Blast from the past.
Unless you’re over the age of 35, I don’t expect many readers to understand the effect the word ‘Atari’ has. If I were to explain to someone younger, imagine you heard the word ‘PlayStation’ or ‘XBOX’, after not hearing the word for decades. Anyone under that bracket only knows the classic Atari logo as seen on a retro t-shirt. This was a time before Nintendo Entertainment System and the first Super Mario Bros game. The console that really ushered in the cartridge-based market was the Atari Video Console System, later known as the Atari 2600.
Last summer Atari released a teaser video announcing news about an ‘AtariBox’ Console, I didn’t know what to make of it. Over the years Nintendo has released mini ‘retro’ versions of their classic systems, I thought maybe Atari was going this direction, I was wrong. The 2018, (or is it 2019?) incarnation of the Atari VCS is a hybrid between a home game console and a gaming PC. Conceived by Feargal Mac Conuladh (of the Ouya project), he was inspired by watching gamers connect their laptops to televisions in able to play games on a larger screen.
Today, April 30, 2018 Atari has officially announced that pre-sales for their new Atari VCS will start May 30, 2018. The pre-sale offer will be an Indiegogo exclusive.
The very time-limited Atari VCS Collector’s Edition featuring the special retro-inspired wood-front. In addition to the Collector’s Edition, fans will have the option to pre-order the Atari VCS Onyx, a sleek black version. Early-bird Atari VCS packages will be offered, including the Onyx starting at $199 USD for a limited period of time. The wording of their release questions if a controller set will be included with either, as they report, “Other packages will include the Classic Joystick and Modern Controller”.
Feargal Mac Conuladh mentioned the hardware is comparable to a mid-range personal computer for 2017. Powerful enough to run most games but not for more recent AAA titles, so comparable to a higher-end PC laptop. The company has partnered with AMD for a customer processor with Radeon Graphics TEchnology with support for 4K resolutions, HDR and 60fps. Some surprises include onboard and expandable storage options 4/5.0 WiFi/Bluetooth 5.0 with USB 3.0.
A complete list of Atari VCS product specs will be posted with the pre-sale.
The updated Classic Joystick and new Modern Controller for the Atari VCS are currently being developed in partnership with leading video game peripherals maker Power A. On a more interesting note, both items will be available in select packages and as standalone purchases.
The retro-inspired, (not “retro-box,”) the Atari VCS is expected to be a fully customizable entertainment experience. Access to games, media, and streaming content options. The Atari VCS will come loaded with more than 100 classic games, including all-time arcade and home entertainment favorites like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Breakout®, Missile Command®, Gravitar® and Yars’ Revenge®; more games will be announced at later dates.
Michael Arzt, Atari COO of Connected Devices reports. “We are building outstanding teams and forging alliances that will make this product great and truly worthy of the Atari VCS name. Expert hardware partners are helping make this project possible and we couldn’t be more pleased with their contributions.”
For those who are excited, there is some bad news. While pre-sales may start May 30th, once the campaign is complete; Atari won’t actually start shipping the VCS until Spring 2019.
Sources: atarivcs.com, venturebeat.com, globenewswire.com, indegogo.com