When it comes to video games, there is always a sense of nostalgia. Nintendo had a hit on its hands when the NES Classic came out a few years ago. Sega had been doing the same for many years with subpar retro consoles, but then copied Nintendo to release a proper Genesis clone. Sony followed suit with a PS1 version, which reinforced the fact that games from the PS1 / Saturn era do not hold up well. Now Atari is back, again, with a console that will play all those pixel-perfect games, in an emulated fashion. Wes Davis at The Verge has more.
Atari has announced it’s relaunching its most well-known console as the Atari 2600 Plus on November 17th for $129.99, with preorders open now. It’s a fully functioning, 80 percent scale, HDMI-outputting version of the console that comes with a 10-in-1 game cartridge. Atari says it even supports both 2600 and later 7800 game cartridges and will work with the original joystick and paddle controllers.
Aside from being a little smaller and gaining HDMI and USB-C ports, the 2600 Plus is mostly unchanged. The front bears a strip of wood paneling with a light-up Atari logo, while four toggle switches flank its cartridge slot. Atari says the cartridge socket is a little bigger to help with sticking cartridges. On the back by the HDMI and USB-C outputs, you’ll find two serial ports like those used on the original system.
Atari’s track record over the years has been terrible, at best. Only two years ago it released something called the “Atari VCS” that was an Atari but also a streaming box too? And while the design surely looks really cool, it’s also two hundred dollars.
With the 2600+, we’re talking about a more traditional looking console that plays classic carts but also has some new multi-carts being produced that contain hit titles. Of course Yars’ Revenge is one of those games, a true classic of the console’s run. My biggest gripe of this is that Atari games are simply not fun for long sessions. The games are rudimentary because of the technology that existed in the late 1970’s. But how long do you really want to play Chopper Command or Combat or Pitfall? Even as someone who still has their 2600 and hooks it up occasionally, if I get an hour out of it before moving on, it’s a lot.
Atari is both filled with nostalgia and basic games that are fun for only a few minutes. Oh, and the way they bungled the entire category is the opening Nintendo took to become the dominant player only a few years later. So, while yes I think it would be cool to “play Atari today” I also can’t see myself dropping $130 on yet another nostalgia plaything that will entertain me for a real short time.
However, if you want to play Atari today, you can see more about it here.