Say hello to the Atari 2600+, a new Atari console to buy if you’re massively keen on the iconic design… but I can already see some big problems with it.
Atari – or the company that goes by that name, it’s complex but the short version is that the DNA strands that tie together 2023 “Atari” with the Atari that massively popularised at-home console gaming in the late 1970s amount to the logo and not much else has announced a new Atari console.
Not just any Atari console, either. The Atari 2600+.
The 2600+ features HDMI output, dual 9-pin classic style joystick ports and a slightly shrunken down woodgrain style finish. It’ll ship with a 10-game cartridge and a single controller, but many (emphasis mine) older 2600 or 7800 games will also be playable on it.
Yours for $US129.99 come November,
though you’ll need to find a shipping agent because according to Atari’s web site “This product is only available for shipping in the United States”, even though Atari’s production partner, Plaion UK, says that it’ll “ship worldwide”, and Atari itself is a company listed on the Paris stock exchange.
Update: OK, all of those things are still true, but you can (if you must) pre-order the Atari 2600+ through Amazon Australia now, if you’re so inclined.
By rights, with my certified retrogaming-nerd cap* on, I should be excited every time there’s a fresh reimagining of a classic console system. Anything that helps to spread the retro love should be a good thing, right?
Well… except for maybe Atari. That company is something of a shambling IP corpse, to put it mildly, throwing all sorts of ventures at the Atari brand whether they’re a good fit or not.
I will give it credit, the Atari 50 collection is a truly amazing piece of work, and one that any gamer absolutely should own. Here, take my word for it.
Seriously, that’s a game you should own a copy of. Want to support this site and grab a copy? Here’s a handy Amazon affiliate link!Buy On Amazon
But then there’s the less valuable fare, like the Atari VCS. Again, take my word for it.
Atari VCS Review (Finder)
OK, I do actually have a VCS (it was stupid cheap, bought for me as a gift and it’s a good Antstream machine). But Atari’s done dafter things than that, like, for example… Atari Cryptocurrency.
Like I said, they’ll try anything.
I can see the appeal for gamers my age who might have a few dusty 2600 carts in a cupboard somewhere from their long-lost youth wanting to check them out, but there are systems like the Retron ’77 that can cover that need. Also, apparently the Atari 2600+ will support widescreen presentation.
NO, ATARI. WRONG. BAD. STOP TORTURING THE PIXELS BY STRETCHING THEM.
Then there’s the issue of it playing “many” Atari games. The entire Atari 5200 catalog is MIA for a start, but even then it’s not a claim of 100% compatibility anyway, despite the fact that the sale page for the Atari 2600+ states (in caps) “NO CARTRIDGE LEFT BEHIND”.
Except, y’know, the ones that are, or seem to be. To give Atari credit, they do provide a compatibility list, which means they’ve done some testing.
Not just of Atari-published cartridges, either, but deep into the well of third party games as well.
The very rare Chase The Chuckwagon? They’ve tested that, and it works.
The pornographic Atari 2600 games, like Custer’s Revenge, Beat Em and Eat Em and Cathouse?
No, wait, nobody “likes” those games, because they’re terrible. But they will work, which makes me wonder about whose collection they used to test. Also I’m not linking them, because you might be reading this at work, and while they’re blocky, they’re still… well, look them up yourself if you really must.
Astonishingly, while they only list a few games as failing testing – which is bad news for you if you have a cart copy of the Atari 2600 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – there’s a number of games that are simply untested.
I did at first figure they were just copying ROMs to a cartridge to test, because while that would be legally dodgy, it would be quick.
But no, there are games they simply seem to not have tested, including heavy hitters like Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns, Burger Time and Miner 2049er.
Which means somebody at Atari 2600 had to play Custer’s Revenge, but didn’t bother to play Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns to test the Atari 2600+.
That’s just cruel on Atari’s part.
*Not a real thing. Maybe I should set up a store to sell them. Anyone want one? Guaranteed to play all Konix Multisystem games!