Atari: Releasing a game changer?

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“our objective is to create something new, that stays true to our heritage, while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.”

After more than 20 years Atari are bringing out a new console, and hopefully not only breathing fresh life into the gaming community with a new potential competitor but also reviving a notable game developer that’s been struggling for the past decade.

Now not everything that Atari has made over the years has been great, they were responsible for making E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a game so bad it was infamously buried in a Landfill site in New Mexico. And the ports of Namco’s classic properties Pacman and Ms. Pacman were met with mixed reviews but I believe that they have strong potential and this new console will be the first step in tapping into that potential.

This new console has been branded retro, perhaps in no small part due to its design, because about the only thing we know about the ‘Ataribox’ is what it looks like. But that isn’t a bad thing because some of Atari’s greatest successes have been in their past, any person who grew up playing classic games on the Atari or who like retro gaming will remember games like Dungeon Master, Tempest, Space Invaders, Pong and Frogger.

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A quote from Atari says that the console will have “modern internal specs” which means at least that from a purely tech point of view they’ll be able to compete with the other consoles currently out in the market. Another quote this time from the CEO of Atari Frederic Chesnais says that Atari “is back in the hardware business” and that the ‘Ataribox’ will be “powered by PC Technology”. Now again we can’t make too many assumptions because we simply don’t have enough information but we can hope that because it will have modern specs that it’ll be more than an emulation box for old/retro Atari games, now I mean that itself would be fine but after filing for bankruptcy in 2013 this is a big step towards building themselves back up and so it would be good to see them make something new as well, other than the console obviously.

I believe that it will balance the old and the new, emulating older consoles by Atari but also being a platform for new releases.

Now I’ve mentioned that Atari haven’t always had the most success, and relatively recently were bankrupt before being bought out by another company who changed their names to Atari, I assume because of the brand recognition but they’ve protected themselves with the development of this console because apparently it will be, at least in the initial stages be crowdfunded. Now crowdfunding is a bit of a dirty word and if anything that might be what kills the console but hopefully people want a new console enough to push past their dislike of crowdfunding because quite frankly I understand why they’re doing it, things have been rough and they want to limit the risk in developing the hardware while still bringing it out.

The ‘Ataribox’ has no set release date and since they first teased us about it a E3 this year information has been slow to come out. We do know that much like the Atari 2600 (a console released by them in 1977) it will be housed in wood. They plan to release it with two separate designs, a black and orange design meant to appeal to the modern gamer, and the aforementioned wood and black design that is similar to the 2600 for those who like and/or were nostalgic for the old design.

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While it might be annoying to not really have anything concrete especially when Atari switched things on us and showed us how it’ll look rather than what it can do but i think this statement from Atari goes a ways to make it better “We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, pricing, timing, we’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring this to life, and to listen closely to the Atari community feedback as we do so.”

What we do know for those who don’t want to leave here without something is that the ‘Ataribox’ includes four USB ports, SD card support and a HDMI port.

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