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Atari Opens Pre-Orders For Retro 'VCS' Console (Update: $2M Raised In 24 Hours)

Updated, 5/31/2018, 9:25am PT: The Atari VCS pre-orders got so much attention that it took down Indiegogo's website for a brief period. So far the campaign has raised more than $2 million in 24 hours. Time will tell how much money Atari can make before the month-long campaign ends.

Original article, 5/30/2018, 7:05am PT:

Atari opened pre-orders for its Atari VCS console on Indiegogo, and the response has been overwhelming, to put it mildly. The company has already raised more than $332,000 at time of writing--it originally hoped to raise $100,000--and the campaign still has a month to go.

The last Atari console was released in the '80s, so when Atari revealed last year that it was working on new hardware, it came as a bit of a shock. (And no, we aren't referring to the ridiculous "Speakerhats.") The console was originally known as the Ataribox when it was announced in July 2017 with little more than a few renders, basic specs, and a promise to be more than a nostalgia trip.

Atari took the Ataribox to GDC 2018 and renamed it the Atari Video Computer System (VCS). The company also refuted the idea that the Ataribox is a console, opting instead to describe it as a computer that runs a Linux-based operating system and can play games. Some of those games will be Atari classics, and the company plans to "reimagine" several of those titles, but it will also support Linux-compatible PC games.

Besides games, Atari said the Atari VCS will also support "streaming media and a universe of web-powered entertainment," though it didn't get into specifics. That doesn't come as much of a surprise--considering that all PCs and most consoles support video streaming and "web-powered entertainment," it would've been weirder if Atari's in-between don't-call-it-a-console didn't embrace modern forms of entertainment.

The Atari VCS will be accompanied by the Atari Classic Joystick and Atari Modern Controller. Two variants of the console are available: an all-black "Onyx" edition and a "Collector's Edition" boasting wood paneling that hearkens back to the company's early hardware. Prices range from $29 for the Atari Classic Joystick to $339 for the Collector's Edition console, Atari Classic Joystick, and Atari Modern Controller.

Atari has cut the price of the Onyx console from $299 to $199 until 12pm ET on June 4, and it will sell the Collector's Edition console and bundles until 12pm ET on June 11. The company plans to start delivering the Atari VCS and its accessories to consumers in July 2019. That's just an estimate, though, and hardware is often delayed. But hey, Atari fans have already waited decades for a new console. What's another year?

  • 10tacle
    About 20 years ago my mother sold my childhood Atari 2600 and NES consoles and dozens of cartridge games for them in a garage sale. To say I was pissed at her considering she didn't even ask me if I wanted them would be an understatement. Ever since, when I moved out and started earning my own living, I have kept every generation console and game collection owned since (Sega Genesis, N64, PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4..........).

    In any event I'm glad to see retro gaming coming back. I have noticed that children don't so much care about all the latest eye candy graphics as they do the general fun gameplay. Perhaps no better example of that is the extreme mind blowing popularity of the blocky 1980s-era graphics of Minecraft. What I wonder about though is if these retro developers/publishers have made the retro games for today's 16:9 format wide screen HDTVs vs. the old 4:3 ratio of the tube TVs the older consoles were originally programmed to use in native resolution format.
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    does anyone know what company owns the atari name these days? lol
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    ^^LOL Atari has been through more owners than Warren Beatty.
    Reply
  • drgruney
    What do you mean Atari's last console came in the 80s? The Jaguar was released in 1993.
    Reply
  • Rogue Leader
    Not putting a penny down for this vaporware till the boxes show up in stores. No thanks.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    21012741 said:
    1980s-era graphics of Minecraft
    I wouldn't describe Minecraft as having "1980s-era graphics". This is what cutting edge 3D graphics looked like in 1989...

    https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/indianapolis-500-the-simulation/screenshots/gameShotId,112/

    Minecraft looks more like a mid-90s game than an 80s game in terms of visual fidelity. Of course, it allows for way more polygons on screen than you would see in any game from even that time period.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    21014149 said:
    I wouldn't describe Minecraft as having "1980s-era graphics". This is what cutting edge 3D graphics looked like in 1989...

    https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/indianapolis-500-the-simulation/screenshots/gameShotId,112/

    Minecraft looks more like a mid-90s game than an 80s game in terms of visual fidelity. Of course, it allows for way more polygons on screen than you would see in any game from even that time period.

    What I meant by that comment was about the simple blocky 90-degree angle graphics like living in a world of Lego or something compared to the extreme realistic polygon and lighting complexity of modern game graphics. My point was that today's kids find gameplay more fun than pure eye candy. I find that a good thing to stimulate the mind.
    Reply
  • helfer.pesche
    21014258 said:
    21014149 said:
    I wouldn't describe Minecraft as having "1980s-era graphics". This is what cutting edge 3D graphics looked like in 1989...

    https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/indianapolis-500-the-simulation/screenshots/gameShotId,112/

    Minecraft looks more like a mid-90s game than an 80s game in terms of visual fidelity. Of course, it allows for way more polygons on screen than you would see in any game from even that time period.

    What I meant by that comment was about the simple blocky 90-degree angle graphics like living in a world of Lego or something compared to the extreme realistic polygon and lighting complexity of modern game graphics. My point was that today's kids find gameplay more fun than pure eye candy. I find that a good thing to stimulate the mind.

    Was it ever any different? If I can choose between a great looking game with poor gameplay and a simple looking game with great gameplay I still choose the latter. Can't talk for everyone, though.
    Reply
  • dabeargrowls
    If they would only release it with paddles then I would jump on it. Anyone remember the game where you catch chicken eggs (or some bird) and it dances when you get egged? My mom loved that one. I want to hook her up with it again.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    21017150 said:
    If they would only release it with paddles then I would jump on it. Anyone remember the game where you catch chicken eggs (or some bird) and it dances when you get egged? My mom loved that one. I want to hook her up with it again.
    I wasn't actually familiar with that one before, but a search tells me it might be Eggomania...

    https://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-2600/eggomania
    Reply