Behold The POWA Of The Atari VCS

There’s been a lot of hubbub about the Atari VCS after it launched it’s Indiegogo campaign last week. It made a pretty good chunk of pre-order change within the first day, almost reaching $2 million and it is over that right now.

The thing is…I’m not really sure why.

Of course, you’d expect me to say that or to otherwise crap on it as I’ve made it clear that I’m not in any way sold on this thing. Atari is trying to angle this as some sort of revolutionary game streaming console but you can do that straight from the hardware of more powerful game consoles right now. Those consoles have plenty of game content and a flood of new titles will be announced at E3 next week. To me, this still feels like Atari trying to do something to raise the value of their brand so they can sell it off for a few more million bucks than it is currently worth.

One glaring issue is that there are no exclusive games announced for the VCS at this time. It will come with the Atari Vault which is a nice compilation of games BUT, you can buy that compilation for your PC right now for a mere $10. It’ll have Tempest 4000 on it at some point but you’ll also be able to get that for the PC/PS4 where it will certainly run better. There are a few 3rd parties listed for it but none of them are AAA…or even AA studios that create content that people recognize. Perhaps with E3 this will change but for an initial reveal, this is very underwhelming and pathetic.

One thing that people are very curious about is what kind of power an AMD A10-9700 has. The answer: not much. This is a hybrid CPU/GPU (called an APU) that is a generation behind AMD’s current star Ryzen. There are a number of other APU’s on the market right now that could give the A10 quite the beating out back in the woodshed. Yes, it can ‘run’ some modern games but certainly NOT at “4K @ 60FPS” like was touted about the console early on.

In fact, by this video showing a rig that has specs similar to the VCS, it will struggle to run many games at anything above 720p resolution. There are a couple of examples below that run at 1080p but several: CounterStrike:GO, Doom, Rise Of The Tomb Raider and so on, have to run at 720p and low or medium graphics settings. Also keep in mind as you watch this or consider the VCS in any way-  Atari is asking you to pay around $300 for this thing, the same amount of money would get you a more powerful PS4/Switch/XB1 or a game rig that will outclass the VCS by a light-year or two.

Whether we like it or not, power does matter. I remember when the WiiU was Nintendo’s primary console and it became a failure. I loved the system. It DID have a number of fun exclusives and some 3rd party support. But that support dried up soon after launch when big studios saw that the console was struggling to sell. It lacked the power of the new PS4 & Xbox One, was a pain to develop for and so developers decided to keep their investments safe with those consoles and PC. Of course Nintendo is a case of often being the underdog in power but still managing to sell very well – the Wii was a perfect example of that; as are the DS handhelds which were outclassed by Sony’s handhelds but they received the games that people wanted. Nintendo not only has franchises that millions of people buy just on the name alone – Super Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid and so on. They also have the talent with vision and a culture of game development to keep those franchises fresh.

Yes, Atari does have IP with nostalgia attached to it but it also can’t compare to what Nintendo or even Sega have done with their franchises. Atari has been a publisher, not a developer, for the past 15 years or so. They currently are made up of people that know licensing…not how to make a solid, fun game. The company hasn’t released a remake of any of their old IP in years that was highly praised or refreshed it in a way that made it feel unique and worth buying (BattleZone VR doesn’t count as that was sold to Rebellion in 2012 and they are the ones who refreshed that; it’s no longer an Atari property). All of the remakes they did attempt to do have been forgotten as quickly as a political hashtag campaign. As an example: remember Star Raiders or Yars’ Revenge on the Xbox 360? What about the three different Haunted House remakes released over the past decade? Asteroids Outpost was abandoned after a laughable Steam Early Access attempt. A number of arcade classics were refreshed for Xbox Live but again, nothing revolutionary was done with them…given new paint and thus playable but they hardly set the world on fire.

Yes I love the Tempest series but let’s be honest – Tempest 4000 is only appealing to a niche crowd of the game market. It’s not going to be the next Call Of Duty or even the next Super Mario. It was amazing how it was remade in 1994 but in 2019, we’ve ‘been there, done that’ plenty of times. Most people also aren’t into surrealistic shooters (heck, even shoot’em ups in general these days struggle to build a new audience, much less something that gamers see as “weird” and say “I don’t understand what is going on” when they do see it). Yeah I enjoyed Tempest 3000 for my NUON. But none of my friends really wanted to play it if they stopped by.

All-in-all, I don’t really get the hype for the Atari VCS so far. Maybe it is down to people also believing it will be a turd and they just want to have one to resell come 2025 when it’s a footnote in gaming history; maybe there are a few true believers in this out there but they are certainly in the minority. Too bad come July 2019, they’ll be hugely disappointed in their “investment”. Recall that the failed Ouya raised almost $9 million and it ended up as a total failure. Of course when the VCS ends up with the same fate here down the road, don’t be surprised to hear a lot of “I toldya so” going around the net.

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Gee, What A Surprise – The Atari VCS/Box Is A Scam

Well, well, well. It was only the other day (the post before this one) that I posted some evidence regarding the current state of that scam known as “Atari” and so quickly we get to see that verified:

We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap

It’s all laid to bare in that article – what I am calling the Atari VCS/Box so as to not confuse anyone with the actual Atari 2600 VCS from ages past is nothing more than an empty shell. It’s rich that the team behind it (whether that’s just one guy or if there are others) tries to compare it to a rocket launch – kudos to the writers of The Register for calling them out on their brazen BS.

If you have any sense or honor at all, DO NOT DONATE to the Atari VCS/Box crowdfunding campaign when they launch that.

Even when Atari of days past showed off hardware (such as the Mindlink, the Cosmos, the Panther, the JagDuo and so on), there was at least something there beyond a shell – schematics, developer kits, working prototype hardware, software in the works, etc. That doesn’t seem to be the case here where it’s more like: ‘let’s hype up this idea for a console, run a scam through Indiegogo to pad our pockets then retire while laughing our way to the bank.’

It’s an incredible shame that Atari is now synonymous for a scam. Hopefully, karma will be biting them in their pompous arses soon enough.

Reminder: Atari Crowdscammed People On A Gaming Smartwatch Too

Last year, newslines were all excited about the teasing to come out of Atari regarding plans for a new Atari 2600 themed microconsole called the Ataribox (now, rechristened as the Atari VCS). Since then, very little has come along about this machine which they want to charge $300 for. Next to no information on the games, just a little on features such as four USB ports, a re-designed CX-40 joystick and that it would run on Linux. They were supposed to begin a crowdfunding campaign for it back on Dec. 14th 2017 but when that date arrived, some lame excuse was offered up online and it was quietly put on the backburner. But hey, they still have an Indiegogo placeholder page

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New Aliens Game Coming To PC, Consoles

You likely heard the news about this yesterday but I just wanted to throw my two cents in about this really quick. I’m looking forward to it as the franchise has generally done well with video games (Colonial Marines excepted). Story is here.

It will be interesting to see how this goes in case the Disney buyout of Fox goes through (i.e., we’ll see if Disney doesn’t also manage to completely ruin that franchise too).

I happen to know someone at Cold Fire Studios who is working on this but nothing exclusive to share on the blog yet. 😛 I just know that it won’t be an arcade title (which some people keep asking for; if one of those happens, it will probably be Play Mechanix again).

New Console Gaming Channel: Castle Of The Games

Well hello there. It’s been another long while since I touched this blog. You know how it is. Life, yada, yada, yada and so on.

My kids have been typical of the current generation that loves watching “Youtubers” play games and they’ve been itching to do a channel. But, they lack the age required to do that, along with the expertise in capturing & editing videos together. Granted, I’m not exactly an expert in the audio department but I’ve learned my way around a video editor. Under my wing, we’ve started a new gaming channel called Castle of the Games.

That seemed to be the only name that we could all agree upon. It’s also a play on my favorite game for Windows 3.1, Castles of the Winds.

It may be a little random as we have stuff from Atari & Nintendo there but I’m wanting to throw on some ol’ PC-DOS, Dreamcast and Original Xbox stuff too. Maybe even the NUON.

For now I’ve opted not to do the channel on YouTube as they’ve been anti-Creator in their zeal to censor opinions they don’t like. Even my Arcade Heroes channel has been getting affected by YTs stupid new algorithms. In looking for alternatives, Vid.me seems to genuinely appreciate creators so for the moment we’re trying them out exclusively.

Not long after I published this, Vid.me gave up the ghost so YouTube it is. I have considered Dailymotion although that hasn’t seemed to really nab any growth (I’m surprised they are still around to be honest). There are some other, smaller alternatives out there but nothing that looks like it’s good for family content at the moment.

Here’s the latest episode, Spelunker Party for the nintendo Switch Give us a follow and feedback on what you’d like to see:

 

The Potential of the CoJag Hardware

At first I thought that this might be better suited to the confines of Arcade Heroes since it ultimately is about more content for arcades. But I’m not sure that readers there are too interested in my Atari rants. So we’ll keep it here.

Sorry about the delay in updates BTW. I’ve been very busy with life and when life gets busy, hobby blogs take a backseat. Even Arcade Heroes has taken a back seat as I remodel a new store to move my business into but that is finally calming down.

Anyways.

The Atari Jaguar is an oft maligned game system, in part because of arguments over it’s  ‘bitness’, in others over the quality of games it had. It did have several great games for it but to have become a success, it needed more of those plus more depth to many titles that gamers were expecting at the time. It just came at a strange time in the business, much like the 3DO and it ended up being Atari’s last new game system.

Atari was working on the Jaguar 2 – a backwards compatible system that was allegedly “2 to 4 times more powerful that the PlayStation”. It would have resolved some of the Jaguar’s hardware bugs while upgrading some components from 32-bit to 64-bit and some others from 64-bit to 128-bit. Prototypes have been found but alas, it was canned before completion so we’ll never know what was to be, unless you want to count the NUON as a sorta Jaguar 2.

That said, there was a Jaguar 1.5 – the CoJag. Developed by Atari Games (the arcade company and not technically part of Atari Corp., the home division), it powered AG’s biggest hit of the 90s, Area 51. It also powered Maximum Force and some unreleased games: Freeze (puzzle game), Fishing Frenzy, 3 on 3 basketball and Vicious Circle (1v1 fighter).

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Latest Zelda: Breath of the Wild Trailer

I haven’t forgotten I have this blog. But I also haven’t really had the time or focus to spend on this when my main thing is arcades and trying to put food on the table through that via various means.

So to show I am still paying some attention to the wonderful world of console video games, the latest Zelda trailer:

No Man’s Sky Learns What It Is Like To Visit The Digital Landfill

Everyone knows the legendary story of how Atari Inc. buried millions of unsold games in the New Mexico desert.

I have a feeling that the next game to find a burial somewhere (land or sea) is going to be No Man’s Sky. It certainly is experiencing a digital burial with all of the refunds that Steam is having to issue.

This was sent to me by a friend:

nsmskyrefund

I had been excited about No Man’s Sky, an indie made video game for PS4/PC that was offering up plenty of promises in the run up to release. Admittedly, I was letting myself buy into the hype although I did avoid buying the game until I saw how everything would fallout.

And fallout it did. (this was taken a few days ago when the game reached “Mostly Negative” status on Steam)

nmsky

Granted, it has become cool to hate the game at this point but that is the fault of the developers who suffered from inflated ego syndrome and a media eager to create a clickbait hero. Various developers have learned why you should be honest in marketing your game but not enough. At this point, No Man’s Sky will take the crown for most disappointing game of the year and will certainly be in the running for the decade.

Happy 39th Birthday Atari 2600

This past Sunday was the 39th anniversary to one of the greatest video game consoles ever made, the Atari 2600. Sure it had limitations and as with any popular game system, quite a few bad games. But it had a lot of great games that are still fun to play today. The graphics and sounds it produces are iconic (as a reminder to everyone that there is no such thing as 8-bit graphics, the 2600 was just as much an 8-bit machine as the NES) and show that you don’t need photorealism for a game to be fun.

To celebrate, I made this video showcasing 39 awesome Atari 2600 games. Enjoy:

The Impressive Graphics of the Atari 8-bit Era Consoles

A little while ago I stumbled across an article on an Australian gaming website called Hey Poor Player. There, a guest writer put up a list entitled “TOP 5 GRAPHICALLY IMPRESSIVE 8-BIT GAMES“. It then went on to list Sonic The Hedgehog for the Sega Master System; Metal Storm for the NES; Little Samson on the NES; Wonderboy 3 for the SMS; and for #1, Kirby’s Adventure for the NES.

Now those are fine examples of titles that did look good and I can understand that if you’ve only played those two systems that you might not branch out into other contemporaries.

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