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Atari VCS games really are just plain Linux desktop builds

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Now that the Atari VCS is out in the wild for plenty of IndieGoGo backers, we've seen plenty of reports of how it works and one GamingOnLinux reader gave us plenty of info.

Currently, it seems like the whole thing is still in something of a Beta stage. The software seems a little on the buggy side, and there's still not much in the way of games available for it. However, it actually does sound like a reasonable good little device - which I am sure will surprise plenty of naysayers.

User slaapliedje in our Forum has been going through details including how, yes, you really can load a plain Linux distribution up with Debian Buster tested working (once you do a couple small tweaks). All very interesting but even more so is how their own Atari World OS is clearly a normal Linux distribution with a fancy console interface on top.

Pictured: Atari 5200, 7800 and the Jaguar+CD with the Atari VCS - credit to slaapliedje

Very interesting to know just how close the VCS really is to a traditional Linux box. I thought they would have customized it more, but they appear to have stuck to what they originally said about keeping it reasonably open to the point of not even protecting the games you get on it. In an email to us, user slaapliedje mentioned how they've been able to move games on their Atari VCS over to an external drive, and then launch those games on their normal Linux desktop.

You can connect another drive to it (I am currently using a Samsung USB 3 SSD drive) and hit ESC on a keyboard, boot to USB. I installed Debian on it, which you have to use a distro that has signed keys for secure boot (so my attempt with GamerOS failed). But with the drive connected, you can copy the games from within AtariOS to other storage.

Keeping in mind this is the backer release, not the retail release, they still have time to fix up lingering issues. 

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Hardware, Misc
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45 comments
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RafiLinux 29 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeAnything in particular you'd like to see?


Installing the other OS options - Loading my GOG/other DRM Free game collection.
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: RafiLinux
Quoting: slaapliedjeAnything in particular you'd like to see?


Installing the other OS options - Loading my GOG/other DRM Free game collection.
That should work fine. I'll see about slapping Lutris on there tonight. So far I've tested Debian Sid with Mad Max (plays using the Experimental Vulkan on High with a little bit of hiccups here and there, but otherwise pretty smooth at 1280x720). I installed Doom (2016) to test proton, but it was taking it's time to download the 59gb...

I've also ran PCSX2 and Dolphin on it with decent results.
Slackdog 29 Dec, 2020
So wait... they *actually* released something *and* it works?

I'd have one just for something new with that logo but...
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: SlackdogSo wait... they *actually* released something *and* it works?

I'd have one just for something new with that logo but...
Ha, inded they did and yes it works. it is a sturdy little guy too!
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
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https://shop.atarivcs.com/developer. According to that, they only take 12% from game sales.
elmapul 29 Dec, 2020
i still dont see why anyone would purchase this thing instead of an ps4/ps5, xbox one/xbox series...
especially considering the price of this thing...

i mean, the only ones who would like to purchase it are atari nostalgic fans and linux fanboys...
i dont see how this thing will solve our chicken and egg problems of lack of games/users, or why should i care for this device.

at least they relased it this time.
elmapul 29 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjehttps://shop.atarivcs.com/developer. According to that, they only take 12% from game sales.
12% if your game is exclusive to then, otherwise they take 20%, source:


Publishers and developers will receive 88% (percent) royalty on all Atari VCS-exclusive titles, and an 80% (percent) royalty on non-exclusive titles, approved and placed in the Atari VCS store.
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: slaapliedjehttps://shop.atarivcs.com/developer. According to that, they only take 12% from game sales.
12% if your game is exclusive to then, otherwise they take 20%, source:


Publishers and developers will receive 88% (percent) royalty on all Atari VCS-exclusive titles, and an 80% (percent) royalty on non-exclusive titles, approved and placed in the Atari VCS store.
Yeah, my bad, I should have quoted the whole thing. 20% is still better than the 30% everyone else gets. Though I think it's the same as Epic? Pretty sure their exclusives are also 12% but probably not if you are not exclusive.
elmapul 29 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjehttps://shop.atarivcs.com/developer. According to that, they only take 12% from game sales.
12% if your game is exclusive to then, otherwise they take 20%, source:


Publishers and developers will receive 88% (percent) royalty on all Atari VCS-exclusive titles, and an 80% (percent) royalty on non-exclusive titles, approved and placed in the Atari VCS store.
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: elmapuli still dont see why anyone would purchase this thing instead of an ps4/ps5, xbox one/xbox series...
especially considering the price of this thing...

i mean, the only ones who would like to purchase it are atari nostalgic fans and linux fanboys...
i dont see how this thing will solve our chicken and egg problems of lack of games/users, or why should i care for this device.

at least they relased it this time.
Well, I look at it this way (being both an Atari fan and Linux fan) that now they are one and the same. It'd be like if Atari and Sega had made a console together, I'd be all over that too.

But considering the fact that I have proven I can take a game I purchased through the Atari store and just run it on my desktop (granted I'd need to do something about my Super Ultrawide monitor having a funky resolution), it means I have a great choice on where I play the software. Also hopefully means they can get some quick ports made. Already having a potential quick library, vs something like the PS5, which for the most part unless you want to play the console version of Cyberpunk, or a remaster of a PS3 game, there really aren't any unique games for it that you can't play elsewhere, or even just on the older generation PS4. That'll probably change in a year or so, but right now there isn't much point in the next gen systems.

The Atari VCS can hopefully at least get some Linux ports going for it, if not I can use it as a more powerful RetroArch / Emulationstation than the Raspberry Pi. I'm wondering how much extra oompf it gets after upgrading it to 32gb of ram (as the memory / video is shared). I believe the processor also normally runs at 2ghz, but can overclock to 3.5ghz. I haven't read of anyone doing that yet though.

The motherboard looks sweet though.
https://hardforum.com/threads/yet-another-new-atari-vcs-update.1982704/page-3
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