Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures all of our main content remains free for everyone with no article paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal, Liberapay or Buy us a Coffee. You can also buy games using our partner links for GOG and Humble Store.

Atari VCS games really are just plain Linux desktop builds

By - | Views: 29,444

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
26 Likes , Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG and Humble Store. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
45 comments
Page: «3/5»
  Go to:

elmapul 29 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedje
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.

except that the marketshare for epic @ windows is much bigger and i dont see this changing any time soon.
who would be crazy to make an exclusive game to this thing?
i would if atari fund me, after all its better to make an game exclusive to an small platform/store than make no game at all, other than that, i dont see the point.
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: slaapliedje
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.

except that the marketshare for epic @ windows is much bigger and i dont see this changing any time soon.
who would be crazy to make an exclusive game to this thing?
i would if atari fund me, after all its better to make an game exclusive to an small platform/store than make no game at all, other than that, i dont see the point.

I think someone should contact them about a Frontend to Stella, now that would just be sweet. But for sure, I'd rather just an integrated Steam client myself.
fagnerln 29 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedje
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.

To be fair, it's a bit disappointing 720p with hiccups on MadMax, 1080@30fps would be nice. They are using an APU like R3 2200G?
slaapliedje 29 Dec, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: fagnerln
Quoting: slaapliedje
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.

To be fair, it's a bit disappointing 720p with hiccups on MadMax, 1080@30fps would be nice. They are using an APU like R3 2200G?

Oh, I'm sure it runs at 30fps (I'll have to install that overlay to check). the hiccups are part of the game though, I think. I'd have to try it again on my desktop. Like it'll be perfectly smooth, then trying to turn it pauses for a second. Also I haven't upgraded mine at all, it apparently has a shared video/system memory thing, and I'm betting once I upgrade the memory to 32gb (tomorrow?) it'll perform better. I mean if it only has 4gb of system and 4gb of video...

Edit: Just checked, Debian shows 5 with free -m. So it really doesn't have much video RAM at all. Will report back after I've bumped the memory.


Last edited by slaapliedje on 29 December 2020 at 11:20 pm UTC
Dunc 29 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeOh, I'm sure it runs at 30fps (I'll have to install that overlay to check). the hiccups are part of the game though, I think.
Is it using Vulkan or OpenGL? As I recall, Mad Max was very stuttery on the latter.
slaapliedje 30 Dec, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: Dunc
Quoting: slaapliedjeOh, I'm sure it runs at 30fps (I'll have to install that overlay to check). the hiccups are part of the game though, I think.
Is it using Vulkan or OpenGL? As I recall, Mad Max was very stuttery on the latter.
I switched to Vulkan, when I first ran it, it seemed okay, but I hadn't put my controller in Xbox mode so the right analog wouldn't turn the camera. then I had to look up how to enable Vulkan as I have not played the game in a while. changed the settings to high vs normal and it ran about the same.
WJMazepas 30 Dec, 2020
Quoting: fagnerln
Quoting: slaapliedje
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.

To be fair, it's a bit disappointing 720p with hiccups on MadMax, 1080@30fps would be nice. They are using an APU like R3 2200G?

It's a R3 2200U, which is 2 Cores/4 Threads and Vega 3 so its running on par with the specs
slaapliedje 30 Dec, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Uhhh, tried to run Tomb-Raider and it complains I can't initialize Direct3D, wtf Feral?
kokoko3k 30 Dec, 2020
I see netflix and prime video in the application list.
Are they just wrappers around a chromium browser?
What streaming resolution do they reach?
slaapliedje 30 Dec, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: kokoko3kI see netflix and prime video in the application list.
Are they just wrappers around a chromium browser?
What streaming resolution do they reach?
From my understanding they are. I have not yet set up either of them yet. There is an HBO Max one as well, but then I haven't set that up anywhere since Amazon Prime is where I have my HBO subscription and I thought it was horse shit that now they want me to have a separate app :P
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
Login / Register

Or login with...
Sign in with Steam Sign in with Twitter Sign in with Google
Social logins require cookies to stay logged in.

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams