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The Linux-powered games console the Ataribox has become the Atari VCS

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Atari has announced that the unreleased Ataribox has been rebranded as the Atari VCS [Official Site] and they say they will reveal the date for pre-orders next month. Their wording has been interesting, as they say the "pre-order date to be announced in April.", not that it actually will begin in April. They're still being all very coy about it all.

Originally, the Atari VCS under the name of the Ataribox was due to have pre-orders start towards the end of last year in December. This was then delayed, as Atari stated something about it missing a "key element on our checklist". We still have no idea what this was, as they're not yet saying.

Here's the latest shots they've sent around, it sure does look like something I wouldn't mind owning:

The gamepad is also looking really rather slick. Sometimes it's simplicity that creates beauty, I'm not saying it's the best looking gamepad out there, but you have to admit it does look pretty nice. Looks like a good size too, like it might actually fit in my hands properly…

I hope it does genuinely turn into something interesting, as an open Linux-powered games console with backing from someone to see it through could be a good boost for Linux gaming overall. What actually happens remains to be seen, will it be a force to be reckoned with or will it see another delay? Who knows, but we shall keep you informed.

We still know too little details about it—sure they've given some hardware specifications and they said it will remain based on Linux, with access to the underlying system free of restraints, but the key fact here is that they haven't shown it actually working in any form at all. That's what worries me the most after all this time. On top of that, their official site is using quotes with no source that seem pretty made up from randomly picked names.

What do you think?

Still amusing they listed us on their press page.

18 Likes, Who?
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30 comments
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slaapliedje 20 March 2018 at 5:15 pm UTC
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wvstolzing
tuubi
kneekooAnd there's the fact that they didn't put up a (marketing) fight to attract people like me, who never touched an Amiga system before.
If you'd mixed up Amiga and Atari back in the 16bit A500/ST days, you'd have had both camps coming after you with torches and pitchforks. ;)

I'd fear a personal 'Jack Attack' from Mr. Tramiel himself.

To be technical; The Atari VCS (Original 2600) had Jay Miner as one of the designers. Same with the Atari 8bits. Then most of the designers left Atari, formed the HiToro company which later became Amiga, then was bought by Commodore...

And Atari was supposed to own them.. it's a whole thing...

So architecturally, Stella->ANTIC/POKEY->Agnus/Paula. C64 dudes designed the Atari ST.

Of course the newly planned / renamed VCS has nothing to do with any of that!
kneekoo 20 March 2018 at 9:02 pm UTC
tuubiIf you'd mixed up Amiga and Atari back in the 16bit A500/ST days, you'd have had both camps coming after you with torches and pitchforks. ;)
I never owned a gaming console because I never found them interesting and useful enough. For that matter, I never even bought a handheld Tetris or some other game, because they are too "specialized" for my taste.

So if the brand new Atari VCS can do more things than a gaming console, I will consider it. That means it would have to be a decent PC under the hood, with a regular GNU/Linux distro. From what we know so far, that seems to be the case already. But we'll have to wait and see.
tuubi 20 March 2018 at 10:58 pm UTC
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kneekoo
tuubiIf you'd mixed up Amiga and Atari back in the 16bit A500/ST days, you'd have had both camps coming after you with torches and pitchforks. ;)
I never owned a gaming console because I never found them interesting and useful enough.
Neither did I. Despite the gaming focus, these were personal computers, not consoles.
wvstolzing 21 March 2018 at 5:27 pm UTC
slaapliedjeAnd Atari was supposed to own them.. it's a whole thing...

The unconsummated Atari deal, how Amiga bailed themselves out at the last moment, etc., is an interesting story ... like pretty much all stories from the Amiga's short life.

One can always read about such things, of course; but we also have the chance to see the people who were personally involved. This is a really great documentary, that I'd wholeheartedly recommend -- it's sold on Steam; before that it was a kickstarter:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/551260/From_Bedrooms_to_Billions_The_Amiga_Years/

There's really well made, informative, accurate stuff on youtube as well. The following excerpt has plenty about the Atari deal, from Jack Tramiel's perspective (Atari stuff begins on the 10:30 mark):

View video on youtube.com


Last edited by wvstolzing at 21 March 2018 at 6:45 pm UTC
slaapliedje 21 March 2018 at 9:28 pm UTC
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Atari's long history has so many missed opportunities. It was only within the last year or so that I learned they could have been the US distributors for the NES. Instead they decided to push their 7800, which failed pretty miserably. Though sadly (much like the Sega Master System) was the superior hardware, just lacked games. Nintendo's savage marketing and distribution deals is about the only reason it won that era of console wars.
Dunc 22 March 2018 at 8:01 pm UTC
NeptNutz
LeopardKey element = Exclusive games to Atari VCS
To me, Atari + Key Element = PADDLES
Apparently - I just discovered this today - the retro controller works as a paddle if you rotate the stick. It remains to be seen how well that'll work, but it's a cool idea.
kneekoo 22 March 2018 at 9:07 pm UTC
Amazing. 3 days later and they still didn't fix their broken reCAPTCHA implementation. I wonder why they keep the Ataribox website online if no one handles it.
NeptNutz 23 March 2018 at 3:32 am UTC
Dunc
NeptNutz
LeopardKey element = Exclusive games to Atari VCS
To me, Atari + Key Element = PADDLES
Apparently - I just discovered this today - the retro controller works as a paddle if you rotate the stick. It remains to be seen how well that'll work, but it's a cool idea.
I can't recall if this is correct. The 2600 classic joysticks on my Flashback 2 system don't do this.

The two advantages with paddle knobs is both speed and accuracy (not unlike mouse and keyboard). When you switch to a joystick, even if it has a rotation function, you are still going from fine-motor to gross-motor control. Hence, accuracy suffers.

Anyone who cut their teeth on the original PONG system, and Breakout or Tempest at the arcade, definitely knows the difference.
Dunc 23 March 2018 at 3:51 am UTC
NeptNutz
DuncApparently - I just discovered this today - the retro controller works as a paddle if you rotate the stick. It remains to be seen how well that'll work, but it's a cool idea.
I can't recall if this is correct. The 2600 classic joysticks on my Flashback 2 system don't do this.
I mean the ones for the new VCS.

As I say, it may or may not work as well as a real paddle. It all depends on how it's implemented. I can imagine it being just like a paddle with nice, fine, smooth control, but then will that get in the way of it functioning well as a joystick? As with everything involving this console, we'll just have to wait and see.
NeptNutz 24 March 2018 at 1:17 am UTC
slaapliedje
wvstolzing
tuubi
kneekooAnd there's the fact that they didn't put up a (marketing) fight to attract people like me, who never touched an Amiga system before.
If you'd mixed up Amiga and Atari back in the 16bit A500/ST days, you'd have had both camps coming after you with torches and pitchforks. ;)

I'd fear a personal 'Jack Attack' from Mr. Tramiel himself.

To be technical; The Atari VCS (Original 2600) had Jay Miner as one of the designers. Same with the Atari 8bits. Then most of the designers left Atari, formed the HiToro company which later became Amiga, then was bought by Commodore...

And Atari was supposed to own them.. it's a whole thing...

So architecturally, Stella->ANTIC/POKEY->Agnus/Paula. C64 dudes designed the Atari ST.

Of course the newly planned / renamed VCS has nothing to do with any of that!

View video on youtube.com

View video on youtube.com


Last edited by NeptNutz at 24 March 2018 at 1:18 am UTC
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