Atari Flashback 3on January 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm
My father-in-law walked by one of these while shopping and started excitedly reminiscing about the days of him playing Atari until the wee hours of the morning, so we decided to buy him one to be nice and keep our names in the will for another few weeks at least.
There were two problems with this machine:
One: It didn’t work. The machine turned on for a second, displayed the menu, and then went BEZZZZZAWRRRRGHHHHHHH and the screen went funny. Awesome! Thankfully the store was able to swap it for another one which worked. Not a good first impression anyway.
Two: When people get excitedly nostalgic for their time playing Atari 2600, they almost never actually mean playing Atari games. Every game the father in law was expecting to play was actually a third-party game that of course wasn’t included. Space Invaders? Nope. Pitfall? Nope. Pac-Man? (thankfully) Nope. Nobody wants to play 3D Tic-Tac-Toe. Nobody wants to play that crap Atari Basketball game. When people think Atari 2600, they think about River Raid and Frogger and Decathlon. They couldn’t have cut Activision, Konami and Namco a cheque to get some of their back catalogue on board? Having worked on Game Room I know exactly how much they charge for the rights, it’s cheap as hell in the grand scheme of things. Agh. Instead it’s just the usual Atari back catalogue, though it’s still missing stuff like Klax for no good reason.
The joysticks are authentic, right down to the 9 pin connections and spongy feel that assures you that, yes, these will break the moment you start using them. I liked the fake wood paneling on the (very small) unit. The buttons on the unit are more appealing than the old switches. There are some good games – Asteroids is still neat, Combat is great if you have two players available and there’s even some fun to be had from Basketball, even if only it makes you remember that scene from Flying High.
At the end of the day though, on the Elite scale of things, this unit is Mostly Harmless. I mean, imagin if twenty years from now you could buy a PlayStation 1 that has all the games made by Sony in it and nothing else.