The Atari VCS — a part-desktop PC, part-retro console modeled after the Atari 2600 — is lastly that can be purchased at retail. Atari is promoting the console through its own site whereas Best Buy and Micro Center even have their listings. This isn’t the primary time the console has been accessible to the general public (VGC notes that IndieGoGo backers just lately obtained their consoles) nevertheless it’s the primary time the machine has been that can be purchased at retail.
The VCS has been a very long time coming. Initially teased in 2017 because the “Ataribox,” the venture re-emerged the next 12 months as the Atari VCS, with Atari operating an IndieGoGo marketing campaign to fund its growth in June 2018. Initially, the console had been on account of ship in mid-2019 however reportedly ran right into a series of development difficulties, culminating within the venture’s lead architect quitting.
The gadget that’s been launched technically does what Atari promised, however evaluations have been fairly middling. VGC says the console’s built-in collection of 100 Atari video games (18 from the arcade and 82 from the Atari 2600 console) is perhaps emulated completely, however many are “so extremely fundamental that they actually don’t maintain as much as the mildest scrutiny in 2021.” There’s additionally an app retailer the place you should buy fashionable video games, however pickings are slim and missing in exclusives.
The console technically additionally works as a streaming field for providers like Netflix and Disney Plus, however VGC notes these are simply “glorified Chrome bookmarks” fairly than native apps. Not less than the promised desktop mode really works, permitting you to put in Home windows, Linux, or ChromeOS and use the machine like a modestly-specced however cool-looking desktop PC.
For those who do determine to go down the desktop PC route, the Atari VCS is powered by an AMD Ryzen R1606G system-on-a-chip, paired with 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (each upgradeable). There are two USB three.1 ports on the entrance and two on the rear together with Ethernet and HDMI 2.zero ports. In different phrases, don’t count on this machine to rival an Xbox Sequence S regardless of its comparable $299.99 beginning value.
Suffice it to say that you just in all probability shouldn’t be dashing out to drop upwards of $299.99 on the Atari VCS (or $399.99 for the Walnut model, which comes with an included wi-fi joystick and controller, which retail individually for $59.99 every). However regardless of its flaws, it’s nonetheless an fascinating mini PC that is perhaps value testing as a curiosity when it inevitably drops in value.