$30 ‘Atari Flashback 2’ offers a fun and affordable glimpse into the gaming’s past

This is obviously not directly Apple-related news, but may be of interest to some readers. Atari joysticks can work with Mac OS X, so it is somewhat related:

Atari Flashback 2 is a $30 device that “offers a fun and affordable glimpse into the gaming’s past – one that, for better and worse, looks nothing like the present,” Ron Harris reports for The Associated Press. “The console itself looks like a scaled-down version of an old Atari 2600, with faux wood paneling and other dated details. There are no cartridges to plug in, as technology advances have made it easy to stuff all of the games onto a small chip inside. And the controllers are exactly like the Atari 2600 joysticks of yore.”

Harris reports, “The unit connects to your home television through common audio and video RCA inputs. Many sets have these connections on the front, which is a bonus with this console because I found the cables that come with it a bit short. Among the 40 titles are classics like ‘Centipede,’ ‘Asteroids,’ ‘Missile Command,’ ‘Yar’s Revenge’ and ‘Pitfall.’ Some are licensed from Activision Inc., which made games for the 2600, but most are original Atari gems.”

“Atari has done a nice job of legally giving us another look at these early games, long after the consoles themselves have been relegated to the dust bin,” Harris writes.

Full article here.
Even though it was nothing like the real Pac-Man arcade game, we wish that the Flashback 2 contained Atari’s Pac-Man which isn’t included from what we can see at Atari’s Flashback 2 site. We’d settle for Ms. Pac-Man, but that doesn’t seem to be on there either.

Some might want to buy it just for the Atari 2600 Joysticks:

Stelladaptor 2600 to USB Interface (US$29.95):
The Stelladaptor 2600 Controller to USB Interface allows the use of standard Atari 2600-compatible controllers, including joysticks, paddles, and driving controllers, with modern computers running Windows, Macintosh OS X, or Linux operating systems. Any Atari 2600-compatible joystick, when plugged into your computer through the Stelladaptor, will behave as a normal joystick. This allows the use of classic Atari controllers with any software that will work with an 8-direction digital joystick controller (left, right, up, down, and diagonals).

http://www.atariage.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=267

[UPDATE: 4:17pm: Added Joystick Adapter info.]

19 Comments

  1. For the most part, only Atari brand games are included. Atari licenesed a couple Activision games for this console, but some of better known classic games from the 2600 era like Space Invaders, Pac Man, and Donkey Kong are missing due to lack of licensing rights. There are some new and never before published games included. Plus, it appears that you can also plug in Atari Paddles. The greatest thing about this system is that it uses actual brains from the original Atari, not an emulator, so the game quality is supposed to be top notch and basically exactly like the originals! It’s like Christmas 1981 all over again – except the price is about 1/10th as much as it was back then. HooRah! “Have You Played Atari Today?”

    There’s more info on this cool new system here:

    http://www.classicgaming.com/features/articles/flashback2/

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.08/play.html?pg=5

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