Yes, that blog title is hinting at the subject of this post. Care to take a guess? Ok, yes, it was obvious to anyone with half a functioning brain that I'm referring to the Atari VCS, of which I am now a proud and unworthy user. As you can see by my thread in the VCS forum, I purchased this last December when Atari had a big sale going on, but didn't hook it up then because I simply didn't have room to do so. Fast forward about 9 months or so, and the recent news about Atari purchasing this very website has kind of lit a flame under my rear, and one of the consequences of that was me finally getting around to hooking up the box.
Well, you can read my impressions of it in that thread if you want to know what I think. It's both a car crash and a miracle rolled up into one piece of technology, and I'm having quite a good time with it so far, despite its obvious flaws. There's tons of unrealized potential in this box, but at the same time just looking at it fills me with excitement....it's really hard to explain. Should I be enjoying it as much as I am? Probably not, and let's face it, there are plenty of good and valid reasons to find it an utter disappointment. The system has plenty of glitches and bugs that drive me to the point of insanity at times, such as my controller not wanting to sync up for a full minute despite the fact that it actually wakes up the unit (explain that to me, someone, PLEASE), the fact that I sometimes have to double-press the A button on the home screen to open a game, the default settings for MAME in 7800 games being far less than ideal....the list of problems goes on and on and on.
Yet....I can't stop playing with it, going round after round in Amoeba Jump, doing a few rounds of Caverns of Mars Recharged, or getting my butt kicked in Donut Dodo, I've spent far more time the last 3 days playing on this system than I have spent on my Wii in the last month. It's crazy. Maybe it's that glowing fuji that's putting so much joy into me? Maybe it's the promise of what could come of this iteration of Atari in the future? And actually, that last bit I think hits the nail on the head. I'm feeling inspiration from my all-time favorite brand that puts me back to how I felt as a kid when I first played on the Atari 2600, or when I first opened a present on Christmas to find a 130XE, or when I walked into Babbage's first thing after getting home from boot camp to buy my Atari Jaguar, or even the first day I discovered this website. It's the magic of Atari being rekindled in me for some strange reason, giving a person who feels stuck at the moment in life the swift kick in the ass they need to make something good happen. And I think that's best thing that this little black box that somewhat resembles a Vader 2600 could possibly give to me.