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Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition an Honest Review

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I know I'm four of five years late to the party, but hunting for AtGames products during the holidays has become somewhat of a strange tradition in our family. Hoping to find an upgraded flashback or a new portable wasn't to happen this year. And while at first, I laughed at the idea that Menards was having the 2017 AFB8GAE for 40 bucks this year for Black Friday, I instantly realized I didn't already own one and it seemed like a fun item to hunt for at a great price and stopped scoffing at the idea pretty instantly. Keep in mind I am 40+ years old and have never shopped on Black Friday.


I rushed into Menards, and of course it was impossible to find, because it's a damn hardware store. I finally asked a worker and he shows me around a dozen of them. I'm super stoked to find them not sold out and he tells me they have sold maybe four all day. It is like 2pm and they opened at 6am. I realized pretty quickly that I'm an old weirdo and no one cares but me. LOL. But, I'm still happy. My endorphins are still real, so whatever. I got home, spammed it all over the forum, and am still doing so. And here is what I think.


When I opened the box, I was greeted with an HDMI cord right on top. Nice! Because my OCD would force me to go out and get another HDMI cord to dedicate to this system. I am not used to that with the non-gold flashbacks. Next, it has the best lineup of built-in games. it is lacking Frogger and Space Invaders, but so are the other units, because the 2600 versions were swapped with ports. So, we aren't missing anything here. The wireless joysticks are sweet. I am a wired joystick diehard, and I own a lot of AFBs, but none of the Golds units with the 2.4Ghz wireless joysticks, they are cool. There is no SD Cards slot and no OTG support. but that's okay because I have the AFB9 and AFBX. At this point in time, I have added so many 7800 and 8bit games to those units that I rarely play 2600 games on them, so it was nice to get back to 2600 only with the AFB8. There are a lot of solid titles on the console (130 total) and it seems that with a USB port and ADB you can add a few more. Which is arguably more fun than actually playing video games if you ask me.


The side mounted HDMI port is wonky, the power adapter isn't micro-USB, so definitely can't lose or break that sucker. The UI is snazzy, but a little clumsy to navigate. It's a one button joystick and I'm a pro gamer, so no deal breaker there. It took a couple minutes to learn the menu. Emulation quality is decent. It reminds me more of the AFB9 than the AFBX, smoother. Rewind operates a little differently here too, it just jumps back 7 seconds, instead of being able to rewind your entire game so far. I can handle that with 2600 only games, though. Paddles work as well as they are going to work here out of the box, which is also a plus.

I then realized that Aquaventure, Saboteur and Yars' Return are all one here. Plus, a lot of other cool stuff like Adventure II and Atari Climber. Not that it's hard to play those games, but with the "new" carts coming out at such an absorbent, money grabbing amount, I thought I should go share this sale in the thread about those game's "official" releases. :)  It seems to me you could sell these for $80 and double your money. Or pick up two and sell one to offset your purchase and get one for free-ish. I checked online yesterday and there really weren't any Activision Editions floating around. I see they are popping up on Ebay at right under $100 now. One guy has ten of them. I wonder from what dusty storage building they came from and how many Menards got. I wonder where the hell all the woodgrain AFBPs are. Maybe next year?

Edited by Draxxon
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Ok so this review is turning into a blog. First things first, the novelty of the wireless sticks has worn off after two days. Wired sticks are better. I noticed while playing centipede, with wireless sticks its almost impossible to shoot the falling asteroids. You know you have to move fast and be accurate to shoot those, yeah well, thats not happening with wireless sticks, moving on.

I see why people said to use notepad++ to edit the all-games.ini file for the AFB9 and AFBX (you dont have to btw, regular notepad works for those). Its because on the AFB8 you have to use notepad++. I also know why everyone thinks the AFB9/X is Android and not Linux, like it is. Because the AFB8 was Android. 


I see there are 11 extra games down in the system. I had read that the AFB8AE had no "locked" games, but that isn't true. They were looking for commented out entries in the all-games.ini file, well there aren't any entries, but the roms and art are there.


3 games dont work. So far anyways. The Frogger and Space Invaders port's art and .a26 file are present, but they dont launch. Im guessing the APK files arent present?? I need to look into it more today. Z-Tack is in there, the art is blank, and the game doesn't launch. But 8 of the 11 do work. These are the missing Good Deal Games Homebrew and the Taito games that got removed from the AFB8AE.


They are.... Chase It, Escape It, Miss It, Frontline, Jungle Hunt, Polaris, Shield Shifter and Zaxxon. I cut and pasted their all-games.ini entries from the AFBX so they look legit in the menu. Zaxxon has the CBS box art, so I still need to flip that.


i see that the AFBX android tools sees the 8AE as "One ADB device found". I wonder if I could create an for people to just easily flash, instead of all this back and forth on ADB. I need to check out Android Commander, I guess. I am going to sort out properly unlocking the hidden built in games and post the new all-games.ini file here later on.


I have been using ADB and it is a PITA. I read the Android Commander is easier. Any input, @Velvis, @BitMerge6502 or @KevinMos3

Edited by Draxxon
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Okay, I have added the 8 working locked away games. I also added the real 2600 versions of Frogger and Space Invaders. I read a few different things about getting frogger and space invaders to work. I named them NotAPortA.a26 and NotAPortB.a26 to avoid any confusion. (Frogger is A and Space Invaders is B).

I fixed some box art. Zaxxon got the US box, atari climber and yars revenge got the crappy screenshot boxes replaced. Wizard got a box instead of a label. And I flipped Yars Return, Saboteur and Aquaventure to the new AtariXP boxes. Space Invaders port art got flipped to the US box as well. The only thing left that I see is Shield Shifters looks like a label, but there is no official box style of image I can find.


I am going to try Android Commander next. I also want to add the rest of the activision and Imagic titles. Then the Coleco and M Network games. Im not going to go crazy with adding a shit ton of stuff for this unit. It looks like the NAND is 3GB if I am looking at it correctly. So, I should have no problem with space. Here are the files I have ADB pushed so far.


Just an FYI, you adb push the all-games.ini to /system/atgames. You adb push the roms and art to /system/atgames/Atari.

Edited by Draxxon
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I have one of these sitting on my shelf (FB8 Gold, non Activision), I was never brave enough to try to mod it, but maybe you will inspire me to take a crack at it one of these days!


Edited by Tifany
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the way i did it was I took a USB extension cable and cut off the female end to use as a port. I connect the AFB8 to the PC with a male to male USB cable from my video capture device. There were a few different tutorials I followed. One said to solder all four wires, one said only 3 and power isnt needed. I only soldered the 3 because I can always solder power later. (maybe to use a flashdrive at some point, Im not really sure of the purpose yet.)


I then cut a hole in the case where it sure looks like a usb port was planned to be. And I mounted the female end/usb port in the hole so I can access it from outside the case. I will post some better pics of the port at some point. here is the main image that was most helpful to me.





on the AFB8GAE the solder points are not labeled but they are the same. Top hole is +5V and where the red wire connects if that is something you want to try (flashdrive???). I did it just like this image. white goes to the second hole from the top. Green goes in the third, and black ground goes in the 5th, holes 4 and 6 are unused.

you can order some parts and use a header pin and a port but you dont have to. A few of the tutorials show that. I suppose that is a nice and clean/professional way to add it, but then you have to open up your system anytime you want access to the port. Im fine with the kitchen table job i turned out. Its solid and looks not bad to me.

ADB (Android Debug Bridge) "pushing" these files one at a time with command prompt is a PITA. The port was relatively easy. Im looking for a faster/better/easier way to move these files. Download Android Commander for Windows free | Uptodown.com

Edited by Draxxon
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Im still chugging along. I am now up to 190 games. I added all the Activision games, and all the games that appeared on other flashbacks. I cut and pasted the new game descriptions from the AFB8G, AFB9G and AFBXD units. It looks pretty polished with legit descriptions.


I found this helpful for moving multiple files with ADB...


From command prompt. (My /adb folder in on my C:)


cd \adb\platform-tools\

adb shell mount -o rw,remount,rw /system

adb push all-games.ini /system/atgames

for %i in (*.a26) do adb push %i /system/atgames/Atari/%i

for %i in (*.png) do adb push %i /system/atgames/Atari/%i



I have a couple questions for those that have been messing with this for longer than I have.


Pitfall II is unplayable, correct?

Is there a compatibility list for the atgames emulator on the AFB8?

Is it similar to the AFB Portable? Meaning, will the portables rom pack be helpful here?


'Biggest problem I have at this point is there is no /game folder or any easy way to test roms. ADB pushing ROMs to find they don't work is a drag.

I am going to get the game count up to 200, test the new roms, and post an update pack here. So far I haven't seen any indication that loading up a lot of games, or even very long descriptions on games, is making anything slower to boot up or load. With possibly the exception of Space Shuttle. That game has a very very long description and takes a half a second longer to get to the details page (I think). But, that is a stock game and description, and that particular game needs a long description. So I am going to leave it alone. The way the AFB8 vs the AFB9/X UI menu operates, I dont think we are going to see the extra boot time from adding games.

Edited by Draxxon
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So it looks like you can only add about 70 games before it starts to bog down. Here is a stock all-games.ini file in case anyone needs it in the future. It may come in handy to have a backup here.



Normally I like to keep the built-in games and just add more, but with only 70 games before issues, games like Hangman and Fun with Numbers are going to have to go bye-bye. And as far as the games locked on the system, like Miss It, Chase It and Escape It... might have to "skip it".

I added my favorite Atari, Activision, Imagic, Coleco, MNetwork, PakerBros, Konami and Taito games. (Sega and 20thFox didn't make it, but if after testing I lose a few, then Sega is going in).


EDIT: I see Amidar doesn't work???

Edited by Draxxon
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So far...


Pitfall II (DPC game)

Amidar  (Cant start game)

Klax (PAL, cant start game)

Thwocker (Activision Proto, black screen)

Wing War (PAL, cant see BG obstacles)

Fighter Pilot (Game freezes after a few seconds)


...Do not work.

Edited by Draxxon
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Ok, based on the recommendation of Draxxon and my Activision tirade in another post I was able to grab one of the 8 Gold Activision versions at the local Mernards for the $40. I am not a "hacker" or "modifier" so I will just play it as it is. My quick thoughts as this is my first Flashback (I do have mini NES & SNES from Nintendo). Overall I thought it was easy to use and hunt around for the games. The interface was decent and breaking it down by only Activision games was a nice plus. The controllers are cheap and smaller but still felt good as it had been a long time since I used one of the Atari joysticks. Loved having it be cordless, the buttons on the P1 controller, super convenient. Either I am really bad at these games (possible) or there is a lag with the bluetooth as mentioned previously. I give myself about a week before I either break the joystick (from very fervent and angry play or just chucking it to the ground in anger). Now, the collecting nerd that I am went ahead and wikipediad the flashback series, printed out the comparative checklist of all the different versions, cross referenced it with the Switch version of Atari Flashback classics with which games that are missing on this versus that and then I will cross-reference that to the games on other versions of Flashback. If I can get those cheap I will pick up (really missing Frogger, Space Invaders & Burgertime). Otherwise, I will just enjoy this in all its pretty decent but super cheap glory. 


Oh, and if you can guess the first game, 3 games, and 5 games I played in order I will give you a prize (even better than an NFT it's a JIIRT). Hint, they were all Activision games. Good Luck!

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I added added 70 games total. Kevin Mos3s warned me that any more and things would start to run slow. He was correct. I added 220 and noticed it. I removed 10 and it got a little better. Down to 200 and everything was good.


I wish there was a way to have an alternate all-games.ini file of 200 games that you could somehow switch to.

I play a lot of Enduro and River Raid mostly. I added Barnstorming and Robot Tank to the mix. These modern flashbacks have ruined me though. I was playing Centipede on the AFB2 earlier and I kept trying to push the rewind button. Well, there is no rewind button. lol.

Edited by Draxxon
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 @jbmindtrick  Using my handy dandy permutations calculator,  38P560,233,040.

I think I will buy a lottery ticket instead,  better odds.

Barnstorming (Activision title)
Beamrider (Activision title)
Boxing (Activision title)
Bridge (Activision title)
Checkers (Activision title)
Chopper Command (Activision title)
Cosmic Commuter (Activision title)
Crackpots (Activision title)
Decathlon (Activision title)
Dolphin (Activision title)
Dragster (Activision title)
Enduro (Activision title)
Fishing Derby (Activision title)
Freeway (Activision title)
Frostbite (Activision title)
Grand Prix (Activision title)
H.E.R.O. (Activision title)
Ice Hockey (Activision title)
Kaboom! (Activision title)
Keystone Kapers (Activision title)
Laser Blast (Activision title)
Megamania (Activision title)
Oink! (Activision title)
Pitfall! (Activision title)
Plaque Attack (Activision title)
Pressure Cooker (Activision title)
Private Eye (Activision title)
River Raid (Activision title)
River Raid II (Activision title)
Robot Tank (Activision title)
Seaquest (Activision title)
Skiing (Activision title)
Sky Jinks (Activision title)
Space Shuttle (Activision title)
Spider Fighter (Activision title)
Stampede (Activision title)
Starmaster (Activision title)
Tennis (Activision title)



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So in case anyone is interested. I went back and compared the Atari Flashback Classics (Switch) list with the master list of games on all versions of the Flashback series and then specifically my 8 Gold Activision edition. I wanted to see how many games I would be missing from these compared to just owning both and if interested what the best way would be to accumulate them. There are 29 games in the Flashback series that are not on those two that I would be currently missing. The most bang for the buck seems to come from X Deluxe but not all are available. I am not sure what's specifically on the VCS Vaults and available in the store as I am waiting on mine to be delivered (maybe update when I do). Anyways, if anyone is interested here is what is missing and the best way to get these games:


Flashback X Deluxe:


Asteroids Deluxe


Burnin' Rubber

Chase It!

Escape It!


Front Line


Jungle Hunt

Lock n' Chase

Marine Wars

Miss It!

Pong-Video Olympics


Shield Shifter

Space Invaders

Space Raid

Strategy X

Super Cobra



Caverns of Mars (FB 2)

Charley Chuck's Food Fight (FB 1)

Lunar Lander (FB 2/3)

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns (FB 9 Gold)

Planet Smashers (FB 1)

Real Sports Boxing (FB 3)

Space Duel (FB 2/3)

Strip Off (FB 5, 6, 7 & 9 Gold)

Edited by jbmindtrick
Changed total number of games.
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Frogger and Space Invaders arent the 2600 versions.

Did you check the flashback portables as well? Pretty sure they offered Pac-Man 4K and 8K.

Atari flashback 9 or X running project Nexus has all of those. Even the AFB1 NES ports.

FB8 has a different emulator than the AFB9/X. I didn't have any luck getting Amidar to work and I know Pitfall II doesnt work.



Edited by Draxxon
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