MegaManFan Posted December 28, 2022 Share Posted December 28, 2022 (edited) Last week there was a limited time only sale on all (modern) Atari VCS hardware and accessories on the Atari website, so I decided to plunk down the money for just the base unit seeing as how it was $40 off and I could use my own controllers with it -- more on that in a minute. The cost of shipping was surprisingly reasonable given it was being sent by FedEx and got here in just under a week. My order even updated the tracking via the Shop mobile app which was a huge plus. Now here's where I'll give a bit of a spoiler on the video I was filming at the same time. I'm under no illusions this is "Atari" as we know it and fell in love with it (if you're as old as I am anyway). This is not Nolan Bushnell's Atari, nor Ray Kassar's, nor Jack Tramiel's, nor is it based in Sunnyvale or any of the other historic things we know. In a lot of ways this console is a glorified RetroPi or Linux box with an Atari logo slapped on it and some games pre-loaded into it. I accept it is what it is and just wanted a new toy to dink around with. Unfortunately it was not as plug and play as I had expected. I tried pairing various Bluetooth controllers out of the box, and although they'd pair according to the onscreen notifications, nothing acted like the "Atari logo" button the console was expecting from one of their proprietary controllers. I'd push every button on a PS5, PS4, Xbox One controller, et cetera. I tried plugging them in via USB too. Again I'd get a notification but nothing would go past the launch screen. Eventually from Googling and reading threads I saw someone say to plug in a keyboard and hit escape. THAT got me past the opening screen! Nothing else would. Installing the updates takes a shockingly long amount of time -- so long that I got up, walked away, started reading AtariAge to see if I was doing something wrong... and then it finished when I wasn't looking. Well, it finished rebooting anyway. Then it told me I had to update the bios and reboot AGAIN. Now I shouldn't be a nervous nelly about that, but considering I had an Evercade Vs brick when doing the company's own firmware update, seeing a screen that looked like a hard drive defrag nearly gave me a panic attack. I waited until it got to 100% and rebooted again though, and the good news is that this seemed to fix pairing issues as well. I could now use a PS4 controller wirelessly with Bluetooth straight away. Fantastic. Downloading and using the "companion app" on a mobile phone feels like a party trick. "Hey look what I can do remotely!" I mean there might be some use to it if your controller randomly loses sync with the console and you need another way to get back to the main menu and re-pair it, but otherwise I'm not sure it's necessary. The built in pack of Atari 2600 and arcade games is solid. It's nothing you couldn't get on the Atari 50th anniversary collection on modern consoles. In fact it's less. There are no Jaguar or Lynx games here. There are no interviews here or box art scans you can rotate and zoom. It's hard not to compare the two and think that if you already owned a Switch, you could buy it and get more for far less money. If you had to buy a Switch or a PS5 or Xbox first then obviously the VCS would be a better value but with less Atari history. Irony? I'm interested to purchase a few games through their storefront and see what that experience is like. I'm also given to understand you can switch to "PC mode" either with a proprietary dongle sold by Atari or some other clever means. Since there are USB ports I assume you could use an external hard drive with FAT 32 or NFTS formatting (probably not Mac journaled). I don't know the specs on the chip set inside without going to Wikipedia or digging around on AA, but if it's powerful enough to emulate vintage Atari arcade games (they run fine from what I've tried) I imagine it could emulate anything up to say the 32 bit era reasonably well. I don't expect it to do Saturn, Dreamcast, N64 or GameCube flawlessly. I'd be pleasantly surprised if it could. Edited December 28, 2022 by MegaManFan 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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