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Atari Announces an Official Portable 2600 System 279

Posted by timothy
from the just-happy-to-see-you dept.
Bill Kendrick writes: "Infogrames (the folks who now own Atari) have just struck a deal with another company to produce a 10-in-1 video game system based on the Atari 2600. It'll be joystick-shaped, plug into a TV set, cost only $20, and include games like Combat, Asteroids, Missile Command, and my favorite, Adventure! It won't replace my Atari 2600 Jr and 60 cartridges, but it's a step in the right direction!"
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Atari Announces an Official Portable 2600 System

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  • Hell Yah (Score:3, Funny)

    by red5 (51324) <gired5@gmail.BALDWINcom minus author> on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @05:37AM (#3522446) Homepage Journal
    Now if only I could get games for my lynx :)
    • Re:Hell Yah (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      try http://www.atarihq.de
      they delivered to me 8 times reliably
    • Re:Hell Yah (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tet (2721) <[slashdot] [at] [astradyne.co.uk]> on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:26AM (#3522538) Homepage Journal
      Now if only I could get games for my lynx :)

      If you live in the UK, head on down to your local Game [game-retail.co.uk] store. Mine's still selling Lynx and Jaguar games (and indeed, Jaguar consoles!).

    • Re:Hell Yah (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bill Kendrick (19287)
      Songbird Productions ( http://songbird.atari.net/ [atari.net] ) produces NEW Atari Lynx games. :)
  • by Disevidence (576586) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @05:38AM (#3522450) Homepage Journal
    I mean, imagine having a joystick-like thing in your pocket, walking to a friends house down the street?
  • Original? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supercytro (527265) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @05:39AM (#3522453)
    It's amazing how Atari are constantly heard to resurrect itself only to push out the same games again and again, only to surprise itself when it doesn't pay off profitably... even in this instance, cheap many-in-one tv classic games systems have been sold so it's not even first with this strategy...
    • It's amazing how Atari are constantly heard to resurrect itself only to push out the same games again and again, only to surprise itself when it doesn't pay off profitably
      Hey, it always worked for Nintendo! ;)
  • by neier (103246) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @05:41AM (#3522461)
    Sony reacted to the new product as expected. Effective Friday, the price on all PS2's will be dropped to $19.95....
    • In a shock announcement in reply to Sony's announcement Microsoft said they would be giving away a free X-Box with each copy of Windows.
      • Don't you mean,
        "In a shock announcement in reply to Sony's announcement Microsoft said they would be giving away a free X-Box with each copy of Windows XP Gaming Edition, the bundle value priced at $399.95."

        -sni
  • 10 games and a console for $20 !
    think about getting richer !

    it's the same with MAME or P2P to get
    records from the 80's : my purchasing power
    has increased by millions, well beyond
    my wildest dreams of the time !

    10's of consoles and computers for a few bucks,
    thousands of games and weeks of pop music...

    funny how a 1981 Porsche in good shape
    still costs a lot...
    (think Risky Business here)
  • Mega Joy 2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by FrenZon (65408) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @05:54AM (#3522498) Homepage
    There's something like this already available in the mega joy 2 [firebox.com] - since the games are all unlicenced, they all have different names, but you get three-times the names.
    • Unfortunately the Mega Joy 2 seems to be PAL only. A converter would help, but it'd be nice to just take it anywhere and plug it in.

      -Steve
    • Re:Mega Joy 2 (Score:2, Informative)

      by raindog2 (91790)
      The MJ2 and its various clones are actually based on the NES (8-bit Nintendo). Still nostalgic, and I'd buy it just to play Mappy on hotel room TV's, but really aimed at the generation after those who would buy this Atari thing ;)

      OTOH, there is already a licensed Activision one which I see now and then at Toys-R-Us and Walmart, and that one is based on the 2600 (and includes Pitfall, among others.) In fact, it's from the same Jakks subsidiary, Toymax:

      http://www.toymax.com/ToyCentral/EL/10in1.htm [toymax.com]

      As I understand it, it's not actually a complete clone of the 2600, just enough to get those specific games working (and apparently the Atari-licensed ones in the new version as well.)
  • Though you can get a NES clone in the UK - built into a N64 controller - for £15-30!
  • by brejc8 (223089) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:04AM (#3522513) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone have the Atari 2600 schematics and details of its consruction and roms? Every year the third years have to create something as a part of their third year project and its allways something that never gets used anyway. So making all the chips in hardware on an FPGA might be cool.
  • One thing missing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by x136 (513282) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:06AM (#3522516) Homepage
    It would be perfect (in my book) if it had an actual 2600 cartridge slot. Both joysticks for my 2600 are pretty much dead, the console itself may be too. But I have a bunch of games I miss playing, and emulation doesn't cut it for me.

    That said, it's still cool. :) Too bad it doesn't have River Raid built in. Oh well.
  • Sad really (Score:4, Informative)

    by Diabolical (2110) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:08AM (#3522517) Homepage
    It's sad to see Atari's legacy being abused by yet another company who just lives on Atari's fame.

    Atari used to be a great systems manufacturer as well as a gaming company. Their ST line was very good and could compete with the Amiga in it's days. Their STacy an STBook were great portables where the STBook was way better then what any company could offer as a portable. It took years for the industrie to reach the same kind of portability as the STBook offered.

    Alas, Atari is no more. The companies diverse owners just broke it into little parts and sold them to the highest bidders.. There are few companies which have had a change of ownership so frequently as Atari has.

    Take a look at http://www.atari-history.com for some background information on Atari and it's products
    • Re:Sad really (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, it could compete and then lose with the Amiga. Seriously, the Amiga was so much better than the ST. The AmigaOS was exceptionally well-desgined and resource-efficient (for the time), and the Amiga gfx hardware was extremely powerful (for the time), with some better 2D abilities than even modern PC gfx cards (sync-to-external-video capability and sub-pixel scrolling, for example, not to mention the beam-synchronised gfx coprocessor for special effects...)

      It's just a shame the Amiga and Atari ST spent so much time fighting eachother, instead of the real enemy, the PC, which was so incredibly inferior to either at the time.
      • by larien (5608) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:46AM (#3522569) Homepage Journal
        Let the ST vs Amiga flamewars commence! :)
        • I'm a huge Atari fan (own a 2600, 2600 Jr, two Jaguars, two Lynxes, a 1200XL, an 800XL and an 800), but honestly, I never liked the ST.

          The Amiga was MUCH more impressive to me. I still want to get a 500 or 1000 one of these days.

          One of the things not many people know is that the Amiga was actually designed by a lot of the same people who designed the 2600 and/or 400/800, and some of whom went on to design the Lynx.

          They share a lot of the same nifty architecture. (Atari 800's "Display List Interrupt" was just the early version of Amiga's "Copper"... and the Atari Lynx has the same feature, though I don't know if it has a specific name)

          Atari ST was pretty much Tramiel's idea which he brought over when he moved from Commodore to Atari.

          Weird, no?
      • Yeah, but could you play multiplayer netmaze on several Amigas by daisy-chaining their MIDI ports together?

        Oh yeah, and I think you could actually use the ST MIDI ports for MIDI too ;) Seriously though, before Macs became (slightly) more affordable, there was a time when an ST with Cubase was a decent sequencing solution.
      • Even though I wrote software for the ST, and have never used an Amiga, I'd guess that you're right. The Atari did offer a powerful piece of hardware at a good price; but the OS, 'TOS', was not well-developed. I was one of the earliest app. developers (HabaWriter), and constantly had to fight with bugs that never seemed to get fixed. The GUI was a port of GEM, but was not nearly as stable as the x86 version.

        (Funny, though, how GEM could run on both big- and little-endian systems way back in the mid-80's.)
    • Re:Sad really (Score:2, Insightful)

      by goodEvans (112958)
      It's sad to see Atari's legacy being abused by yet another company who just lives on Atari's fame.

      JUST LIVES ON ATARI'S FAME? Infogrames has been around and making bloody great games for nearly 20 years! I had Infogrames games on my old Amstrad CPC464, back in 1986-89!

      I smell a troll...
      • It's sad to see Atari's legacy being abused by yet another company who just lives on Atari's fame.

        JUST LIVES ON ATARI'S FAME? Infogrames has been around and making bloody great games for nearly 20 years! I had Infogrames games on my old Amstrad CPC464, back in 1986-89!

        FWIW, I don't think anybody in the States had even heard of them until a couple of years or so ago. (The first I'd ever heard of them was some DMCA-related bullying on their part that had been posted to /. ...my initial reaction was "Info-who?") I even spent a few years in Europe in the mid-80s, and don't recall hearing of them then. (Then again, I had a TI-99/4A and an Apple IIe at home and DoDDS put various Atari computers in its schools (though they started buying Apple IIGS systems in '87 or '88). If they weren't publishing for those systems, I wouldn't have had any use for them.)

        • FWIW, I don't think anybody in the States had even heard of them until a couple of years or so ago.

          So by "anybody in the States," you mean "you," I think.

          Infogrames published Alone in the Dark back in 1993, which was one of the first games I played on an old 386. That's a little longer than a couple of years ago, as old as it makes me feel to say that. I know I can't be the only person who remembers Alone in the Dark, for crying out loud.

  • by psyconaut (228947) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:17AM (#3522528)
    I believe, until I'm corrected, that this is not actually an Atari 2600 (or anything even vaguely similar) but rather Jakks existing hardware system with classic Atari games ported to it.

    (Just to clear up the comments about "wish it had a cartridge slot).

    -marc
  • Portable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saqmaster (522261) <stuNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:54AM (#3522576) Homepage
    It'd be cool if someone brought out a colour, handheld Atari system. It wouldn't cost much, I mean, compared to something like the NeoGeo handheld or gameboy.

    Just imagine it, sitting on the train, and people start hearing the classic Asteroids noises coming from your handheld.

    Within minutes everyone will want a go. Nostalgia at it's best!
    • Re:Portable? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sabalon (1684)
      That's what I thought right after I read the article. A small screen would suffice - we're not talking about losing quailty on the graphics :)

      You could probably put a few megs of ROM in it and preload it with just about every Atari game out there.

      The only problems I see are:
      - getting permissions to package the ROM's
      - you'd not want to do it the above way because once you sold one, there is no reason for someone to come back and buy more games from you. So that means some sort of media to swap games in and out, which means more cost.
  • by galaga79 (307346) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @06:59AM (#3522581) Homepage
    It's a bit deceptive to refer to it as a portable system considering you need to plug it into a TV to actually to use it. By using the word portable I thought something along the lines of Puma the portable Atari 2600 [tripoint.org] where a Sega Game Gear has been converted into a portable Atari 2600 complete with its own display.

    There is a whole site dedicated to Atari 2600 portable conversion projects [classicgaming.com] that has been discussed in this [slashdot.org] and repeated in this [slashdot.org] Slashdot article.
    • by PsyQ (87838)
      That's not a Sega Game Gear, it's a Nomad. The Game Gear was an original system based off Sega's Master System hardware but with a better graphics subsystem (more colors). The Nomad was a complete Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in the US) compressed into a handheld console. It played the original Genesis cartridges without any modification, giving it a library of hundreds of games right at its day of release.

      To some, the Nomad is STILL the best handheld system ever released, because of the varied and deep selection of games.

      Maybe I'm karma-whoring :)
      • That's not a Sega Game Gear, it's a Nomad. The Game Gear was an original system based off Sega's Master System hardware but with a better graphics subsystem (more colors). The Nomad was a complete Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in the US) compressed into a handheld console. It played the original Genesis cartridges without any modification, giving it a library of hundreds of games right at its day of release.



        I was going to correct him until I saw your post. Nice to see that somebody else realized his mistake. However, it is sad to see that this guy converted a Sega Nomad and not a Game Gear. The Nomad really was one of the best portables I've ever played. I purchased one new for $150 after the first christmas they were out, and sold my Game Gear the next day. I already had a Genesis and 4 times as many games for it as my Game Gear. Plus, the Nomad used the same power adapter and RF adapter that the Genesis used, and included a second controller port (really only useful when hooked up to the TV as the built-in screen wasn't meant for two people to view it) so I didn't have to buy any extra peripherals. The only complaint I ever had about the thing was the horrible battery life. I think the most I ever got from the thing was like 3 hours on a set of batteries. This is of course because of the wonderful color, back-lit screen in the Nomad. And despite what others [nintendo.com] may think, I would never have traded off that great screen for better battery life.


        That said, I still can't believe this guy hacked up a Nomad to build this thing. The Nomad is a relatively rare piece of hardware and can still command a decent price. I sold mine a couple of years ago for ~$100. That's not much depreciation for the video game world. Then again, mine was still in pristine condition, complete with orgianl packaging, including twist ties and plastic bags, and the original receipt of purchase. I take care of my stuff. But I digress...


        In fact, I'm not even sure what the purpose of this post was...

  • What, again? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lightspawn (155347) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @07:25AM (#3522614) Homepage
    This is just like the Activision/Toymax dealie [spacecast.com] from last year.


    Why can't I have one with _ALL_ the commercially released games? Connected to some compactflash card or whatever? Think about how much space your old atari carts are taking up. And those 5 million E.T. carts in the landfill.


    Same goes for NES, SNES, SMS, Genesis, and PCE and I'm set for life.


    Sorry, it's late/early and I'm rambling.

    • I was going to say I saw something like this last year...I can't believe this warrants a story. Yeah, it's neat, but in my opinion, there is MORE interesting stuff out there worth posting. It is cool, but call me when they get the whole library on one unit. It IS possible.
  • by glh (14273)
    Is if you could somehow download new ROMS to the joystick. Perhaps even the ROMS that are out there on the internet. I wonder if someone could easily hack one of these things to do that? It'd be nice to see some hardware specs.
  • Thinkgeek (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ratface (21117) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @07:59AM (#3522665) Homepage Journal
    This is something that would *so* fit ThinkGeek's product line. I hope someone from there keeps an eye on the status of this product and gets them in stock when they are finally availabe.
  • Atari still lives!
    Oh how I miss those arcades.
    Now bring back pinball!
  • This device, however inferior it may be to current game systems, proves that the MAME Critics are justified in their complaints. There is a commercial market for old ROMS. As long as the sales value of these ROMS is above zero, copying unlicensed ROMS, like those for ATARI, is stealing. Okay, maybe each one is about $1.00, but it's still theft, and now it's objectively quantified.
    • There may be a commercial market, but my guess is that a pretty high percentage of their customers will be people that want it because they love playing old games, and are likely using MAME or other emulators as well.
  • There's already a similar system out there.

    Just go to 9the Tee [9thtee.com] and look at their Arcade Video Game System - complete with two controllers, a light gun, and 76 built-in games. $36.95 Sure, it won't fit in your pocket, but still...
    • At the Taipei night market these things are all over. I bought one for $20. You can get a single controller with about 80 games in it for about $5. The contoller has a cartridge slot on the bottom so you can plug in additional cartridges. Did I mention that it is an NES and not a 2600? Well, neither did you.


      I bought a bunch back to the states for Christmas. It was a VERY cheap way to entertain my entire family. My mom has become a Tetris freak, challenging all comers to head to head matches.

  • I don't suppose this will see the shores of Europe any time soon. We're still waiting the SL-5500 (I'm glad I got mine while over on business).

    A C64 version would be cool though, it'd actually be an improvement over the original as we wouldn't have to wait for the loading time (unless we want to lisiten to the often groovy loading music (Ocean) or pretend we're being interrogated by watching a Mutant Camels loader.

    Please, please don't brain wash me MR. Torturer...

    • Hey, that one was made ages ago: Commodore Executive 64 (SX64/DX64). =)

      (Though neither had Datassette port, and I'm not sure about cartridge support - but on C64, floppy loading times were never Utterly Horrible (especially with disk turbo), even if they're slow by today's standards...)

      (Oh, and getting a SX64/DX64 is a bit hard. An used laptop, a Linux install and VICE would probably be cheaper =)

  • I've seen this about 6 months ago at a BJ's warehouse in CT (USA).

    *shrug*

    e.
  • You know, there is a "portable NES" that hooks up to your TV. It looks like a controller.

    Difference: 100 some odd more games.

    It is also ~$60 or something like that.

    I saw it on QVC a few months ago, and it may have been on HSN. I wonder how easy it would be to turn one into a portable. (since its in seeming wide availability, and is small...)

    Oh, back on topic, Pic of the "portable" atari: http://www.qvc.com/img/E/41/E29241.jpg
  • There are enough trademarks in that story to gag the most jaded lawyer!
  • This sounds sort of neat, except that Combat won't be nearly as cool if it's single-player only.
  • I don't get why this is newsworthy when "x games in a controller" have been out for a while, and the price cut with the PS2 and Xbox doesn't get a story. Yay!
  • Must be a different game than the one I'm thinking with. It'd be difficult to type 'xyzzy' with just a joystick.
    • Adventure for the 2600 was the first game with an easter egg. It was also based on the text-based Adventure game, but turned graphical (if you could call those graphics).

      It's also still one of my all-time favorite games on the 2600. The bat just PISSES me off in games 2 and 3. :)

      One of these days I'm going to make a proper Adventure update/clone for Linux/Windows/MacOS.
      (Thank you, Sam Lantinga [libsdl.org]!)

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