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Classic Games (Games)

Atari To Release Old Games and New Console System 322

Posted by michael
from the when-emulators-aren't-enough dept.
GrueMaster writes "Atari is announcing the re-release of their older games for the PS2 & Xbox. They are also talking about releasing a new console, which is a miniaturized version of the 7800 with built in games. Check out the story here. Being a collector of old Atari stuff, I'll be in line to get mine."
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Atari To Release Old Games and New Console System

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  • Lots of issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:09PM (#10182080) Homepage Journal
    1. How is this different from the joysticks you plug into your TV? I personally like the idea of the joysticks, but I'm not sure I would pay $45 for a PS2 CD.

    2. Nostalgia can be ruined by pushing quantity over quality. Since they'll be packing 85 games on the disk, there will be little incentive for players to play any one game for long enough to "master" it.

    3. Who has the patience to master these games? Back in the day, we were bored. I remember spending hours on end in front of my GW-Basic interpreter, because it was rewarding. Now I can just pop on the internet and find all the information about BASIC that was so hard won. Alternatively, I might find something quicker and easier. I think the later would be the result for many Atari players.

    4. The Atari games were pathetic compared to their arcade counterparts. Why bother with a pixelated version of Defender, when you can grab the arcade version in one of those joystick thing-a-ma-bobs?

    5. Profit!!! (Hah! Pre-empted you on that one!)

    Here's what I think Atari should do: Create a console on par with the SNES. That sort of hardware should be extremely cheap at this point, and could easily be manufactured for retail prices in the $20-$40 range. Sell simple "smart card" games (or something equally as inexpensive to manufacture) for $5-$10 a piece. This should give them several major selling points:

    1. It mini, it's cheap, and it's cool!

    2. The low cost will cause parents to consider it for a quick present for their kids.

    3. The low cost games will encourage "impulse buys".

    4. Very little expense would need to go into R&D.

    5. Profit!!! (Did it again! ;-))
    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shadow Wrought (586631) <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:13PM (#10182148) Homepage Journal
      but I'm not sure I would pay $45 for a PS2 CD.

      Well, you won't have to. The CD is $20, the mini console with twin joysticks (Oldskool Style) and built in games is $45.

    • I really like your idea of a mini console w/ smart card based games. If they did that and did not lock it down too hard it would be a hacking dream! I'd likely line up to buy a couple off the bat, though they would need to ensure that the platform was, its self, profitable or else they'll loose money on people like me who buy multiple consoles simply to cut them up (as opposed to pirating the games, which I've found to be less than rewarding so I quit)
      -nB
    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:4, Interesting)

      by microTodd (240390) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:16PM (#10182182) Homepage Journal
      Nostalgia aside, I love playing the older "classics" but the problem I have is with the controller. My PS2 controller just doesn't work the same for games designed to be played with joysticks.
      • Nostalgia aside, I love playing the older "classics" but the problem I have is with the controller. My PS2 controller just doesn't work the same for games designed to be played with joysticks.

        I solved that problem HERE [no-ip.com] for using old Atari joysticks with the Stella Emulator. Only catch is it is a hack on the Xbox not PS2. This brings up another point . . . will they be using old school style joysticks on their stand-alone product? I hope so because I only have two joysticks left and need a couple spares.



      • I think the problem is that atari joysticks were 4-switch systems while the PS2 and other modern consoles use 8-switches in their direction controller.
    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:5, Insightful)

      by funkdid (780888) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:19PM (#10182224)
      I don't think anyone who didn't own these at one point would buy it. If some teenager ends up with this, it's cause his dad bought it for him. It'll end up next to the other crap that was "fun in my day". For us though, us conesoures of fine video games, us cultured folk who can gain amusement from really bad sound and worse graphics...

      OK this is strictly a nostalgia thing. I found my 2600 a few years ago. I played it a bunch for a few days. It sucked. It was a lot of fun to break out the old classics that I grew up on but after a while it still only has one button and honestly combat SUCKS. I'll take Unreal of Counter Strike out whatever over Combat any day. -Anyone remember Keystone Coppers that game rocked.

      • -disclaimer I meant to hit the preview button to check spelling.-

        Me normmal spell well but me in hurree and not yet all the way recover from Layber Day

      • "For us though, us conesoures of fine video games, us cultured folk who can gain amusement from really bad sound and worse graphics... "

        Uhhh, that should say 'For us though, we connoisseurs...'

        I know you already replied mentioning the spelling errors, but there's grammar problems there too. :)
    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:4, Interesting)

      by xanderwilson (662093) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:26PM (#10182318) Homepage
      Here's what I think Atari should do: Create a console on par with the SNES. That sort of hardware should be extremely cheap at this point, and could easily be manufactured for retail prices in the $20-$40 range.

      I'd love to see this, but it kinda already exists in the used/retro gaming market. Sega and Nintendo systems are available for well under $40 and the used games can be cheap enough to be impulse buys.

      Granted, there are drawbacks--dead saved-game batteries need to be replaced, finding instructions (when necessary) and game info can be difficult, cartridges are big and bulky, and some of the better games are rare and therefore expensive. And of course there's nothing new coming out.

      But the selection couldn't be better, especially for someone who didn't have the cash as a kid to enjoy the systems the first time.

      Alex.

    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gphinch (722686) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:29PM (#10182362) Homepage
      I had a friend who worked customer service for the toy company that made those joysticks with the games built in. He said those joysticks accounted for something like 9 out of the 10 calls he received about broken toys. He also gave me several free ones before I got one that worked, and even that broke within 6 months. PS: The ps2 game is going to be $20. RTFA :)
    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:5, Informative)

      by OoSync (444928) <wellsed.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:34PM (#10182422)
      Here's what I think Atari should do: Create a console on par with the SNES. That sort of hardware should be extremely cheap at this point, and could easily be manufactured for retail prices in the $20-$40 range. Sell simple "smart card" games (or something equally as inexpensive to manufacture) for $5-$10 a piece.

      Its called a Game Boy Advance. It satisfies all of your criteria, and games from the Atari-era forward are often rereleased on it. You can even play those games on a TV using the GameBoy Player from Nintendo, or a hardware modification available online.
    • Very cool idea! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WebCowboy (196209) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @06:46PM (#10183181)
      Here's what I think Atari should do: Create a console on par with the SNES. That sort of hardware should be extremely cheap at this point, and could easily be manufactured for retail prices in the $20-$40 range. Sell simple "smart card" games (or something equally as inexpensive to manufacture) for $5-$10 a piece.

      I've been thinking about just such an idea for awhile now too, but with some variations/additions related to my open-system sensibilities:

      * Use proven (if dated) technology based on off-the-shelf designs like Z80 and 68K processors. System functions (graphics, sound and I/O) would be handles by separate CPU cores working in tandem--a "quad Z80 system" perhaps. Development costs would be low as a result, and with a good design performance would be quite adequate. One FPGA could even hold most of the logic.

      * Not only would it be mini, cheap and cool--it would be non-proprietary at the peripheral connectivity level at least. Games and memory cards would be distributed in the compact flash format, or maybe even on USB ROM keys. Users could connect the system to a PC's USB port like a palm pilot to load in games form the 'net. Same with game controllers--they'd use USB--none
      of this oddball crap like consoles have today (blatanly implemented to screw consumers over).

      * The hardware architecture would be simple enough (as would the BIOS/OS/API firmware) that hobbyists could develop their own creations. The manufactured device could even come with software along the lines of LEGO Mindstorms programming software, or STOS BASIC from the old Atari days or some such thing. Kids could make their own games on a PC, save them, share with friends, have contests.

      * Once the device was released to production with stable specifications, said specs would be released as a gaming platform that could be implemented by other vendors. Hasn't worked for consoles (yet) but it made the PC industry what it is today.

      Don't kow how well it would go over in the industry, given its MPAA/RIAA closed, protectionist culture. It basically takes the floor out from under the games software industry as it is now so I wouldn't expect publishers to clamour to develop for it. However, unless Atari or Nintendo or Microsoft or Sony made it getting developers on board would be a struggle regardless of how open the system was (hence the strategy for making development appealing to the mass public).

      I think that even though it might be much harder to make billions with this strategy, I think that we've lost a lot in terms of creativity in computing since the "good old days" just prior to the shakeout in the 80s when computers were not only cheap but simple and oriented towards development (it's been a long time since you could boot into BASIC and create). It'd be great if somehow we could re-ignite that hobbyist culture again. Such a culture is barely a flicker now--and it exists almost solely because of Linux and the Free Software movement. I'd like to think that there are millions of geek-parents with a mindset similar to mine who'd put down $39.95 for a cool little digital camera-sized box that hooks to a television to play and can be loaded with little Johnny's latest creations.

      Anyways...just in case someone DOES try to take and pervert this idea and patent the crap out of it, etc, I hereby copyright this idea and grant use under the Creative Commons License [creativecommons.org] on this day, the 7th of September 2004 ;-)
    • They did, it was called the Jaguar..

      Actually, it blew the socks off anything that was avaiable at the time, or for years to come..

      But the *stupid* Tramiel brothers.... Well what more needs to be said..
    • This isn't actually news, you can go to Toy-R-Us right now and buy an actual atari controller that has the entire unit in the controller, power switch, everything. And a number of games.

      There is a nintendo one I saw at a mall like this with thousands of games, right inside the controller. It seems Atari is trying to just catch up to the generic game systems out there... and the sue them into oblivion?
    • Re:Lots of issues (Score:4, Insightful)

      by master_p (608214) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:39AM (#10187308)
      Instead of an 7800 console, how about bringing the yesteryear's arcade experience at home? A good opportunity is for Atari to make a 'console' that looks exactly as an arcade box, complete with monitor, joysticks, coin slot, sound system etc. The arcade box could be marked as a piece of furniture that fits nicely in the living room or play room.

      Of course underneath it would be a console that has the capability of providing a diverse arcade experience from the days of Space Invaders to Virtua Striker. The main selling point would be not the quality of graphics and all, but the quality of the arcade experience, something that it is solely missing from today.

      Atari could also sell development systems for PCs that could allow the back bedroom programmers to make their own arcade games.

      The above described box could be sold as max versions, midi and mini portable versions. The max version would have a 19" monitor, big arcade quality joysticks, the same size and outfit of an arcade box. The midi version could be the same, although scaled down, and the mini version would be a miniature coin-op box that could be carried over in a bag.

      Another version could be the coctail one, sold also as a table for the living room.

      Finally, a version without a TV and coin-slot should be available, for those that want a console in the traditional sense.
  • by stecoop (759508) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:09PM (#10182084) Journal
    For those of you that followed Atari back in the day; you may be surprised to see the name rise from the grave. The name was bought by Infogrames [infogrames.com]:

    On May 7, 2003, Infogrames officially announces its name change to Atari. The Company's U.S. operations became Atari, Inc. (formerly Infogrames, Inc.) and changed its trading symbol on the NASDAQ National Market to "ATAR." Although the holding company parent in France, Infogrames Entertainment SA, retained its current name and maintained its symbol on the Euronext under the code: 5257, all of the Company's worldwide operations were renamed Atari. The Company gained all rights to the Atari license when it acquired Hasbro Interactive, Inc. in December 2000.

    I guess this is a re-re-re-release (I probably don't have enough res) of the old titles; it make me wonder how long will these games will be around?
  • 2800 (Score:3, Funny)

    by Zoshnell (573838) <zoshnell@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:10PM (#10182093) Journal
    What about us 2800 people? Why don't we get our comeuppance? I WANT MY SPACE INVADERS OLD SKOOL!

    Frist post.
    • by mr_angry (668532) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:24PM (#10182293) Journal
      The Atari 2800 existed, in Japan, looked like the 7800
      You can find info about it on the net, i found some on http://www.atarihq.com/museum/2678/2800.html [atarihq.com]
      They also say it was sold in the USA by Sears...
  • Demand (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MikeMacK (788889)
    The video game company told The Associated Press on Tuesday it plans to reissue scores of its classic titles from yesteryear on a single disc that can be played on the game consoles Xbox and PlayStation 2.

    These have been released for the PC for a while and with all the emulators, etc. out there, I have to wonder if there is a demand for this?

  • Sound (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:11PM (#10182113) Homepage Journal
    When Atari re-released a bunch of their classic games for the PC they did a decent job preserving good sound quality. Tempest was always a favorite for the vector graphics and awesome sound, which you can really crank up on a decent set of speakers.

    I was sorry not to see Gauntlet included, maybe that'll be in the future. Crystal Castles was always visually appealing and fun (if aggrevating at times.)

  • More details... (Score:5, Informative)

    by JamesD_UK (721413) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:11PM (#10182118) Homepage
    See here [atari.com] for more details of the Atari Flashback Classic Game Console.
  • by Nos. (179609) <andrew@theker r s . ca> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:12PM (#10182129) Homepage
    On Sunday, at Futureshop (a friend wanted to go) we saw a PC cd of 80 classic Atari games, some of the ones that jump to mind are: asteroids, defender, combat, circus, joust. It was about $20 (CDN) The screenshots looked like the games I remember playing as a kid. I love some of those games, but I'm scared to play them again as I wonder if I'll ruin my memories where I actually enjoyed these games.
    • I downloaded a whack of ROMS and emulators, cause I wanted to wallow in nostalgia. Guess what. All those games really suck compared to online-multiplayer-3d-actionfests. Some do have great gameplay, it's true, but I'm still amazed I spent so much time on them.
  • by rokzy (687636) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:13PM (#10182140)
    ....if you don't have to blow dust from the connectors when sticking in the cart?

    And knowing which of your joysticks is a bit stiff and giving that to your friend?

    And will it be the same when you see it on your massive widescreen TV instead of a little 14" that made anything seem high resolution?
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:13PM (#10182144)
    the 7800 had the worst controllers in history (yes, worse than the 5200). They wore out quickly, where useless when they did, and where downright painful for long play time.
  • by MC Negro (780194)

    They are also talking about releasing a new console, which is a miniaturized version of the 7800 with built in games.
    If it's anything like this [jakkstvgames.com] I'm happy :-)
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:15PM (#10182173) Journal
    This is one of those cases where justifying "abandonware" sites becomes much more difficult.

    Just because they aren't selling it today, doesn't mean that they never will.

    Abandonware sites work on logic somewhat like: "Well, you have this car, but since you've left it parked in the driveway for 6 months without using it, you shouldn't complain if we hotwire it and go joyriding in it... we'll return it so you don't lose anything!"

    So long as there is a concept of "Intellectual Property", however fictitious in reality, these issues will remain. It's either the law, or it's not - and if you don't like it, change the law!
    • by geeber (520231) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:28PM (#10182361)
      Abandonware sites work on logic somewhat like: "Well, you have this car, but since you've left it parked in the driveway for 6 months without using it, you shouldn't complain if we hotwire it and go joyriding in it... we'll return it so you don't lose anything!"

      The logic is more something like, "Well, you have this classic car parked in the driveway, and since it isn't made anymore, I am going to duplicate the plans and build one for myself. Your car still works."

      Big difference there.
      • by Fortress (763470) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @06:03PM (#10182720) Homepage
        > The logic is more something like, "Well, you have this classic car
        > parked in the driveway, and since it isn't made anymore, I am
        > going to duplicate the plans and build one for myself. Your car
        > still works."

        Or, more accurately still,

        "Well, you have this classic car parked in the driveway, and since it isn't made anymore, I am going to duplicate the plans and build one for myself AND give one free to whoever wants one. Your car still works, and good luck trying to sell it."

        Another big difference.
      • Or, it's more like "Ok, so you got this classic car that you left in the parking lot and it isn't made anymore and you own the intellectual property rights on the manufacturing of the car, but since you're not doing anything with those intellectual property rights, I'm gonna duplicate your car and start manufacturing it and giving it away for free to anyone who wants to download this car off the internet... and you still own the rights and everything, but now if you want to manufacture the car and sell it a
    • Just because they aren't selling it today, doesn't mean that they never will.

      Not that I would encourage copyright violation, but the issues are more complex than that. These re-issues of old games (including the PS2 stuff, the TV plug-in boxes, yadda yadda) are, no doubt, inspired by the thriving emulation scene.

      It's entirely possible that, if not for the swift kick in the pants to industry delivered by MAME and the like, these games would still be languishing in a corporate basement somewhere.

    • by LordNimon (85072) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:48PM (#10182561)
      This is one of those cases where justifying "abandonware" sites becomes much more difficult.

      On the contrary! The reason why these games are still popular is because of the abandonware sites. These sites kept the market alive, and now the companies see that there is still a demand. If these sites had never existed, the games would truly be dead, and the companies would see no reason to bring them back.

      So you see, the companies should be thanking the abandonware sites.

      • That's BS. That might be a good reason if, say, Atari died out in 1920, but there are a HUGE number of people who had an Atari when they were kids-- a much larger number of people remember Atari than know about abandonware sites in other words.

        Abandonware *is* against the law, and all the effort put into making these nice websites and populating them should instead be put into campaigning companies like Epyx (or what's left of them) to release their Commodore 64 games for free.
        • [A]ll the effort put into making these nice websites and populating them should instead be put into campaigning companies like Epyx (or what's left of them) to release their Commodore 64 games for free.
          Better yet, make it worth their while: Let the companies know that you'd be willing to pay for compilations of their old games. Activision, Namco, etc. have re-released old games for sale, presumably with commercial success.
    • That's why I like the idea of having to register your copyrights, and renew them yearly (at small fee) until the copyright ends
      If you think you can still profit from something then you have to make an effort to protect it from becoming public domain.
    • "Abandonware sites work on logic somewhat like: "Well, you have this car, but since you've left it parked in the driveway for 6 months without using it, you shouldn't complain if we hotwire it and go joyriding in it... we'll return it so you don't lose anything!""

      Actually, laws similar to this do exist for cars, in Arizona (at least). If you park your car in a public place for longer than a year (could be 3 years) I can register with the police to declare the car abandoned and have it's ownership transferr
  • by ajuda (124386) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:15PM (#10182175)
    These games should be public domain already... Patents and copyright are supposed to increase innovation, but they are doing the exact opposite. When a company can simply repackage and sell the same ol' stuff over and over again, why should they invest their money in new (potentially risky) endeavors?
  • Ooh Ooh Ooh (Score:4, Funny)

    by StalinsNotDead (764374) <umbaga@g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:16PM (#10182178) Journal
    Does this mean we can finally play "ET the Extra-Terrestrial" again?
    • Re:Ooh Ooh Ooh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by g00z (81380) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:36PM (#10182441) Homepage
      Dude, if you can find the landfill, your hearts desires will come true:

      From www.sjfanboy.com:

      "Myth has it hat Atari expected E.T. to be such a popular game that they produced more cartridges than there were systems. When the game failed they supposedly buried millions of copies of E.T. in a desert landfill. The truth is Atari actually made 6 million E.T. cartrdiges and there were 20 million systems out. According to a former chief engineer at Atari there were more E.T. cartridges then there were VCS's in active use. By the time E.T. came out the VCS was 6 years old. According to Ray Kassar, president of Atari in 1983, the story about burying E.T. and Pac-Man cartridges in the desert is an "absolute lie." He claims they were dumped in discount stores. One ex-Atari vice president stated "Bullshit! They drove 14 freight trucks onto New Mexico, dug a pit, dumped millions of cartridges, drove a stram roller over them, then poured cement on top
      of them."
      • Dude, if you can find the landfill, your hearts desires will come true:
        I think the "stram roller" would have ruined them. If not the cement would have gotten on the catridge connector, and i don't care how hard you blow on it, the cement won't come off.
        Just walk around and fall into sewers, nothing like live action ET!
  • Atari For Dummies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eBayDoug (764290)
    MaMe and stella may work for smart folk, not for the masses and nostalgia freaks who actually buy stuff.
  • by huchida (764848) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:17PM (#10182195)
    2600, 5200, Intellivision, Coleco nostalgia I can see... As well as NES, of course... But wasn't the 7800 a terrible flop?

    Eh. Good luck, Atari. You'll need it. Nintendo can sell us Excitebike, Zelda and Super Mario again because they always were and will be great games. Anything that could be considered "great" on the 2600 was only because we didn't have anything better.

    • The 7800 flopped because of when it came out and poor marketing. However, it could play 2600 games so they might as well go with that and have more game options/better graphics.
      • IIRC the 7800 flopped because it was also behind the times-- it was out around the same time as the NES, but the games were just rehashes of the same old thing (Robotron, Breakout, Galaga etc.) with better graphics. What kid in his right mind would choose that over Super Mario Brothers?

      • The reason the 7800 flopped is because my parents would not buy it for me for Christmas. Instead my dad got the family an IBM XT. Thank God my dad didn't listen to me that Christmas.
    • 2600, 5200, Intellivision, Coleco nostalgia I can see... As well as NES, of course... But wasn't the 7800 a terrible flop? Eh. Good luck, Atari. You'll need it. Nintendo can sell us Excitebike, Zelda and Super Mario again because they always were and will be great games. Anything that could be considered "great" on the 2600 was only because we didn't have anything better.

      I know I'll probably get modded for being offtopic, but there is a comparable mini-console for NES games. They have a kiosk over the m
  • by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:17PM (#10182203) Homepage
    This summer I found the two CD set for Atari Arcade Hits (volume 1 and 2) for $5.
    I've played a LOT of tempest this year. :)
    I highly recommend searching eBay if you want this stuff, or simply searching garage sales for old CDs.


    --
    GMail invites for iPod referrals [slashdot.org]
  • Atari's game image (Score:4, Informative)

    by BorgDrone (64343) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:18PM (#10182211) Homepage
    Too bad atari (the old atari, not the current owner of the brand) had an image as game console company, they made a great desktop system, the Atari ST. Man I loved that machine, I still have my Mega ST 1 lying around somewhere.
    While my friends where fooling around with DOS, I had a system with a GUI (in 128KB rom) a nice high-res 640x480 monochrome monitor. I used WYSIWYG dtp and word processing software (great for school papers) while the rest still used WordPerfect for DOS.
    It was cheaper than an IBM PC too.

    Too bad their marketing department sucked ass, everybody assumed an Atari was a game system, and I had to explain over and over again they make desktops too.
  • by Mannerism (188292) <(moc.erawtfostops) (ta) (todhsals-htiek)> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:19PM (#10182234)
    Free ET cartridge with every purchase.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:21PM (#10182256) Homepage
    For a community that is generally pro-emulation I cannot believe you guys are supporting Atari! You don't want them to rerelease games for newer architectures. Then they are no longer pieces of abandonware software, they can claim anyone spreading their older software under emulation is warezing, etc...

    Yay, I can run antiquated games on expensive modern hardware for money. Personally I was more pleased when it was getting spread around in the emulation scene for free.
  • by falkryn (715775)
    This is neat, but actually I still find myself buying old used carts for my Atari. They aren't hard to find, and are often pretty cheap. One is the nostalgia factor for me, but also, is the fact that I have a five year old who likes games and computers. We also have a game cube, but I've noticed a ton of difference in terms of my son's reactions when playing the different systems. On the GC (and on Windows), my little guy zones out, and often will get angry at some point (like when I tell him to turn it
  • by Didion Sprague (615213) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:23PM (#10182287)
    Off-topic, but nostalgic:

    What I remember is the *Sears* branded Atari console. I'm not sure why, but the Sears console was my first exposure to non-pong video games. I remember our old Sears, too -- it had that Sears smell (which exists to this day in any Sears store) -- and I remember the Sears Atari rigged up in the "sporting goods" section of the store -- which seemed to have a lot of tennis rackets, tennis balls, and lawnmowers -- surrounding the big television.

    We'd plant ourselves in Sears, play Combat for hours, sip Orange Julius's, and eventually make our way to Aladdin's Castle (with the requisite 'Aladdin's Castle smell'), get 20 (25?) tokens for five bucks, and play stuff like Pac Man, Tron, Pole Position, and that "Journey" game -- they released it during their 'Frontiers' tour, I think -- where you hopped Steve Perry over rock formations and guided Neil Schon (sp?) up and down some weird cave without touching the side.

    Wow. It's all coming back now.
    • My last visit to a Sears store was when I bought a DVD Player in December of 2002 (the "other guys" were out of stock of the model I wanted).

      I don't recall this "smell" you speak of...
    • OT, but I once traced the SEARS SMELL to their candy counter. IIRC (I was about 7), the genesis of the smell seemed to be some mixture of caramel corn and regular popcorn. As far as I know, Sears hasn't had a candy counter in YEAR. And yet, the smell persists. WTF? Is it just memory bringing back the smell, or does it somehow linger in the corners?
  • I might actually get one of these. You remember when the joystick with atari game came out what last year? I had to pass that one up. My old Atari 2600 works and I still use it to play those games.
  • Those games alone ( oh, and Battlezone, too? OK! ) are going to justify the $20 price tag for the Anthology PS2 disc, in my eyes. This is exactly the kind of thing they *must* do if they want to be able to bitch about people trading ROMs for MAME.

    And really, if I can play BattleZone with the dual analog controls on my PS2 dualshock controller? I'd *rather* play it on the console... this and the Sonic Mega Collection [gamespot.com] are going on my xmas list, right next to GTA: San Andreas [rockstargames.com], of course...

  • The complete list... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:24PM (#10182299)
    The complete list of games found in Atari Flashback includes:

    Adventure(TM)
    Air Sea Battle(TM)
    Asteroids®
    Battlezone®
    Breakout®
    Ca nyon Bomber
    Centipede®
    Crystal Castles®
    Desert Falcon(TM)
    Food Fight(TM)
    Gravitar®
    Haunted House(TM)
    Millipede®
    Planet Smashers(TM)
    Saboteur(TM)
    Sky Diver(TM)
    Solaris(TM)
    Sprintmaster(TM)
    Warlords ®
    Yar's Revenge

    Personally, I won't be buying this. The only Atari game I want to play again is 'Dungeon Master' - but that wasn't a console game as I recall. I used to play it on my Atari ST way back in 1988 or so. That was one cool game!
  • by El Cabri (13930)
    All Atari systems were too primitive. Actually the most interesting period for nostalgy playing is the late 80s-early 90s 16/32 bit systems. Their games were seriously designed (often in Japan) for playability and are therefore still fun to play even today. Their 2D graphics were still abstract and cartoony enough so as not to shock someone used to contemporary 3D like for example a PS1 or a Dreamcast would, yet not as ridiculously blocky and ugly as on a 2600. And they are abundant, and hence dirt chea
    • You don't know what you're talking about. The 7800's library (a 7800 is different than a 2600) was mostly ports of popular arcade games, which for a quick gaming experience, hold up a lot better than playing a full game of, say, Dragon Warrior. The NES games were more involved and better for home gaming - which is why the 7800 sank in the marketplace - but who in their right mind would still want to put hours into beating an 8-bit game? Plus, literally everybody in the US of a certain age played Milliped
  • The Anthology [atari.com] has 18 arcade games and 62 Atari 2600 games. And the mini-console [atari.com] is going to be a mixture of 2600 and 7800 games.
  • Under fifty bucks!

    FIFTY BUCKS?!?

    Now isn't that nice?

    (Why, oh, why do I remember that Godforsaken commercial?)

  • by igrp (732252) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:44PM (#10182514)
    I think it's cool that they're re-releasing the games I grew up with. But I agree that it's mostly a nostalgia thing. Back in the days, this stuff used to be cutting edge. These days, it still feels nice to play pick up a controller and play one of the old games for a few minutes but it's different.

    First of all, it really makes you feel like an old fart, especially if you have kids. And, trust me on this, these games are dorky and far from exciting to anyone who plays them for the game, and not for the memories and geek bragging rights. Plus, it just is not new, sexy technology any more. In the old days, we didn't mind typing up pages and pages of BASIC code - that was an integral part of the fun. Try doing that nowadays. Chances are you'll just feel it's pointless. Times do change.

    There's some cool stuff going on in the do-it-yourself scene though. Over at the Xbox-Scene forums [xbox-scene.com] there's lots of discussion about creating custom controllers and even full-blown old-school arcades. And since the Xbox is pretty hackable, with MAME readily available [x-arcade.com] (Sourceforge link [sourceforge.net]), it's just a natural choice.

    • And, trust me on this, these games are dorky and far from exciting to anyone who plays them for the game,

      What are you talking about? Centipede? Missile Command? I play these games in MAME on a regular basis because they're utterly challenging, exciting, and fun. These arcade hits were the very definition of twitch gaming--concentrate with everything you've got, because if you don't, you're dead. This is videogaming immersion at its very, very finest. Give me Missile Command on my Xbox/PS2 with my bi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:53PM (#10182607)
    Please don't confuse the two.

    The old one was American this new one is French.

    The old one was all about creating original games - the new one has yet to create a successful original franchise. Name one!

    The old one was kinda cool. The games industry *should* be cool - watching the new Atari try to be cool is like watching your father disco dancing. It's just lame and embarrasing.

    In fact the only thing they have in common is the old name. Something which resulted from Infogrames lawyers dusting off the deeds discovered in Hasboro's basement.
  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @05:59PM (#10182677) Homepage Journal
    Just a note or two...

    Nostalgia can be ruined by pushing quantity over quality. Since they'll be packing 85 games on the disk, there will be little incentive for players to play any one game for long enough to "master" it.


    But I think we're missing the target audience here. I have a tough time believing that Atari thinks they can realistically sell these to anybody who hasn't gown up with them, let alone a pokeboy. At least not in large enough quantities to make a dent in sales. No, this disc is for old skoolers who might very well attempt to master it for old time sake.

    1. It mini, it's cheap, and it's cool!

    Come on. Any kid whose only exposure to gaming is a modern console is not going to find these games cool. My cousin has a knock-off system with 500 clone atari games on it or soemthing, but given the choice between the DC I gave them and that thing, the clone-boy gathers quite a bit of dust.

    3. The low cost games will encourage "impulse buys".

    And the GBA is already there. The SP's might be up there in price, but the old style GBAs are will within impulse buy range. The games are about $20 more expensive, but then, the graphics are lightyears better AND the unit is portable.

    Not saying that these aren't worth picking up, just that they won't have anywhere close to the traction with the kids as they do with us.
  • by Necromutant (656140) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @06:02PM (#10182711) Journal
    http://www.atari.com/us/games/atari_flashback/7800 [atari.com] Not bad, but I don't really dig the game selection.
  • by bogie (31020) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @06:05PM (#10182742) Journal
    They or whoever owns Atari's corpse in 20 years will just keep re-releasing this stuff on new systems forever. And of course Congress will oblige with copyrights that never expire. Sorry but I already shelled out for the real catridges once I'm not doing it again. Emulation is the only way to go IMHO. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to buy this but let's not turn this thread into a emulation users are stealing from the artists thread. I doubt most of the original programmers are even getting a dime from this.

    "But Bonnell downplayed the impact bootlegging could have on sales for "Atari Anthology" and the Atari Flashback console."

    "You're right to say that a lot of them are bootlegged, and the code is not the right code, and the color is not the right color."

    Uh sure buddy. Whatever you say.
    • Who cares if the original programmers aren't getting a dime, man? Copyright isn't about that. Copyright is about ownership. The programmers sold their ownership rights in exchange for a paycheck. Some sold their ownership rights for a pittance. Some got a lot more than they probably should have. Point is, you can't base an argument against copyright on the fact that creators are "no longer" paid. If copyright law were intended only to pay creators on a per-work basis, copyright wouldn't be transferrable and artists (who are not by and large advertisers or salespeople) would be a lot worse off.

      Yes, emulator users are only stealing from "corporations." But it's those corporations that pay for the games in the first damned place. Steal from them, remove the incentive for them to make money where they can, and they're less likely to finance the games you actually want to buy. Shit, we've already seen the death of Interplay and Acclaim this year...
  • Milk it, Atari (Score:3, Insightful)

    by inkswamp (233692) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:02PM (#10184140)
    Sorry to sound like an old curmedgeon, but speaking as someone whose teenage years nearly revolved around Atari games...

    I wish someone with a heart (and a lot of cash) would buy the rights to all those Atari games and release them to the public domain where they belong, IMO. There are few cultural reference points for those of us in our 30s as powerful as the video games of the 1980s. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that they influenced many of us deeply, many of us who went on to pursue careers in computing precisely because we were so amazed by these cheesy little games. In a sense, many people posting here played a role (no matter how small or large) in the direction that computing and video games have gone and the continued cultural impact of them. After a while, you get the real sense that these games should rightly belong to everyone. I don't view them as products anymore, but rather a piece of history (history is defined partly in terms of how we got where we are now, right?) It seems morally wrong for Atari and a lot of companies from that time to continue milking these old games (and our nostalgia) for whatever few bucks they can get out of it.

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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