After three years of waiting, the Atari VCS it finally came true. The console, which comes with the proposal to mix the experience of using the iconic Atari 2600 with that of a PC, can already be purchased in some retail chains in the United States. Suggested prices start at $299.99.
From Ataribox to Atari VCS
The Atari VCS was introduced under that name in March 2018, but the first information about the project surfaced in June 2017. At the time, it looked like Atari would return to the console market.
It soon became clear, however, that the project would have nostalgic appeal: the ataribox, as the device was called at the time, would have a design inspired by the Atari 2600 and would be able to run both classic games and newer titles, but without facing current consoles on the market.
To give shape to the project, Atari created a funding campaign on Indiegogo, in May 2018. The expectation was that the first units would be sent to supporters in that or the following year, but a series of difficulties almost ruined everything. .
As a result, the release of the Atari VCS has been delayed several times. Difficulties included technical problems and, apparently, even conflicts between the designers — in 2019, Rob Wyatt, then the device’s chief architect, dropped the project.
The delays were so numerous that it looked like the console would fail before it was released. But in 2021, the Atari VCS began shipping to supporters who contributed to the project on Indiegogo, and this June, the device finally made it onto the shelves.
Atari Mode and PC Mode
The Atari VCS has two main modes of operation. O Atari Mode includes the Atari VCS Vault, a collection of 100 classic games: 18 from Arcade and 82 from 2600 console. The user also has the option to buy titles originally developed for other platforms in a store.
already the PC Mode allows the Atari VCS to run Windows, Linux or Chrome OS. The user simply connects the mouse, keyboard and monitor to the device to take advantage of this feature (in addition to installing the operating system, of course).
This mode also allows the user to play PC games on Atari VCS, but not heavy titles, after all, the console doesn’t have the hardware for that: the device’s processor is an AMD Ryzen R1606G with Radeon Vega 3 graphics that can only handle games that don’t require much from the GPU.
It is important to note that the device has 32 GB of storage, but that this capacity can be expanded with the addition of an M.2 SSD. The 8 GB RAM memory can also be increased.
Availability and pricing
In the United States, the Atari VCS can be purchased from the official website or at stores such as Best Buy and Micro Center, in two versions.
The first brings only the Atari VCS Onyx and is officially priced at $299.99. The second sells for US$ 399.99 and brings the Atari VCS Black Walnut accompanied by a joystick with a current design and another one inspired by the classic control (with the lever in the middle).
Both controls can be purchased separately. Each unit costs $59.99.
There is no official launch forecast in Brazil.
Atari VCS — technical sheet
- Processor: dual core AMD RG1606G (Raven Ridge 2) with Radeon Vega 3 graphics
- RAM: 8GB of DDR4 (expandable)
- Storage: 32GB of eMMC (with M.2 slot for expansion)
- Operational system: Atari Custom Linux OS (based on Debian); compatible with Linux, Windows, Steam OS and Chrome OS
- Connectivity: HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1 (4), Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0
- dimensions: 294.6 x 149.9 x 48.2 mm
- Weight: 1.3 kg