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Atari Flashback

Posted by Kiwi, 21 January 2010 · 953 views

Atari 2600 7800 Flashback
I recently had a chance to try out the Atari Flashback console. I was curious since my girlfriend brought it for her father and she mention there are Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 games on it. We didn't know what the games were and we decided to hook it up and see. The first thing that I did with this console that I plug in the atari2600 controller. When I press the button, the screen flashes. I was like, god dammit I have to use this sad excuse of a controller that is very very small. Luckily, the controller works. However, I really wanted to use the Sega Genesis controller. I decided to go with it since I was just looking what games are on this thing.

The first game that I played was Desert Falcon. I noticed that it has a lot of flickers, and I thought to myself, "It's an 8-bit console so it's normal. So played it for awhile, and beat the first boss. I got game over because I was in front of the object that was killing me. I reset the console and start trying out games down the list.

Adventure for the Atari 2600. I played level 1, since I didn't know how to switch the number to 2,(I didn't look close enough at the controller) so I can do the easter egg. As I play this game, I notice something being off. First of all, when I brought the sword to the green dragon cave to get the black key. The sprites blinks, but I didn't mind it because I wasn't OCD enough to look at it. The movement is way smoother than the Atari 2600. When I got the chalice, the color cycling is all wrong. After I completed the quest, I decided to see how the sprite flickers because that's one thing I need to test if they got it right. I brought a few objects into the room with the dead green dragon, sword, bridge, and black key. I notice that the sprite blinks all at the same time. In the Atari 2600 version, the sprite rotates. Since the Atari 2600 can only display 2 sprite per line, the programmer programed the sprite system to rotate sprites if there's more than 2 in a room. What's worst about the flashback version of Adventure, your character blinks as well!!! In the Atari 2600 version, your character in the game is the ball object. There's a reason why it's a ball object so they don't have to rotate that object since there's only 1 ball on screen(and in the game) and 2 player sprite a screen(missile object are use for walls in rooms that can't be asymmetrical).

Air Sea Battle. My girlfriend noticed that the colors are off. I noticed that there is dithering on screen to mix the colors. That is IMPOSSIBLE to do on a real Atari 2600. Atari 2600 cannot do high resolution dithering like that. It has 128 colors available, therefore making dithering pointless. The bullet doesn't change colors as it ascend up into the air. What the hell is going on?

Asteroids, the 7800 version... Or is it? As I play this game, I noticed that it had no drift when you did the thrust. It just stop dead after moving to one location to the current position. Warp was done by pushing down on the controller. I decided to go to the next game since I dislike playing this game with this controller.

Battlezone, how did they mess this one up? First of all, this game competing with Activision RoboTank. Second of all, Battlezone is better than RoboTank. How? Battlezone have tanks surrounding you and the bullet will fire at your tank, even if you are not looking at the tank. However, both games are great. In this version, when I died. There was 2 tank the one closest to me was on my right the one further from me was on my left. If I turn to the left to destroy this tank, then this tank fires at me and I die. This scenario I happens often. Atari 2600 version have UFO's and all strange ship approaching to your tank. I haven't played the Flashback version of Battlezone more than 5 minutes.

Breakout, looks like the Atari 2600 version. Got the wall exactly the same as the Atari 2600 version. One thing odd about this version, you play with the joystick. Which defeat the purpose since this game was play with the paddle controller! As you play this game, the ball will be faster and you won't be able to catch up to it with a joystick.

Canyon Bomber, I guess it's close to the original version. I think the original version refill the "lake" when there are very few blocks left.

Centipede is Centipede for the Atari 7800 version. *strug* next game!

Crystal Castles is more playable than the original 2600 version because the enemies are slower. It looks like the 7800, but the playfield looks like the 2600. The score looks high resolution and there is no flickering like the atari 2600. In the Atari 2600 version, when the enemies are on the same scanline, it flickers. The flashback version there wasn't any flickering, what the hell? I thought to myself, oh this must be a custom hardware I see...

Food Fight, one of my most favorite 7800 game of all time. It looks and plays like the Atari 7800. I died for no reason on the Flashback version, but it's not because of the ice cream. The title screen looks exactly like the 7800. When I pick expert, the speed is the same.

Gravitar one of the most mysterious and hardest game for the Atari 2600. Only this version lack gravity and flickering sprites. The enemies fires like crazy in this game. I did not want to play this game with this controller. When I get my hands on the Atari 2600 version of this game, I'm going to play it with the Sega Genesis controller.

Haunted House, they didn't get the flashlight effect to look right. Plus, the score is vibrating. I thought the flashlight was 1x sprite, 2x sprite, 4x sprite. But, that's not the case. The Atari 2600 the flashlight effect is just a 4x size player sprite. It looks wrong.

Millipede is Atari 2600 Millipede. Moving on...

Planet Smashers, which is an Atari 7800 game. As I was playing this game, I said to myself. What's the point? You're the sole spaceship shooting up different enemy ships and destroying astroids. It's make my head hurt. We're smashing planet here? Instead it's another shoot'em up of how long can you last without dying. I haven't got to the boss of this game. I just get the sense it's one of those game. The game is to shoot the object and don't let the object pass you or the Earth's shield will deplete. It's like Halley Wars for the Game Gear. Only different that your ship can sustain hits. There's a lot of possibility making Planet Smasher actually fun like traveling to planet, fight on the planet, fight with the planet guardian, plant a bomb and get the hell off the planet without crashing into anything. Just an idea.

Sabateur which is an unrelease game. I'm not sure what's the gameplay is I know that you have to defeat enemies to blast off in a rocket, then a next mini-game is I don't remember. Flashback version, the rocket being redrawn slowly instead of instantly.

Sky Diver, odd game where a guy jump out of the plane and parachute to the target below. I haven't played this game on the Atari 2600 so I'm not sure which version is better.

Solaris annoys me... the touchy control makes map navigation difficult. I prefer the Atari 2600 since it shows off the Atari 2600 capability. I didn't like the Flashback version of Solaris. I think at this point, I was getting more disappointed with this system.

Sprint Master is a one of the latest Atari 2600. The control sucks. Your car rotate too quickly and make it difficult to get it to move. There's item and power up but whatever...

It's impossible to play Warlord realistically since it's a multiplayer player game up to 4 players with paddle controller. In this version you can play with the joystick and you can compete against the computer players.

Lastly, Yar's Revenge. It's really difficult to match up with the original Yar's revenge. One, the safe zone is the "code" of the game. Two, the slow moving missile does not match the color of the city attack fireball. Three, the satisfaction destroying the city is lessen since the explosion isn't like the original. You know, the safe zone is really unique for the Atari 2600. The color cycling city sync with the sound while the humming coming from your character. When the explosion effect is played, The colors flashes as the explosion sounds are played. The Flashback version doesn't really have that POW effect except the explosion close in step of 8 lines instead of smooth scaling down effect. Also, the fireball didn't kill me when it came after me.

I did some research on Flashback to answer my question, what is it inside that shell? I discovered it was an NES-on-a-chip unit. Well, that's explains it!!! In out of possible system that could emulate the Atari2600 more accurately, why for the love of god it has to be the NES? The NES only have 56 colors, no sprite size change, and etc. It could be using SMS chip with GameGear color pallete and with better sound card. That would mimic the Atari 2600 much better than the NES. The SMS can double size their sprites horizontally, vertically or both!

If you want to imitate something, you have to be good!

Flashback 2 is actual 2600 system, with 40 games in it. No need to emulate something or reprogram games for another chip. This what the original Flashback should of been. Atari likes to cut corner don't they?

I read this thread http://www.atariage....fun-stay-away/. They rejected a high quality well made product, made by an engineer they hired in favor of Basic Fun POS version of the keychain. Atari will NEVER learn and they don't understand why they are in the position they are now! Also, they don't fix the problem, which is a simple fix.


I never had this system, but Atari 5200 is a good system with faulty controllers. The controller what killed this system because Atari cut too many corner and made the controller a piece of crap. The solution was to make correction on the design, do a controller recall system and the problem would be solved. But no, they left this system out there to die.

Atari 7800 is a good system, but the controller you brought with the system is the only controller you get. When I spilled milk on the controller, one of the button stopped working. Therefore, making Double Dragon impossible to complete since you need to jump on the second stage or you're stuck. My dad had to search for a new controller, but there was no new controller out for sale. He brought NES joystick once, opps. Plus, Atari was half assing on their games anyway. 1 level in Choplifter? What a joke?

Enter the Matrix, they release this game that isn't fully cooked.

Flashback 1, built, designed, and programmed 20 games all in 10 weeks to make it into the holiday. Sounds like Pacman and ET. Um, what's the hurry Atari? Did the idea just come to you and you suddenly want this thing finish immediately? If they had more time to program the game, then the game would be more closer to the Atari 2600 version, or make an enhance version of the game. Adventure, for the NES. Both old version, and new version with new high definition graphics.

Same old Atari...

I wish that the "cutting corner scheme" in corporation need to stop. Money isn't everything. How much money do you really need? Just make product that people would like. Enforce the MSRP on the retailer market. Don't put yourself out on the stock market so you don't have to please the shareholder. Donate the money to charity or give bonus money to your workers.

April 2014

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