Jump to content

Photo

Are 8bit Flashback computers possible?


23 replies to this topic

#1 Sak OFFLINE  

Sak

    Space Invader

  • 11 posts

Posted Wed Dec 30, 2015 8:36 AM

Those recent years we have seen hordes of Flashbacks in the Atari 2600 line, as well as the Intellivision, Sega Genesis and Colecovision, let alone the form of C64DTV joystick. Would it be feasible to see an incarnation of an Atari XL or a Commodore 64 computer in the Flashback trend? I mean with a real keyboard and all. Are there any plans at AT-Games for something like this in the 8bit computer line?

 

 

 



#2 bcombee OFFLINE  

bcombee

    Moonsweeper

  • 353 posts
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:29 AM

Curt Vendel was trying to get a project like this approved by Atari after the Flashback 2.  See the FB3 thread at http://atariage.com/...opic/74783-fb3/



#3 almightytodd OFFLINE  

almightytodd

    Dragonstomper

  • 821 posts
  • Infrequent Poster
  • Location:Orlando, Florida

Posted Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:03 PM

It could be done, but it won't be done - there's no viable business model where it makes a profit. There are many here with more knowledge than I have to explain why.

 

But as long as we're dreaming...

 

1.  Black & White era coin-op games plug and play

2.  Vector graphics coin-op games for plug and play into your HDMI display

3.  Steve Jobs 1984 edition Macintosh flashback (for the rest of us... ...who didn't have a spare $1,500 lying around in 1984)

 

(apologies to those of you who've noticed that I keep posting these same dreams every time someone brings this up)



#4 Sak OFFLINE  

Sak

    Space Invader

  • Topic Starter
  • 11 posts

Posted Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:58 PM

@ almightytodd : I see your point (and it's a good one) regarding the potential consumer side on this kind of project. My thought is on the lines of "Hey, there is so much retro thing going on recently so what more appropriate to bring back landmark icons of that era?". I can only dream an Atari 800 XL and a Commodore 64 Flashback with loaded games and fully working keyboard, plus a microsd port, composite av , a set of joysticks and fancy boxes. And about your dreams I am backing you up 100%! :)

 

 

 

3.  Steve Jobs 1984 edition Macintosh flashback (for the rest of us... ...who didn't have a spare $1,500 lying around in 1984)

If nothing else, Apple seems to be able to pull off a Mac comeback, maybe with a bit of extra as an ipod dock-stereo disguise as well. Apple might be a wallet shark when it comes to value for money, but I am sure that if they decide to follow the retro hype with a landmark icon as the first Mac, people will still be camping outside their stores waiting in lines. 


Edited by Sak, Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:02 PM.


#5 doctorclu OFFLINE  

doctorclu

    ***Moon Patrol 5200*** *Moon Master2015* *Blue Max:Class 4*

  • 7,645 posts
  • *Star Raiders 2* **Captain -CL 2**
  • Location:*Star Raiders * *Star Commander -CL 1*

Posted Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:46 AM

It could be done, but it won't be done - there's no viable business model where it makes a profit. There are many here with more knowledge than I have to explain why.

 

This all comes and goes in waves.  I saw a LOT of Atari Flashback 5's on the shelf at Toys R' Us yesterday.   Might we are in the down swing of the retro trend for now.



#6 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

Bill Loguidice

    Quadrunner

  • 7,082 posts
  • Armchair Arcade Managing Director
  • Location:Burlington, New Jersey, USA

Posted Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:56 AM

The Atari Flashbacks and Sega Classic Console and handhelds continue to sell just fine and will have new versions in 2016. Unfortunately, there are zero plans to expand to Atari computer products. There's just no perceived mass market for it.



#7 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 21,608 posts

Posted Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:27 PM

Ohh of course, absolutely. Technically there is no problem. You could build it in a beer can if you wanted. Marketing, licensing, picking the games, that's a whole 'nother thing.

 

I think that once you start getting into computers (as opposed to game machines) the accuracy and expectation of what the gizmo is capable of goes way up. Might as well just get an 8-bit console from ebay or do emulation. I also think all the amenities and provisions of an 8-bit computer is "too much" for what is supposed to be a simple product.

 

Reverse engineering and recreating a 400/800 unit isn't hard, there's just a lot more of it. You got multiple ports, cart slot, SIO, keyboard. It all adds up and wouldn't be low cost - would you be willing to pay for something like that?

 

Sure there's things like that C64-in-a-joystick thing. But that's all you can do with it, play the built-in games.

 

The only 8-bit flashback "computer" that would be remotely attractive is one that had all the software of the major catalogs built in, Parker Bros. Atari, K-Star, Lucasfilm, Datamost, Sirius, Synapse.. The list can go on and on and get quite extensive. Then you might as well do a 5200 Flashback. It'd be just like the VCS - needing controllers as the only user i/o.

 

A much more practical and realistic solution is to build up your own emulation rig. You can boot from power-on BIOS to the blue screen MEMO PAD in 10 seconds or less. And drag and drop an image from your own custom made list. To me this is a far superior solution. Yes, it's a different gig entirely, but also very workable.

 

Sure it reeks of "computery stuff". But then what are you doing messing around with a +35 year old 8-bit machine anyways? And once you segue from one game to another game, one system to another system, on highly reliable modern hardware you won't want to go back.

 

With continually shrinking x86 machines and continually improving emulation, this is the way to go.

 

 

It could be done, but it won't be done - there's no viable business model where it makes a profit. There are many here with more knowledge than I have to explain why.

 

But as long as we're dreaming...

 

1.  Black & White era coin-op games plug and play

2.  Vector graphics coin-op games for plug and play into your HDMI display

3.  Steve Jobs 1984 edition Macintosh flashback (for the rest of us... ...who didn't have a spare $1,500 lying around in 1984)

 

(apologies to those of you who've noticed that I keep posting these same dreams every time someone brings this up)

 

A dedicated Set-Top-Box emulation machine will cover all that. It won't look the part, but it will do what you ask with aplomb.

 

But hold on a sec. I could see a quarter-scale 1984 Mac, with a hi-res b/w or color screen, and in place of the floppy drive, an SD or microSD slot. Couple of USB ports, an HDMI port, all you'd need. Not too different from the failed StarForce Pi. Apple would never allow it. But it would be nice if THEY themselves commissioned such a project! The Apple Mac was a project to be proud of. And it would sure as hell look cute on a desk!

 

With their +600 billion $$$ they could easily afford to give one of these away to everyone that owned an Apple back in the day, for free. It's just that corporate mentality doesn't have room for sentimentality no matter how much we want to think otherwise.



#8 ZuluGula ONLINE  

ZuluGula

    Chopper Commander

  • 119 posts
  • Location:Chicago, Il

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 8:09 AM

Sure there's things like that C64-in-a-joystick thing. But that's all you can do with it, play the built-in games.

 

You can connect real keyboard to C64 DTV and use BASIC. You can also connect disk drive or SD2IEC device and load most of the software from C64 library. You aren't limited to build-in games.



#9 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

Bill Loguidice

    Quadrunner

  • 7,082 posts
  • Armchair Arcade Managing Director
  • Location:Burlington, New Jersey, USA

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 9:48 AM

 

You can connect real keyboard to C64 DTV and use BASIC. You can also connect disk drive or SD2IEC device and load most of the software from C64 library. You aren't limited to build-in games.

 

Of course, but I think his point stands because that's not something you can do out of the box. You need some skill to hack it to make all of that work, just like with the Atari Flashback 2/2+. In both of those cases, those features were also added in by the engineers without full knowledge of the publishing company, which is why you don't see hackable mainstream devices like that anymore. For the hundreds of people who are interested in such a thing, versus the hundreds of thousands who just want to play the games that are on them, it's not exactly cost effective to build those features in.



#10 ls650 OFFLINE  

ls650

    Quadrunner

  • 7,204 posts
  • Atari rocks!
  • Location:British Columbia

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 10:08 AM

Possible, yes. Probable, no.

#11 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

Lynxpro

    River Patroller

  • 3,601 posts
  • Location:Sacramento, CA

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 11:02 AM

The Atari Flashbacks and Sega Classic Console and handhelds continue to sell just fine and will have new versions in 2016. Unfortunately, there are zero plans to expand to Atari computer products. There's just no perceived mass market for it.

 

 

If there was a big cash prize competition that was hyped, I'm sure a mass market would develop. Say like centered around Atari's 50th Anniversary in 2022. Or maybe if there was a Hollywood comedy that had characters who were into retro gaming as a hobby without lampooning the entire scene. But hey, I wouldn't be surprised if Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory hasn't influenced some modern gamers into trying out the Intellivision.



#12 ZuluGula ONLINE  

ZuluGula

    Chopper Commander

  • 119 posts
  • Location:Chicago, Il

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 1:24 PM

What happened that C64 DTV and FB 2 were possible ten years ago and are impossible now? Why we can't get another run of C64 DTV?



#13 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 21,608 posts

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 1:40 PM

Nothing really happened. It's a matter of someone wanting to produce the stuff.



#14 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

Flojomojo

    Doofus

  • 14,590 posts

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 3:11 PM

But hold on a sec. I could see a quarter-scale 1984 Mac, with a hi-res b/w or color screen, and in place of the floppy drive, an SD or microSD slot. Couple of USB ports, an HDMI port, all you'd need. Not too different from the failed StarForce Pi. Apple would never allow it. But it would be nice if THEY themselves commissioned such a project! The Apple Mac was a project to be proud of. And it would sure as hell look cute on a desk!
 
With their +600 billion $$$ they could easily afford to give one of these away to everyone that owned an Apple back in the day, for free. It's just that corporate mentality doesn't have room for sentimentality no matter how much we want to think otherwise.

I would totally buy such a thing, but I'm kind of an idiot. Especially when minivmac could do the same thing on my own hardware. This emulator runs fine on Android and Flash, and better on Windows. Haven't tried it on Linux yet but might do so with a Rasp Pi Zero sometime soon. http://www.gryphel.com/c/minivmac/
It would be neat to out this in a shell that is reminiscent of the original design, like a white DS Lite.

#15 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

Bill Loguidice

    Quadrunner

  • 7,082 posts
  • Armchair Arcade Managing Director
  • Location:Burlington, New Jersey, USA

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 3:21 PM

What happened that C64 DTV and FB 2 were possible ten years ago and are impossible now? Why we can't get another run of C64 DTV?

 

It's my understanding that both designs are costlier to produce than the emulation-based designs that we've been getting. The profit margins are razor thin in these categories considering what they have to sell for at retail ($40 or less), so any areas where costs can be cut, they're cut. You also have to consider that the days of these types of devices selling 1 million+ units are well behind us for a variety of reasons. It's more like hundreds of thousands of units when they do well, so again, any way to save money when producing these things, the better.



#16 Sak OFFLINE  

Sak

    Space Invader

  • Topic Starter
  • 11 posts

Posted Fri Jan 1, 2016 5:29 PM

 

Of course, but I think his point stands because that's not something you can do out of the box. You need some skill to hack it to make all of that work, just like with the Atari Flashback 2/2+. In both of those cases, those features were also added in by the engineers without full knowledge of the publishing company, which is why you don't see hackable mainstream devices like that anymore. For the hundreds of people who are interested in such a thing, versus the hundreds of thousands who just want to play the games that are on them, it's not exactly cost effective to build those features in.

 

You are absolutely right Bill, it all really comes down to the target group. With that thought in mind, do you think it would be possible for AT-Games to build something on demand? I mean in the sort of a preorder kind of thing.

 

Say, AT-Games presents a plan of recreating (always in the Flashback style and not exact copies of vintage hardware) the Atari 800 XL model with some inbuilt games of the XL/5200 + Basic mode, with the potential of an SD card and of course keyboard. And lets say they announce the delivery of 1.000 of these all on pre-order status on forums (mostly), with a pricetag of 80-100$. All these are relative of course, I am just giving a model plan. Would they ever (AT-Games) accept such a task considering that if they wont hit the 1.000 unit mark of preorder, they could just scrap off the whole thing? Same question of course goes for the 7800 Flashback we all have been waiting for. 


Edited by Sak, Fri Jan 1, 2016 5:43 PM.


#17 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

Kosmic Stardust

    Princess Rescuer

  • 18,060 posts
  • Location:Milky Way Galaxy

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 3:22 AM

 

If nothing else, Apple seems to be able to pull off a Mac comeback, maybe with a bit of extra as an ipod dock-stereo disguise as well. Apple might be a wallet shark when it comes to value for money, but I am sure that if they decide to follow the retro hype with a landmark icon as the first Mac, people will still be camping outside their stores waiting in lines. 

That is not what Apple do. I would bet Microsoft release a physical Dos box in 2016 long before Apple does anything retro. And that won't happen either.



#18 Sak OFFLINE  

Sak

    Space Invader

  • Topic Starter
  • 11 posts

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 4:08 AM

That is not what Apple do. I would bet Microsoft release a physical Dos box in 2016 long before Apple does anything retro. And that won't happen either.

I would take your bet anyday. :) All Apple has to do is to create an icade-like dock gizmo so one can slide an ipad to the Mac shell (for the screen) and use the docked keyboard and mouse altogether. They dont really need to reinvent anything internal, just a Mac shell in the icade form, an Ipad ready device that is. That alone would able to sell by thousands if no more. The nostalgia factor is strong among us (like the Force!) :)

 

 

Imagine a Mac shell with keyboard and mouse, with a slider on top for the Ipad..  who wouldn't buy that?

14.01.24-Mac_30.jpg


Edited by Sak, Sat Jan 2, 2016 4:12 AM.


#19 Osgeld ONLINE  

Osgeld

    Quadrunner

  • 5,774 posts
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 10:53 AM

I wouldnt 



#20 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

Bill Loguidice

    Quadrunner

  • 7,082 posts
  • Armchair Arcade Managing Director
  • Location:Burlington, New Jersey, USA

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 11:23 AM

 

You are absolutely right Bill, it all really comes down to the target group. With that thought in mind, do you think it would be possible for AT-Games to build something on demand? I mean in the sort of a preorder kind of thing.

 

Say, AT-Games presents a plan of recreating (always in the Flashback style and not exact copies of vintage hardware) the Atari 800 XL model with some inbuilt games of the XL/5200 + Basic mode, with the potential of an SD card and of course keyboard. And lets say they announce the delivery of 1.000 of these all on pre-order status on forums (mostly), with a pricetag of 80-100$. All these are relative of course, I am just giving a model plan. Would they ever (AT-Games) accept such a task considering that if they wont hit the 1.000 unit mark of preorder, they could just scrap off the whole thing? Same question of course goes for the 7800 Flashback we all have been waiting for. 

 

That's not something a company like AtGames is set up to do. AtGames deals with hundreds of thousands of units at minimum and targets big box retailers. If you're talking 1,000 pre-orders and a price tag of say $100, that's better served by a much smaller endeavor of just a handful of people. Hell, I'd help finance such an endeavor. It's just not something a larger corporation would bother with.

 

Also, I don't think there's a real demand for a 7800 Flashback outside of perhaps a lot of the people who frequent this board. Again, that's a "handful of people" endeavor. 



#21 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

Bill Loguidice

    Quadrunner

  • 7,082 posts
  • Armchair Arcade Managing Director
  • Location:Burlington, New Jersey, USA

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 11:29 AM

I would take your bet anyday. :) All Apple has to do is to create an icade-like dock gizmo so one can slide an ipad to the Mac shell (for the screen) and use the docked keyboard and mouse altogether. They dont really need to reinvent anything internal, just a Mac shell in the icade form, an Ipad ready device that is. That alone would able to sell by thousands if no more. The nostalgia factor is strong among us (like the Force!) :)

 

 

Imagine a Mac shell with keyboard and mouse, with a slider on top for the Ipad..  who wouldn't buy that?

 

 

Apple has never expressed any interest in exploring their past. They've almost always been about pushing forward and getting rid of the past. So no, I don't think they'd ever consider something like this. Not even for a moment.

 

Also, I struggle to see the value of a classic Mac-in-a-box. It wasn't a great game platform, so what exactly would you do on the thing? I mean, I have several classic Macs in my own collection and appreciate the platform, obviously, but outside of a niche of enthusiasts, I can't see what the general appeal would be. 



#22 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Missile Commander

  • 21,608 posts

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 11:36 AM

There wouldn't be. Forums like AA and all that, it's just a tiny fraction of wider tech population. And remember companies aren't sentimental.



#23 Osgeld ONLINE  

Osgeld

    Quadrunner

  • 5,774 posts
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted Sat Jan 2, 2016 4:09 PM

Apple has never expressed any interest in exploring their past.

 

When jobs returned to Apple he had them clean out the closests saying something along the lines of we dont have time to dwindle on the past we need to only look forward (which might be why they had a habit of repeating mistakes... zing!)



#24 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

Flojomojo

    Doofus

  • 14,590 posts

Posted Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:49 AM

I would take your bet anyday. :) All Apple has to do is to create an icade-like dock gizmo so one can slide an ipad to the Mac shell (for the screen) and use the docked keyboard and mouse altogether. They dont really need to reinvent anything internal, just a Mac shell in the icade form, an Ipad ready device that is. That alone would able to sell by thousands if no more. The nostalgia factor is strong among us (like the Force!) :)

 

 

Imagine a Mac shell with keyboard and mouse, with a slider on top for the Ipad..  who wouldn't buy that?

14.01.24-Mac_30.jpg

 

I would totally buy that, but I think I'm the only one. The platform was neat at the time, but super limited, and had a zillionth of the capabilities of an iPhone, which outclasses it in every possible way, from power consumption to screen resolution to clock speed to onscreen pixels and colors to inputs to sound channels to memory to storage to networking to available software ... and so on and on and on. 

 

I would love to play Sky Shadow again, but I really don't miss lugging my Mac SE around in its custom suitcase like I did in 1988. 

 

We have come a long way since then. The Bondi Blue iMac was way ahead of the Classic Mac, and it's ridiculously far behind any iPhone in terms of what it can do. 

 

CBzgMoVUEAEH-ee.png






0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users