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2017 Flashback Speculation Thread


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#1 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:53 AM

Too soon? Yeah, maybe -- especially if you haven't been able to get your hands on the 2016 editions yet. Those are supposedly the last ones on the old hardware platform, and possibly the last ones to support analog audiovisual cables for use on older televisions. I think they're all worth a look/play/buy, particularly the Atari Flashback Portable, which marks the first time we've seen an official portable release of the Atari 2600 games, along with an SD card slot for bringing your own ROMs. 

 

What's next?

 

Known: 

Atari

Sega

 

Presumed:

Better emulation fidelity/compatibility

Fixed sound for Sega Genesis

Dropped newer but "classic-style" games that padded the game count on the Sega units

HDMI output

New platforms

 

I look forward to better Genesis emulation. It would be particularly cool if 32X, Master System, Game Gear, and Sega CD support could be added. I could handle slicker hardware, but the cheapo plastic AtGames portable unit isn't bad for the price. 

 

Arcade emulation would be nice to have, we don't get enough of that in my opinion. 

 

Is there a good reason to sell separate units that basically do the same thing? A combined Sega/Atari/maybe something else unit would be excellent. 

 

What would you like to see? 



#2 Akito01 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:09 AM

 

 

Is there a good reason to sell separate units that basically do the same thing? A combined Sega/Atari/maybe something else unit would be excellent. 

 

 

 

My suspicion is that the reason for selling separate units has to to with nature of licensing these brands, and I wouldn't expect that to change.

 

Given that the Genesis units have traditionally had built-in cartridge slots, I'm curious if that feature is brought forward -the prospect of an inexpensive machine that can output original carts to HDMI is very exciting, but I fear might be too good to be true. We also haven't had a Flashback product that officially supports Atari carts either. Assuming all of those are a no-go, I'd be at least as happy if the non-portable Flashback products supported SD cards in the same way the portables have. 



#3 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:19 AM

OK, I will let out one big hint. Unlike what was previously assumed (and indicated by me), there will be improved versions of existing models, as well as models based around completely new hardware. I don't personally agree with the approach, but it's kind of a low price/high price strategy to satisfy more of the market. Depending upon how things go, that strategy may simplify in 2018. 

 

We will definitely be moving forward with more Atari/Sega products, and there will be at least one, possibly two new additions to the line-up based around other properties. Of course, the Flashback Classics line-up is also expected to expand. I'll say no more.


Edited by BillLoguidice, Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:20 AM.


#4 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:46 AM

I'll say no more.

Until you do say more, and that's why we love you, Bill.  :-D



#5 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:47 AM

Until you do say more, and that's why we love you, Bill.  :-D

 

You're right, I am easily goaded!



#6 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:19 AM

You're right, I am easily goaded!

I'll bet you don't even have pictures and design documents for everything under consideration, and if you did, you wouldn't even know how to post them on this forum. Neener neener!  :P



#7 vtadave OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:10 AM

If you want a huge seller, increase the screen size of the portable and make it an all-in-one unit with 2600/5200/7800 compatibility.  One can dream, right?



#8 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:22 AM

If you want a huge seller, increase the screen size of the portable and make it an all-in-one unit with 2600/5200/7800 compatibility.  One can dream, right?

 

I disagree (but not about the dreaming part). I don't think the average person even knows what a 5200 or 7800 is. They respond to certain big name systems (Atari 2600, Genesis, NES, etc.) and, obviously, big name games.

 

As stated, we will be expanding the hardware line-up in 2017. I can tell you, though, that it won't involve anything related to the 5200 or 7800 (or Atari 8-bit computers). The best chance for that is with the Atari Flashback Classics line-up for the PS4 and Xbox One (and maybe eventually PC).



#9 Tarzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:30 AM

 

I disagree (but not about the dreaming part). I don't think the average person even knows what a 5200 or 7800 is. They respond to certain big name systems (Atari 2600, Genesis, NES, etc.) and, obviously, big name games.

 

As stated, we will be expanding the hardware line-up in 2017. I can tell you, though, that it won't involve anything related to the 5200 or 7800 (or Atari 8-bit computers). The best chance for that is with the Atari Flashback Classics line-up for the PS4 and Xbox One (and maybe eventually PC).

Which is a shame, since if the hardware is beefier for the next year they could do "History of Atari" or "Evolution of Atari" kind of thing where you could:

Pick Asteroids form the menu

Then select from a sub menu to play from Arcade, 2600, and at least one of 5200/8Bit/7800 versions of it.

 

As you say, people wouldn't care if the box just says Asteroids, but being able to pick, especially on the portable version would be great.



#10 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:34 AM

Which is a shame, since if the hardware is beefier for the next year they could do "History of Atari" or "Evolution of Atari" kind of thing where you could:

Pick Asteroids form the menu

Then select from a sub menu to play from Arcade, 2600, and at least one of 5200/8Bit/7800 versions of it.

 

As you say, people wouldn't care if the box just says Asteroids, but being able to pick, especially on the portable version would be great.

 

Maybe a shame, but there are lots of moving parts with supporting multiple emulators and multiple ways to play on a casual system. It's hard enough debugging one platform's emulation and keeping costs low enough to make it all practical. Really, if that's what you're after, then you're probably looking at a price point/level of complexity like the RetroN 5, or, my personal favorite, Retro Freak.



#11 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:03 PM

I don't think the average person even knows what a 5200 or 7800 is. 

Anecdote: when I brought home a 7800 in ~1989, one of my roommates in my group house was impressed that I had found a "5200." Another was critical of Pitfall as being the same little task, over and over again. A third offered to lend me his seldom-played ColecoVision. 

 

I would only assume the old systems were completely forgotten to all but the most faithful Atarians by now. I'm probably among their number and even I don't really care. 



#12 mckafka99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:07 PM

I am loving the current Atari portable but I second the idea of a larger screen :-)

#13 carlsson ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:20 AM

I think from a consumer point of view, a PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 Flashback would attract more buyers than an Atari 5200/XEGS or 7800 Flashback.



#14 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:12 AM

Which is to say, not much!

I wonder what Nintendo's lifetime sales figures are like for their various virtual console releases? I was listening to the latest Retronauts podcast about "10 shitty years of virtual console" (their actual title) that also went into NES Classic. They bemoaned how the VC release schedule dried up a few years ago, without ever acknowledging that there probably wasn't much of a market for many of these classics outside the hits.

#15 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:37 AM

I think from a consumer point of view, a PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 Flashback would attract more buyers than an Atari 5200/XEGS or 7800 Flashback.

 

Not in the US, which is the AtGames primary market. (By the way, I'm a big PC Engine/TG-16 fan and have a large personal collection of the stuff.)



#16 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:40 AM

Which is to say, not much!

I wonder what Nintendo's lifetime sales figures are like for their various virtual console releases? I was listening to the latest Retronauts podcast about "10 shitty years of virtual console" (their actual title) that also went into NES Classic. They bemoaned how the VC release schedule dried up a few years ago, without ever acknowledging that there probably wasn't much of a market for many of these classics outside the hits.

 

To me, there are a lot of issues with the Virtual Console stuff, including a relatively high price per item. With that said, I think the primary issue - and I'm a broken record on this - is that the lack of a Nintendo account system stinks, so people like me are hesitant to buy much on there. If they fix it for Switch, then I suspect their sales might improve if our purchases are portable to our account (like on the Microsoft and Sony sides) and not tied to a specific system.

 

What's interesting to me is that Nintendo hasn't tried more disc-based game bundles of VC titles. Those seem like no-brainers and would be easier sells I would think.



#17 carlsson ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:48 AM

Fair enough. I was thinking in terms of systems people may have heard a lot of great things about, but never got to experience first hand, rather than strictly nostalgia about stuff you actually played 30 years ago and still have faint memories of. But perhaps commercially nostalgia wins big time over curiosity with products like these.



#18 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:06 AM

Fair enough. I was thinking in terms of systems people may have heard a lot of great things about, but never got to experience first hand, rather than strictly nostalgia about stuff you actually played 30 years ago and still have faint memories of. But perhaps commercially nostalgia wins big time over curiosity with products like these.

 

Yeah. The sales figures bare out that people respond to big name games versus platforms (big name or otherwise). The problem with something like the PC Engine, is no matter how great it is, there really aren't any games that people would necessarily recognize (and by people I mean the average person, not necessarily core gamers). Among its other issues, I think that's perhaps one of the problems with something like the Retro-Bit Generations. It's the kind of thing that if executed properly would be of interest to gamers like us, but there's very little on there to appeal to an audience outside of that.

 

AtGames just secured the rights to some big name games (not announced yet), and it's the kind of IPs that will make anyone take notice. At least from the perspective that I'm watching from, that's the smartest strategy if your company name is something other than Nintendo.

 

To my mind, there are only a handful of classic platforms that will sell well to the general public when mixed with the right games, including arcade, Atari 2600, NES, Genesis, SNES, PS1, and N64. There are others like Neo Geo that I think could survive on lesser name recognition, but higher game quality, and something like the Dreamcast, that might be able to survive on Sonic and a few other notable franchises (Crazy Taxi for one), and the wave of gamer interest in revival of the brand to help drive wider sales.



#19 carlsson ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:16 AM

Did you on purpose leave out home computers like the C64 and Apple ][, or would those not be generally popular enough?



#20 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:37 AM

Did you on purpose leave out home computers like the C64 and Apple ][, or would those not be generally popular enough?

 

Not on purpose. In fact, we've strongly pursued Amiga and C-64 SKUs, but the problem is getting games. We had a lead, but they weren't able to re-sell the IPs (they had limited use rights). It's much easier with console stuff because game rights are much more highly concentrated.



#21 carlsson ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:38 AM

I see. I suppose you have pulled at the same strings which were pulled for the C64DTV, although the selection of games for that device rather depended on which ones they could obtain licences for rather than the most desired titles. I understand that consoles are easier because of a higher percentage of 1st party published games.

 

In any case, I'm sure AtGames will have something great going on, in particular after the spilled bean about secured rights to big games, whichever they are.



#22 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:23 PM

What a juicy rumor! I hope it includes some stuff that we haven't seen re-re-re-released a zillion times already. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

#23 EmuDan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:32 PM

I would love to see the Atari 7800 emulation brought back.  There were some excellent games on the Flashback 1, which I still have in my collection, but they were a little glitchy.  I'm sure ATgames could improve the emulation for a new model.  On the Sega side, I think adding the Sega CD games would be great.  Granted, the files are huge, but flash memory keeps getting cheaper, so even adding a few SegaCD games could be a possibility.



#24 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:06 PM

I would love to see the Atari 7800 emulation brought back.  There were some excellent games on the Flashback 1, which I still have in my collection, but they were a little glitchy.  I'm sure ATgames could improve the emulation for a new model.  On the Sega side, I think adding the Sega CD games would be great.  Granted, the files are huge, but flash memory keeps getting cheaper, so even adding a few SegaCD games could be a possibility.

 

The original Flashback was running on a NES-on-a-chip and poorly simulated Atari 2600 and 7800 games. There's nothing to re-use there, really, because no one in this day and age would use a NES-on-a-chip. (and I want to make clear that I was highly critical of it when first released, so this is not me retconning anything; obviously that was all redeemed and then some with the Flashback 2/2+)

 

I'm not ruling out the potential for the 7800 on the Atari Flashback Classics software series, but it's not really an option for the foreseeable future on the hardware side. We already have the roadmap set through 2017 and a bit beyond, and, while it involves expansion, it doesn't involve expanding into 7800 stuff.

 

Sega CD is kind of interesting, but it's not even something on the radar at this point, so that's out too for the foreseeable future. I think a lot more people will be really happy with what AtGames is doing for 2017 and beyond, so if that all goes off as planned (i.e., executed correctly), then certainly more ambitious expansions with the existing products might be possible. As it is, it's already going to be a big shift in how the hardware platforms work.



#25 bmadgames OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:12 PM

Is there any chance of cartridge support for the Atari line? I realize this would be more of a niche feature, but still cool.




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