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Got a Flashback unit!


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#76 sidcrowe OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 17, 2004 5:54 AM

Why didn't they just call this machine "E.T. 2004"


Hee hee :D

I really wanted to like it, too. It's nifty how small it is. I'd love a mini 2600, too :P

One plus, it doesn't run on non-rechargeable batteries like the Jakks.

If it gets warm, you can slide it under your chair and use it as a cushion-warming-thing :D

#77 Nuclear Pacman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 17, 2004 6:32 AM

Wow...what a piece of shit. Yep...that pretty much sums it up.

#78 gdement OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:06 AM

If its true that this thing is based on NES technology, then they had to have known from the beginning that it was going to have significant issues. The NES and the 7800 aren't similar at all. Their custom chips couldn't be any more different.

From how its been described, this thing sounds like it has the quality of a cheap unlicensed knockoff. Its business - but bad business in my opinion. Will this encourage more people to buy "Atari" products? Infogrames might find themselves changing their name back if they aren't more careful in the future.

It's too bad copyrights don't expire after 20 years. If there was some competition then somebody would come out with a real binary compatible emulator.

#79 Mr Egg OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:26 PM

i am still going to get it . i dont need to play it since i have all the original 2600 and 7800 titles that i like . but it is nice to see new atari gear no matter how crappy, ill put it next to mi jacks styck collection

#80 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:32 PM

Has anyone else seen this in stores, particularly on the East Coast? I've been trolling Targets in the suburban MD area (near DC), but nothing. I've been checking the electronics section near the games where the Konami sticks are stocked, as well as the toy section with all the Jakks and Radica sticks. No Flashback here.

#81 SteveW OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:10 AM

I went to Target tonight to pick up an iTunes card and a pillow that hopefully won't go flat in a month, and they had Flashback units. They weren't with the regular Jakks Pacific type stuff, they were in the modern game console section. I couldn't help myself, I just had to get one. I want to know if it's any good.

This is Famiclone technology, plain and simple. I tried out Battlezone first, and it was nothing like the 2600 version. Colors were wrong, all the enemy tanks are facing you, instead of driving around and then turning to face you. The enemy tank's weapons fire doesn't follow proper physics like the 2600's tank fire did. The sound effects are a tip-off that it was Famiclone tech. But the real telling point was when I pressed the reset button, and the graphics broke apart, the same way a bad NES connector would make a game screen turn to gibberish. And the best way to tell that it's Famicom technology, Desert Falcon played like shit. The graphics were nothing like the original, the animation was terrible, and the graphics flickered like crazy and there was slowdown. A real 7800 has far better sprite handling abilities than the NES, and this is a good example of that.

Fast Food played like it was in slow motion. I've got the XE version, but not the 7800 version, so I don't know first hand if the 7800 game plays so painfully slow. The XE version didn't. And the Flashback shows how bad it's sprite handling is again, when more than a few sprites on a scan line makes big gaps disappear out of some sprites.

Yar's Revenge played the same, just with larger sprites and weird sound effects. The graphic effects, like the Ion Zone, and the explosion when you destroy the Qotile base, are completely wrong, and scream NES-on-a-chip.

Planet Smashers was fairly accurate, considering there's not a whole lot to the game. The obnoxious weapon sound effect is intact, unfortunately. The one thing they should have changed, and they didn't. :sad: When you get to the boss, however, you are pretty much fucked. The boss stays right above your ship, and fires bullets at you at light speed. There's virtually no way to defeat it.

Adventure is a pretty strange one on this machine. They have all the elements, but things are..... a little off. Diagonal movement is a lot slower than horizontal or vertical movement. The sound of the dragons being slain honestly sounds like it was badly digitized from the 2600's sound effect. The bat moves like the proverbial 'bat out of hell', the chalice doesn't color cycle properly like the 2600 version's did, and the sounds when you finally deliver the chalice to the yellow castle are really bizarre. When, on the Atari 2600, you push the 'Select' button while the end music is playing, the music will slow down to about a third of it's original speed. Well, the Flashback's Adventure end music plays even slower. And clunkier.


I could spend all night trashing the Flashback, but I won't. I knew I shouldn't have bought it, but I couldn't stop myself. I had to see how bad it was for myself. In the same way that I had heard how bad the Intellivision 25-in-1 was, but I had to get one for myself. And i'll pick up one of Tulip Computer's Commodore 64 joysticks, too. My geek curiosity always wins out.

#82 Mr Egg OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:14 AM

i cant wait for the c64 stick myself . specially after hearing it will use actuall c64 technology

#83 SteveW OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:22 AM

Okay, I have to say one nice thing about the Flashback. While playing Adventure, I found the microdot, went through the wall, and there it is........ "Created by Warren Robinett". Or maybe it should have been changed to have Warren's name on it, along with the name of whichever underpaid Chinese NES programmer ported the game over. :grin:

#84 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:35 AM

Fast Food played like it was in slow motion. I've got the XE version, but not the 7800 version, so I don't know first hand if the 7800 game plays so painfully slow. The XE version didn't. And the Flashback shows how bad it's sprite handling is again, when more than a few sprites on a scan line makes big gaps disappear out of some sprites.

Uh-oh. Food Fight was a big motivator for me. I also like 7800 Asteroids, Solaris, and the idea if not the gameplay of Saboteur. Desert Falcon looks pretty but the 2600 version I have is enough for me, so I don't really care that it was botched. Everything else and much more is on the Atari Anthology for XBOX and PS2. Like you, I'll probably get this anyway, but if it's the first in a planned series, it's likely to be the last one I get if I can't stomach the quality.

Silver lining: If these are in fact NES ROMs, they should be runnable on NES emulators, which is a Good Thing because it means they could easily played on other devices such as GBA, where VCS emulation is not as good as NES emulation. That's assuming anyone would go to the trouble of extracting and dumping the ROMs of these things.

#85 Chickybaby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:53 AM

If it's really that bad just save the reciept and return it later - at least maybe the company will get the hint it's defective and you can still relieve that itch to by the system.
(you could just save yourself the pain and get crack creme and that should take care of the itch better).
If the sales people ask why your returning it you can start spewing technical jargon like "sprites handling" or just copy the list of complaints from this thread as to why its defective and read them loudly, they should refund your money & hurry you out then. :)

#86 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:51 PM

(you could just save yourself the pain and get crack creme and that should take care of the itch better).

Somehow, I don't think Posted Imageis going to be nearly as satisfying as this Posted Image

I'm going to buy it from Atari so I can get the nifty T-shirt. No returns that way ... :wink:

#87 Shaggy the Atarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:51 PM

Funny how the version of BZ they show in that ad is the real version and not the Flashback version of the game... :ponder:

#88 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:13 PM

Let's sue them for false advertising. Some of the stupid class action notifications I've seen are on about that level. :roll:

Can't get the bundle with the T-shirt yet. It will probably be $5 more than Target, and I'll have to wait longer. Whatever will I do? :sleep:

#89 Cousin Vinnie OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 6:42 PM

Not to jump on the poo poo train, but the link below further proves their lack of care about this product.

http://www.atari.com/us/

If you notice, the version of Asteroids on the TV is the 2600 version, when in fact the 7800 version is included.

Feels like old times at Atari :roll:

CV

#90 Trip_Cannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 7:01 PM

Hey, Curt Vendel was pretty active during these topics before the Flashback unit came out and seemed to have a lot of insight on the product. Perhaps he could shed some light on the current injustices many of you feel? Has he been around lately?

#91 SteveW OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 18, 2004 7:07 PM

The Flashback's box back has screenshots from the original 2600 and 7800 games, but the NES graphics on the Flashback aren't nearly as nice looking. Probably why the colors on Battlezone are so limited looking, compared to the 2600's version.

It still stumps me why they chose to mimic the 7800 console for the Flashback's case, instead of the far more famous woodgrain 2600. And have a little 7800 history bit on it, too.

#92 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:33 AM

Hey, Curt Vendel was pretty active during these topics before the Flashback unit came out and seemed to have a lot of insight on the product. Perhaps he could shed some light on the current injustices many of you feel? Has he been around lately?


Trip,

Something more detailed will follow next week, but I'll sum things up to answer more or less most questions:

The Flashback project was on-going in a pitch phase for nearly 1 1/2 years.

Final go ahead literally came out of the blue in the last week of May 04

The "REAL" 7800 chipset was eval'd and spec'd, all of the necessary materials were delivered to the semiconductor firm and around the 3rd week of June 04 it was delivered for approval: 4 months for design, 2 additional months to make stable and go into product.

Atari wanted a product for the 04' holiday season or NO hardware would be considered now and the possibililty for the proposed future line of hardware would no longer be on the table -- this was a one shot chance, do nothing and that would close the door permanently, no if's and's or butt's.

With roughly 2+ months to create an entire product, begin production in Mid September to place onto cargo ships and arrive in early November for the Holiday 04' season, a choice was made to go with the SH6578 "NES" chip since nothing else within the spec'd cost range would be able to apply.

Final approval and sign off did not happen until July 7th, deadline for completion was Sept 15th, that gave 10 weeks to re-write 20 games, create hardware, packaging, etc...

Now take a moment, step back and understand, the Jakks 10 in 1 took 8 months to code 10 games, the 13 in 1 paddle took 6 months...

20 games in 10 weeks...

I think if everyone gets over the "its not REAL Atari chips" syndrome and tries to take into perspective that twice as much work in 1/3 the time was done, a monumental task of creating a product was done and it was done recreating games on a chipset with limited color pallete and difficulty in screen image manipulation. Recreating sounds on a chip more accustomed to creating toony, high-tone dingy sounds then low growling sounds effects of a 2600.

In closing, the final tihng I will say is:

So the REAL chipset could not be completed for THIS Atari branded product... See ya in 05'

Give the Flashback a try, and give it a break, its actually a pretty nice little game console and while its not perfect (nothing but a real Atari is going to be perfect), its a lot of fun if you just play it and not critique it.


Curt

#93 Chris-in-NJ OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:39 AM

You know, I love Desert Falcon, and when I heard this it would be included alongside Saboteur for a price of $40 on a "modern" console, I thought I might give it a go, since Saboteur by itself had been selling for $35.

Two things I don't like about 7800 Desert Falcon are the screen glitches and the slow-downs when there are lots of enemies on screen. I had thought that, with a modern chip-set or whatever running these games on the Flashback, these problems could be eliminated so that the game wouldn't suffer these indignities.

To mis-quote Rowan Atkinson, "and on that day, Satan shall be arriving to work on ice-skates."

#94 Feralstorm OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:45 AM

Wow, that's an insanely tight schedule. Under those circumstances I can definitely see why the games aren't as accurate as they could be.

I also guess that if it means having something now with a chance of something better in the future, or having nothing at all, ever (or at least for a long time), I would choose "something now".

#95 DracIsBack ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:43 AM

Two things I don't like about 7800 Desert Falcon are the screen glitches and the slow-downs when there are lots of enemies on screen. I had thought that, with a modern chip-set or whatever running these games on the Flashback, these problems could be eliminated so that the game wouldn't suffer these indignities.


If it's based upon the NES, then there's nothing "modern" about it in terms of capabilities. It's just a s old and a different architecture not built for a game like Desert Falcon. Instead, you add flickering to the mix.

#96 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:59 AM

So the REAL chipset could not be completed for THIS Atari branded product...   See ya in 05'

That is indeed good news, but I'm going to pretend I didn't hear it and wait for the formal announcment and manage my expectations accordingly. 8) I would assume the REAL chipset could take more games since reprogramming will not be required. It would be great to see more games included if that's the case.

I understand Atari's desire to make the holidays, but what an insane schedule! Did they make it? I know some people have seen these in stores, but I haven't yet ...and I've been looking. Also of note is that the URL for the system does not work as of this writing; it bumps you back to the start page. See http://www.atari.com..._flashback/7800 to see what I see. Maybe it's being updated with selling information?

Thanks for the inside scoop, Curt. If it doesn't excuse the quality of the Flashback console, at least it explains it well. Hopefully that will quell some of the negative sentiment.

Is your name in the credits? (does the thing have credits?)

#97 Chris-in-NJ OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:38 AM

Getting back to DracIsBack -- at the time the system was announced, we didn't know what type of processor it'd have, so I had hoped that it'd be more advanced than a standard 7800's to correct the defects.

#98 Bruce Tomlin OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:17 AM

Final approval and sign off did not happen until July 7th, deadline for completion was Sept 15th, that gave 10 weeks to re-write 20 games, create hardware, packaging, etc...

Now take a moment, step back and understand, the Jakks 10 in 1 took 8 months to code 10 games, the 13 in 1 paddle took 6 months...

20 games in 10 weeks...

What does that remind me of... oh yeah, Pac-Man and E.T.

At least now I understand why I've read reports here of some sloppiness in the way the games run.

The "REAL" 7800 chipset was eval'd and spec'd, all of the necessary materials were delivered to the semiconductor firm and around the 3rd week of June 04 it was delivered for approval: 4 months for design, 2 additional months to make stable and go into product.

Sounds to me like they weren't the ones who waved money in front of the VHDL 2600 guys and were going to have the semi company do a design from scratch. If they'd already been talking to someone with a VHDL 2600 design, it could have been done in half the time.

That's what they get for waiting so long to commit to the idea.

Anyhow, as long as they're in stores by Thanksgiving (they might miss that mark by a few days), that should be enough time for them to be bought as expensive stocking stuffers.

#99 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:31 AM

When you posted this, I'm sure you realized that answering questions would only raise more questions. :wink:

Atari wanted a product for the 04' holiday season or NO hardware would be considered now and the possibililty for the proposed future line of hardware would no longer be on the table -- this was a one shot chance, do nothing and that would close the door permanently, no if's and's or butt's.

Can we assume that Atari will look at the sales figures for the current Flashback to determine market viability of a future classic console release? Or was any other rationale given for this peculiar-seeming ultimatum?

I'm interested in seeing how a future console would be branded and marketed to minimize confusion between the Flashback and "Flashback 2: the REAL HARDWARE."

#100 else OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:49 AM

So the REAL chipset could not be completed for THIS Atari branded product... See ya in 05'


This strategy makes absolutely no sense to me. They will have already saturated their target market with this "fake" version -- who in their right mind is going to want to shell out more $$ again next for for the "real" version.

Are the sales for the "real" version going to be lackluster? You bet. They've screwed themselves by doing this, plain and simple. Poeple are going to say enough is enough, just like they during the crash.

Jeez with all the bad moves Atari has made in the past, you would think someone might actually learn from it. Perhaps the Atari name is cursed and causes ordinary rational people to make really poor decisions?




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