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2017 Flashback FAQ and Speculation Thread

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I've said it before, but if At Games puts another Genesis device out that does not LOOK like a model 1 or even 2, they should have their heads examined.

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I've said it before, but if At Games puts another Genesis device out that does not LOOK like a model 1 or even 2, they should have their heads examined.

 

Although it won't be exact for a variety of reasons, it's looking more authentic than ever.

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Although it won't be exact for a variety of reasons, it's looking more authentic than ever.

Bill, someone is saying that AtGames is doing an Intellivision Flashback 2 with Data East games, TRON games, and more. Fact or fiction?

 

Exciting if true, especially if the Imagic games make it this time too.

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Bill, someone is saying that AtGames is doing an Intellivision Flashback 2 with Data East games, TRON games, and more. Fact or fiction?

 

Exciting if true, especially if the Imagic games make it this time too.

 

Was it a Trump tweet?

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Yes, much to my surprise, there will be an INTV FB 2 (special deal I guess), but the Data East and Disney stuff is not confirmed. It's kind of jumping the gun, frankly.

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The 5200 will always present a problem because of the controllers. There's just not enough of a market justification to go to the trouble of replicating 5200 controller functionality. The closest we'll probably ever get is a software-based collection, like Atari Flashback Classics. 7800 is more of a possibility because it's a bit more straightforward, but it would also require AtGames to create a two button controller, and there are only a handful of games that are readily available to license from its library (at least that Atari has rights to still).

 

Anyway, the 2600-based Flashback (and Sega) console is being re-imagined this year, so it's certainly something we can build off of and see where the platform itself can be taken.

What if they continue where they started with the Flashback 7, building arcade ports for the portables in addition to the classic 2600 games? That would be a step in the right direction, would it not? Maybe porting over some titles whenever rights can be acquired would be easier than developing all new emulators for a host of systems. Seems a lot of 5200/7800/XE games just simply don't have the rights to or cannot be arsed to include emulators for...

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A lot of 5200 and 7800 games work just fine with a CX-40, as demonstrated by Atari's 8 bit platform where most of the games exist on the computer lineup in an all but identical state, minus control differences. Few 5200 games benefit from analog control and most games on both systems relied on just a single fire button, which is why many of us use our favorite 2600 controller so often when playing 7800 games.

 

The real killer is that it restricts an already small pool of viable candidates, that in the case of the 7800 might only be a dozen or so games to start with after licensed properties are cut. If they each had 40 or so worthwhile games and a digital single button controller just dropped the lineup by 1/4th, you'd likely still have an argument in their favor to develop an emulator to beef up the game lineup on the Atari Flashback line.

 

Can't picture 7800 games being added, but the saving grace if it ever happens for the 5200, is Atari's complementary computer lineup that would also be opened up as a byproduct of emulating the console counterpart. Surely enough worthwhile experiences without breaking the bank could be assembled between the 5200 and computer line that work or could easily be converted to work with the standard Atari joystick, if they ever decided to add these.

 

The issue then is that many of those games like Centipede already exist in 2600 form, and that name power is already attracting consumers. How do you communicate to consumers why they should care that another version is now included, and would that benefit sales enough to justify hiring programmers to code the emulator? Tough one to argue in favor of...

Edited by Atariboy
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Yes, much to my surprise, there will be an INTV FB 2 (special deal I guess), but the Data East and Disney stuff is not confirmed. It's kind of jumping the gun, frankly.

OK, after having some discussions, it turns out that nothing is settled yet, either system or games. It's possible, but quite a bit still needs to be worked out to make anything a reality. So, for now, put it all in the maybe category. I'll say nothing else on the matter for now.

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What if they continue where they started with the Flashback 7, building arcade ports for the portables in addition to the classic 2600 games? That would be a step in the right direction, would it not? Maybe porting over some titles whenever rights can be acquired would be easier than developing all new emulators for a host of systems. Seems a lot of 5200/7800/XE games just simply don't have the rights to or cannot be arsed to include emulators for...

 

I'm presently advising against creating new ports, as I think it creates unnecessary consumer confusion. People expect 2600-level games in an Atari 2600-based Flashback, and to have ones that are a much higher fidelity obviously muddies things. Instead, I'm encouraging licensing existing homebrew ports where the original Atari 2600 either doesn't exist or is terrible. If all continues to go as it's proceeding, we may very well see the first evidence of that in at least one of the upcoming Atari-based hardware releases. Naturally, if the only way to get a popular title on the Flashback is to create a new port, then obviously that will be the path taken. The point is, I don't consider that the best option.

 

The other factor is that many of the current rights to the 5200, 7800, and 8-bit library consist of the same types of arcade ports found on the 2600 (and a lot of the third party stuff as well). Sure, they're often better than the 2600 versions, but to go the extra effort, confusion, expense, etc., to merely duplicate many of the same games is tougher to justify. That's not to say it won't happen at some point, but again, there's not a huge return for now on going that route. With that said, the company is always looking for ways to differentiate their annual products (and again, I can't stress enough how much of a change there is this year for the Atari and Sega products in terms of features and libraries), and that's certainly one way to do it once a wall is hit.

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If an Intellivision Flashback 2 comes to pass, I'd be quite happy if the library were updated to contain everything from the original Intellivision Flashback (which is generally the first-party stuff we saw on Intellivision Lives! plus the voice games) including a fixed version of Tower of Doom, so long as we get the Activision and Imagic stuff from Intellivision Rocks! as well. Homebrews and prototypes are always welcome, of course.

 

If the powers that be managed to get either the Data East games, or the TRON games, I'd be super-happy. Both would be amazing!

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...the company is always looking for ways to differentiate their annual products ... and that's certainly one way to do it once a wall is hit.

 

I would argue the wall has already been hit for the Atari Flashback, at least in terms of the game library. There was only one new title added between the 6 and the 7 (Frogger).

 

I'm currently sitting on a Flashback 4 and I haven't seen enough product advancement in terms of the game library to make me want to upgrade/replace it. (The M Network titles might have done it, but I bought the Intellivision Flashback so they weren't a selling point).

 

 

 

People expect 2600-level games in an Atari 2600-based Flashback, and to have ones that are a much higher fidelity obviously muddies things.

 

The Frogger that was added was an arcade remake, not the 2600 ROM, so I see a contradiction of sorts here.

Edited by FifthPlayer
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I would argue the wall has already been hit for the Atari Flashback, at least in terms of the game library. There was only one new title added between the 6 and the 7 (Frogger).

 

I'm currently sitting on a Flashback 4 and I haven't seen enough product advancement in terms of the game library to make me want to upgrade/replace it. (The M Network titles might have done it, but I bought the Intellivision Flashback so they weren't a selling point).

 

 

 

The Frogger that was added was an arcade remake, not the 2600 ROM, so I see a contradiction of sorts here.

 

You'll see a major difference this year in all ways. It's sometimes not possible to make notable changes between years, even if the will is there.

 

As for Frogger, you took my statement out of context. I said I recommend strongly against doing that. Obviously, sometimes that's unavoidable (Space Invaders and Frogger being the prime examples) and it's better to have it than not. Some people actually like the new ports, while others want nothing less than the original. That's sometimes not possible, but either way, you can't please everyone. I prefer the compromise of using a superior homebrew port if the original is not allowed to be used or particularly sub-standard. That theory might be tested in one of the Atari products this year.

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As for Frogger, you took my statement out of context. I said I recommend strongly against doing that. Obviously, sometimes that's unavoidable (Space Invaders and Frogger being the prime examples) and it's better to have it than not.

 

 

Fair enough, I see your point.

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OK, after having some discussions, it turns out that nothing is settled yet, either system or games. It's possible, but quite a bit still needs to be worked out to make anything a reality. So, for now, put it all in the maybe category. I'll say nothing else on the matter for now.

I'm hoping this will all work out before this Christmas!

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I prefer the compromise of using a superior homebrew port if the original is not allowed to be used or particularly sub-standard. That theory might be tested in one of the Atari products this year.

 

I cant imagine it would come to pass, but the first thing that came to mind when reading this was Original Pac-Man vs PacMan 4K/8K.

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I cant imagine it would come to pass, but the first thing that came to mind when reading this was Original Pac-Man vs PacMan 4K/8K.

That's a Namco license. They sell their own plug-n-play devices last I checked, so such a port would be inferior to their current offerings. Also just entertaining the idea of getting approval for a homebrew port to be released in a competitor's plug-n-play device would likely result in a C&D order for sales of the homebrew ports. There is a lot of Namco IP available in the AA store currently, so a C&D order would have devastating consequences. I believe Sega and Namco and others likely have turned a blind eye to our little homebrew haven, but any attempts to license these ROMs on any modern commercial device would be a bad move and likely lead to legal repercussions.

 

I think any homebrew IP should not rely on or be a direct clone of any classic arcade IP in order to be considered for inclusion on any Flashback console. Several homebrew IP have already been ported to AtGames and Retrobit consoles so it's not outside the realm of possibility, but said homebrews need to be free from any infringing trademarks.

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If an Intellivision Flashback 2 comes to pass, I'd be quite happy if the library were updated to contain everything from the original Intellivision Flashback (which is generally the first-party stuff we saw on Intellivision Lives! plus the voice games) including a fixed version of Tower of Doom, so long as we get the Activision and Imagic stuff from Intellivision Rocks! as well. Homebrews and prototypes are always welcome, of course.

 

If the powers that be managed to get either the Data East games, or the TRON games, I'd be super-happy. Both would be amazing!

 

I'm also hoping that Loco-Motion will be on an Intellivision Flashback 2 since AtGames now has a history with Konami!

 

:cool:

Edited by TrekkiELO

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Pac-Man is on the mini NES and virtual console, which implies to me they are open to licensing -- at least with ports they did themselves. A homebrew seems trickier but they have been doing a lot of cool third party remixes on mobile lately.

 

Supposedly that's their new approach. Putting the homebrew Pac on a Flashback fits right in!

 

Here's one of many articles from 2015 about their new philosophy about old games. I assume this is how we got Pac-Man 256 and Galaga Wars, both of which are superb.

 

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2015-03-31/bandai-namco-opens-rights-to-pac-man-80s-game-properties/.86558

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If an Intellivision Flashback 2 comes to pass, I'd be quite happy if the library were updated to contain ... a fixed version of Tower of Doom, so long as we get the Activision and Imagic stuff from Intellivision Rocks! as well.

Yes. Imagic games and a fixed Tower of Doom would be awesome.

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All I can say is that there is going to be an impressive third party line-up this year on the Atari and Sega systems. There will be differences though between what's on the consoles and what's on the portables.

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Can you [yet] say anything about build quality this time around? You mentioned the possibility of a more upscale version.

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Can you [yet] say anything about build quality this time around? You mentioned the possibility of a more upscale version.

 

I want to tread carefully here, obviously, but basically there will be a budget version with modest/minimal changes and a premium version with significant changes/complete overhaul. They'll have pricing to match their respective builds, although I can't really see anyone here not wanting to spend the extra for the premium model. As for build quality, that's all relative I suppose, particularly at the price points.

 

The above only applies to the consoles. The Portables will be of the modest/minimal changes variety (and only single models), although the included games should prove extremely compelling.

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I think any homebrew IP should not rely on or be a direct clone of any classic arcade IP in order to be considered for inclusion on any Flashback console. Several homebrew IP have already been ported to AtGames and Retrobit consoles so it's not outside the realm of possibility, but said homebrews need to be free from any infringing trademarks.

 

This does not have to be the case. Inclusion in an official product like a Flashback would arguably give the developer a free pass. However, some homebrew devs have chosen not to work with AtGames - even with non-infringing, original creations - because they're afraid of being "noticed" for their other, infringing creations. Frankly, I consider that a bit of a simplistic viewpoint, because at least of the companies I've had limited dealings with through my AtGames and other relationships, most are either well aware of what's going on or have people who are well aware of what's going and choose to do nothing about it (and in some cases, love it). Of course, if homebrew stuff that infringed wasn't kept low key like it is (selling a few hundred copies at best), I'm sure more would suddenly start to care. It's one thing doing what is essentially fan service and it's another starting to profit in a big way from someone else's property.

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I really do hope that the next Sega Genesis unit from AtGames looks like the Gen 1 or Gen 2 version. Heck, if Tec Toy in Brazil can still bang out authentic units that come preloaded with games that look and feel like the original Gen 1 model, surely AtGames can do something better than what is currently firing out there. Additionally, I agree that the next Atari FB needs to be a significant upgrade to what has been done. FB5-7 are almost the same. Let's all hope AtGames can get things back on track. I am a fan of what they are trying to do, but they can do a lot better in my opinion.

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