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Mockduck

The Atari VCS Info Thread

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1 hour ago, Mockduck said:

I disagree on price. $400 is very bad. $299 with an included Classic Controller is both good and good value overall IMO. They NEED to hit that. Bring it in at the same price as the Switch.

It's all well and good matching the Switch on price but when one machine is only getting a few lo-fi indie games while the other is getting multi-million dollar exclusives made for it and an even bigger and better selection of indies, it's still not competing in a meaningful sense. Also, the inability to use the VCS handheld tends to lead more naturally to comparisons with the Series S, also at $299, where it cops a serious flogging on performance.

 

I'd think that Atari need to go a fair bit lower than even that in order to distance themselves from the console market that they're supposedly a part of. From what I can gather, AMD sell the R1606G for around $100 per unit prior to any bulk discount that might potentially be negotiated, they'll maybe pay around $30 for the RAM, and everything else is pretty cheap. As such, $200 ought not to be out of the question. I'd maybe stretch to $240 if they could throw in a controller.

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Here's somebody else who has ideas about a VCS version 2. What about you?
BTW, I have no opinion on this. I'm happy with my VCS, and not creating VCS2.

However, it does seem with the expertise on this thread, a better console is coming,
which will make everybody happy. I've got 100 EUR put aside, to buy that console.
 

 

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24 minutes ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

That's why I keep mentioning Nintendo - no one has done as good a job on renewing old ideas and keeping franchises alive as they have (if you disagree because you don't like the games, that's fine but sales numbers don't lie).

Nintendo has an advantage because of the continuity of their operation.  It isn't disjointed like Ataris.  Every few years they put out a new Mario/Zelda/Mario etc game that evolved the franchise a little.   Atari kept changing owners and losing IPs and gaining others in the process.

 

I could see how Adventure could have been like Zelda.  But how does it get there in 2021?  If you release something akin to Breath of the Wild and call it "Adventure" it won't feel like Adventure.   If you release a modern 3D Adventure with the iconic shapes like "Duck Dragon", "Box Hero" and "Arrow Sword", it might look like Adventure, but the idea is kind of stomach churning.   The problem is the franchise needed to be evolved over the years, with new elements and lore added so you could release a stunning modern version and still have it feel like it belongs in the franchise.

 

Swordquest has better lore via the comics to draw from, but the games are regarded as disappointments.   I think people might resist buying a modern Swordquest based on reputation than they would Adventure.  

 

1 hour ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

Yars Revenge could be expanded on a bit, especially if you added Metroid exploration elements to the world with the Qutile and other enemies as bosses; heck, you could even make Video Chess interesting by using Atari characters then throwing in Battle Chess elements to it or do an Atari version of Smash Bros with a Combat-style game. I haven't played it but was surprised that they managed to do something different with Pong on Pong Quest. But it is easier to screw up on that stuff, for sure - Atari's multiple failed reboots of Haunted House; the 2013 reboot of Star Raiders and the recent Night Driver are testaments to that.

The consistent problem with Atari franchises seems to be lack of lore and character development.   A lot of that was technical-  you didn't have the memory or rom space to add a lot of text or cut-scenes to games.  You could print it in the manual or comic book, but we know now that most people didn't read them.  Like maybe Night Driver could have been turned into a Need For Speed-like franchise about a protagonist who only travels by night for some reason (a fugitive escaping detection?).   But as it stands what can you do with that game if tasked to reboot it, that hasn't already been done better by another driving franchise?   Haunted House could have evolved into a Resident Evil like franchise.   As for mascot characters,  Atari doesn't have many, seems that Bentley Bear and Yar get mentioned most often.   But this is the development work that needed to be done back in the late 80s to keep the company's game division relevant with the times.  Instead they did too little of that, and too much re-releasing of past titles.   It's hard to right that ship now.

 

1 hour ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

 

That's also just a small part of it though, you need a great original IP to drive hardware sales on something like this - which is far more difficult and expensive to do. Atari just seems interested in the quickest cash grabs possible, so I don't expect them to ever wake up one day and suddenly get it right. 

Where is that IP going to come from though?   Like let's say you're a developer working on a promising new game.   Chances are you are going to have offers for several publishing deals.  Let's say Atari is one of them.   You're going to choose the one that seems best for you,  why would you go with Atari?   Do they have the best reputation?  No.  Are they going to offer the most money?  probably not!    If Atari is the only one who offered you a deal and the rest passed,  your game is probably not very good.   You might say "develop in-house"  again, where is the talent coming from?  Why work for Atari if someone like Blizzard or Ubisoft is willing to hire you?  I'm sure Atari can hire developers, but they aren't going to be able to recruit the best ones.   So they are in a catch-22 situation.

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7 minutes ago, justclaws said:

Here's somebody else who has ideas about a VCS version 2.

 

Do you really think, there is going to be a second version?  They haven't even made the first one available for purchase.

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24 minutes ago, CPUWIZ said:

 

Do you really think, there is going to be a second version?  They haven't even made the first one available for purchase.

"From the fanboys who brought you 'Dreamcast 2'...!"

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42 minutes ago, zzip said:

The consistent problem with Atari franchises seems to be lack of lore and character development.  

Well, the comic books helped with that a bit, but overall it's because these were all pretty much arcade games or spinoffs of arcade games. It's extremely difficult to turn a relatively simple arcade game into a 100+ hour gaming experience. I'm just saying that it isn't impossible to do, but you'd need a strong creative team to bash it out. Do I expect it to ever happen with this Atari, of course not. 

 

Rebellion showed how it was possible with their BattleZone remake. That was really good and expanded the lore. The creativity is out there.

 

Quote

Where is that IP going to come from though?   Like let's say you're a developer working on a promising new game.   Chances are you are going to have offers for several publishing deals.  Let's say Atari is one of them.   You're going to choose the one that seems best for you,  why would you go with Atari?   Do they have the best reputation?  No.  Are they going to offer the most money?  probably not!    If Atari is the only one who offered you a deal and the rest passed,  your game is probably not very good.   You might say "develop in-house"  again, where is the talent coming from?  Why work for Atari if someone like Blizzard or Ubisoft is willing to hire you?  I'm sure Atari can hire developers, but they aren't going to be able to recruit the best ones.   So they are in a catch-22 situation.

The only way "glory days" Atari comes back is for them to become a developer again, under completely different leadership and with a lot of resources behind them. That's not happening in the foreseeable future, I was just mentioning the kinds of things that it would take for it to do so, since that was the subject.

 

What you said there is something we discussed at length in the taco thread, and one reason why a lot of us don't "value" the Atari brand name anymore. They regularly screw their contractors, two of the VCS architects included. They know how to file lawsuits and license what's left of their IP...and that's about it. That plus almost nothing in sales means once again that there's little to no incentive to create content for their game system, despite "create" being a major push in the marketing for the device. They can't even hire anyone to secure the system, thus leaving customer account info in plain text files. 

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian
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23 hours ago, racerx said:

 

I am that that Gen-X dad, and am a fan down to an Atari tattoo and a basement arcade full of Atari consoles and Atari arcade/pinball machines, and no...it doesn't make sense.

Gen-X dad, and no, i don't need another cabinet clutter-er, either.

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Guys, if you cannot discuss this topic in a civil manner, I will remove your posts and permanently eject you from this and other Atari VCS-related threads.

 

I will not continue to post warnings.

 

 ..Al

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1 hour ago, CPUWIZ said:

 

Do you really think, there is going to be a second version?  They haven't even made the first one available for purchase.

Everybody seems to know more than Atari know about what they plan, and their motivations!
I think there should be a rival VCS created by all the experts here. Competition for Atari's VCS launch in March!
;-) As I said, I've got 100 Eur set aside. :-D I already have controllers. 

Yeah, it would be a bit of fun, anyway.

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28 minutes ago, justclaws said:

Everybody seems to know more than Atari know about what they plan, and their motivations!
I think there should be a rival VCS created by all the experts here. Competition for Atari's VCS launch in March!
;-) As I said, I've got 100 Eur set aside. :-D I already have controllers. 

Yeah, it would be a bit of fun, anyway.

 

I didn't say anything about knowing what they fumble around with next, I asked a question.  And no, it doesn't need competition, it needs to exist first.  At the moment it's a hobby project, funded by fans.  AtariAge has produced far more original software and hardware than this "system" probably ever will.  And I have no doubt, that creative minds here, could collectivly produce a better system, probably even without crowd funding.  And it would probably not take years to do it.

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IMHO, if there's a market for the VCS, it's as "my first tinkering hardware". Yes, people with sufficient experience recognise there are better solutions for particular purposes, but hear me out:

Unlike say RPi, it comes with the AtariOS as training wheels, a thin GUI layer with a familiar store (whether it remains sparse or not) for people more comfortable with Netflix (yeah, yeah) than Linux. They know they can move beyond that comfort zone if/when they're ready, but have a comfortable starting point. So, even if they suck at the challenges that require more skill, they'll still have something that does something... that might be enough to allow the casual user to dip their toe into the water. And maybe they'd pay a few more dollars for that security than the more efficient purpose-built devices that might ultimately suit where they eventually end up. So reflecting on what I've seen, perhaps it doesn't fill a niche so much as form a bridge between two niches, part of a larger journey of technical discovery. 

 

So, yeah, if you know what you want, there may be more cost-effective optimal solutions, but people also buy guitars with absolutely no clue how to play, because they're curious. Maybe the VCS is for people who want to explore but don't yet know what they actually want? :) In all seriousness, there could be some merit to that if done right, especially if there develops a community of more experienced tinkerers willing to hold the novices' hands.

Edited by JeffVav
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16 minutes ago, CPUWIZ said:

 

I didn't say anything about knowing what they fumble around with next, I asked a question.  And no, it doesn't need competition, it needs to exist first.  At the moment it's a hobby project, funded by fans.  AtariAge has produced far more original software and hardware than this "system" probably ever will.  And I have no doubt, that creative minds here, could collectivly produce a better system, probably even without crowd funding.  And it would probably not take years to do it.

Let's see.  In the time I've been watching this dumpster fire, I've beta tested ad built three complete systems from @mytek (1088XEL, 1088XLD, 576NUC+).  Sophia rev C came out and morphed into SOPHIA2.  Candle dropped a bombshell us with his Simple Stereo 4.  SIDE3 cart was released.  AVG cart had numerous upgrades.  I think we also got a new revision of the Eclaire hardware.  This was just some of the stuff in the 8-bit world.  None of this was crowd funded, nobody had to pay upfront.

 

The 8-bit received probably 30 new homebrew games.  Jaguar certainly had a few.  I could go on and on, but what's the point.

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1 hour ago, justclaws said:

Competition for Atari's VCS launch in March!

The last estimate that Atari gave for pre-order delivery was "late Spring", so probably June at the earliest:

 

674800212_ScreenShot2021-01-05at3_38_00PM.thumb.png.df507c1f7ca2c18b036a46be91a7487f.png

 

 

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Stuff like this pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the company behind the VCS. This was an actual tweet.136462537_10157404850417102_2708741812399095635_o.thumb.jpg.4be916bd1aa61683166dc312e44a31e9.jpg

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4 minutes ago, racerx said:

Stuff like this pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the company behind the VCS. This was an actual tweet.136462537_10157404850417102_2708741812399095635_o.thumb.jpg.4be916bd1aa61683166dc312e44a31e9.jpg

To be fair, it was probably easier than trying to find a photo of a Pong tattoo.

(or)

Well, maybe Atari licensed the tattoo from Williams.

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9 hours ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

I've said it before and I have to say it again - I was interested in the Ataribox when the idea was first floated. Atari could have earned my business with competence and a vision. A collection of all Tempest games in one, some reimagined (but well-designed) classics, interesting new games, an Atari version of Super Mario Maker... fun and innovative ideas could have possibly got me on-board. I'm not so shallow to just throw my money at a logo though - I buy game consoles primarily due to the games. 

 

But saying that the Switch is not a great product? LOL...are you kidding me? Please explain to the class how a system that is "junk" has become Nintendo's 2nd best selling home system ever? Here's additional evidence as to how the Switch actually is an "ultimate retro box" that you guys are now claiming the VCS to be. But then you proffer this nonsense:

 

You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. 

I know my opinions about the Switch are in the minority. I had issues with it, I was disappointed, and I'm bitter. I'll accept of course that sales are stratospheric and Nintendo is laughing all the way to the bank. But it isn't perfect and I think Nintendo fans give their products a lot of leash in terms of tolerance and patience despite somewhat obvious shortcomings. Perhaps they've earned that. I've been burned mightily on Apple products and have a minority opinion on that hardware too. 

 

I am no card carrying VCS fan. I am a realist, though. I was an Atari and Nintendo lover all my life and switched to computers when I was about 14 and largely stayed there. I had a 2600 and NES at home, then a Genesis. After I got a Tandy, then an HP, that could play games, I sort of took more to that. Point is, beyond the Switch no modern games or platforms (other than the flashbacks) made me think I needed or wanted a new console. Now that I have kids, I 100% was attached to the romantic appeal of something with wood slapped on it and an Atari logo that could play quirky modern games. My dad and I played Atari Skiing when I was 5 and I was hooked; I totally aimed to have that same experience with my son. But make no mistake- my nostalgic attachment to Atari isn't delusion. Like any company they have to earn my business. They aren't really hitting a home run on that one. This company is flawed, their community engagement is severely lacking, and the VCS launch was like something out of a dark comedy. 

 

All I'm hoping for at this stage is that the backers are happy, that Atari SA takes their heavy feedback on board, and does better. Or, more realistically, brings on a joint partner or sells to someone who can. What this thread, if nothing else, has established is that there is a desire somewhat for a respectable product from a brand that once excited people. We'll see if that can ever become a reality. I hope it can.

 

 

Edited by Atarick
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4 hours ago, justclaws said:

Here's somebody else who has ideas about a VCS version 2. What about you?
BTW, I have no opinion on this. I'm happy with my VCS, and not creating VCS2.

However, it does seem with the expertise on this thread, a better console is coming,
which will make everybody happy. I've got 100 EUR put aside, to buy that console.
 

 

I dig the idea of selling the OS as a standalone around $100. Not sure what the market would be, but a totally low-risk move for Atari. 

 

The inclusion of an 8 core processor in the VCS, along with additional corresponding RAM and two controllers, at around $499, would probably win over a lot of the skeptics, if the company could get their act together, get some games that fit such a system, and really nailed development and delivery. Big "ifs", but it would essentially be doing what they kind of already tried to do; a baseline system at X price, then a spec'd out version for a bit more. If a "simple" or economy VCS like the one on sale today went to retail with a single controller at around $275, then the spec'd out full package was available for like $475-499, I think they'd hit two markets in different ways, provided (again) they have the games or access to games that would be expected.

 

The next thing people criticize after the abysmal launch and somewhat underwhelming specs is the bare storefront. They need to address that ASAP. 

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1 hour ago, Atarick said:

I know my opinions about the Switch are in the minority. I had issues with it, I was disappointed, and I'm bitter. I'll accept of course that sales are stratospheric and Nintendo is laughing all the way to the bank. But it isn't perfect and I think Nintendo fans give their products a lot of leash in terms of tolerance and patience despite somewhat obvious shortcomings. Perhaps they've earned that. I've been burned mightily on Apple products and have a minority opinion on that hardware too. 

 

I am no card carrying VCS fan. I am a realist, though. I was an Atari and Nintendo lover all my life and switched to computers when I was about 14 and largely stayed there. I had a 2600 and NES at home, then a Genesis. After I got a Tandy, then an HP, that could play games, I sort of took more to that. Point is, beyond the Switch no modern games or platforms (other than the flashbacks) made me think I needed or wanted a new console. Now that I have kids, I 100% was attached to the romantic appeal of something with wood slapped on it and an Atari logo that could play quirky modern games. My dad and I played Atari Skiing when I was 5 and I was hooked; I totally aimed to have that same experience with my son. But make no mistake- my nostalgic attachment to Atari isn't delusion. Like any company they have to earn my business. They aren't really hitting a home run on that one. This company is flawed, their community engagement is severely lacking, and the VCS launch was like something out of a dark comedy. 

 

All I'm hoping for at this stage is that the backers are happy, that Atari SA takes their heavy feedback on board, and does better. Or, more realistically, brings on a joint partner or sells to someone who can. What this thread, if nothing else, has established is that there is a desire somewhat for a respectable product from a brand that once excited people. We'll see if that can ever become a reality. I hope it can.

 

 

Opinions are fine - my unpopular one is that I really don't care for Super Smash Bros. and find all the SMAAAASH! stuff that some fanboys babble on about to be really annoying. I just take issue with completely mis-characterizing things about the Switch. The only problems with the hardware in a general sense are: JoyCon Drift & being underpowered compared to the PS5/XBX (which is partially forgivable given that it's very powerful for a handheld). Every console has lemons, although I've never heard of the Switch being like the X360 and it's RROD. If Nintendo really has the Switch Pro coming out this year though, then the only issue left is JoyCon drift (which also should be fixable). On the software side, they are massively supporting it, and that's without the likes of things like Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid Prime 4. Of course if nothing on their list floats your boat, that's fine. I wasn't interested in the XB1 or PS4 because all of the games I liked for those platforms are on the PC and are better there; The Switch has had quite a few games I enjoy, so I grabbed one. 

 

I might have grabbed a VCS if it had some interesting/cool/fun games for it that I couldn't get on my PC, but that's not happening so I have zero interest in it. 

 

On the VCS 2 though...just the VCS itself has to avoid being the Ouya before anyone starts thinking about a sequel. One reason I threw out all those stats of successes/failures was to show that hardware tends to make or break a company. They might have survived on T-Shirts and lawsuits for now, but the VCS could easily cause them to collapse. Given how they've operated things, that's where I don't see how they come out of this on top. 

 

EDIT: Had missed that RacerX had posted the idiot tweet from Atari

 

 
Edited by Shaggy the Atarian
removed the tweet
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2 hours ago, CPUWIZ said:

 

I didn't say anything about knowing what they fumble around with next, I asked a question.  And no, it doesn't need competition, it needs to exist first.  At the moment it's a hobby project, funded by fans.  AtariAge has produced far more original software and hardware than this "system" probably ever will.  And I have no doubt, that creative minds here, could collectivly produce a better system, probably even without crowd funding.  And it would probably not take years to do it.

All it takes is Hardwork.

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1 minute ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

If Nintendo really has the Switch Pro coming out this year though, then the only issue left is JoyCon drift (which also should be fixable). On the software side, they are massively supporting it, and that's without the likes of things like Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid Prime 4. Of course if nothing on their list floats your boat, that's fine.

 

On the VCS 2 though...just the VCS itself has to avoid being the Ouya before anyone starts thinking about a sequel. One reason I threw out all those stats of successes/failures was to show that hardware tends to make or break a company. They might have survived on T-Shirts and lawsuits for now, but the VCS could easily cause them to collapse. Given how they've operated things, that's where I don't see how they come out of this on top. 

 

Since we're speaking about teh suck that is today's Atari, behold the latest wisdom from their social media handlers:

 

 

Totally agree on these points. Atari needs to "stick the landing" with backers and pre-orders before they think they have some kind of a success to build from (the fact they could think this is a success, in itself, is mildly baffling). To your point about the Ouya, it is absolutely clear that they need to eat, sleep, and breathe in that discord with backers before they even dream of sending a second batch of consoles. If failed expectations and a perception that the juice wasn't worth the squeeze doomed the Ouya, Atari is rapidly careening towards that fate. But they have a slight chance to rebound. Not a sure chance, and the odds are frankly against them. But they have a slight chance of turning this into something if they take heed of the criticism and launch a better console at a competitive price with more games by mid 2021 and curry favor with existing backers. There is a path. 

 

And the tattoo...well. Yikes. I feel like I heard a saying once: "No ideas are better than bad ideas sometimes". There ya go. 

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1 hour ago, JasperAK said:

All it takes is Hardwork.

 

I am sure he could do that, with his "team", easier than making a 2600 game.

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I have had the VCS for a couple of weeks now, and have put in about 20 hours with it. I've put together my review. No one should care what I think, but hey, that didn't stop me: 

 

 

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I will still have the list of games in the OP, but I also separated out the info to get a maintainable games list for the forums that could be stickied for longer-term reference if interested: 

I have also heard secondhand that a moderator might have been discussing whether to take the OP of this thread, have me (presumably) repost it, then Sticky that post. That would allow this thread to continue with its current level of discussion and debate while not archiving it inappropriately by stickying it. The purpose of the original effort to get plain 'ol info on the thing on the AtariAge forums without the heated discussion it had been causing. I only bring it up because I'm fine with the idea of creating a new thread just for a stickied OP, but I also don't feel strongly about it, so whatever y'all want is fine with me. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Mockduck said:

I have also heard secondhand that a moderator might have been discussing whether to take the OP of this thread, have me (presumably) repost it, then Sticky that post. That would allow this thread to continue with its current level of discussion and debate while not archiving it inappropriately by stickying it. The purpose of the original effort to get plain 'ol info on the thing on the AtariAge forums without the heated discussion it had been causing.  I only bring it up because I'm fine with the idea of creating a new thread just for a stickied OP, but I also don't feel strongly about it, so whatever y'all want is fine with me.

This topic has indeed shifted from a pure FAQ into a more general discussion thread.  If you want to create a new thread dedicated only to the FAQ and other related information, without having it mixed in with the other discussion, just let us know and one of us will pin it in the VCS subforum for you.  I can also remove the "FAQ" from this thread title to avoid confusion.

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21 hours ago, Mockduck said:

I have had the VCS for a couple of weeks now, and have put in about 20 hours with it. I've put together my review. No one should care what I think, but hey, that didn't stop me: 

 

 

Great review, and you are the first person to rightly point out accessibility issues. Atari has to fix that immediately. Completely unacceptable. A loud fan, 4k, glitchy connection, maybe a software update can address that. But no console should go to market without accessibility options.

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