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What happens after Generation Atari?

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I think the Atari we all know and love will go through a period of being lost when we are all gone. The nostalgia will be over. Many of our precious collections will end up in landfills. As sad as this is (and it is REALLY sad), I predict that there will be a revival of sorts when all this stuff becomes really rare. At some point it will become highly collectible again because it is so rare. It will be a novelty and part of history. Maybe this will give birth to a new generation of Atari fans.

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The number of consoles (of most any system) is continually dwindling due to attritions of all sorts, failures, lack of interest, disposal because of necessity, accidental damage and loss, among other reasons.

 

What is going to carry the flag forward? And do it in a sustainable way? For the common enthusiast and gamer it is likely to be Software Emulation. I would like to include FPGA in here, but I can't, not yet. FPGA is too hardware specific and vertical. FPGA is a physical console like its namesakes. And physicality is the reason why a given console is more at risk of disappearing.

 

I'd likely have a far easier time convincing friends & family to store a copy of emulated consoles rather than their bulky counterparts & cartridges. Multiple copies and versions and all that. All of it would would stand the test of time, perhaps with a little help from migration to new storage formats.

 

Already software emulation is in the hands of hundreds of thousands of gamers, if not millions. AtGames just announced a FlashBack unit built around the Stella Emulator! Add thousands more.. It's a great example of using the same codebase as what I used on my now-vintage Pentium II and III machines. And the emulator also "just happens to work" on the latest 2018 intel chips, as well as several other OS'es besides Windows. It is this ubiquity that makes software emulation best positioned to preserve the vintage games we all know and love.

 

Besides, today's and tomorrow's youth, having grown up with laptops and smartphones, will feel comfortable taking the time and effort to get an emulator running as opposed to having to fiddle with display mods and fixing vintage circuitry. Hands-on electronics and discrete parts is continuing to become more removed from daily experience. Not to mention the skills to carry out operations with such parts.

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I think the Atari we all know and love will go through a period of being lost when we are all gone. The nostalgia will be over. Many of our precious collections will end up in landfills. As sad as this is (and it is REALLY sad), I predict that there will be a revival of sorts when all this stuff becomes really rare. At some point it will become highly collectible again because it is so rare. It will be a novelty and part of history. Maybe this will give birth to a new generation of Atari fans.

I've been thinking about it and I don't agree with this at all.

 

Why? The industry is less than 50 years old. Xbox and Sony have been 18 years of that 50. Presently, console generations are as much as 8-10 years long and now are including mid-gen refreshes.

 

When you think about that and the fact the price of entry is too high for most companies to join. The only time you don't hear the names Sony or Microsoft in gaming is if you talk about Atari, Sega, Coleco etc. Nintendo is also a factor here.

 

So honestly even 50 years from now there may still be sites like this. It's not like there's new competition coming in every 2-3 years like in the 80's and 90's.

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I feel like pointing out that the Atari 2600 is hands down my favorite console to collect games for and it will most likely stay that way. I have 3 consoles and over 150 games for the system. I am also 19 years old.

Basically just a way of saying that some of the younger generations will still learn to love and enjoy the 2600 :)

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I think the Atari we all know and love will go through a period of being lost when we are all gone. The nostalgia will be over. Many of our precious collections will end up in landfills. As sad as this is (and it is REALLY sad), I predict that there will be a revival of sorts when all this stuff becomes really rare. At some point it will become highly collectible again because it is so rare. It will be a novelty and part of history. Maybe this will give birth to a new generation of Atari fans.

This is why it's so important to preserve all of our collections in a digital form NOW before it's too late, to get a 100% pefect software emulator and also perfect hardware FGPA devices.

 

Those stubborn people who, out of greed, entitlement, or ignorance hold us back in these efforts, will be the real instigators and contributors in the decline of the 2600 scene.

 

I think that in 50 years, 99% of the current Atari 2600 stuff we have now will be either gone, coveted (and unused, collecting dust in some greedy person's "collection"), or trashed. So, it will become only faded memories unless we take proactive measures to preserve, in software, and current hardware, the totality of "The 2600 Archive" now, while the stuff is still available and extant.

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Corporations do NOT care anything about preservation and nostalgia - so it falls upon the individual user to collect and curate a library for whatever system interests him/her. Museums and libraries are still not the ideal way because they have no or limited access. Museums may not let gamers play, and if they do it will have to be on-premises. Public Libraries are going to be limited in size and scope and most of all they don't dive into the specialty of videogames. And "instant availability" is going to be a problem. Personal collections are not a solution either because they are have limited access to only a small circle of buddies.

 

FPGA is a short-term answer, because it is still physical hardware that will die in time. And FPGA usually requires cartridges, and older ones aren't becoming any more numerous. There are flashcart solutions and those will help out. But I consider the whole combination a specialty solution that can't bring vintage gaming to the masses.

 

Software Emulation has the potential to accomplish this. Emulators, game libraries, instructions, box scans, reviiews, tips & tricks, and other documentation & notes can all be saved and preserved by many people at one time. Access is as simple as getting a PC from Wal-Mart or any other source.

 

Even as the PC infrastructure changes emulation can be migrated across the generations.

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I'm one of the few weirdo's that can enjoy a silent movie, the same will be true for someone in the future for Atari.

Silent movies and music from the 30s and 40s are the first thing I thought of when reading through this topic title. Wildly popular at their time, they are all but ignored for the most part today. Not unlike those forms of media, once the people who were kids during the Atari launch generation are dead and buried, the interest will basically be diminished to curious people who are interested in the history of video games, and experiencing them from the beginning, and a tiny percentage of kids who'd parents sat and played with them when they were growing up. In other words, next to nobody. People love to reminisce about "The good old days" when life was better than it is now. (Basically the period of time they were 6 to 26) Music was better, movies were better, video games were better. Of course the young people don't see it like that because their own time period if "the best of times" Atari systems will be sitting next to forgotten in antique stores and museums and the now grown up kids will be singing the praises of Playstation and Xbox.

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I want to add that Software Emulation IS accomplishing preservation in some obvious and practical ways.

 

1- Many people have extensive digital hoards.

 

2- Compares are publishing these el-cheapo "flashback class" hardware products. Products built around low-power, low-cost, 2010'ish era architecture SoCs that have been refined with modern process nodes. And reportedly they flu off the shelves. These may not be preservation in the strictest sense but they are doing well at making some classics easily accessible.

 

---

 

And in thinking about this topic I do see the reason why many people think videogames got started with Nintendo in 1985. And also why they consider pre-NES to be failed experiments.

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I agree with DarQ, im only 18 but i play one of my 2600's almost everyday. Be it on an original heavy or a newer vader i like to switch between since i have roughly 150 carts, i'm also a fan of the 7800 since its the only atari console i could find that had my all time favorite Galaga ported onto it though not as slick as playing it on my 1981 Galaga cocktail table... Also days i don't feel up for some gaming ill go through my stack of old floppy's and program cassettes seeing whats worth learning on my 800...

 

Safe to say there are many of the younger generation that are into Atari.

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Safe to say there are many of the younger generation that are into Atari.

It's safer to say 99% of today's youth don't care a bit about Atari, and the incredibly small handful that do are on this forum because it's one of the very few active sites any person can go to to discuss anything Atari.

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Well I only joined the forum recently though I've been collecting for a couple years and my two buddies that play atari don't even know what this forum is...

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It's safer to say 99% of today's youth don't care a bit about Atari, and the incredibly small handful that do are on this forum because it's one of the very few active sites any person can go to to discuss anything Atari.

 

I observed that in our village. Most all the gamer kids have current-generation consoles. Nothing much retro, and positively nothing older than NES.

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Well I only joined the forum recently though I've been collecting for a couple years and my two buddies that play atari don't even know what this forum is...

You have to remember you and your two buddies are a squirt of pee in the ocean of gamers. To counter your experience, I have many nieces and nephews and none of them are seriously into retro games. The ones that game, as expected, are way more into games like Fortnight and Minecraft. This in spite of having opportunity to check out the classic when they visit me. Still, tell your friends about this site, if they are truly into retro Atari games maybe they'll join? I wouldn't hold my breath they'd even do that. Hopefully you'll continue to like these types of game, slowly over the next 30 years the market will be flooded with them when all us old folks die off and our collections are dropped off at Goodwill.

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I don't think interest in Atari-era games will completely dry up - as has been noted, there are still fans of silent movies, old talky films, old comics, old music, and so on. They don't drive the zeitgeist, but they exist. It'll be the same for video games - the nostalgic crowd waxes and wanes, and a small number of other people will come to them just out of an interest or appreciation for what they are. Probably won't see much in way of new homebrews or whatever at that point, but people will still be enjoying what's out there - either through emulation or whatever existing methods of play exist at the time. Hell, I'm 35, I grew up on the tail end of the 2600 market and mostly played an NES. But I sure as hell love the 2600 era, its funky obscure competitors, the archaic game design, etc. even if I don't have nostalgia for the Studio II or the Odyssey2 or their ilk, I still like em.

 

So too will it be for NES era games, Genesis era games, Playstation era games, and so forth. At some point even nostalgia for the NES and Super NES will ebb, and the only people still interested are the people who genuinely enjoy that era of gaming, free from nostalgia.

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A person can walk into Target or Walgreens and buy an Atari Flashback with a buttload of built-in games. Same person can go online and stream or download bazillions of old silent movies and old-timey radio plays. We live in an age of plenty. If interest in Atari-generation stuff dies out, it will be out of a lack of interest, not availability or accessibility.

 

- Scholars and enthusiasts for the old stuff will find it (check out Lotte Reiniger, holy crap).

- The vast majority of the public is already like, "eww, video games."

- Most of the game-players out there are like, "eww, OLD video games."

 

It's okay to be a niche of a niche, especially when preservation, curation, and presentation are as good as they are right now. If we were living in the bad old days where the paper Encyclopedia Britannica was the only place to learn about stuff, we'd be hosed. In the age of the Internet Archive, I think we'll be OK.

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You have to remember you and your two buddies are a squirt of pee in the ocean of gamers. To counter your experience, I have many nieces and nephews and none of them are seriously into retro games. The ones that game, as expected, are way more into games like Fortnight and Minecraft. This in spite of having opportunity to check out the classic when they visit me. Still, tell your friends about this site, if they are truly into retro Atari games maybe they'll join? I wouldn't hold my breath they'd even do that. Hopefully you'll continue to like these types of game, slowly over the next 30 years the market will be flooded with them when all us old folks die off and our collections are dropped off at Goodwill.

 

 

Oh I realise we are obviously not the majority I just don't understand the negativity. I'll tell my friends about the place for sure and I'm confident they would join since one of them plays dragonstomper on his supercharger religiously leading me to believe he is very in to retro and the other again has a 7800 he plays pretty often and is always trying to find retro arcade spots.

 

We are out there.

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Oh I realise we are obviously not the majority I just don't understand the negativity.

Oh I'm not trying to be negative. I think it's great that you guys are interested in Atari.

I'm a big fan of lots of different things that are outside the "norm" For instance I love silent films, or more specifically silent horror films. It stems from an intense interest in all things horror, and I was genuinely interested in the dawn of horror films. I've collected 16mm films, for no other reason than I wanted to experience films the way they used to be shown to people prior to the age of VHS.I've got 78 rpm records which I still listen to occasionally and I've even bought up books from the turn of the century before the past one (late 1800s) Don't mistake that I'm saying there is no one that will have interest in outdated media, I'm living proof that's not true, and I have no doubt there will always be people like me long after I'm dead. Was just stating an opinion. My guess that in 30 years, finding old Atari games sitting in thrift and antique stores will be extremely common, similar to the masses of cheap 78 rpm records you see now. Hopefully they still work at that time!

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Atari VCS games have meaning to be simply because I grew up with them. But to rate the games for the system on their own merits, there isn't a whole lot I would go back to. Perhaps 25 titles maybe?

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I don't think history will change. Right now whether we like it or not if someone talks about playing Atari these days, the kids will instantly associate Atari with the 2600. The only other console they know about is the jaguar due to YouTube celebrities using it for views. Otherwise INTV and Odyssey don't even exist, to them it was Atari > NES > SNES Vs. GEN > Sony > Sony, Microsoft, Lunchbox > Microsoft, Sony, Waggle > What we have now.

 

The French aren't going to do anything but appeal to us old people and have no plan to revitalize the brand nor educate the youngsters on other Atari gaming hardware or computers. It's just how it is. Even Commodore is fading in obscurity these days.

 

I don't know if many of you talked to the youngsters but this is an accurate summary of their knowledge in gaming history: """""""Atari had a console it was ok, nobody ever brought any games or consoles so then there was a crash, there was no money and everyone is bankrupt, then Nintendo came in and saved gaming with games we never seen before even though most of the games it had were games we've seen before, then the SNES and GENESIS had a huge battles because SEGA did what Nintendon't and Mortal Kombat Night Trap ESRB, then Sony and Nintendo got mad at each other and Sony became the biggest console maker of all time and lol Jaguar/Saturn they had no games. Oh and then PS2 came out and killed that pesky Dreamcast no one brought it side note, Xbox did XBL and something Halo something, Gamecube was a lunch box and had lego. Then The Xbox 360 had RROD and PS3 had no games because all we played was Ridge Racer and if we attacked that giant enemy crap for massive damage Jack Trenton would come out offering $1200 to anyone who found a PS3 on the shelf after launch and if it was too expensive it's your fault because you should have gotten 2 jobs, 4D 120fps it only does everything $599. Also Wii had senior citizens and waggle. Also Kinect sucks lolz roflcopter.""""""

 

You'll find that to be a most accurate summary of the average youngsters knowledge in gaming history.

 

Nah, that gives most of them way too much credit. This is way too much almost correct information...

Edited by R.Cade

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