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Nall3k

What Atari needs to do with the VCS in 6 months...

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So, watching videos on YouTube and reading comments on Reddit, here are things Atari needs to do for the VCS in 6 months or sooner...

 

  • Account information should not be stored in plain text...
  • There needs to be actual streaming apps for Netflix, Disney Plus, etc... They should not just be bookmarks for Chrome.
  • Tempest 4000 and Pong Quest should be on the system, they should have been on it day 1...
  • Dedicated Stadia app for the Atari OS.
  • Release more 5200, 7800 and Jaguar games if possible.
  • Get licenses to release Activision and Capcom games like Pac Man and Pitfall, if they can get these licenses for the Flashback consoles, they should get them for the VCS store.

 

I feel if Atari is serious about this as a long term product, these are starting points to help make the system for of a sell. Any thoughts or additions?

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By capcom you mean namco right?

 

if so, they should give us DRAGON SABER 

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30 minutes ago, AlecRob said:

By capcom you mean namco right?

 

if so, they should give us DRAGON SABER 

My bad, Namco.

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5 hours ago, Nall3k said:
  • There needs to be actual streaming apps for Netflix, Disney Plus, etc... They should not just be bookmarks for Chrome.

That explains why some of those apps are only a hundred bytes or so in the store. And why I can't use my controller to operate them!

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Posted (edited)

An app won't necessarily give you joystick control; all they need is a game controller to mouse driver for the system.  The atari companion app is meant to drive a mouse using your mobile device.

 

Otherwise are there any streaming issues through the browser.  My Bell TV service doesn't have a windows app and streams through a browser.

Edited by mr_me
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8 hours ago, Nall3k said:

So, watching videos on YouTube and reading comments on Reddit, here are things Atari needs to do for the VCS in 6 months or sooner...

 

  • Account information should not be stored in plain text...
  • There needs to be actual streaming apps for Netflix, Disney Plus, etc... They should not just be bookmarks for Chrome.
  • Tempest 4000 and Pong Quest should be on the system, they should have been on it day 1...
  • Dedicated Stadia app for the Atari OS.
  • Release more 5200, 7800 and Jaguar games if possible.
  • Get licenses to release Activision and Capcom games like Pac Man and Pitfall, if they can get these licenses for the Flashback consoles, they should get them for the VCS store.

 

I feel if Atari is serious about this as a long term product, these are starting points to help make the system for of a sell. Any thoughts or additions?

I believe Flashbacks are a different company.  And at this point my Flashback 5 is a far better value than the VCS I just received.

 

-Fix: Laggy interface

-Fix: 2600 sound emulation (drops out all the time)

-Fix: Controller pairing  (needs to work much smoother)

 

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9 hours ago, Nall3k said:

So, watching videos on YouTube and reading comments on Reddit, here are things Atari needs to do for the VCS in 6 months or sooner...

 

  • Account information should not be stored in plain text...
    Yes, absolutely. It's a relief that it's only a local account on the VCS.
    I suspect that there will be a big update coming, adding more security, and people will complain about that.

     
  • There needs to be actual streaming apps for Netflix, Disney Plus, etc... They should not just be bookmarks for Chrome.
    I don't think that would be an advantage. I just saw that Netflix is cutting-off support for streaming on the Wii-U, I'm very sad at that.
    HTML5 and Web-Apps are just fine these days. Web-assembly can also do amazing things.

    https://www.chromestatus.com/feature/5453022515691520
     
  • Tempest 4000 and Pong Quest should be on the system, they should have been on it day 1...
    I was able to play Tempest 4000 last night for the first time on my VCS, with Windows 10, but yes, a native Linux port would be great.
    I suppose part of the problem is that Llamasoft have no history of making games for Linux. 

     
  • Dedicated Stadia app for the Atari OS.
    Yes, and no. I don't have a native app on my Linux PC either, but going to Stadia and logging-in, it works perfectly. A web app, again.
  • Release more 5200, 7800 and Jaguar games if possible.
    Yes, for sure. An Atari Vault 3 is definitely something I look forward to. It seems they have some more games, for both. 5200 Vault?
    I only discovered Atari 5200 games via the VCS, even though I'd had Atari Vault on Steam for ages. 5200 never launched in Europe. 

     
  • Get licenses to release Activision and Capcom games like Pac Man and Pitfall, if they can get these licenses for the Flashback consoles, they should get them for the VCS store.
    Activision is indeed a strange company, not even licensing their games pack on Windows.
    I even had their games pack on Android, but after Android was updated (maybe Android 4.4) it stopped working. A big outcry, but they never fixed it.
    Likewise, Activision Anthology for Windows was released in 2003, and it does not work on modern Windows 10, even if one tracks down a copy. 

 

I feel if Atari is serious about this as a long term product, these are starting points to help make the system for of a sell. Any thoughts or additions?

Sorry, I had to comment as if it was email in the end, with my thoughts between your points.
Something weird happened with the editing, copy+paste. Whatever. :-D 
 

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Yes, absolutely. It's a relief that it's only a local account on the VCS.

Its not used only on the VCS. They are used on a third party website as part of the backend for the online store.

The email address and PIN were usable to login directly to that service's website when I tried.

The url I had pulled from watching network traffic only went to a login for confirming account creation, but it did authenticate on the website.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Angrymoleratsbaggle said:

Its not used only on the VCS. They are used on a third party website as part of the backend for the online store.

The email address and PIN were usable to login directly to that service's website when I tried.

The url I had pulled from watching network traffic only went to a login for confirming account creation, but it did authenticate on the website.

 

 

That sucks. Should I get one I think I'll pull a page from Super Nicktendo and use a virtual credit card (probably from Privacy.com) for the transactions. Won't fix all the security woes but gives me minor solace at least.

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1 hour ago, Atarick said:

That sucks. Should I get one I think I'll pull a page from Super Nicktendo and use a virtual credit card (probably from Privacy.com) for the transactions. Won't fix all the security woes but gives me minor solace at least.

I use paypal for these online game stores because purchasing requires a separate login into paypal.   That way if my account gets hacked, the hacker can't still can't make purchases, unless they get my paypal login info too (it has a different password)  

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I'd think that the biggest fix it needs is to the price. It's simply not competitive with anything of note at $389.

 

If they could get back to the $199 base offering of the original crowdfunding - even if it's just a barebones model (no RAM, eMMCs or OS) - it starts to look much more viable as a mini PC.

 

I'm not sure what they could do to make it a viable console though. Even if all the security and interface issues with AtariOS were fixed it's always going to be a bit short when it comes to compelling games. Still, at the very least it's got to come significantly under the price of a Switch or Series S.

 

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6 hours ago, Matt_B said:

I'm not sure what they could do to make it a viable console though. Even if all the security and interface issues with AtariOS were fixed it's always going to be a bit short when it comes to compelling games. Still, at the very least it's got to come significantly under the price of a Switch or Series S.

I've wondered about this too and got about 3 ideas. 1.) Increase the RAM and improve the processor. It would bump it up a level and make it more competitive with what's on the market now. 2.) Significantly increase the available games and Atari IPs. Maybe offer discounts or incentives to support Indie titles. I'm not paying $24.99 for Guntech, say. But if Atari gave an incentive for my 3rd purchase, like 25%, as a sign up bonus? Maybe. 3.) Find a way to optimize the classic controller for a modern title that comes included with the console. In another thread we've lamented how Atari never had a mascot or sort of signature icon character they owned. A Mario, Sonic, Zelda, etc. While we can't make up for lost history, if they took a gander at a killer Yar's Revenge title for the VCS, or a modern twist on Crystal Castles that played up the Bentley character, it could cultivate a whole new generation in a new way. 

 

Finally, bonus suggestion, already mentioned: the price. $389 is a lot for a console with unknown capabilities, no games, and a company with a mixed reputation (or a total unknown to consumers under 25). If they bumped the RAM or processor but kept the price under $400, with more games, I think they'd find a lot more takers. There is an audience for this, they just need to make some tweaks and rebuild their reputation with consumers, invest in games, and forge a more lasting relationship with developers and the mod community. Modest asks. 

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11 hours ago, Atarick said:

2.) Significantly increase the available games and Atari IPs. Maybe offer discounts or incentives to support Indie titles. I'm not paying $24.99 for Guntech, say. But if Atari gave an incentive for my 3rd purchase, like 25%, as a sign up bonus? Maybe.

Just FYI of others, the developers completely choose their own price, and Atari take the lowest cut of the price.

On Guntech, there have been a few people saying "hey it's $10 on Steam", but that's not true.
There *was* a $10 Guntech preview on Steam, with 3 in-development levels, which did not make the final game.
The VCS one is the only one with multi-player and of course uniquely supports the spinner function of the classic joystick.

I posted this article elsewhere, but it's also relevant to the "VCS in 6 months", or "VCS at launch" discussion.
https://www.makeuseof.com/atari-vcs-looking-to-fill-the-living-room-pc-gap/

 

I am really looking forward to this title, and it's a great pity that it's not an exclusive.


Cheers, Richard.

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On 1/5/2021 at 11:35 PM, AlecRob said:

By capcom you mean namco right?

 

if so, they should give us DRAGON SABER 

Great game but so obscure that Namco doesn't even put it in as padding on their arcade compilations that include other obscurities.

 

On 1/8/2021 at 7:07 AM, justclaws said:

I am really looking forward to this title, and it's a great pity that it's not an exclusive.

It's a shame, but it's the same thing us "haters" have been saying for years now. The VCS has the lowest user install base out of all consoles on the present market. Why would anyone spend thousands of dollars on making an exclusive for it when you're not going to recoup those costs? One of the few exclusives on the Ouya (Towerfall) was a total flop - even when the install base for that was several times larger than the VCS, Towerfall only moved 7,000 copies. Not everyone wants to develop games for the fun of it, or can afford to do so.

 

Quote

Tempest 4000 and Pong Quest should be on the system, they should have been on it day 1...
I was able to play Tempest 4000 last night for the first time on my VCS, with Windows 10, but yes, a native Linux port would be great.
I suppose part of the problem is that Llamasoft have no history of making games for Linux. 

The problem is that Atari explicitly promised Tempest 4000, natively for the system, as though it should be a killer app for the platform. There is no technical reason that it shouldn't have been available at launch, as there was plenty of time to figure this all out. They obviously didn't communicate with LS about it and they appear to have done little to move the ball forward on that. As for Linux...YaK is one of the most talented coders on the planet, and he can't figure out how Linux works? C'mon.  

 

What it really boils down to is money, and Atari doesn't appear to want to front the cost. Why VCS fans aren't beating Atari over the head with this, I don't know. 

 

Quote

Activision is indeed a strange company, not even licensing their games pack on Windows.

It also comes down to money. I bet they've looked into it, but ActiVision rakes in billions of dollars off of one franchise, not their 2600 games. Getting a few of their games on Flashback is probably the best the retro community can hope for. 

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Much of your list I agree with, although I would separate out software wants from other "this is what they NEED to do" lists. I would add:

 

- Fix through firmware update or replace the wireless and bluetooth units in the VCS. Some are reporting no issues with wireless, but others including me are, and everyone's not having a great time with the VCS Bluetooth right now other than standard hookup of Classic and Modern controllers.

- Related to the above, several games have issues with controllers that are not plugged in through USB. Those games needs updates.

- Consider removing the 4K marketing hype from the box. Leave the hardware as-is for those who are ok with the 4k experience, but don't flaunt it. Make it just a (not great) option after purchase, but don't promise a good 4k experience on the box. The 2K experience looks and plays great, so focus on that. 

- Find a way to offer a wood or fake-wood front panel VCS with one included Classic Controller at a $299 price point at retail. 

- Get someone to help and implement accessibility options as soon as possible. Start with visually restricted, deaf, and limited hand movement needs, and add left-handed support to it.

 

The rest I think is fine myself. I am really having a great time with the VCS, and other than wireless and bluetooth issues personally I am having a blast. I don't want to send in my VCS for service, though, as I don't want to go weeks without one. I haven't opened the VCS yet as it looks so nice, but I am half wondering if when I do open it I will find that one of the wires for the wireless antenna is disconnected. 

 

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In terms of things they need, I'd add:

- Dedicated SteamLink app for the Atari OS

- and/or AMDLink/GeForceNow equivalent

 

I'd prefer to use Stadia or something like it (i.e. OP's fourth bullet point), but I'm one of those unfortunates that don't live in a Stadia enabled country (and I have a beefy gaming PC and a healthy Steam library :P).

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On 1/7/2021 at 1:35 PM, Matt_B said:

I'd think that the biggest fix it needs is to the price. It's simply not competitive with anything of note at $389.

 

If they could get back to the $199 base offering of the original crowdfunding - even if it's just a barebones model (no RAM, eMMCs or OS) - it starts to look much more viable as a mini PC.

 

I'm not sure what they could do to make it a viable console though. Even if all the security and interface issues with AtariOS were fixed it's always going to be a bit short when it comes to compelling games. Still, at the very least it's got to come significantly under the price of a Switch or Series S.

 

Pretty sure the price is 299 without controllers, and considering you can easily use other controllers with it...  The eMMC is kind of soldered onto the motherboard, so not sure how they'd sell without that, and without ram sounds like a bad idea.

Interface issues seem to be fixed by setting it to 1080p or adding more than 8gb of ram.  They probably should just offer various models like an 8gb / 16gb and 32gb so people aren't just yanking out the ram and throwing in more.  Plus a model with a m.2 SSD already installed.  Fix the PC-Mode app to be more useful as well.  Could even have a GamerOS edition that has that installed in a dual-boot set up so people could have their steam box, and have an app in there that would flip back to AtariOS being the primary boot.

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On 1/16/2021 at 5:51 PM, DrCeph said:

In terms of things they need, I'd add:

- Dedicated SteamLink app for the Atari OS

- and/or AMDLink/GeForceNow equivalent

 

I'd prefer to use Stadia or something like it (i.e. OP's fourth bullet point), but I'm one of those unfortunates that don't live in a Stadia enabled country (and I have a beefy gaming PC and a healthy Steam library :P).

I actually think Antstream is better than Stadia (though don't listen to me, I'm completely anti-Stadia).  Moonlight would be sweet, or just the Steam link app, or just full on Steam, working with Valve to have a little Fuji in their Win/Mac/Linux icons would be awesome to see on Steam!  I mean the Steam icon would be similar to the Fuji, but would have lower requirements for hardware (as of course Linux systems can be much beefier than the VCS).

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On 1/13/2021 at 11:35 AM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

As for Linux...YaK is one of the most talented coders on the planet, and he can't figure out how Linux works? C'mon.  

 

Ha, I asked at one point if Polybius would get a Linux port, and he said he'd think about it after the Windows version was released.  I honestly didn't know the Windows version had actually come out until about a month ago.  But he never did, nor has released anything on Linux yet.  So maybe he just can't be bothered to, or Atari had pissed him off sufficiently for him not to.  Either way, depending on dev tools, and third party things, it could be difficult to impossible to do a port.  Hopefully it's not and we can get Polybius and Tempest 4k on the VCS within AtariOS (booting to another operating system doesn't count as 'being on the VCS' in my opinion.)

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1 hour ago, leech said:

Pretty sure the price is 299 without controllers, and considering you can easily use other controllers with it...  The eMMC is kind of soldered onto the motherboard, so not sure how they'd sell without that, and without ram sounds like a bad idea.

Interface issues seem to be fixed by setting it to 1080p or adding more than 8gb of ram.  They probably should just offer various models like an 8gb / 16gb and 32gb so people aren't just yanking out the ram and throwing in more.  Plus a model with a m.2 SSD already installed.  Fix the PC-Mode app to be more useful as well.  Could even have a GamerOS edition that has that installed in a dual-boot set up so people could have their steam box, and have an app in there that would flip back to AtariOS being the primary boot.

Atari certainly said $299 at one point but have released contradictory information on pricing, and it's not like you can go on their site and order anything other than the $389 bundle. Other retailers have listed it at different prices but it's all a bit moot when orders aren't being fulfilled and placeholders are getting canceled. There are better mini PCs on the market at $299 too, so I'd think that they need to go lower to be competitive.

 

I'm not sure how familiar you are with the barebones PC market but it's absolutely standard practice to sell systems without RAM and storage; Atari would be well advised to follow suit if they're serious about that market. A lot of mini PCs even come without a CPU and you add your own, although I'd think that the VCS is rather stuck with the one it's got because AMD don't make a lot of alternatives with the same pinout and there's the custom cooling solution to contend with. Although the eMMC is currently soldered to the board, they could easily make a version where it's simply not present. Simply leaving the chip out and making some changes to the BIOS settings might be enough in itself.

 

And yes, you can upgrade it as things stand. However, once you put your own RAM and SSD in, you've got to find another use for the existing RAM and the eMMC is pretty much dead weight. If you absolutely must still run AtariOS on it there's no reason why you couldn't just put a partition on the SSD for it.

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45 minutes ago, Matt_B said:

Atari certainly said $299 at one point but have released contradictory information on pricing, and it's not like you can go on their site and order anything other than the $389 bundle. Other retailers have listed it at different prices but it's all a bit moot when orders aren't being fulfilled and placeholders are getting canceled. There are better mini PCs on the market at $299 too, so I'd think that they need to go lower to be competitive.

 

I'm not sure how familiar you are with the barebones PC market but it's absolutely standard practice to sell systems without RAM and storage; Atari would be well advised to follow suit if they're serious about that market. A lot of mini PCs even come without a CPU and you add your own, although I'd think that the VCS is rather stuck with the one it's got because AMD don't make a lot of alternatives with the same pinout and there's the custom cooling solution to contend with. Although the eMMC is currently soldered to the board, they could easily make a version where it's simply not present. Simply leaving the chip out and making some changes to the BIOS settings might be enough in itself.

 

And yes, you can upgrade it as things stand. However, once you put your own RAM and SSD in, you've got to find another use for the existing RAM and the eMMC is pretty much dead weight. If you absolutely must still run AtariOS on it there's no reason why you couldn't just put a partition on the SSD for it.

Oh, I'm aware of barebones PC market.  And yeah I'd agree they are typically sold with a motherboard / case / psu, at least the small ones.  The VCS isn't a barebones PC, it's supposed to be a game system.. that's open so you can use it as a generic PC.  By the way, you CAN buy an R1606G barebones and have the exact same specs as the VCS is.  But from what I saw of the price of those, with memory, etc they're more expensive or very much inline with the VCS' price (like 500 bucks once you put in ram and storage).  They were just a bit more expensive actually than a VCS without controllers.  

 

While you could in theory move the AtariOS onto a different storage medium, there are two encrypted filesystems on the eMMC, not sure what data is in there, because you know... encrypted.  Plus removing the eMMC could potentially brick the system, as some of the UEFI settings could be in those encrypted partitions (not saying they are, but it's possible).  

 

But really if you're just going to use it without the AtariOS, why wouldn't you just go buy one of the aforementioned barebones PC? 

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1 hour ago, leech said:

Oh, I'm aware of barebones PC market.  And yeah I'd agree they are typically sold with a motherboard / case / psu, at least the small ones.  The VCS isn't a barebones PC, it's supposed to be a game system.. that's open so you can use it as a generic PC.  By the way, you CAN buy an R1606G barebones and have the exact same specs as the VCS is.  But from what I saw of the price of those, with memory, etc they're more expensive or very much inline with the VCS' price (like 500 bucks once you put in ram and storage).  They were just a bit more expensive actually than a VCS without controllers.  

 

While you could in theory move the AtariOS onto a different storage medium, there are two encrypted filesystems on the eMMC, not sure what data is in there, because you know... encrypted.  Plus removing the eMMC could potentially brick the system, as some of the UEFI settings could be in those encrypted partitions (not saying they are, but it's possible).  

 

But really if you're just going to use it without the AtariOS, why wouldn't you just go buy one of the aforementioned barebones PC? 

Sure, the VCS is supposed to be a games system, but I think AtariOS misses the mark for reasons I've already explained. It makes more sense to put your own OS on there for access to GoG and Steam even if games are your main reason for getting one, even.

 

So far as comparable systems go, stop looking at just the R1606G; it's very rarely used in mini PCs (wonder why? 😉) because even AMD are offering a variety of chips that give you a better bang for your buck. Here is one based on the Ryzen V1605B for $299:

https://www.newegg.com/gigabyte-gb-bsre-1605-brix/p/N82E16856164154

 

The four HDMI ports suggest digital signage as its primary market to me, but it'd still probably make a better games machine than the VCS with the quad core CPU and Vega 8 graphics. You can also get it in a dual core variant with the R1505G (similar to the R1606G but with lower clocks) for $249.

 

Also, AMD in general are a bit of a latecomer to the mini PC market and it's Intel that dominates. On their side of things, $299 gets you a i3-10110U with better single-threaded performance, a comparable GPU, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity:

 

https://www.newegg.com/intel-bxnuc10i3fnh1/p/N82E16856102231

 

If you're not too worried about performance, there's even a Celeron NUC as cheap as $143:

 

https://www.newegg.com/intel-boxnuc6cayh/p/N82E16856102183

 

Obviously, the VCS is a fair bit more powerful than that, and could reasonably command a higher price, but it can't offer the features of the V1605B and i3-10110U machines, so I'd think that around $200 seems a fair price for it.

Edited by Matt_B

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Yeah, but they are kind of ugly.  😛

so I guess the question is, why not go buy one of those and leave the ones who bought the VCS to dink around with the Linux based AtariOS and enjoy it for what it is?

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16 minutes ago, leech said:

Yeah, but they are kind of ugly.  😛

 

Yep, the Atari case is far better.

 

17 minutes ago, leech said:

I guess the question is, why not go buy one of those?

 

Why buy either?  I have too many computers already.

 

19 minutes ago, leech said:

Leave the ones who bought the VCS to dink around with the Linux based AtariOS and enjoy it for what it is.

 

Not sure what to do with that one, I can't think of any reason, that would prevent me from enjoying playing on system 'XYZ'.

 

PS4 RULZ TEH BOMB!!11! - Ok

XB_KICK YO ASS, BITCH11!! - That's great

8BIT IS TEH SHIT - Fine

NODOWNLODZ - Peachy

DISCS SCRATCH - Idiot

 

:)

 

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Couldn't take Temple OS online.  Drivers would also be an issue. 

 

If I was building an alternative machine with a custom OS, I would have chosen ARM.  Licensing and everything about reality aside, MAME could be evolved into an OS.  The general JIT framework is already there.  I mentioned "reality", because the machine would be completely built to play roms and MAME's open source dev community/licensing would make selling machines almost impossible.  It's nothing but a nice dream...

Edited by orange808

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