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xabin

Atari Flashback mini-consoles: which to get?

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I'm interested in showing my roommate the Atari 2600, the way I played it back in my youth, but getting an actual console is out of the question, right now, so the next option is the Atari Flashback game consoles. However, I know its primary creators, AtGames, is notorious for being rather crap, but I heard that a few of the early ones were pretty good. So, which version should I get to show off the games to my roommate?

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3 hours ago, xabin said:

I'm interested in showing my roommate the Atari 2600, the way I played it back in my youth, but getting an actual console is out of the question, right now, so the next option is the Atari Flashback game consoles. However, I know its primary creators, AtGames, is notorious for being rather crap, but I heard that a few of the early ones were pretty good. So, which version should I get to show off the games to my roommate?


The Atari Flashback 2 is a VCS on a Chip, and can actually be hacked to install a cartridge port to play real cartridges. There were several variations, some with Activision roms, but still the total game roms were in the low 20s.

 

If you don’t mind emulation, the best AFB to get would be the AFBX. Quite a lot of work has been put into making it play most of the VCS homebrews, or other emulated systems (a800, NES, etc)

 

 

 

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They aren't crap, but you do get what you pay for, and the cost of both production and retail for these things is meant to be budget bin. For hanging out and playing casually for fun with a roommate or to show the old games in action you'll be fine with whatever the most recent Flashback is with one caveat: I can't remember if the newest Flashback works with Atari Paddles, and for some reason I thought maybe it didn't, so if that is true then definitely get an earlier model. Ultimately though each new unit is pretty similar to the last, so getting one that is a few generations old is probably fine. 

 

The units themselves don't look much like an old Atari to me, never really have, but they are kind of like an Atari, and the emulation and games on it play fine. 

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Get the 9 gold.   Has a SD card slot so you don't have to tear apart the Atari to mod it.  Just load it with roms and plug it in.

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I bought several thru the pandemic to relive the 'good ole days'. I'm happiest with the 9 Gold. I did the software mods to make my own menu with the games I want on it. I ended up with a wired joystick with the select buttons on it and prefer that over the wireless. They kept disconnecting and eating batteries. But it should be fine for what you want. I tend to be a bit computer challenged and didn't like fussing with them.

 

The X can also be customized but they tend to be more expensive since they are the 'newest'. Find a used 9 or 9 Gold. Then follow the thread here to modify the firmware  and you won't be disappointed :)

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Why not Retron 77? It supports all the ROMS with community build and it is not that expensive.

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If you simply want the most games on board out of the box and paddle compatibility, the Flashback 8 Gold Activision version would be well suited with 130 games -- more than any other. It cannot be modded for an SD card, though, to play the other 500 and change original, prototype and homebrew Atari 2600 games. Although, I should say, even with an SD/USB with the FB9 and X, many homebrews and a few original games will not work.

 

If you want to play ROMs on it from an SD/USB device, then you can get a FB9 or X. The 9 is easier to mod, but no paddles (although you can make custom ones that work). The FBX is nice as it is kind of a true mini, as it closely resembles the 2600, unlike the others. What's weird is there is conflicting reports about whether it works with OEM paddles from the 80s. These two will allow you to play the most games, total, but not all, as some are incompatible with the AtGames BIOS used.

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22 hours ago, Swami said:

If you simply want the most games on board out of the box and paddle compatibility, the Flashback 8 Gold Activision version would be well suited with 130 games -- more than any other. It cannot be modded for an SD card, though, to play the other 500 and change original, prototype and homebrew Atari 2600 games. Although, I should say, even with an SD/USB with the FB9 and X, many homebrews and a few original games will not work.

 

If you want to play ROMs on it from an SD/USB device, then you can get a FB9 or X. The 9 is easier to mod, but no paddles (although you can make custom ones that work). The FBX is nice as it is kind of a true mini, as it closely resembles the 2600, unlike the others. What's weird is there is conflicting reports about whether it works with OEM paddles from the 80s. These two will allow you to play the most games, total, but not all, as some are incompatible with the AtGames BIOS used.

Ok, that's what I remember hearing: Both the new 9 and 10 have paddle issues, but are otherwise best for ROMs.

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2 hours ago, Mockduck said:

Ok, that's what I remember hearing: Both the new 9 and 10 have paddle issues, but are otherwise best for ROMs.

Different issues though.

 

AFB 9 models can't use regular paddles, but can be hardware modified (different resistance or different pots in the paddles). However, while paddle games work with the right hardware mods, they are a little wonky. It's not quite as smooth as a real 2600, and for me it makes Kaboom! a bit less fun on an AFB. Movement in paddle games on the AFB has slightly slower and slightly faster spots as you turn the knob so it's harder to be precise.

 

AFB X models can use standard unmodified Atari paddles, but suffer from the same wonkiness.

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