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IGN's VCS Review

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8 hours ago, Pipercub said:

The missed mark here is that the software environment is clearly a few hours of afterthought tacked on, the average Retropi image config is a leap beyond in effort and result. The thing that would have made this box a must have is a fully fleshed out ecosystem that had the same WOW factor as the case did, something that was like an alternative universe where Atari never died, remained a leader, and they had a competitive product on the shelf in 2021.

Well the part about the RetroPi is simply not true, as your average person isn't going to know how to set one up.  The VCS doesn't have much content to it for now, but anyone can plug it in and start playing on it.

If they hadn't tried to generate interest well before they had actually started work on the VCS and hence didn't have all the drama, and had beaten the PS5 and new Xbox to market, it would have been in a much better position.  Also kept the 300 with controllers price tag. 

 

For now it is too expensive to compete properly, nit enough games out for it, and needs less bad vibes from people to be able to sell.

 

Maybe if they included RetroArch with some pre-configured joystick templates and figured out some form of game packs you could buy for it (like the Genesis collection that is on all the platforms) there would be more demand for them.

 

Also direct support for their Arcade stick you can buy from Microcenter.

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Nah, download an image for your SD card and write it, stick it in the pi and your playing games in minuets. But that wasn't even my point, the VCS is a super generic PC and the software load on it could be done by an amateur in a few hours of effort, it is not the result one would expect from the years they had to roll this thing out, it is amateur clown car stuff. Other than the case this whole thing is a big nothing and further underlines how lazy and uninformed the gaming press is. I haven't seen anything pointing out that this is slapped together COTS stuff. 

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1 hour ago, Pipercub said:

Nah, download an image for your SD card and write it, stick it in the pi and your playing games in minuets. But that wasn't even my point, the VCS is a super generic PC and the software load on it could be done by an amateur in a few hours of effort, it is not the result one would expect from the years they had to roll this thing out, it is amateur clown car stuff. Other than the case this whole thing is a big nothing and further underlines how lazy and uninformed the gaming press is. I haven't seen anything pointing out that this is slapped together COTS stuff. 

Doing an online store takes a bit more effort.  And that's kind of wonky last time I checked, hoping they fixed being able to only put one game in the cart at a time...  Kind of funny, I've been accused of saying things are easier than they are, being a Linux admin, but I'll admit that the RetroPi set up should be a lot more trivial than it is.  Sure if you have just the right kind of controller for it, you set up the controller and it should be okay.. but then you have to deal with loading ROMs (I actually have it set up at this point where I just image an SD card, then set up sshfs and mount a rom directory with all the bits configured on my NAS, but that isn't something I'd expect random joe to set up).  But if you don't have a controller that fits the requirements right off (basically anything that's an Xbox 360 style), you have to deal with compromises.  Can't remember where the review was, but a good example of this issue is when someone bought the Atari Arcade stick from microcenter.  They had to basically end up configuring a bunch of the games individually for the various emulators.

 

I've never had the patience / time to do this, so I've always gotten that far in.. then got tired of trying to do it.  Though I also tend to prefer to play on real hardware anyhow :P  The controller issue is the same reason I don't use my MiSTer as much as I should.

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They literally had FOUR YEARS, the work presented took a few hours, it is as obvious as a highschooler turning in his term paper he started the night before.

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3 hours ago, Pipercub said:

They literally had FOUR YEARS, the work presented took a few hours, it is as obvious as a highschooler turning in his term paper he started the night before.

Ha, pretty sure the timeline was more like 'hey, let's throw up a render and toss out to the universe "we're thinking about making a new console"'  Then it was 'oh, people are actually interested, okay... uhm... oh... erm... crap now we should actually do it, right? (for about 6 months).'

 

Then it was 'Okay, let's actually hire some people!'  which takes a decent amount of time.  Then it was 'let's get contracts with AMD!'  (Oh, was this really that early?  https://seekingalpha.com/article/4109809-amd-powers-atari Article is from Sept 2017).  2020 was crap all to everyone, so can't really blame them for that year. 

 

But yeah you sound like someone who has no idea what goes into hardware / software design for a console.  I'm not saying I do, but I have some ideas of heat dissipation vs noise, they updated the specs mid-way through, had engineers get pissed and leave (because of non-payment), had a small team, etc.  You honestly don't think that the Playstation engineers take 4 years?  And they already have a huge skill base and Billions of dollars to sync into R&D....  Their interface isn't much better than RetroArch's, which is based mostly on the PS3 interface...

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An opinion based on zero experience with the unit.  This guy is a "Senior Contributor"???  Seems like someone with such experience should do a little more research before writing an article that disparages something they have no real knowledge of or hands on experience with.  He basically quoted the IGN article for his entire "contribution" and that article was half baked at best.  The IGN guy did however manage to finally boot Ubuntu from a thumb drive and said it worked well, acknowledging that the error was his own.

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Posted (edited)

Is there any news source that can stay objective anymore? They don’t even do their own research, they just go off of whatever the popular opinion is to get clicks. Same with some of these lame Youtubers. Even if they personally like the VCS, they wouldn’t dare publicly admit that for fear of losing and pissing off their subscribers.

Edited by Djmicklovin
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It's not a review, it's an opinion piece. It's absolutely normal for a publication to publish such stuff. Newspapers had been featuring columnist since forever, way before "blogs", and you're only salty because it disagrees with your view. If it was positive, I'm pretty sure there would be no problem.

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Posted (edited)

If you put all Atari nostalgia aside, the negative points in the review are valid facts. Seriously, the machine costs as much as a PS5 Digital Edition and 100 dollars more than a Xbox S!  

No chance, unless they discount it for a much lower price.

 

 

Edited by agradeneu
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4 minutes ago, youxia said:

It's not a review, it's an opinion piece. It's absolutely normal for a publication to publish such stuff. Newspapers had been featuring columnist since forever, way before "blogs", and you're only salty because it disagrees with your view. If it was positive, I'm pretty sure there would be no problem.

And you’re salty because we disagreed with the “opinion piece?” Nothing wrong with having an opinion as long as you back it up with your own research which this Forbes writer has not done. He literally just copy and pasted IGN’s review and taken their word as fact. Is that not the lamest thing you’ve ever seen? Like just do your own research and stop relying on other sources for “news.” 

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1 hour ago, youxia said:

It's not a review, it's an opinion piece. It's absolutely normal for a publication to publish such stuff. Newspapers had been featuring columnist since forever, way before "blogs", and you're only salty because it disagrees with your view. If it was positive, I'm pretty sure there would be no problem.

It is in fact a review being promoted as such by Forbes. Reviews are also opinion pieces, but with the stamp of approval of the publication behind them. 

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1 hour ago, Djmicklovin said:

And you’re salty because we disagreed with the “opinion piece?” Nothing wrong with having an opinion as long as you back it up with your own research which this Forbes writer has not done.

I'm not salty about anything, simply pointing out how nonsensical/hypocritical your complaint is. It's perfectly fine to state your opinion based on stuff you have seen, heard, or read, especially if it's a repetitive process. We all do it everyday, you included.

 

38 minutes ago, Mockduck said:

It is in fact a review being promoted as such by Forbes

I went through the whole trail on their site, from the front page, and couldn't see anything which could justify your claim. And typing "Atari VCS review" in their search brings 0 results. It's just a post in the "Games" section, that's all.

 

Anyway, you guys keep fighting the good fight. I'm pretty sure there will be quite a few more occasions to get your dander up because some journo ignoramus refuses to see the light.

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51 minutes ago, youxia said:

It's perfectly fine to state your opinion based on stuff you have seen, heard, or read, especially if it's a repetitive process. We all do it everyday, you included.

How is that hypocritical? I don’t just say or do something because everybody else does or because it’s the “popular” thing. I do what i feel is right and can think for myself. If everyone says it’s okay to jump off a bridge, does that mean it’s okay for me to do it? How can you have an opinion on something you never used or even touched? That’s the point here…

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Forming an informed opinion about the VCS without having used one is pretty easy. The APU is an off-the-shelf one that's been extensively benchmarked elsewhere, so we know how it's going to perform with most software including games. The operating system is a lightly customized Linux distro, and we know enough about how that works too. Most of the games can be played on other platforms, and that's seemingly good enough for assessing the PS5's library for most. All the apps that are just links to sites via the Chrome browser can also be experienced elsewhere. And if you've ever set up a barebones computer, that's basically PC mode for you.

 

There are doubtless a few things that hands on experience might count for such as assessing the build quality, classic controller, ease of upgrade, etc. but it's not like the Forbes review went into any of those, and they'd seem like fairly minor concerns when assessing its value.

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2 hours ago, Matt_B said:

Forming an informed opinion about the VCS without having used one is pretty easy. The APU is an off-the-shelf one that's been extensively benchmarked elsewhere, so we know how it's going to perform with most software including games. The operating system is a lightly customized Linux distro, and we know enough about how that works too. Most of the games can be played on other platforms, and that's seemingly good enough for assessing the PS5's library for most. All the apps that are just links to sites via the Chrome browser can also be experienced elsewhere. And if you've ever set up a barebones computer, that's basically PC mode for you.

 

There are doubtless a few things that hands on experience might count for such as assessing the build quality, classic controller, ease of upgrade, etc. but it's not like the Forbes review went into any of those, and they'd seem like fairly minor concerns when assessing its value.

When it comes to technical specs I don't think IGN really knows or cares whether the the APU is off-the-shelf or that the VCS is running a customized version of the Linux distro, much less Forbes. And no, the APU has not been extensively tested. Where? You realize people are still spending $300 on a four year old Nintendo Switch with ancient specs? Many of the games on steam are not available on other consoles. So comparing it to other consoles and the capabilities the VCS has as a PC, it blows them out of the water. Sure you could have a PC for that but we're comparing the VCS to consoles here.

 

I'm just curious, why do you and others that hate Atari keep posting here? If you hate Atari and think Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft are better then i'm sure there are plenty of other forums for you to post. Just blows my mind that on a site called Atariage, there are people here that don't like Atari.

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You can find tests of the R1606G on any of the major benchmark sites, allowing you to compare it to other modern CPUs and APUs. E.g.

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+Embedded+R1606G&id=3659

https://www.cpu-monkey.com/en/cpu-amd_ryzen_embedded_r1606g-1198

https://versus.com/en/amd-ryzen-embedded-r1606g

 

Those numbers put it about on a par with the Athlon 200GE and its successor the 3000G which are desktop APUs with a list price of around $50, allowing you to build a complete system for under $200 as early as 2018. That's basically the experience that a VCS running Steam is going to give you, just at twice the price and with considerably less potential for upgrades because you won't be able to put a better CPU or graphics card in it eventually. Aside from that, I'd think that very few people would build a games PC at such a low spec level, at least not when it's only another $50 for a quad core like the Ryzen 3 3200G. On the whole, most people are not going to see the ability to use it as a Steam box as a killer feature, for those reasons.

 

So far as the Switch goes, I'd agree that it's not a particularly good value proposition on hardware spec alone. It is the only major handheld games system left though, and gets the exclusive output of Nintendo as a publisher, which I'd think could tip the balance for a lot of people. If only the VCS had something comparable to that going for it...

 

Also, I don't hate Atari. I just take them for what they are which, since the 2013 bankruptcy, is a company that's primarily a marketing operation and not really capable of making their own products in-house any more. When everything they release gets contracted out to someone else, with seemingly very little in the way of input or even quality control on their part, you're going to get some good products and some bad ones. I'm rather partial to Tempest 4000 and Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic, both of which showed promise; the rest of their output, not so much.

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On 7/2/2021 at 2:47 AM, leech said:

But yeah you sound like someone who has no idea what goes into hardware / software design for a console.  I'm not saying I do, but I have some ideas of heat dissipation vs noise, they updated the specs mid-way through, had engineers get pissed and leave (because of non-payment), had a small team, etc.  You honestly don't think that the Playstation engineers take 4 years?  And they already have a huge skill base and Billions of dollars to sync into R&D....  Their interface isn't much better than RetroArch's, which is based mostly on the PS3 interface...

Playstation does take 3 or 4 years

 

Heat is a big issue in console design-- you don't want to deal with a RROD warranty nightmare, so you need to ensure your console can cool itself adequately..   The console motherboard is highly integrated, and case is slim.   You simply can't put in a massive heatsink and a half-dozen fans like the typical gaming PC will have,  and the average console user doesn't want that anyway.  They will complain when the one fan they have is too loud, they expect it to be fairly quiet.   So if you are designing a console, you will spend a lot of time testing different thermal designs to find a suitable one.

 

But to be fair, there's a lot more work that goes into playstation.   For instance for the PS5, they need to prove out that their crazy custom SSD idea is actually viable and worth the expense vs just slapping in an off-the-shelf SSD.   They have to develop the new haptics in the Dualsense, and they have to come up with a performance spec that will last for a generation of 6 or 7 years.   Atari doesn't have all that to deal with  but they are a small company, and had to deal with Covid and the global chip shortage which certainly didn't help.

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