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The Atari VCS Controversies Thread

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On 7/30/2021 at 5:53 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

If you go back to the early parts of the taco thread, a lot of now-haters were either optimistic or cautiously optimistic about the prospects - myself included. It was only when Atari launched the campaign

Even in the early days, the haters outnumbered the supporters,  except in those days the biggest complaint was that it was a "scam" that would never see the light of day.   When the project moved forward,  those people never said "well I guess we were wrong"- they just simply changed the narrative and kept looking for new dirt to fling at the project

 

On 7/30/2021 at 5:53 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

VCS Fans like it because it's an Atari hardware product and they're happy to support that regardless because they have fond memories of their old Atari systems. Some want it because of collectibility down the road. Some see it as a decent PC. It has the CX-40 joystick remake. 

This is exactly what it is.   Every sensible person knows that it's not going to take on Nintendo and it's only going to be a niche product.  Most of its fans will say as much.  Even Atari must know this because they certainly haven't shipped it in large quantity. 

 

But yet I keep seeing the strawman arguments that because it doesn't have AAA games and can't compete Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo it's a failure.   None of the other niche consoles get held to this standard.

 

On 7/30/2021 at 5:53 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

Haters fail to see the benefit of spending this kind of cash on a product because of a logo, and there's no shortage of collectible items out there.

Simple rule-   Don't like it, don't buy it.      I have no issue with people not buying the VCS.  

My complaint was always about a small group of people relentless hijacking VCS threads and taking every opportunity to bash it.

 

I personally think the Playdate is a joke, but look in the Playdate threads and count the "taco" posts from me there.    Here's a quick count:  ZERO!   Because I'm a normal person and have better things to do than try to convince other people what to not spend their money on.

 

 

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On 7/30/2021 at 5:28 PM, WispFollower said:

I'm hoping someone can help me see who is drawn to the vcs and why.

For me the key is that it's open.   I'm loading up mine with a bunch of retro games and am going to use it as a retrogame living room console.  Obviously it's not the only device that can do this.   I've previously tried with a Raspberry PI.  But I can already say the VCS is much more suited to the task than my old Pi.

 

Also since I'm an old Atari fan, the case/form factor is super cool

 

Yes lots of people complained about the price.    Some talk about buying it if/when the price comes down. 

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8 minutes ago, zzip said:

For me the key is that it's open.   I'm loading up mine with a bunch of retro games and am going to use it as a retrogame living room console.  Obviously it's not the only device that can do this.   I've previously tried with a Raspberry PI.  But I can already say the VCS is much more suited to the task than my old Pi.

 

Also since I'm an old Atari fan, the case/form factor is super cool

 

Yes lots of people complained about the price.    Some talk about buying it if/when the price comes down. 

Since your use case is so specific, was it the Atari name and case design that made it more interesting to you than something like an Xbox Series S or X? I get that the X is an oversized and overpowered beast (that I personally like), but the S is really small and costs less than the VCS ($299 plus $19 for developer mode) with more power, RAM, and storage out of the box.

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On 7/30/2021 at 8:49 PM, Keatah said:

 

Back when videogames first came out in the 70's and 80's we didn't "build-up" anything. Hopes. Wants. Hype. None of that. There wasn't time. A product was advertised on TV or a magazine, then it showed up in the stores. We bought it. There were no months or years of hype. Even in the 90's and 2000-2010'ish there was minimal hype compared to today.

 

The allure of crowdfunding and internet marketing, especially internet marketing, seems to have corrupted companies. Tricking them into seeing some sort of fast track to $$$.

 

Or maybe it's just plain old stupidity.

We had three major TV channels,  so it was easier to reach a majority of the country.

Nowadays, yes pre-marketing campaigns go on for so long.  But there's also an interesting twist in that there are now internet communities that will either sing your praises from the mountain tops or trash your name from here to Kingdom Come,  with almost nothing between those two extremes.   So product marketing in the internet age is a complex song and dance where you better not hit a wrong note-- or else!

 

On 7/31/2021 at 6:01 PM, 82-T/A said:

I think I'm fascinated by the fact that there are people on here who ... I dunno, you'll have to explain it to me... are so bothered by the Atari VCS that they continue this thread? I can't think of anything...

At face value it makes no sense.   However if you look at it from a business point of view.  Ask yourself who benefits from trashing the VCS and it might shed some light where it's coming from.

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27 minutes ago, Bill Loguidice said:

Since your use case is so specific, was it the Atari name and case design that made it more interesting to you than something like an Xbox Series S or X? I get that the X is an oversized and overpowered beast (that I personally like), but the S is really small and costs less than the VCS ($299 plus $19 for developer mode) with more power, RAM, and storage out of the box.

I'm also an old Linux fan, with the built-in distrust of Microsoft that comes with that turf.

 

EDIT:  To answer the question a different way.  I do have a PS5, and if the PS5 had the ability to load in content of my choosing, then I would have no reason for a VCS.

Edited by zzip

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

Even in the early days, the haters outnumbered the supporters,  except in those days the biggest complaint was that it was a "scam" that would never see the light of day.   When the project moved forward,  those people never said "well I guess we were wrong"- they just simply changed the narrative and kept looking for new dirt to fling at the project

I disagree: when it actually made it to production, there was, if anything, mild amazement from those of us who had shown skepticism regarding the product.  However, getting to production isn't an accomplishment in and of itself, largely because it's what one expects of a company which has stated that it's going to build a device.  Where it is an accomplishment - of sorts - is in making it to production despite all of Atari SA's utter incompetence and mismanagement of the product's development up to that point.

1 hour ago, zzip said:

But yet I keep seeing the strawman arguments that because it doesn't have AAA games and can't compete Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo it's a failure.   None of the other niche consoles get held to this standard.

The other niche consoles aren't pricing themselves into Sony / Microsoft / Nintendo territory, however.  I do note that the Steam Deck is starting to have those comparisons made, though, and largely based on price.  These aren't strawman arguments: they're inevitable comparisons.

1 hour ago, zzip said:

I personally think the Playdate is a joke, but look in the Playdate threads and count the "taco" posts from me there.    Here's a quick count:  ZERO!

Ditto, but that's because the Playdate holds zero interest for me.  Put the Atari name on it, and a lot of folks will feel differently, I'm sure.

1 hour ago, zzip said:

For me the key is that it's open.

I'm asking this question out of genuine curiosity: was this something that held appeal for you with the either the PS2 or PS3?  Speaking as one of the people who lost the Yellowdog install on his PS3 due to firmware 3.21 (which I'm still pissed at Sony about), I get your use case for the VCS as a living room emulation box since that was largely what I was using Linux on my PS3 for.  But I am curious as to whether or not the Atari name had major influence over the decision to purchase a VCS or not regardless of the hardware specs.

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6 hours ago, zzip said:

Ask yourself who benefits from trashing the VCS

Well, please tell me because I have no idea at all.

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5 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

The other niche consoles aren't pricing themselves into Sony / Microsoft / Nintendo territory, however.  I do note that the Steam Deck is starting to have those comparisons made, though, and largely based on price.  These aren't strawman arguments: they're inevitable comparisons.

They have volume on their side, so it's more that  those consoles are under-priced.    Try to build a PS5-level PC for the same price as a PS5.   It can't be done.   In the meantime there are plenty of other niche retro products that command a relatively high pricetag.  ZX Spectrum next  300 Pounds or $416.    Firebee (Atari ST/TT remake)  599 EURO.   When you build a device in low volumes, your components will cost more and your profit margin needs to be higher.  Just the way it is.    Worth is subjective.   It's one thing to say that console isn't worth (to me) what they asking.   But it enters strawman territory when you bring AAA games into the equation.   I don't see Atari talking about that, I don't see supporters talking about that.   Atari doesn't have a track record of AAA developments in recent times, why would we expect them to start now?

 

6 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

I do note that the Steam Deck is starting to have those comparisons made, though, and largely based on price.  These aren't strawman arguments: they're inevitable comparisons.

The Steam library is full of AAA games, so it's a fair question people since I'm sure a lot of people pre-ordered it with that expectation.

5 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

I'm asking this question out of genuine curiosity: was this something that held appeal for you with the either the PS2 or PS3?

I was PC-only in that era.   The Wii was the first console I owned since my Atari days, and I did install the homebrew channel on that,  but that was very weak hardware and not a great experience.   But it was also a similar experience that if Nintendo patched it, the Homebrew channel would break and you'd have to jailbreak it all over again.   I heard about how Sony handled it, so I don't really trust closed hardware vendors to support these things.

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51 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

Well, please tell me because I have no idea at all.

 

In my experience when people are not interested in a product, they simply ignore it.   Oh sure, Maybe they will spend a little bit of time talking about how underwhelming it is, and move onto something else.   There's too much else to worry about in this world.   When people hate on something, it's a sign that they feel threatened in some way by it.     On this board we saw a small group of users would hate on the VCS day in and day out for what, 3 years?  And they had the effect of drowning everybody who wanted to talk about it in a reasonable manner, because they'd invade new threads too.   Why?   All for a niche product that was never going to sell in large quantities anyway?    Sorry that's not normal behavior.

 

See Playdate.  Lots of people aren't interested in that thing either.  It's been delayed, it's price has increased--  both things the VCS got crucified for.   But there's barely much noise about that for Playdate.   Why?   Because nobody is bothered enough to turn those things into major drama.  Nobody feels threatened by Playdate.

Now suppose there was another small handheld that was competing with Playdate.   Think those little setbacks might be turned into major scandals by the detractors?    It would not surprise me.   Because there would suddenly be financial incentive to spread FUD about the other product

 

And since not everyone knows what FUD means:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty,_and_doubt

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2 hours ago, zzip said:

 

In my experience when people are not interested in a product, they simply ignore it.   Oh sure, Maybe they will spend a little bit of time talking about how underwhelming it is, and move onto something else.   There's too much else to worry about in this world.   When people hate on something, it's a sign that they feel threatened in some way by it.     On this board we saw a small group of users would hate on the VCS day in and day out for what, 3 years?  And they had the effect of drowning everybody who wanted to talk about it in a reasonable manner, because they'd invade new threads too.   Why?   All for a niche product that was never going to sell in large quantities anyway?    Sorry that's not normal behavior.

 

See Playdate.  Lots of people aren't interested in that thing either.  It's been delayed, it's price has increased--  both things the VCS got crucified for.   But there's barely much noise about that for Playdate.   Why?   Because nobody is bothered enough to turn those things into major drama.  Nobody feels threatened by Playdate.

Now suppose there was another small handheld that was competing with Playdate.   Think those little setbacks might be turned into major scandals by the detractors?    It would not surprise me.   Because there would suddenly be financial incentive to spread FUD about the other product

 

And since not everyone knows what FUD means:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty,_and_doubt

I don't think it's any big mystery and certainly no conspiracy or "threat," whatever that could possibly mean. It's Atari, a company people feel passionate about for heavily nostalgic reasons. Any other company, nobody would care one way or the other based on what the product actually is. It received both the support it did (which would be more than a random company) and disdain it did (which would also be more than a random company) precisely because of who they are and what they represent. Atari themselves is also to blame for overpromising (marketing-wise) and underdelivering (based on said marketing), and of course, perhaps mostly importantly, not having any real reason for this to exist (versus the myriad of existing options) other than to get a system out there. I do know that the price point was not what they originally wanted either (and I think it would have done MUCH better at the original target), but there's obviously a difference from first concepts to actual finished product and all that entails. As such, it's understandable that the price point is really is out of their control, but that understanding doesn't make the product any more desirable, particularly at said price point.

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8 hours ago, zzip said:

Now suppose there was another small handheld that was competing with Playdate.

So you mean there's a system that is competing with the Atari VCS? I thought the Atari VCS was not competing with any other system... I don't think the Amico fans feel threatened either. Maybe they're afraid the Amico launch is gonna be even more delayed than the VCS one, but that's it; I've actually seen people defending both systems here.

 

Like Bill implied, I think VCS fans and haters are most of all Atari fans. The former think the VCS lives up to Atari's legacy, the latter don't and are probably upset the system is using the same name as the first Atari console. Personally I'm neither a fan or a hater, I'm just in charge of a retrogaming web site and try to be objective.

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10 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

So you mean there's a system that is competing with the Atari VCS? I thought the Atari VCS was not competing with any other system... I don't think the Amico fans feel threatened either. Maybe they're afraid the Amico launch is gonna be even more delayed than the VCS one, but that's it; I've actually seen people defending both systems here.

I don't think most fans don't see them in competition,  but that doesn't mean the people behind the consoles don't look at it that way.   They're in a similar price range, offer a similar quality of games,  and it's a small pie and each side wants to ensure they get the biggest piece.   

 

Look at it this way,  both Amico and VCS are supposdly niche products that most people here say they don't care about, right?

 

So why did the original VCS thread rack up 29,000 posts before it got locked and Amico stands at 32,000?   Both set forum records apparently.   Most new products only get a few dozen to few hundred posts in their announce thread,

Is it due to overwhelming enthusiasm?  Clearly not!

Is it due to overwhelming hate?  Maybe, but why?  At some point it looks like beating up an injured puppy.  Are some people so threatened by it that they can't leave it be?

Is it due to someone purposely stirring the hornets nest?  Get users riled up against something with the intent of making your product look good by comparison?

 

I don't have special insight about what's going on, but I do know a thing or two about human nature and also about how people on the internet get manipulated-  To me the response doesn't feel completely organic.   I'm not the only one who commented on how disproportionate the response was.

 

And we did catch at least one marketing person engaging in "astroturfing" in the VCS early days on these boards.   He probably wasn't the only one

 

 

 

Edited by zzip

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I am hesitant to even comment, as I am constantly surprised about how emotionally invested some people get in entertainment technology products (and I am very live and let live in my philosophy). However, I will say in my excitement over the playdate, I have sought out as much discussion about it as possible, and there are plenty of "haters" for this thing. It's actually been very entertaining for me to follow all the super salty critics of this innocuous little device. I haven't seen anyone really offer much valid criticism, but I'll keep looking, as it is hilarious. In no way am I getting bothered by any outspoken critics, though. It is their right to voice their opinion and my right to vote with my wallet. 

 

I don't think haters are always the cornered and threatened kind of beast, but sometimes just generally frustrated. Maybe they like a product or idea that can't get enough funding to make it to market. Perhaps they think there are better options to spend your money on. I honestly think many people in general just don't understand that not every company or product will be catering to their specific wants, and that just locks their brains up like sand in a finely tuned machine. 

 

I have seen lots of similar criticisms such as, "This product is a waste! They could have made x, y, or z features instead!" Those types of criticisms are more subjective opinions. If there are hard facts such as promised features not being delivered or low quality hardware/ software,  I give those types of thoughts a bit more credence. 

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I say the VCS dies, the Amico dies, everybody dies...sorry, I recently watched Heavy Metal again!

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12 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

I say the VCS dies, the Amico dies, everybody dies...sorry, I recently watched Heavy Metal again!

 

 

Some day, our world may be a barren rock, devoid of life and littered in plastic knickknacks, the only things not having decayed away long ago. Hopefully, some quirky alien archeologists find our old video games, refurbish them, and try em out. I like to think instead of judging us on our flaws, they will see we put considerable effort into enjoying our short lives in countless ways, seeking innocent fun in a harsh universe.

 

Then they might read our hobbyist message boards and be confused why everyone is so angry about entertainment. Perhaps they reach into the past to ask one of us, "hey why are you guys so intense about your recreation? Oh, we are aliens, by the way. Time traveling aliens. Archeologist, time traveling aliens.. you know what it's very complicated and time travel really eats into the video game refurbishing budget so we are in a rush here, but suffice it to say we just want to know why everyone yells at each other about video games." 

 

If they picked me, I'm not really sure what I'd tell them. Probably just some rambling thoughts on how humanity seeks identity through personal discovery, and sometimes there are bumps along the way. We strive to enjoy our lives, to outrun or perhaps dull that nagging ticking sound.. the sound of time marching forward as we struggle to contain our emotions and find a purpose we can be comfortable with in this lonely universe. We want to laugh and sing, play and dance. Roll our intellivision 16-way directional discs, crank our playdate cranks. Enlightenment would be wonderful, but until we approach any milestone resembling such a lofty feat, we shall continue to play the games we love and debate with others on why we love them.

 

I would then laugh politely at their inevitable joke about letting me get back to cranking one out on my playdate, discreetly inquire about lottery numbers, and bid them farewell.

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1 hour ago, WispFollower said:

I don't think haters are always the cornered and threatened kind of beast, but sometimes just generally frustrated. Maybe they like a product or idea that can't get enough funding to make it to market. Perhaps they think there are better options to spend your money on. I honestly think many people in general just don't understand that not every company or product will be catering to their specific wants, and that just locks their brains up like sand in a finely tuned machine. 

 

Agreed I'm not saying everyone who criticizes a product feels threatened, there's always valid criticisms and constructive criticisms are best.  But there is a certain type of hater that seems to dedicate their life to bashing a product at every opportunity.  If they get proven wrong on a claim, they just shift their criticism to something else.   It's clear they want the product, and they want to scare fans away from buying it.  Those are the ones that act like they are threatened or have some vested interested in it failing.

 

Normally it's easy to ignore such people.   But here they hijacked every VCS thread for several years and spammed them to the point that it was impossible have a civil discussion about the console.   It wasn't until the VCS subforum got created earlier this year with moderation rules that it was finally possible to have civil conversations about it.

 

 

 

 

 

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That's fair, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. If it came off that way, it was a mistake on my part. Maybe I'm just thinking out loud, trying to understand as well. I usually just keep to myself when it comes to being excited or skeptical about a product, because who would care what one more anonymous person thinks about anything. Shouting opinions into the void seems like a sort of therapy for some. Will anyone care? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems many feel the compulsory desire to do it for the sake of doing it.

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1 hour ago, Gunstar said:

I say the VCS dies, the Amico dies, everybody dies...sorry, I recently watched Heavy Metal again!

I got the reference and heard the voice in my head 😆

hqdefault.jpg.5f5ee047aafb24bc1045948605783a31.jpg

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7 minutes ago, WispFollower said:

That's fair, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. If it came off that way, it was a mistake on my part. Maybe I'm just thinking out loud, trying to understand as well. I usually just keep to myself when it comes to being excited or skeptical about a product, because who would care what one more anonymous person thinks about anything. Shouting opinions into the void seems like a sort of therapy for some. Will anyone care? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems many feel the compulsory desire to do it for the sake of doing it.

no worries your comment was fine.   A lot of my posts are thinking out loud too.

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

So why did the original VCS thread rack up 29,000 posts before it got locked and Amico stands at 32,000?

Well, maybe Fred Chesnais should have created an AtariAge account. ;)

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25 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

Well, maybe Fred Chesnais should have created an AtariAge account. ;)

OOF!

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Back to the original OP instead of retreading the same waste-of-time-back-and-forth that has been going on for years now.

 

Both of these guys are VCS fans, not "haters." Both mention that there isn't a lot of content that's been added. 

 

Keyword: "Underwhelming." Also looks like it just sat there for a while collecting dust for him, since he had to update everything.

 

 

Paraphrase: "They are going to need to do a lot of work in the next six months to prove to others that it's worth it." "I don't love it, I don't hate it, I'm in the middle." Already saying that the price has to come down, which is also what the commentors are echoing.

 

 

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It may be different owners, but honestly, it seems like the same old Atari to me, the "Atari" that remained ever since the video game crash. The 5200, classic Atari arcade games re-spawned from the computer line, caught in the game crash and very little support for it and a very small library. The 7800 came out late, mostly remakes of re-spawned Atari classic and very little support through it's life. The XEGS, late again to the game, more old hardware and games re-spawned, very little support until it's demise. Atari Lynx, a bit better off, but still little support and games few and far between throughout it's life. Atari Jaguar, again very little support with games slow to come out and another early demise. I've owned them all, I love them all, I still own them. Used to little and no support, but enjoy them for what they got and what they are. Now the new VCS, again, late, under powered compared to the "competition," releases slow to release, will probably have an early demise and reach sky-high prices as a collectors item just like all the rest. I don't own it yet, I'm suppose to be getting one as a gift, we will see if that person has changed their mind about getting one for themselves and me...but it seems like the same old story of Atari to me. Nothing has changed. Much of it of course are the haters hating it all through development and it getting a bad wrap...but wait, that also sounds like every other Atari system I remember owning and hoping would succeed. It seems like this Atari is keeping the Atari tradition (post Bushnell & Warner) up just fine and so are the haters that have hated since the 2600.

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On 8/3/2021 at 3:01 PM, zzip said:

Normally it's easy to ignore such people.   But here they hijacked every VCS thread for several years and spammed them to the point that it was impossible have a civil discussion about the console.

I kind of like the current setup, you can pretty much tell by a thread's title if it's for the lovers or the haters. You don't see any taco posts in the "new games announced" thread, only in places like "is it dead yet?" so I call that a win-win. People that want serious discussions can figure out where to go, and those other people know where to get a good laugh.

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