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The Atari VCS Controversies Thread

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54 minutes ago, AlecRob said:

I always argue that if the Lynx is an Atari system, then so is the VCS.  

Why?  I don’t see any point of comparison between the two other than the label on the box. I’m not even sure if I’d consider the VCS a system (in the sense of a traditional console).  Is the Raspberry Pi a system? Is the Pandora retro stick a system?

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Just now, jerseystyle said:

Why?  I don’t see any point of comparison between the two other than the label on the box. I’m not even sure if I’d consider the VCS a system (in the sense of a traditional console).  Is the Raspberry Pi a system? Is the Pandora retro stick a system?

Lynx was designed by a company other than atari.  it is pretty much an Epyx console as much as the PC Engine is a Hudson Soft console. Atari VCS was  clearly not designed by atari of old, but is still an atari product nonetheless.   Raspberry pis are systems yes.   If it runs games it is a system.  Atari VCS could be seen as the successor to the little-known Atari PC line of products from the 80s

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8 minutes ago, AlecRob said:

Atari VCS was  clearly not designed by atari of old, but is still an atari product nonetheless.

 

In the sense that a company currently named Atari was responsible for its production, yes, this is correct.

 

In the sense that the specific company currently named Atari has any of the ability, ingenuity, or creativity of the Atari of the past, then no, it is not an Atari product.

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4 minutes ago, AlecRob said:

Lynx was designed by a company other than atari.  it is pretty much an Epyx console as much as the PC Engine is a Hudson Soft console. Atari VCS was  clearly not designed by atari of old, but is still an atari product nonetheless.   Raspberry pis are systems yes.   If it runs games it is a system.  Atari VCS could be seen as the successor to the little-known Atari PC line of products from the 80s

 

I'm not sure being designed in-house should be a requirement to be a company's system. Beyond the Lynx, both the 7800 and the Jaguar were also designed by other companies (General Computer Corporation and Flare, respectively). I think that's what you were getting at with the Lynx.

 

The difference with the current Atari is the complete and utter lack of continuity. This is just the latest in a long line of "entities" squeeze a few coins out of a tired IP. I think the VCS shares some characteristics with a console, but just doesn't feel like one to me.

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1 hour ago, AlecRob said:

I always argue that if the Lynx is an Atari system, then so is the VCS.  

The Lynx was a unique system that had a unique library of games.  It was purpose-built as a game-playing device with hardware specifically suited to that purpose.

 

The VCS is an Atari-badged PC that runs Linux ports.  If you simply looked at its parts list or schematics, you'd never know is was meant as a game-playing device.  The VCS doesn't meet the definition of a console, in my opinion, Atari-branded or otherwise.

Edited by jamm
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23 minutes ago, jamm said:

The VCS is an Atari-badged PC that runs Linux ports.  If you simply looked at its parts list or schematics, you'd never know is was meant as a game-playing device.  The VCS doesn't meet the definition of a console, in my opinion, Atari-branded or otherwise.

 

And before anyone screams that the 2600, 5200, 7800, A8s, or STs were just a bunch of cobbled-together off-the-shelf parts that didn't have hardware distinguishable from any other device on the market, I'd like to mention the following ASICs that those machines incorporated:

 

TIA, RIOT, POKEY, ANTIC, CTIA/GTIA, SARA, FREDDY, PIA, Shifter, Blitter, Tom, Jerry, and others I can't recall off of the top of my head.

 

The Ataribollocks(tm) has what, exactly, that makes its hardware unique amongst x64 systems?

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8 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

And before anyone screams that the 2600, 5200, 7800, A8s, or STs were just a bunch of cobbled-together off-the-shelf parts that didn't have hardware distinguishable from any other device on the market, I'd like to mention the following ASICs that those machines incorporated:

 

TIA, RIOT, POKEY, ANTIC, CTIA/GTIA, SARA, FREDDY, PIA, Shifter, Blitter, Tom, Jerry, and others I can't recall off of the top of my head.

 

The Ataribollocks(tm) has what, exactly, that makes its hardware unique amongst x64 systems?

Yep. Of course you're going to use as many off the shelf parts as possible, but all consoles (from Atari and all other vendors) have had some kind of custom bits or tweaks to make them better suited to playing games than those off the shelf components would otherwise be on their own.

 

The same was true of the PS4/Xbone, which are largely similar to PC's, but have customizations in them that give them extra gaming chops than we'd see in PC's at their price points.  This is even more true with the latest PS5/XSX.

 

There's nothing of the sort in the VCS.  It's just a low end PC.

 

Edited by jamm
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15 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

And before anyone screams that the 2600, 5200, 7800, A8s, or STs were just a bunch of cobbled-together off-the-shelf parts that didn't have hardware distinguishable from any other device on the market, I'd like to mention the following ASICs that those machines incorporated:

 

TIA, RIOT, POKEY, ANTIC, CTIA/GTIA, SARA, FREDDY, PIA, Shifter, Blitter, Tom, Jerry, and others I can't recall off of the top of my head.

 

The Ataribollocks(tm) has what, exactly, that makes its hardware unique amongst x64 systems?

When you get down to it, those custom chips are really the things that create the unique nuances I remember best (sounds, timing, glitches, artifacts, etc.)  It's hard to get unique nuances from generic hardware. 

Edited by fultonbot
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13 minutes ago, fultonbot said:

When you get down to it, those custom chips are really the things that create the unique nuances I remember best (sounds, timing, glitches, artifacts, etc.)  It's hard to get unique nuances from generic hardware. 

It's like, you can get hamburger and hot sauce at Taco Bell, but it's not truly a dish unless it's prepared by a loving Hispanic kitchen.  That's nuance.  That's the reason you go.

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2 hours ago, jamm said:

The Lynx was a unique system that had a unique library of games.  It was purpose-built as a game-playing device with hardware specifically suited to that purpose.

 

The VCS is an Atari-badged PC that runs Linux ports.  If you simply looked at its parts list or schematics, you'd never know is was meant as a game-playing device.  The VCS doesn't meet the definition of a console, in my opinion, Atari-branded or otherwise.

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3 hours ago, fultonbot said:

When you get down to it, those custom chips are really the things that create the unique nuances I remember best (sounds, timing, glitches, artifacts, etc.)  It's hard to get unique nuances from generic hardware. 

This is why i LOVE the PC Engine.  The visual style and sound are so completely unlike anything else.  

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

 

In the sense that a company currently named Atari was responsible for its production, yes, this is correct.

 

In the sense that the specific company currently named Atari has any of the ability, ingenuity, or creativity of the Atari of the past, then no, it is not an Atari product.

I agree wholeheartedly, but this is admittedly a slippery slope argument. Jeeps (now owned by Fiat) reportedly aren't as good as they once were, but if you go down to a lot and buy a Cherokee it's still a Jeep product. It's nothing like the Cherokee you may have owned in the 80s, but it's part of their official lineup and will be catalogued as such. We can nitpick if the impact or quality of the VCS will be anywhere near the past Atari products (safe to say likely not), but the argument that it shouldn't count as "real" Atari for xyz reason is a bit odd to me. To those outside this forum, Atari released a new console for the first time in 25+ years to compete with the PS5 and Xbox. The minutiae is lost on most people.

Edited by Atarick
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The difference is that when Fiat, or Daimler or AMC before them, bought Chrysler-Jeep; they bought the company not just trademarks and copyrights.  They bought the factories, the workers, the executives, and the engineers.  They bought the whole company just like Warner did when they bought Atari back in 1976.  You can argue that the companies had changed but going forward it's mostly the same company.

 

Atari SA, formerly Infogrames and at least prior to going bankrupt in 2013, has always been a software company and never produced any hardware before.  So saying it's their first console in 25+ years is not correct.

Edited by mr_me
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15 minutes ago, mr_me said:

The difference is that when Fiat, or Daimler or AMC before them, bought Chrysler-Jeep; they bought the company not just trademarks and copyrights.  They bought the factories, the workers, the executives, and the engineers.  They bought the whole company just like Warner did when they bought Atari back in 1976.  You can argue that the companies had changed but going forward it's mostly the same company.

 

Atari SA, formerly Infogrames and at least prior to going bankrupt in 2013, has always been a software company and never produced any hardware before.  So saying it's their first console in 25+ years is not correct.

Great points and fair play. I still think the average consumer has zero knowledge of that, just like how very few of them even know the VCS exists. I'd love for a company like Warner to buy the whole Atari she-bang again, but that border has likely flown.

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That's why it is important for people who do know, to word it correctly.  You could say it's the first console from a company called Atari in over 25+ years.

 

And by the way the original atari that became atari games in 1984, although the development studio and factories closed many years ago, is in fact owned by Warner Brothers today.  Last I heard they were trying to sell all their video game properties.

Edited by mr_me
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2 minutes ago, mr_me said:

That's why it is important for people who do know, to word it correctly.  You could say it's the first console from a company called Atari in over 25+ years.

 

And by the way the original atari that became atari games in 1984, although the development studio and factories closed many years ago, is in fact owned by Warner Brothers today.  Last I heard they were trying to sell all their video game properties.

Here's a company that took a similar path:

 

"Old El Paso products are marketed across the globe. The brand is owned by General Mills. Pillsbury acquired it in 1995, when its then-parent company Grand Metropolitan bought Pet, Inc., which had itself taken over the brand in 1968 from the Mountain Pass Canning Company.[1]"

 

 

 

So basically, we're just waiting for some low-level employee to buy the rights to the name (but nothing of value) and try to crowdfund a new gig.

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5 minutes ago, Atarick said:

Great points and fair play. I still think the average consumer has zero knowledge of that, just like how very few of them even know the VCS exists. I'd love for a company like Warner to buy the whole Atari she-bang again, but that border has likely flown.

 

Speaking from the perspective of someone who has owned multiple Jeeps (particularly XJ-era Cherokees) over the past 20-odd years, you're right - the average consumer is unaware of the past ownership details.  They're also typically unaware that the current KL-series Cherokee sits on a car-derived platform also underpinning the (now departed) Dodge Dart.

 

The reason I mention this is that, for better or for worse and as relates to Atari, Jeep has managed to successfully turn itself into a lifestyle brand.  This is what sells their vehicles, for the most part.  Atari is seeking to do the same, but with no focus beyond selling up, bailing out, and leaving someone else to deal with the company's problems.

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1 hour ago, Atarick said:

We can nitpick if the impact or quality of the VCS will be anywhere near the past Atari products (safe to say likely not), but the argument that it shouldn't count as "real" Atari for xyz reason is a bit odd to me. 

There's no lineage connecting it to the Atari of old.  From Bushnell -> Warner -> Tramiel, there was a through-line - employees, products, culture carried through from one "era" to another, even if they changed over time.  However, there's no connective tissue between 2020 Atari and any of the previous eras other than a logo and a handful of irrelevant IPs.

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There's lots of examples of companies hijacking old brands and slapping it on their products.  You might find a new RCA flat panel television for sale, but it's from a company called Curtis.  The company RCA that people remember was liquidated in 1986.  If Curtis changes the company name to RCA it doesn't change who they are.

 

Atari SA could hire Nolan Bushnell tomorrow but that wouldn't change what they are.

Edited by mr_me
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We need an Ouya and Amico sub forum now too if all things are equal. Let all these WTF machines have a home to throw rocks at :lol:

 

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With over 26 thousand posts, Amico should have its own sub forum.  Not sure why it doesn't.

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Now, we need some benchmarks.  Hopefully, someone reputable--that is willing to honestly click on the tools and screenshot the real results.

 

It would be nice to compare the VCS to real Steam machines.

 

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2 hours ago, mr_me said:

With over 26 thousand posts, Amico should have its own sub forum.  Not sure why it doesn't.

I'm sure when it's released, it'll have one.  Given what happened with the VCS, it makes sense to not jump the gun.

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I'm still pissed that anyone would dare mention VCS2020 in the same breath as the venerable Lynx.  <Mostly joking...>

 

Not only was the Lynx a proper console by every definition of the word, but it had very tangible connections to the Atari lineage!  It was designed* by two guys who worked on the Amiga (R. J. Mical and Dave Needle) after prompting from Amiga's co-founder, David Morse.  Hopefully I don't have to explain how the Amiga was connected to Atari.  Its multi-chip design had obvious inspirations from the Amiga and the Atari 8bits before it - all part of what one might call "the Jay Miner family".

 

If Atari had had better management over the years and not lost all its excellent engineering talent in the late 70's, the Lynx is very much what they would have produced in-house.

 

Never soil the sweet memory of the Lynx again! 

1111.jpg

 

 

 

 

* The only aspect of the VCS2020 hardware one might described as "designed" is the case. The stuff inside the case is strictly a PC.

 

 

Edited by jamm
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