Gamers who grew up in the golden age of electronic video games will remember tall wooden arcade cabinets plastered with awesome artwork hugging the walls of their local mall arcade, all bright lights and synthesizers. And while that hi-fi noise couldn’t quite be replicated at home, many children growing up in the ’70s and ’80s will certainly fondly remember the venerable Atari 2600 as their very first real video game console. Attach a radio-shack TV-game switch and you were off to the races, clutching the joystick, fighting off invaders from space, or engaging in combat with tanks and jet fighters.
The blocky, crude graphics may have been primitive then and now, but they allowed for a great use of minimalist design and required players to flex their imaginations just as quickly as they could their fingers. Atari lives on today as a publisher of note and is currently making waves with the introduction of a brand new console, the Atari VCS. A clear homage to the Atari 2600 – in fact, prior to 1982, the Atari 2600 was known as the Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS – the upcoming iteration of the iconic console seeks to do right by its namesake.
Today, gamers across the world showed a renewed interest in reviving the retro favorite according to Engadget, offering up nearly $2 million in pre-orders within 24 hours of the crowdfunding campaign launch on IndieGoGo. While the goal was set at an admittedly modest $100,000, Atari has to be happy with a few million dollars on the table on the first day for what is bound to be a dark horse in the current console race. It also offers a reinforcement, a return to the roots of the brand. Atari has become a very successful publisher with a number of IPs that are still relevant to the contemporary gaming scene.
The design of the hardware is sleek, much slighter than the hulking mass that was the original woodgrain “Woody” model that sat amongst the shag carpet of days long gone. Two controllers will be made available to customers. Atari is offering a revised edition of the original joystick, simple and clean with a single button to press – and a modern controller design featuring four face buttons, a d-pad, start, select, and shoulder buttons. The latter design distinctly resembles both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers as well as Nintendo’s Pro Controller for the Switch.
The console comes in two different finishes: a solid black design simply referred to as Onyx and a Collector’s Edition outfitted in the faux wood grain reminiscent of the original. Starting at $199 plus shipping and handling, sans controller, the console will likely be aimed at a serious buyer looking to fill a niche in their collection with such a nostalgic and unique piece of gaming hardware. Promising 100 games built-in and many more, including a fierce looking multiplayer challenge in Tempest 4000, the Atari VCS seems to have generated a great deal of interest amongst retrogamers and those who wish to recapture their childhoods.