The Atari VCS — a part-desktop PC, part-retro console modeled after the Atari 2600 — is lastly in the stores at retail. Atari is promoting the console through its own site whereas Best Buy and Micro Center even have their listings. This isn’t the primary time the console has been obtainable to the general public (VGC notes that IndieGoGo backers just lately obtained their consoles) but it surely’s the primary time the machine has been in the stores at retail.
The VCS has been a very long time coming. Initially teased in 2017 because the “Ataribox,” the undertaking re-emerged the next 12 months as the Atari VCS, with Atari working an IndieGoGo marketing campaign to fund its improvement in June 2018. Initially, the console had been as a consequence of ship in mid-2019 however reportedly ran right into a series of development difficulties, culminating within the undertaking’s lead architect quitting.
The machine that’s been launched technically does what Atari promised, however critiques have been fairly middling. VGC says the console’s built-in number of 100 Atari video games (18 from the arcade and 82 from the Atari 2600 console) could be emulated completely, however many are “so extremely primary that they actually don’t maintain as much as the mildest scrutiny in 2021.” There’s additionally an app retailer the place you should buy trendy video games, however pickings are slim and missing in exclusives.
The console technically additionally works as a streaming field for companies like Netflix and Disney Plus, however VGC notes these are simply “glorified Chrome bookmarks” quite than native apps. At the least the promised desktop mode really works, permitting you to put in Home windows, Linux, or ChromeOS and use the machine like a modestly-specced however cool-looking desktop PC.
For those who do resolve to go down the desktop PC route, the Atari VCS is powered by an AMD Ryzen R1606G system-on-a-chip, paired with 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (each upgradeable). There are two USB 3.1 ports on the entrance and two on the rear together with Ethernet and HDMI 2.0 ports. In different phrases, don’t anticipate this machine to rival an Xbox Collection S regardless of its related $299.99 beginning worth.
Suffice it to say that you just most likely shouldn’t be speeding out to drop upwards of $299.99 on the Atari VCS (or $399.99 for the Walnut model, which comes with an included wi-fi joystick and controller, which retail individually for $59.99 every). However regardless of its flaws, it’s nonetheless an fascinating mini PC that could be value trying out as a curiosity when it inevitably drops in worth.