It's the friggin' Atari Flashback Portable.
Even as a child back in the Dark Ages, I recognized that technology was getting smaller, faster and cheaper and I often pondered how long it would be before the industry would eventually get to the next logical place and release a hand-held Atari, Colecovision or Intellivision system. I recall spending far too much time in my bedroom sketching and designing what I thought such a system might look like but of course, it was all just a bored kid's fantasy.
Now the good folks at AtGames, who previously brought us a slew of retro machines like the SEGA Classic Gaming Console, the Intellivision Flashback as well as the venerable Atari Flashback, are planning to release the Atari Flashback Portable, first officially licensed hand-held Atari 2600 game system. The unit should be out November 2016 and here's some marketing verbiage from their site:
- LCD screen
- Video out port (cable not included)
- Rechargeable battery included
- SD slot for downloaded games
- A travel-friendly MUST HAVE for the avid gamer
- 60 Legendary Atari 2600 hits including: Millipede®, Pong®, Missile Command®, Asteroids®, Centipede®
If AtGames follows their previous pricing from the SEGA Portable, which was updated earlier this year, then the Atari Flashback Portable should be priced around $50. Not too shabby.
The big selling point for me is the built-in SD card slot. In the past, the Flashback consoles have been limited by the built-in games that the producer was able to license for that particular version of the machine. So for example, the Atari Flashback 2 may have had a few more games built into it than the Flashback 1, but it may no longer have included a couple of your favorites due to the ongoing legal challenges of trying to license early computer-game technology from companies that often no longer exist or others who have now grown so large, their licensing fees have become too prohibitive for small companies like AtGames to tackle. Hell, I'm still not sure if there's ever even been a Flashback console released that has included Activision's top-seller, Pitfall, arguably the most popular 2600 game ever made!
But now we finally have a Flashback system with an SD card slot that lets you load up your own downloaded Atari 2600 roms, meaning that you're no longer stuck just playing the same included games over and over again. Better yet, you can most likely fit the entirety of the 2600 library on one inexpensive SD card enabling endless hours of retro-gaming Atari goodness on the go! That, to me, is worth the price of admission.
WATCH THE VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENT FROM "THE NO SWEAR GAMER"
BONUS VIDEO: ENGINEER-EXTRAORDINAIRE BEN HECK'S HAND-WIRED PORTABLE ATARI 2600