Wednesday, November 9, 2016

First look at the Atari Flashback 7, non-portable

Plus other flashback style product

"Flashback" consoles are all the rage these days. Well, they're not all the rage but they're at least half the rage, as evidenced by the veritable onslaught of consumer product shaped like gaming consoles appearing in the facebook feeds of aging Gen-Xers. So many that such a cheap thrill purchase seems like a societal expectation. Some folks are desperately looking for a retailer with stock left in time for christmas. But the question of the day is: should a retrogeeker put forth hard earned money for one?

What's new (yet again)?

This year it's the babysmall NES classic with 50 built in games, officially sanctioned by Nintendo of America, and available for around $50 from Target, Gamestop, BestBuy, and other retailers.

Pros? cons? You decide: The miniNES output is HDMI for compatibility with modern TVs. There is no cartridge slot so no need to fumble with cartridges, but at the same time, you're stuck with a set of games that includes most of the classics, is missing a couple definitive NES titles, and inexplicably includes a few games no one ever played on NES (Pac-man.) Also, of course, the games are played in emulation mode so purists will notice inexact audio in the emulation, and possibly other retrorection-killing artifacts.

Not to be outdone, ATGames hits back with a Mini-Genesis with 80 games. Same price point, $50 at Target, but also available at weird outlets like Bed Bath & Beyond and Family Dollar. They're marketing it as a pseudo-response to the Nintendo product as a 25th anniversary Sonic edition, but let's be real, this product has been available with different packaging for at least 3 years now. All the usual caveats apply: wireless remotes require direct line of sight to the console, 40 of the 80 games are not fun, and although it has a cartridge slot for playing your own thrift shop finds, the games run on a cheap megadrive emulator on an android-based platform.

← And of course, these baby Coleco and Intellivision versions of these mini-reissues already came out last year.

Spend your money? For committed retrogeekers, I say no. Most of us already have some of the original consoles, or can still acquire one for less than the near $50 asking prices of these essentially disposable knockoffs. If you want the convenience of playing lots of games from a single cartridge, and would rather do it using real hardware, I'd recommend putting your money toward an EverDrive flash cart from StoneAge Gamer. They offer SD-based multicarts for NES, SNES, Megadrive, N64, Gameboy, and more.

And what about the original? The Atari 2600? It's now on Flashback revision 7. Lord Karnage has a thorough rundown:


Review by Lord Karnage

No comments:

Post a Comment