Retro Game Guy

It's the 1980's again!

Having a Flashback?

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An Atari Flashback that is…

Atari (and AtGames) have released several ‘Flashback’ systems starting with the original in 2004.  The original Flashback looked like a micro 7800 and included a combination of twenty built in 7800 and 2600 games.  It was designed and brought to market on a short timetable and was built around an ‘NES on a chip’. Thus, all of the games ran in emulation mode.  Some hard core Atari fans did not like the Flashback, but it sold nearly a million units and convinced Atari to release the Flashback 2 in 2005.

The Flashback 2 (and 2+), like the original Flashback, was designed by Curt Vendel of Legacy Engineering.  This time around, the Flashback looked like a micro 2600 included 40 built in games.  Curt actually designed a ‘2600 on a chip’ so that the Flashback 2 was capable of running almost all 2600 games.  One of the cool things about the Flashback 2 is that Curt included solder points on the motherboard to add a cartridge slot.  Many Atari fans have done this mod to their Flashback 2 so that they can play most of their cartridge based games, as well as the 40 built in games.

In 2011 Atari allowed AtGames to build and market the Flashback 3.  The Flashback 3 includes 60 built in games and is built around an ARM processor, so all games run in emulation.  Like the Flashback 2, it uses Joysticks designed to look like the original Atari CX40.  You can also use your original Atari joysticks and paddles with this unit.

For 2012, AtGames is back with the Atari Flashback 4, due to be released in a few days.  This time around it will include 75 built in games including a new version of Space Invaders.  Some of the other classic games included in the Flashback 4 are:  Asteroids, Battlezone, Centipede, Jungle Hunt, Missile Command, and Super Breakout.  AtGames will also be selling a ‘Deluxe Edition’ that includes a set of paddles.  You will still be able to use your existing joysticks with the Flashback 4, but, for the first time, they are including wireless joysticks!

Ok, if you have a 2600 or 7800 why would you buy an Atari Flashback?  There are actually a few good reasons.  The first is that these typically sell for $40 or less and are a lot of fun.  Second, they have an AV output and work much better with today’s TV’s.  Third, the joysticks are pretty good.  They have a ‘looser’ feel than the original CX40’s, but work great.  I was able to pick up a new Flashback 3 at a local store for under $30.  At that price, it was worth it just to get the two joysticks!

If you are looking for some fun at a reasonable price, consider getting an Atari Flashback.  For more information on the Flashback 4, check out the description at AtGames!

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