Category: Atari

Atari announces new manufacturing of 2600 cartridges

Today, Atari launched a new website, AtariXP.com. And with it, pre-orders for newly manufactured Atari 2600 cartridges, with a promise of more to come.

It looks like Atari is looking to tap into the long, long tail of the original VCS system. So far, they are offering three titles: Aquaventure, Saboteur, and Yars’ Return, in standard ($49.95) and collectors ($149.95) editions.

The about page on the new website says that they intend to release games in the following categories:

  • Games that were completed but never received an official release, or were only released in very limited quantities. 
  • Games for which physical media has become extremely rare, and therefore hard to find. 
  • A wide variety of classic games that would benefit from small improvements to graphic rendering on modern devices and the smoothness and accuracy of controls. These games will be carefully ‘reconditioned’ and then re-released. 

It will be interesting to see what these improvements might be for the “reconditioned” games. One wonders whether they might also plan to release unfinished prototypes, similarly finalized. We might then get to see a SwordQuest: Air World.

It will be interesting as well to see how well these sell. The homebrew scene has been pricing games at around $25-35 for cartridge and manual, and some more premium titles have been priced north of $40, but whether gamers are willing to go to $50 and beyond for new manufactured Atari cartridges is an open question. The pricing on the collector editions seems beyond what most enthusiasts are willing to pay, but I see this as actually a good thing, since it will keep the collectors variants rare enough to be actually worth collecting, and may be enough to keep speculators out of the market entirely.

Of course, if Atari is releasing new cartridges for the 40+ year old console, it would only be fitting for them to manufacture new consoles to play them on as well, and new joystick and paddle controllers as well. Given the age of the newest manufactured Atari 2600 consoles is now nearly 30 years old, it would be nice if enthusiasts for the old system had the option to buy new hardware that can play the old games.

Obviously, we’ve had a steady diet of Flashback systems for many years, but a console with a cartridge slot would be much better.

A re-specced Atari 2600 that outputs HDMI and has an SD card reader slot in addition to the old-school cartridge slot, and USB ports in addition to the DB9 controller ports would be really appealing. In fact, that’s almost exactly what I had hoped for when Atari first announced their plans for the AtariBox back in 2017.

Of course, with Atari’s track record over the past few years… decades, really, I can’t say I’m quite on board with this yet. It is, after all, a pre-order launch, and with a thin catalog of just 3 titles. Aquaventure has never been officially released before, but the prototype ROM has been available through emulator for many years. Yars’ Return was featured on one of AtGames’ Flashback consoles years ago. And Saboteur was renown Atari designer-programmer Howard Scott Warshaw’s final Atari game, never officially released. These titles definitely have appeal to fans of the classic system, and assuming that Atari can deliver on pre-orders, and follow up with additional releases with equal or greater appeal, this could bode well for Atari fans. While Atari still isn’t actually offering anything new that hasn’t been seen before, being packaged on actual cartridges as an official release is at least something. The “reconditioned” games might be really interesting.

Update

There have been numerous embarrassing errors with Atari’s announcement.

Images on the AtariXP website were mixed up, creating confusion as to what was included in the standard cartridge package vs. the collector’s edition.

Originally, the AtariXP website had attributed all three of the games announced to Howard Scott Warshaw. Warshaw clarified yesterday that the only game he had anything to do with of these three is Saboteur. Saboteur was his fourth and final project when he worked for Atari, and was never officially released. It was also re-skinned to be an A-Team licensed tie-in to the hit 80’s TV show.

Washaw did not work on Aquaventure in any capacity, and while he did create Yars’ Revenge, he had nothing to do with Yars’ Return, which is a romhack of Yars’ Revenge, created by Curt Vendel, and was first released commercially on the Atari Flashback 2 console, way back in 2005.

Warshaw also mentioned that he is currently working on his own sequel to Yars’ Revenge, and it’s unclear whether he has the legal rights to the IP to entitle him to do so, or if not, how he intends to work with the rights holder to do it. Normally, in the homebrew scene creators are often flying under the radar, technically in violation of IP rights to trademarks and copyrights, but often the rights holders ignore these projects, or tolerate them. In some cases, though, there have been takedowns — Nintendo being particularly vigilant about protecting its IP.

In this case, Warshaw has a strong connection to the IP in question, as he was the original creator of Yars’ Revenge, but the IP remains owned by Atari. Presumably, Atari would relish an opportunity to publish a legitimate sequel by the originator of the property, but whether there is any agreement or intention to work together on this project is unclear.

Atari “recharged” will it be warmed over or hot?

Atari just announced some actual new game titles this week. Well, “new” in the sense that they are “recharged” versions of classic Atari games: Breakout, Centipede, Black Widow, and Missile Command. That’s sort of new, right?

We’ve seen Breakout demoed for a while, but these others I haven’t heard about previously. They all feature vector-like wireframe graphics in neon colors that evoke vectorscan CRT graphics, much like the classic hit Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. I like the aesthetic.

It’s nice to have something interesting coming out of Atari after years of underwhelming-to-disappointing announcements regarding the VCS console project. It’s really good to finally see something new offered, this is what I would have wanted to see a lot sooner.

Curiously, these Recharged titles are not VCS exclusives — they are all available on Steam, the Epic Games store, Switch, XBox Series X/S, and Playstation 4+5. While I think this approach makes the most business sense — you want to put games in all markets to sell the most copies and maximize revenue, it seemingly undermines the “true believer” customers who invested in the VCS crowdfunding, only to find that they could have just bought the games on any other platform. I’m unclear but it may be that they will be available on the VCS sooner, but even if that’s the case, getting the games a few weeks earlier on a relatively expensive, less powerful hardware platform still doesn’t sell the VCS to me very strongly.

I’m most interested in the Black Widow: Recharged game, as this is the least well known classic Atari title out of the four, and therefore has the most potential to offer as a reboot.

I’ve been pretty critical of Atari for the past few years as the disappointments with the delays and inadequacies of the VCS have mounted, so it’s really nice to finally see something happening that looks like it might actually be cool.

Weirdly, although I’ve seen announcements from various videogame news sites about these titles, Atari’s own website looks like it’s only pushing Centipede: Recharged at the moment. Where’s the other games? Are they holding back so they can focus on each one at a time? Or is the Atari Recharged site just that hard to navigate?

Atari homebrew legend Nukey Shay, 54, killed in tragic accident

Kurt Howe, known as Nukey Shay in the Atari homebrew developer scene, died last year at age 54, as a result of a tragic accident on Feb 5, 2020, when he was hit by a car while crossing the street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His loss came as a shock to the Atari Age community as it was discovered over a year later, announced by Albert Yarusso today.

Nukey was a 20 year Atari Age forum contributor, very active in the homebrew and romhacking scene, and a 6502 ASM guru who helped numerous developers with their projects. One of the most knowledgeable active Atari 2600 programmers on the planet, his death mirrors that of Nintendo’s Gunpei Yokoi, a major contributor to Metroid, Kid Icarus, and the original Game Boy handheld, who died in 1997 at age 56 under similar circumstances.

My own Superman romhacks were only possible because Nukey decompiled the ROM and annotated the source code, and shared his work with the world, which made it easy for me to re-arrange the map to create alternative Metropolises. Nukey’s contributions are far too numerous to list succinctly, but his loss is deeply felt by all in the Atari homebrew community.

Appreciating Phoenix on Atari 2600

Phoenix, Atari 2600, 1982

Phoenix was a hit arcade game in 1980-81 before being ported to the Atari 2600 the following year. A vertical fixed shooter in the tradition of Space Invaders, Phoenix was an evolution of the Space Invaders concept, which added a number of innovations: enemy variety, swooping enemies, regenerating enemies, shields, and a mothership boss — one of the first boss battles in video gaming.

The game consists of five waves, which repeat in a cycle. In the first four stages, you face waves of bird-like enemy space aliens. The first two waves consist of smaller enemies who bear some resemblance to their Space Invaders forebearers, in that they march across the screen in a tight, grid-like formation. But these enemies will break out of their formation and swoop down low to dive bomb the player, and then fly back up again.

The second wave features a larger number of enemies, and for some reason the player is afforded rapid fire on this stage only. On all other stages, you have to press the fire button every time you want to shoot, but on the 2nd wave alone, you can hold the fire button down and it will fire automatically.

Wave 3

The next two waves, three and four, feature larger bird-like enemies, which can be killed by scoring a direct hit on their body. An off-center hit will clip one of their wings, which will regenerate after a few seconds if the body isn’t quickly finished off first. These larger bird aliens fly from side to side, not in formation, and change altitude occasionally, and swoop low to touch the ground. It seems that touching the ground is what triggers their regenerative powers, but in addition to that, as they get this low they also pose a threat to the player, who will be destroyed if they collide. In the arcade, these regenerating enemies start out as eggs, which hatch and grow before your eyes to become full-grown birds, but on the Atari 2600 port this is simplified, and the egg phase of their life cycle is omitted.

Wave 5: The Phoenix Mothership. Videogaming’s first boss fight?

The fifth wave is the mothership: a huge, saucer-like ship that fills most of the screen. The boss is destroyed by shooting its commander, who sits in the center near the top of the ship. The bottom of the ship must be chipped away first, to expose the pilot’s cockpit. The rim of the saucer rotates, creating a revolving barrier that must be shot through. This takes time, during which the saucer slowly descends, dropping bombs all the while. As the mothership sinks lower, the reaction time afforded to the player to dodge these shots diminishes, making it increasingly difficult to stay alive. Judicious use of the shield and rapid fire button mashing is the way to survive.

My favored technique to defeat the mothership is to activate shields the moment the wave begins, and fire as rapidly as possible to blow through the shielding in front of the pilot, then as soon as the shield drops, I swing over to the left edge of the ship, where the shielding is thin, and blast away at the rotating rim. The body of the mothership tapers upward toward the outer edge of the ship, giving you a few more pixels of breathing room to react to incoming fire, which is very important. By being at the edge of the ship, you can always escape to safety by dodging left, completely out from under the ship’s breadth, and thus out of its reach. After shooting away the rotating rim, I wait for a clear moment when the mothership isn’t dropping many bombs, and then move back to the center, hit the shields again, and blast away until one of my shots manages to hit the pilot and destroy the ship.

In the arcade, the mothership was also protected by a fleet of escort birds, of the type from the first two stages, but on the Atari 2600 there wasn’t enough computing power to handle all that action, so they are left out, and you face the mothership one-on-one.

Then the cycle begins anew, much like the legend of the mythological phoenix going through death and rebirth.

Phoenix featured three distinct background tracks. Not full songs, these are just simple loops. The first two stages use an electronic wail or warble which somehow evokes bird-ness. The second two stages employ a loop with a swooping pitch from high to low, which evokes and reinforces the swooping motion of the diving birds. The mothership music is a more robotic, mechanical beeping that evokes classic sci-fi movie soundtracks of what space sounds like — beeping, echoing, un-melodious.

The shield adds a dimension of strategy to the gameplay. Using the shield involves a set of trade-offs. In exchange for temporary invulnerability, you cannot move. Further, the shield lasts a fixed amount of time, about 1.5 seconds, and thereafter cannot be used again until it recharges. There’s always a certain amount of luck involved with using the shield — because you’re immobile while it is up, and cannot control when it goes down, the timing of enemy fire can put one of their missiles right in front of you just as the shield goes down, without no time to move out of the way. Thus, while shields can bail you out of a jam, it can sometimes result in a mere delay of the inevitable. In addition to protecting you from the enemy’s shots, your shield will destroy enemies if they touch it, making it an essential offensive weapon for close engagements. When the enemies are very low, it’s too dangerous to take them on without the shield, as their shots cannot be dodged, and they can also crash into you. Thus, despite its slight drawbacks, learning how to use the shield effectively will help you to avoid deaths and last longer into the game.

Legacy

Phoenix is still as good as it ever was, but I don’t think it has aged as well as some of its contemporaries in the shooter genre. It’s primary drawbacks being that it gets pretty repetitive, and that this is accompanied by very little increase in difficulty after you’ve run through it the first cycle. There’s a nearly imperceptible increase in enemy aggression, but it isn’t much more than the initial cycle, and doesn’t seem to increase beyond that. The game awards a single bonus life, at 5000 points, otherwise this game would be easy to play indefinitely. Back in the day, my best scores on this game were around 135,000. While the game is generally pretty easy, accidental deaths are still tough to avoid completely.

It’s worthwhile to point to as an example of the evolutionary path shooters took, and was a noteworthy step forward in the emerging genre of fixed shooters.

Thematically, I liked Phoenix quite a bit. The theme ties in with the phoenix of legend, with its cycle of death and rebirth, giving the game a mythic quality that most video games seldom aspired to have. This gave the game an intangible quality that made it seem like more to me than perhaps it really was. I think this shows the power of narrative, and how even just a tiny bit of storytelling underlying the basic gameplay can enhance the player’s perception and reception of a game.

Howard Scott Warshaw: Once Upon Atari

I’m about halfway through Once Upon Atari: How I Made History By Killing an Industry by Howard Scott Warshaw, and loving it.

Howard Scott Warshaw, if you didn’t know, was a programmer for Atari in the early 80s. He worked in their console division, where he developed the games Yar’s Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. These were groundbreaking games on the most popular home console of its day, and accomplished many “firsts”.

In 1983, the video game market suddenly collapsed, due to a combination of a multitude of factors, but at the time Warshaw’s E.T. was often given blame for causing what came to be known as the “Great Crash of ’83’. E.T. has often been referred to as “the worst video game of all time” but that is quite unfair to the game, which pushed the limits of the Atari 2600 hardware, and while not perfect, was by no means a bad game — although it was drastically over-produced by Atari, leading to a huge amount of unsold inventory, which hurt the company’s bottom line. Warshaw was given 5 weeks to develop the game, a feat thought by his managers to be impossible given that most Atari 2600 games took about 6 months to develop.

This is all well known and chronicled history for video game fans. Warshaw to his credit has been remarkably accessible and open about his story for some time, and has given numerous interviews over the years. He’s even been known to appear on the Atari Age facebook page and comment once in a while. He’s truly a legend of the industry, and a wonderful, brilliant human being. This book details his story, how he came to work for Atari, what went on there during his tenure (confirming a lot of the oft-retold stories about the workplace culture), and how he faced the indignity of being cast as the creator of the “worst game of all time”.

Warshaw left Atari and went on to become a licensed psychotherapist and has helped people like himself, who worked in the high tech field to deal with the immense pressures that they’re put under to be creative, be correct, and deliver products that will make billions of dollars for themselves or their shareholders.

I haven’t gotten to that part of the book yet, but from what I already know of his story, his approach to dealing with failure, or at least the perception that he had been responsible in large part for a massive and very public failure of what had just a year prior been the fastest growing company in the history of the world, is remarkable as it is instructive. He has embraced the label, but adds to it that his Yar’s Revenge is often cited as one of the best video games on the Atari, thus giving him the rightful claim to having the greatest range of any game developer. Turning a negative into a badge of pride, he has faced the critics, rebutted them with not just clever rhetoric, but also facts, figures, and sound reasoning, and provides us an example of how “failure” often isn’t failure, that perceptions matter, that what you tell yourself matters, and that above all it does not define us — we have the power, if we choose to use it, to define ourselves.

Warshaw’s writing style is accessible, not overly technical, candid, often quite humorous, warm and insightful. Reading his book makes me admire him even more than I did, and grateful for the handful of times that he’s Liked something that I’ve said on the Atari Age facebook page, and most of all, thankful for the many hours I spent as a young child engaging with, and enthralled by, his digital creations.

https://newonceuponatari.hswarshaw.com/

“Atari VCS” launches

“Atari” has finally shipped a physical product to its Indiegogo backers.

I didn’t back the campaign, because I didn’t have faith in the company calling itself “Atari” these days to deliver value. One of the backers received theirs already and has published an unboxing/review on YouTube.

And there’s a lot of rough edges. The controllers work differently, depending on whether they’re connected via USB cable or by Bluetooth? Hitches in the e-commerce experience, getting double charged for a failed download? You have to pay for Atari Vault Vol 2, a collection of 30+ year old games? Browser accounts aren’t properly connected to the local user? Really? I wish I could say I am surprised.

The launch library is, as expected, sparse and uninspiring, offering nothing new beyond a warmed-over Missile Command remake. I haven’t seen the new Missile Command in detail — it looks OK, I guess — but having participated in numerous game jams, and knowing the original Missile Command, I know enough to say that a Missile Command reboot could be tackled with a game jam’s worth of effort — in other words, 2-3 people, 1 weekend, bam, playable new Missile Command game. Realistically, to be completely generous, a game like that could be developed in a month or so.

“Atari” have spent $3 million and 3 years creating a cool-looking case and joystick for a commodity PC that runs a Free OS and have developed a front-end for it that could be used to deliver new original games, first-party exclusives, if Atari had them. but all they currently offer is Google Chrome browser, Netflix, and a couple bundles of emulated games that have been available for 30+ years, and absolutely don’t need a new console to deliver them.

Atari Age 2020 Pre-Order

Atari Age, the fan-operated homebrew operation that holds the most legitimate claim to the legacy of Atari-that-was, has opened up pre-orders for a new batch of games for the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and 400/800/XE systems, and even the Atari Jaguar.

Zoo Keeper - Champ Games - Atari 2600
Zoo Keeper (2021, Champ Games) – Atari 2600

I’m most excited about Zoo Keeper, a faithful port of the early 80’s arcade classic to the 2600 developed by Champ Games — who have been killing it with their talented Atari 2600 ports of classic arcade games like Galaga and the upcoming Robotron 2084 — and Ninjish Guy in Low-Res World, a homebrew platformer for the 2600 in the vein of Super Meat Boy. I’ve been looking forward to playing a 2600 homage to one of my top early 80’s arcade classics Zoo Keeper for quite some time.

Ninjish Guy - Atari 2600
Ninjish Guy in Low Res World

Also-worth-a-look releases are Deepstone Catacomb, a zelda-like adventure game, which looks really well done for an Atari 2600 title. Venture Reloaded, another early dungeon crawler, finally does justice to the classic arcade game Venture, should appeal to fans of the original.

Deepstone Catacombs - Atari 2600
Deepstone Catacomb

Fans of the maze genre should find Hugo Hunt and Robot City to their liking. Dare Devil shows off some impressive chiptune chops and parachuting action reminiscent of classic games like Frogger, Freeway, and of course Sky Diver. But it appears to be an update or direct sequel to 1983 release, Parachute. Cannon Head Clash is a really fun-looking 2p artillery duel with destructive terrain and frantic action. If you enjoyed games like Outlaw/Gunslinger, and Combat on the 2600, this is one to check out. It’s even available for SECAM60 television sets, which is amazingly rare for a homebrew. Avalanche should appeal to fans of Activision’s classic paddle game, Kaboom! Tower of Rubble features fantastic audio, and super-slick animation and platform-edge hanging action as you struggle to stay atop a crumbling tower of falling blocks.

All of these new games show that the Atari 2600, released now 43 years ago back in 1977, still has many extra lives nearly half a century later, and nearly three decades after the last Atari 2600 rolled off the assembly line. The dedication of the programmers who pull off these minor miracles to their craft is astounding. The fact is that every produced by the homebrew community these days are among the best ever released on their platform. While the prices might seem steep at $40-50 apiece, the games are produced by hand in small batches, and are every bit as professionally presented as the best games produced by top industry developers during the system’s heyday. If you’re a fan of the system and still have working hardware hooked up in your house, they are absolutely worth their price.

I haven’t even looked at the titles for the other systems yet, because my budget frankly can’t take it. Just about every game I have looked at looks like a game worth playing, with most of them being must-buys.

“Atari” no-show in court over VCS design firm lawsuit

Atari failed to respond to a May 13 deadline to a court summons in the Rob Wyatt/Tin Giant lawsuit for nonpayment on their contract to design the VCS console and hardware, further bolstering their image as a fake company that exists mostly on paper and in the minds of the fraud purveyors who claim to be employed by them.

While they had promised earlier this year that the consoles would be shipping to backers in March, this date has been pushed back, this time to 11/27, according to the product info listed on walmart.com.  

I won’t link to it, lest anyone actually try to pre-order the thing, do not waste your money and time on a pre-order from a fly-by-night company operating on a shoestring budget.  If you buy it at all, wait until after launch.  But seriously, don’t buy it.  If this ever does launch, the reviews are sure to pan the system for its price:performance ratio and utter lack of any new games.

If you’re a disgruntled backer who would like to get your money back:  too bad, that ship has long sailed.  You’ll never see a dime.  We told you so.

Champ Games ports Robotron 2084 to Atari 2600. OMG.

Champ Games revealed their latest project last night: an Atari 2600 port of Robotron 2084. One of the best videogames of all time.

The announcement, released through ZeroPageHomebrew’s twitch.tv stream, comes a year after Champ announced their homage to Galaga, later renamed Galagon.  Champ is also working on an Atari 2600 port of early 80s arcade classics Zookeeper and Lunar Lander, both of which look fantastic even in pre-release work-in-progress states.

The video stream doesn’t start to show the actual Robotron gameplay until about an hour in.

Champ have been consistently delivering amazing port of classic games on the Atari 2600 platform that far exceed the system’s original capabilities, and play very close to arcade-perfect. This version looks a tad bit slower and not as smooth, but is incredible considering it is running on an Atari 2600.  There’s an ARM processor inside the cartridge helping out, too.

This is a must-own port of a classic game if you own an Atari 2600, and it’s on my very short list of eagerly awaited Atari 2600 games that I want but don’t have. 

Even if 2020 is a complete dystopian hellscape, at least we’ll have Robotron and Zookeeper to play during our indefinite social distancing and sheltering at home. That makes it almost OK, right?

Picking apart Atari’s latest announcement on the Atari VCS

The business entity currently calling itself “Atari” published a new tech blog today, to address their current status with delivering the long-overdue Atari VCS systems. As usual, things are not well.

At the time of this writing, the world is in the grip of a global pandemic of COVID-19, which originated in China, and has lead to major economic disruptions as authorities in China have shut down entire cities in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.  Under such circumstances, it’s entirely understandable that this could cause delays.

Rather immediately, though, we see the usual disturbing signs that not all is well with the project, beyond these circumstances that are beyond anyone’s control:

…We have confirmed delivery of enough parts by the end of March to build our first 500 Atari VCS production units. A good portion of these first Atari VCS units are earmarked as dev kits for developers.

Four things leap out about this revelation:

One: Previously, Atari had been targeting March 31 for when the VCS would be available for purchase at retail, through GameStop and Wal Mart. 

Two: Indiegogo preorders topped out around 10,000, and presumably Atari must have been intending to supply additional thousands or tens of thousands of units to stock retailers.  But now they say they will have “parts” for 500 units by the end of March, well off the numbers needed to fulfill even the pre-order.

Three: “a good portion of these first Atari VCS units are earmarked as dev kits for developers.” 

So… to be clear on this.  Atari’s business plan is to:

  1. Sell consoles through pre-order.
  2. Design the consoles.
  3. Build the consoles.
  4. Provide the consoles to crowdfunding backers and retail and developers all at the same time.
  5. Now developers start working on software for use on the console.

I don’t need to spell out why this is the wrong order to do things in, do I?

Getting “dev kits” into the hands of developers early so that there can be launch titles available when the hardware reaches consumers is vital to the success of the console. Games take months and years to develop. They’ve been working on the AtariBox project for a good 3 years now, they should bloody well have games on it when they release it to consumers.

But given that this is just a commodity Linux box in a fancy looking shell that is “certified” to run Unity engine games, what exactly does anyone need with a “dev kit” anyway? The only thing I can think of would be that the VCS’s classic joystick is different enough from a standard gamepad (which they also have for the system) that there’s some need for a dev kit. That’s plausible, but it still doesn’t excuse Atari from not getting dev kits into the hands of developers partnering with them well in advance of the console’s expected release date, which I will point out again is already about two years later than they promised during the crowdfunding campaign.

Four: Why are they receiving parts?  Why aren’t they assembling everything in China? What the fuck?

The blog post goes on from there to go into minute details of manufacturing defect tolerances, for some reason. I guess to show that they have a lot of problems building defect free cases for the thing? That’s reassuring!

I guess they want us to believe that they are working hard with manufacturing to get the details right, but that this hasn’t been easy, and this has been part of the reason for all the delays.

And from there, some footage of people playing emulated Atari arcade titles such as Asteroids, Crystal Castles, and Centipede. And a video of someone playing Fortnight, allegedly on an Atari VCS system. Which, hey, great, but that’s something anyone can do right now, on a computer they already have.

“Atari” then go on to mention that their planned schedule of events has been disrupted as events such as GDC, SXSW, and E3 have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which, given the history of “Atari” attending these events in the last 2-3 years, maybe just means that the there wasn’t any point in them renting a hotel suite across the street from the convention and inviting attendees to swing by while they’re in the neighborhood, riding the event’s coattails.

Will “Atari” be at Pax, or Comic Con? Who knows? Who cares?

The bottom line is: You ain’t seeing your Atari VCS pre-order at the end of March. Surprise, surprise. And if you ever do receive your system, it’ll be around the same time that developers receive their dev kits. So while you’re waiting breathlessly for the next 2-3 years for them to crank out games that were actually designed for this system, you’ll be able to enjoy a library of existing games, many of which are already available elsewhere, and have been for literally the entire history of video games.

Enjoy!