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The Atari 2600

Emulation

 

Flashback

Flashback 2

Activision

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Atari Joystick

Deluxe Paddles

Activision 2

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What is in the box:

The Atari Flashback comes with the main console measuring all of 4.5”l x 2”w x 3”h.  2 joysticks to use with the console, a power adapter and one RCA audio\video cable to connect the console to the TV. An instruction manual is also included.

The Setup

Setting up the Flashback couldn’t be simpler as nothing can be accidentally plugged into the wrong or fatal jack. The RCA cable connects to any of the RCA inputs on your television and plug the power adapter into into the console then into a two prong power ecliptically (a wall plug). You should also make sure to have the joysticks plugged into the console. The manual has pictures to follow if you should encounter any problems.

The Manual:

People often overlook the manual, but it can be very helpful. The Atari Flashback manual is nicely setup with a page on what's included and a page on how to set it up. Except for some credits and licenses at the end the rest of the manual is about the games. The Games are separated into Atari 7800 Games and Atari 2600 games. Each games variations are covered, as is game play and a quick story to set up the game. The game instructions are accurate and should get you up and playing in no time. Overall the manual is well laid out and helpful if and when you need it.

The Console and controls

The console and controls replicate the Atari 7800 somewhat. The console is compact and the controllers plug into the front and the power and video connections come out the back. There is a power and reset button located near the front and that is it. The controllers have two buttons but they both do the same thing, unlike those on the 7800 and the joystick is a simple 8 way joystick with no rotary option.

The System Menu:

Having the games built in requires a menu system to access the games. The game selection system is okay but a little hard to figure out at first. The games have been split into two piles of cartridges and by moving the joystick you move through the piles. By pressing a joystick button you select the cartridge. Once selected you can use the joystick again to move through the game variations or difficulties and by pressing the button you start the game.

If you want to select a new game cartridge you simply press the rest button on the console and then navigate through the menu (piles of cartridges) and select a new game.

The Games:

The Flashback has 20 games built into the console. Included are a 15 Atari 2600 games including Saboteur an officially unreleased game and 5 Atari 7800 games. Atari games often had multiple variations in a single cartridge and the games included with the Flashback still do. This way you can play a harder version or different version and don't tire of the games as quickly. You really have a lot more than 20 games if you include the variations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2600

7800

Adventure,

Crystal Castles

Sky Diver

Asteroids

Air Sea Battle

Gravitar

Solaris

Centipede

Battlezone

Haunted House

Sprintmaster

Desert Falcon

Breakout

Millipede

Warlords

Food Fight

Canyon Bomber

Saboteur

Yars Revenge

Planet Smashers

The Atari Flashback

On November 30, 2004 after Infogrames bought Atari they returned to the console market with a retro system know as the Atari Flashback. This wasn't the first new Atari TV game. There had been a few others, but this one had two joysticks was a real Atari Brand product and plugged in, no batteries. On top of all that it came with 20 games built in that was more than any of the others. The Atari Flashback also has two player functionality that allows you and a friend to play just like with the original consoles.

The Flashbacks design takes after the Atari 7800, from the way the console looks and especially the design of the controllers. Original information on the 7800 is available from the consoles menu and it contains 5 Atari 7800 games. All this makes you think it is more of a 7800 than a 2600.

The Internals:

Upon further investigation into the system it seem that it isn't really an Atari at all, rather it is a Nintendo and uses pretty much off the shelve chips. There has been this Nintendo on a chip around for a while, I don't exactly know the ins and outs about it or its legality but as I understand it it is basically an old Nintendo reduced to a simple chip. So what this means is that the Flashback is actually a Nintendo emulating an Atari 2600(7800). This would seem to explains the slightly different pallet and a few of the other quirks. It was also a quick way to get an Atari TV Game console back onto the market. It was a nice console entry too, as it was not only a retro device that was just cool, it also appealed to older people who had an Atari 2600 and those that find the new systems to be to much. I think the Flashback has a bit of an identity crisis, seeming more like an Atari 2600, but looking like an Atari 7800 with a mix of Atari 2600, 7800 Games and then running it all on some kind of franken Nintendo. It really is a wonder it turned out to be as good a machine as it did.

Final Thoughts:

Overall it isn't a bad little system although it seems to have been rushed along a little. The Atari Flashback was easy to setup and use, the games were playable, it had two player support, the games were very close to the way you remember and both Adult and kid friendly. Many people may find the games lack the color and intense graphics of today's games and many of the features. A lot of people will find the ease of use and simplicity a nice change or a good introduction to video games. It really is a system that anyone could operate and enjoy, without needing to invest the time and money more modern systems demand from the gamer.

 There are a few issues with the Flashback, none of which are fatal. Some of the games colors and sounds are not the same as the originals. There are also some collision problems, most notably in Asteroids, where you know you hit that rock but it doesn't explode, annoying but not a real game killer. Most of the quirks in the emulations you get use to fairly quickly and unless you have been playing your old Atari 2600, you probably wouldn't even realize that it wasn't exactly like the original.