Last year, The Save Spot reported on Atari’s new console announcement. The company, which has long fallen under the radar in the gaming world, took the audience at E3 by surprise with the reveal. Not many details were mentioned about said device, known back then as the ‘Ataribox’, but a small teaser video was released on June 8, displaying a glimpse of the console’s appearance.
Just recently, Atari unveiled its official name, the Atari VCS. The company’s press release states that the VCS’s aesthetic is inspired by the Atari 2600 Video Computer System, with its modern lines and signature details. While they mentioned that the console will play lots of classic content, the company also hinted that the device can function as a home entertainment system. Other than that, not much information has been released regarding the specs.
Having delayed the pre-orders which were supposed to go up by December of last year, Atari said that it will reveal the pre-order date for the Atari VCS sometime this April. The Verge noted that the VCS’s estimated price will be between $250 and $350.
This is the first time in decades that Atari has made any noise. The last Atari console, the Jaguar, was released in 1993, and had garnered poor sales. Since then, ownership of the company has been passed around, from Hasbro Interactive in 1998, to Infogrames in 2001, to what is now known as Atari SA. After filing for bankruptcy, the company deployed a turnaround strategy that focused on re-releasing the catalogue of Atari games. This new console seems to a part of that plan, so if the company hopes for success, it should bank on gamers’ nostalgia.
After all, Atari played a significant role in the history of gaming. Back in the 1970s, the company was responsible for the popularity of games like Pong, Asteroids, and the timeless Space Invaders. For a time, these titles helped bring video gaming to new heights, first in arcades, then eventually at home, when Atari introduced the Atari 2600 home console.
However, 1983 saw the “video game crash”, which referred to the industry’s large scale recession. This event led to the bankruptcy of numerous companies producing home consoles. Lottoland claims that the crash was personified by the infamous E.T. game from Atari, which featured terrible graphics and convoluted gameplay. While the game banked on the success of the film it was based on, many complained about its difference in tone. Because it largely contributed to the downfall of consoles at the time, the game is now considered by critics as one of the worst video games of all time. Thankfully, Nintendo swooped in with the NES in 1985 and saved the industry. Things have gone relatively well for the console gaming sector ever since.
If Atari were to bring back its classic video games, let’s hope E.T. won’t be part of the mix. It would be lovely to see games like Frogger, Joust, Pitfall!, and Q*bert make a comeback.
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