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Monday, September 26, 2005

Gaming's bygone era relived with Atari gadget

Gaming's bygone era relived with Atari gadget

"Some sobering news for anyone who has recently crested 40: Everything you grew up with is now officially retro. Clothes, music, hair styles — even video games.

Long before Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there was Pong, a simple video game from Nolan Bushnell and the folks at the original Atari Inc. Two paddles, one ball and no Hot Coffee mod to unlock hidden sex scenes. THAT was gaming.

The Atari brand has traded hands in the years since Pong hit the scene, but the new owners are still milking some mileage out of this game and 39 others with Atari Flashback 2. This $30 device offers a fun and affordable glimpse into the gaming's past — one that, for better and worse, looks nothing like the present.

The console itself looks like a scaled-down version of an old Atari 2600, with faux wood paneling and other dated details. There are no cartridges to plug in, as technology advances have made it easy to stuff all of the games onto a small chip inside. And the controllers are exactly like the Atari 2600 joysticks of yore.

The unit connects to your home television through common audio and video RCA inputs. Many sets have these connections on the front, which is a bonus with this console because I found the cables that come with it a bit short.

Among the 40 titles are classics like Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, Yar's Revenge and Pitfall. Some are licensed from Activision Inc., which made games for the 2600, but most are original Atari gems." [more]

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