back to article We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap

The Ataribox has been renamed the AtariVCS, and it is finally here! Where? Suite 7088 of the Marriott Marquis hotel in San Francisco, USA, directly opposite this year's Games Developers Conference (GDC). There's only one problem: it doesn't work. And by "not work" we don't mean it crashed or is having teething troubles, we …

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This sounds exactly like the episode of The Simpsons where Homer decides to get in on the dot com bubble. His business plan is "Can I have some money now?"

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This sounds exactly like the episode of The Simpsons where Homer decides to get in on the dot com bubble. His business plan is "Can I have some money now?"

"Oh they have the Internet on computers now." my favourite Homer line.

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His business plan is "Can I have some money now?"

Art imitates life..

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Must try harder

Pathetic effort! This is even vapourware.

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Anonymous Coward

pretty impressive

to write such an informative text off non-information. You'd think you're at a press conference of a British Foreign Ministry :)

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Anonymous Coward

Vapourware?

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Paris Hilton

You're treading on my dreams

First your slaughtered Magic Leap and now doing the same to my Atari box.

If we wanted reality we wouldn't be seeking to escape it in video games!

Paris (again), because when we want to escape other realities, we watch her videos.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You're treading on my dreams

>we watch her videos

She has more than one?

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Just hand over the whole project to Warren Robinett, he'll know what to do.

Plus add in some cool easter eggs :)

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Atari controller?

If only someone would invent a 3d printer, you knock one of those out in an hour.

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Re: Atari controller?

Looks like a company with a marketing department, board of directors, a 3D printer and no engineers or technicians. A cargo cult company.......

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Re: Atari controller?

You hit the nail on the head. I'm an electronics/IT engineer and I'm friends with quite a few industrial designers. So many of their ideas and concepts are so entirely detached from physical plausibility that could be rectified by just having one person on board who vaguely remembers using a RasPi a long time ago. I have the impression that they're educated in a complete vacuum, unaware that engineers or practicality even exist.

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Re: Atari controller?

unaware that engineers or practicality even exist

People who can Do Stuff(TM) cost money! Whereas designers can *generate* money.. until the supply of credulous idiots runs out and, since it's a self-renewing resource, I can't see that happening any time soon.

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Jeez, they invite journalists to hotel rooms to see vapourware?

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Unhappy

Damn! The only time I ever get invited to a hotel room to see something of dubious existance, I end up having to knee someone in the groin and call the cops!

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I think

I think they've employed the chap from vega+ in a stick on 'tasche.

Questions should have been asked when he insisted the only way to get a good deal from suppliers was to travel to china himself with the cash for parts in briefcases.

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Trollface

Re: I think

And then unfortunately got onto the wrong plane and ended up in some tax haven island without an extradition treaty...?

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Re: I think

@Anonymous Custard

Yep, happens to the best of us.

Don't pretend you've never done it.

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I still don't get it

I'm sure I said something similar regarding one of the other various failures at making a nostalgia-focussed box, but how do they all manage to make this so complicated and difficult? Literally all you need is some low-end, off-the-shelf parts stuffed into a nostalgia-shaped box with a pre-installed software emulator. Even if you don't really know what you're doing and mess up on manufacturing time, cost estimates, and the like, how is it possible to be so incompetent that you find yourself months after your expected release date still with no idea what chips you're going to put in it? How can anyone be so oblivious to reality that they can claim they've solved all the hardware problems in the same breath as admitting they don't even know what hardware they're going to use?

As far as I can tell it doesn't even seem to be the usual scam, since they've repeatedly delayed crowdfunding and pre-orders. They've genuinely just taken this long to make a box with nothing in it.

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Re: I still don't get it

To be fair the C64x had a wonderful keyboard for typing on.

Until it stopped working.

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Re: I still don't get it

To be fair the C64x had a wonderful keyboard for typing on.

Until it stopped working.

Or you wanted to type something quickly..

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Facepalm

Re: I still don't get it

But Those arrow keys....!

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"It doesn't sound like Atari has the slightest idea what it's doing"

A fine candidate for understatement of the year.

Unfortunately they're not the only company promising a retro-computing experience which deserves such negative accolades.

I'm getting tempted to start a whole slew of nostalgic home computer revivals on Kickstarter so I can retire to the Bahamas and avoid the impact of brexit.

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Re: "It doesn't sound like Atari has the slightest idea what it's doing"

Oooo do an Oric 1 - please take my money......

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Angel

Re: "It doesn't sound like Atari has the slightest idea what it's doing"

I don't need a re-hash of that.... I've still got mine! The super-dooper 48K version!

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Why on earth do they need a high performance AMD CPU/APU?

An ARM SoC should be more than fast enough for the task, and FAR cheaper.

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Re: Why on earth do they need a high performance AMD CPU/APU?

An ARM SoC should be more than fast

Solution: buy up all the old landfill Android phones and use them.

That'll be £2.5m pounds please for my well-trained designer time. Cash only. Preferrably in brown[1] envelopes.

[1] I believe that's the traditional colour..

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Joke

OOOPS! El Reg has just upset another ...

El Reg has just upset another major hardware manufacturer.

Apple refuse to talk to the vultures ...

M$ refuse to talk to the vultures ...

The Leading Manufacturer of games consoles refuses to talk to the vultures ...

Keep it up, lads!

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Trollface

Re: OOOPS! El Reg has just upset another ...

Almost like they're biting the hand that feeds...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OOOPS! El Reg has just upset another ...

"The Leading Manufacturer of games consoles refuses to talk to the vultures ..."

Apparently Atari have stopped speaking to them as well.

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Thinking about it , this none working mock up box is not all that much more worthless than the planned product.

My reasoning is. This could be done much more easily cheaply and effectively with an emulator.

But for those hardcore fans who want woodgrain - buy the non working mock up and put it on top of your laptop.

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Anonymous Coward

Or just buy some wood and put *that* on top of your laptop! :-)

(Well, technically it would have to be veneer, and imitation veneer at that...)

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Mushroom

At That Price, Who's the Targeted Consumer?

That's right. They admitted that they don't know.

Here's what I know:

Atari VCS (2018) - $250.00 (est)

Xbox One S (new) plus Atari Flashback Classics Volumes 1 and 2 (used copies) - $254.22

Compare and contrast the value proposition between the two. The chasm is breathtaking.

I am an unabashed lover of classic video games, and absolutely adore fawning nostalgia for the classics. I should be the target consumer for this device, but I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole. I'm not sure I'd even bother to hook it up if I was given one. These cheap pimps turning out the Atari name have no idea what they're doing.

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Re: At That Price, Who's the Targeted Consumer?

These cheap pimps turning out the Atari name have no idea what they're doing

In other words, accurately replicating the authentic Atari[1] experience..

(For purposes of full disclosure I need to reveal that I had an Atari ST. But I got rid of it once the Acorn Archimedes came out..)

[1] Other fly-by-night late 80's computer manufacturers are available. Hardware may go down as well as up. Your experience may vary, please consult a qualified professional. Or, if you can't find one of those, that bloke[2] in the pub that once used a computer and brags about it endlessly..

[2] Once got into a conversation with a kid who solemnly told me that "he knew all about viruses because they they were all written in machine code". Since I was (at that time) a mainframe assembler programmer I was somewhat underwhelmed..

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Re: At That Price, Who's the Targeted Consumer?

[2] Once got into a conversation with a kid who solemnly told me that "he knew all about viruses because they they were all written in machine code". Since I was (at that time) a mainframe assembler programmer I was somewhat underwhelmed..

I wonder what His Kidness would have made of the virus called "Concept". It was written in Word-Macro because it was, in fact, the very first Word macro virus, written by a guy at Microsoft who told a colleague "hey, we can use this macro system to make viruses" and the said colleague pooh-poohed the idea. So Chuckles went off to make it (as a proof of concept), and because the A/V software of the time hadn't yet heard of the idea, it spread throughout Microsoft faster than corn through a goose, as they say.

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Reminds me of the

Coleco Chameleon debacle. Mind you that was a real con job, I'll still give this thing time though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reminds me of the

Co-le Co-le Co-le Co Co-leco Chameleon.

It came and went. It came and went.

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Oh, by the way... is there a meme or buzzword for "nostalgia vampire"?

Nostalgia vampire = somebody who get you all excited about $OLD_TECH, start a kickstarter campaign, get oodles of $$$, then disappear with all the money with nothing to show...

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meme or buzzword for "nostalgia vampire[1]"?

I believe it's a subclass of "scammer".

[1] Now, nostalgia is fine in the right context - I'll happily go and see a (good) Genesis tribute band, for example. Or even Steve Hackett[2] - who isn't a tribute band since he was really there. And his departure hastened the descent into prog-pop.

[2] He whose music prompted my wife to exclaim "too many notes and all in the wrong place!". Which is exactly why I listen to it..

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It looks sexy but I get a whiff of vapourware.

If they were so close to launching they would have something to show.

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"If they were so close to launching they would have something to show."

Yup, at the very least there ought to be a lashed up prototype if not an actual preproduction model.

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Incompetence

OK. So the product is supposed to be a machine which can run the old 2600 games via emulation, and run Linux for some other games.

Where's the hard part in making that? I mean, you can do the whole thing with a Raspberry Pi in a day. The only different bit would be the controllers - and there's companies that specialise in those so could knock something out for them in no time.

Then stick the R Pi in a nostalgia fulfilling case and you're done. The software is something a uni graduate could sort in a couple of weeks!

Bizarre.

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Re: Incompetence

The software is something a uni graduate could sort in a couple of weeks!

Yeah but even a recent graduate is going to want *something* for their efforts. Which will reduce the amount of money available for moving offshore..

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It's lucky they dug up all those Atari cartridges in the desert

Because they now have a nice big hole to dump all these things in when they fail to set the market alight.

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anybody thinking......

.... Big White Elephant........Nope

#KThnxBai

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Anonymous Coward

Cap Picture

Personally I would have only included photos of working equipment, so only the hat.

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Erm....seriously now....how difficult could it possibly be to emulate a console from the 70s? Nerds have been doing it for decades now, but the company that made the original is having trouble doing it? Or am I missing something and what they're actually trying to do is create a modern console that just happens to have an emulator built in like Nintendo* has been doing?

*Ok, if we're using Nintendo as the example then we should say modern-ish since they generally build their consoles on last-gen hardware. But still....

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Knock your socks off with TV Pong on an Atmel microcontroller:

https://github.com/linker3000/Microbit-TVPong

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"but the company that made the original is having trouble doing it? Or am I missing something"

I think the primary bit of missing information is that these people only bought the name Atari. That's their ONLY link to the original company.

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