Monday, February 15, 2010

Back to the Flashback. Part 1

You may remember that a few years back Atari released a product known as the Flashback. It was an Atari 2600/7800 type console thing. (For lack of a better description.) It came with twenty built in classic Atari games. I was very interested when it came out. However, when I went to buy one I noticed that it didn't have a cartridge port. What came with it was what you got. I was very disappointed. It went right back on the shelf and I went away thinking “So close, but not close enough.”

As it turns out there was a good reason it didn't have a cartridge port. The entire system was built around a Nes-on-a-chip. The games were actually emulated on the system. Obviously I don't have a problem with that in general, but in this case it just didn't make much sense. The game play wasn't true to the Atari and, of course, no Atari cartridges would work in it. End result: A slightly larger version of the joystick compilations that were out there already. It was an ok product, but it could have been great.

A little time passed and Atari released the Flashback 2. This was a great improvement over the first one. The console was based on an Atari-on-a-chip and the games played just like they had on the original. An added bonus was that it could theoretically play Atari cartridges! Atari even went to the trouble to include some of the newer, more popular home brew games out there. This was certainly to tip their caps to the very much alive classic Atari market. This was certainly a good sign. Atari seemed to recognize that it's old system was still alive and kicking. However, low and behold, no cartridge port...

To add to the frustration they actually designed the mother board of the thing where it would be easy to modify yourself. You can add your own cartridge port with very little effort. So, Atari seemed to know that people were going to want the port, they just didn't add it! You see, this is how close companies come and still drop the ball. They knew people would be interested, they just weren't willing to go the extra mile.

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about that. Pretty lame that they'd go right up to the point of putting in a cartridge port and then not do it.