When we first heard of the Atari Flashback here at GoodGearGuide, it felt like Christmas as an 11 year old once again. But despite our high hopes, Atari has produced a highly frustrating unit, with a poorly designed controller and 20 builtin games that do the famous early 80's console absolutely no justice.
- Compact, simple AV cables connects directly to television
- Only 20 games with no expansion options, unresponsive and poorly designed controller, novelty factor wears off very quickly
With no expansion options, an unresponsive controller and a poor range of games, the Atari Flashback is a bitter disappointment. If you want to relive the 80’s, then its time to dust off the original.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
The Atari Flashback is a dedicated games console designed to resemble the Atari 7800, first released in 1985. Much smaller in size than its predecessor, the Flashback does win points for its compact nature, measuring just 170mm x 74mm x 23mm and weighing only 260g.
The Flashback ships standard with two controllers, which are similar to the design of the original 7800 joysticks, only slightly smaller. The joystick now includes start and select buttons, which were absent on the original version. We found the joystick difficult to manoeuver which severely detracts from the gaming experience, especially in fast paced games like Breakout and Sprintmaster. In addition, the fire buttons on the left and right hand sides of the controller did not always register with every press.
Unlike the original 7800, the Flashback plugs directly into your television via the supplied AV cable. It also uses a standard AC power supply, which will be welcome news to those well aware of Atari's problems with the non-standard power supply in its previous console releases.
The Flashback includes 20 built in games, with five original 7800 titles among them. The menu screen layout represents a stack of old Atari game cartridges, with an original 7800 at the centre of the screen. We found using the menu frustrating for the simple fact that you can't scroll across from one side of the games list to the other, although you can move up and down to navigate the list.
In our opinion, the biggest flaw with the Flashback is the inability to add extra games. We especially would have liked the option to play our old Atari cartridges, as we feel the selected games on the Flashback don't do the famous 7800 or 2600 any justice. In a real letdown for mad Atari fans, the famous Pong game was unable to be included on this console, as Atari do not own the licence to re-produce it.
We find it very difficult to recommend this console to anyone but Atari worshippers. And even then, with the limited game selection, be warned that the novelty factor wears off very quickly.
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