By: Nick Gambino

There was a time when Atari was practically synonymous with home gaming consoles. And with the arrival of video games played through your TV, Atari was the only system worth having. For those of us too young to remember, this was before Nintendo was a house-hold name and well before PlayStation was even deemed possible.

With nostalgia generated by the re-release (or updated release) of the original NES, SNES and Sega consoles, Atari is looking to cash in on the wave. They’ve been planning a retro mini-console release and have just announced the title.

Originally named the Ataribox, it’s new title is the Atari VCS. Named after the original Atari 2600 Video Computer System (hence the VCS), there is little else known about the system.

We know it operates on a Linux OS and features an AMD processor. These specs will allow it to play contemporary PC titles. But it’s unlikely that will be its main selling point. Who’s going to buy a re-release of an early 80s system just to play new games?

No, this is a nostalgia item and will most likely be purchased by those who miss early 80s gameplay or those who are simply interested in playing classic Atari titles.

The video game company is planning to show off a prototype this week for the first time. “The company also marks this important milestone by sharing the Atari VCS, Classic Joystick and Modern Controller prototypes with press at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, with the objective to reveal the exclusive pre-order date for the Atari VCS during the month of April 2018,” a press release states.

So we won’t have word on when the retro console will be available for pre-order until April, if we’re lucky. It was supposed to go up for preorder this past December but that was put on hold as the company wanted to make sure everything was just right before launching.

It would be safe to say that they’re most likely planning to ship the VCS preloaded with Atari games, much like other retro console releases. I just hope we get the chance to play what many have called the worse game of all time – ET.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.