The Atari VCS retro console gets its long-awaited retail release

Its original IndieGoGo campaign ran in 2018

The Atari VCS — a part-desktop PC, part-retro console modeled after the Atari 2600 — is finally available for purchase at retail. Atari is selling the console your site while best Buy and micro center They also have listings. This is not the first time the console has become available to the public (VGC notes that IndieGoGo backers recently received their consoles) but this is the first time the machine has been available for purchase at retail.

VCS has been around for a long time. Originally teased in 2017 as “Ataribox”, the project re-emerged as the Atari VCS the following year, with Atari launching an IndieGoGo campaign for its development in June 2018. Originally, the console was due to ship in mid-2019. But the development reportedly ran into a series of difficulties, culminating in the abandonment of the project’s lead architect.

Technically the released device does exactly what Atari promised, but reviews have been pretty moderate. VGC It says the console’s built-in selection of 100 Atari games (18 from the arcade and 82 from the Atari 2600 console) can be fully emulated, but many are “so incredibly basic that they’ll actually be the lightest test in 2021.” They don’t even happen.” There’s also an app store where you can buy mod games, but the selection is scant and features are lacking.

The console also technically serves as a streaming box for services like Netflix and Disney Plus, but VGC Note that these are just “Glory Chrome Bookmarks” rather than native apps. At least the promised desktop mode actually works, letting you install Windows, Linux or ChromeOS and use the machine like a modestly-spec but cool-looking desktop PC.

If you decide to go down the desktop PC route, the Atari VCS is powered by an AMD Ryzen R1606G system-on-a-chip, paired with 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (both upgradeable). There are two USB 3.1 ports on the front and two on the back, along with Ethernet and HDMI 2.0 ports. In other words, don’t expect this machine to rival the Xbox Series S, despite its $299.99 starting price.

Suffice it to say that you’ll have to drop off $299.99 on the Atari VCS (or $399.99 for the Walnut version, which comes with an included wireless joystick and controller, which retails separately for $59.99 each). Shouldn’t be in a hurry. But despite its flaws, it’s still an interesting mini PC that might be worth checking out as a curiosity when it inevitably comes down to price.

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