Prior to the Video Game Crash of 1983 there was no name more synonymous with video gaming than Atari. Even with this industry-wide setback, their flagship console, the Atari 2600, remained the mainstay of home video gaming for years afterward. The platform survives in various reissues and plug-and-play devices, and today Atari’s place in the industry remains iconic as nostalgic gamers and generations of new players alike continue to find pleasure in their groundbreaking array of classic games.
But while the brand does well in the nostalgia niche, it also invites the question of what has Atari done for us lately?
It looks the answer lies in a sleek new platform Atari have just teased, titled the Ataribox. Looking like a sexy, futuristic reimagining of the of charmingly dated-looking 2600, the Ataribox is high on visual appeal apparently be available in a variety of visual designs, ranging from the classic faux-wood panel design that the 2500 made famous, to a sleek all-black model with burning orange iconography. No matter what style a customer finds appealing however, it is always a design that says Atari have learned the aesthetic lessons that Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft’s Xbox have been mastering for years and are ready to compete.
But for all the flashy appearance, can the Ataribox really stand side by side with the consoles that rule today’s video game industry? After all, Atari’s last home console was the Jaguar, released in 1993. Atari are making it clear from the onset that this is a modern gaming console, their official press release touting the console’s array of USB, HDMI, and SD ports:
As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs. It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.
What “current gaming content” entails, however, remains a bit of a mystery. Their statement indicates that everything from final features, to content, to pricing all remain up in the air. Will Ataribox try to cash in on the micro-console trend invigorated by Nintendo’s recent NES Classic, or will its “current content” lean more toward mobile games rather than the hottest titles currently enjoyed on its competitors’ platforms?
Truthfully, would either such option be a bad thing? Atari is a venerable brand that has done great things. If anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, it’s them. They’ve clearly still got the brand recognition to generate a fresh buzz with this announcement. Time will tell if they can live up to it, but the Ataribox looks appealing enough that the eyes of gamers are certain to be upon it until more information is revealed