You can buy an official Atari console again, if you’ve lost all self-respect The Atari VCS system.


Following years of delays, the new Atari VCS system has officially launched. What do you mean you're not intrigued by a nice box with a low-power original Zen embedded CPU for $300, or $400 w/ controllers? Pffft kids these days.

Seriously though: the only good thing about this is the look. While Atari boasts that the VCS is "a modern console / PC hybrid" machine, the reality is that the Ryzen R1606G processor this is based on is, by today's standards, old and graphically weak—especially at this price. For comparison's sake, and yes I appreciate this isn't in the PC space, the Xbox Series S offers a much more powerful custom Zen 2 CPU, beefier GPU, and really fast storage for the same price.

Got to love some of the promo images though. I don't know about you, but my young children love to use my home cinema system to play Pong.

The Atari VCS system.

(Image credit: Atari)

It's hardly surprising a company that's tried everything from fantasy hotels to selling NFTs should produce an underpowered and overpriced device, though to give credit where it's due I suppose making anything during the contemporary chip shortage is an achievement. Atari's 'vision' of a Linux machine with other games you can download is, however, unlikely to persist in the long-term.

Should you have the kind of retro nostalgia that the Atari VCS is trying to play off, because I do get a slight nerd lust from looking at the gorgeous walnut version, you'd be better off building a tiny retro PC: buy a Raspberry Pi and pick up an imitation VCS case on Etsy. I mean, here's an Engadget article from 2012 explaining how to get Atari 2600 games running on the original Raspberry Pi.

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