I don’t usually take an interest in modern remakes of classic consoles or those TV plug-in units you often see comprising of one or two games wrapped up into a controller of some sort…unless of course it’s in the bargain basement. A link from a friend of mine steered me towards Argos stores that were flogging stocks of Atari Flashback units for a measly £15. For that price I’m certainly game especially as the two joysticks included are based on the original 9-pin type and therefore compatible with older systems such as the Commodore 64….and i do like my classic Atari sticks.
This is the 3rd version of the Atari Flashback. It has more built in games than in the previous models, however, unlike version 2, this cannot be hacked to wire in a cartridge slot to run original Atari 2600 cartridges.
Here’s the back of the box, listing some of the games included. Its nice to see some of my favourites here but there’s not a hint of 3rd party games such as Pitfall, Hero or River Raid. I can see plenty of Combat sessions in order with Mrs StiGGy.
Inside the box there’s everything you need to get started including the console, mains adaptor (the lead is a bit short), two Atari Joysticks and an instruction book listing the basic setup and a little bit about each game.
The console is about half the size of a 2600 woody and as light as a feather. The buttons on top of the console replace the classic toggle switches and there’s even a hint of faux wood panelling on the front. It looks pretty good to me but if you want more faux wood, the Flashback 2 contains a tab more.
One end of the AV cable (white/Yellow) is wired directly inside the console and it’s worth mentioning that there’s also a component to SCART adaptor included as well.
The Atari joysticks are pretty much identical in size when compared to the originals….maybe a few millimetres taller (body) but pretty close if you ask me. The sticks feel much looser than the original CX40’s and are all plastic instead of coated with rubber. Also they don’t feel as solid or as heavy as the originals do. Don’t get me wrong though I actually quite like the extra stick movement. The fire button also seems more responsive but then again, I’m comparing with a stick that’s over 30 years old!
The same familiar orange paintwork but now sporting the Atari logo.
I couldn’t help cracking one these open for a looksee inside. It’s nothing like the original in there and I’m not sure if you could swap out various parts…..maybe!
After setting up and switching on you a get a nice A-Z listing of games which are spread over six browsable screens. There’s also a handy screenshot to accompany each title in the event that you’ve forgotten how ugly Atari 2600 Asteroids looks like 🙂 Still is one of my fav’s though!
Game wise it’s brilliant Atari family fun and there’s something here for everyone. I’m sure purists might be able to tell the difference between the original games and these emulated versions but to me they look, sound and play just as good. There’s couple of paddle games included too which have been changed slightly to play better with the included sticks. However, the Flashback 3 is compatible with classic Atari paddles and although I was getting a little bit of stutter on my own set, you can still play a cracking game of Super Breakout…..I did try that Trak-Ball unit (see previous blog post) but sadly I got no movement at all, not even in joystick mode.
It looks tiny compared to a cartridge….shame you can’t get these working with this particular model. Just think how much fun you could have with a Harmony cart!
So yeah, I’m pretty pleased with the Flashback 3. It’s cheap, is lots of fun and I can reuse the joysticks on other systems. I’m also already thinking about what homemade projects I could make out of the case once I’m done playing around with it.
Woo, Gravitar….that’s me done typing!