Atari is teaming up with Plaion on a new retro home console after finally taking a mulligan on its last one. The Atari 2600+ pays homage to the original Atari 2600, which delighted children of the disco era starting in 1977, although this remake is based on the four-switch model from 1980. It plays both Atari 2600 and 7800 games. However, most buyers will want to track down physical cartridges as the retro system, which requires them to play, is only bundled with a collection of 10 titles that lacks system standouts like Pac-Man, Frogger, Space Invaders and Pitfall!
The throwback console has been “lovingly recreated to the same specifications as the original,” although it’s only 80 percent of the size. The console’s “plus” features come in the form of an HDMI output and widescreen support. The company says the system has an enlarged cartridge socket to reduce cartridge sticking. The Atari logo also lights up when powered on.
The system includes a modern remake of the classic Atari CX40 joystick, the CX40+. Although it supports two players, only one stick is bundled. (You can order an extra for $25.) The company says a CX-30 Paddle Controller remake is on its way as well.
The system’s free games are bundled on a “10 Games in 1” cartridge, including Adventure, Combat, Dodge ‘Em, Haunted House, Maze Craze, Missile Command, RealSports Volleyball, Surround, Video Pinball and Yars’ Revenge. Atari posted a complete list of compatible cartridges. Prospective buyers may want to consider that hunting down physical games (and potentially paying a premium for some) will be part of the journey.
If the entire affair sounds familiar, that’s because the classic video game maker launched the long-delayed Atari VCS just over two years ago. But consumer interest in that model seemed to fall off a cliff after the initial excitement, and the company discontinued the retro console in favor of reorganizing its hardware business while eyeing “a new commercial strategy.” We can only assume we’re seeing the fruit of that today as it partners with Plaion.
The Atari 2600+ launches “worldwide” on November 17th for $130. (An optional second joystick adds another $25 onto that.) Starting today, the latest mini-retro system is available for pre-order on Atari’s website.