The Atari VCS isn’t just a classic gaming system, it’s the classic gaming system, and around this time last year, the company announced that they would begin crowdfunding to develop a new version of the classic system. They funded the project via an IndieGoGo campaign and now fans finally have a pre-order date for the new Atari VCS system. On May 30th, enthusiasts of the venerated game company will finally get to pre-order one of the most genuinely exciting nostalgia marketing plays in recent memory.
They plan to release two different versions of the new Atari for two different price points. The “time-limited” Collector’s Edition will harken back to the old school faux-wood paneling that fans love and the Onyx Edition will come in black on black on black. The Collector’s Edition will cost about $200; it’s not clear how much the Onyx Edition will go for.
Naturally, neither of the systems will come with a joystick or the updated controller, and people who want them will have to buy separately or acquire them through some yet to be announced bundle packages. This is in all likelihood a cost-cutting measure. Back when they initially announced the re-release, Atari promised that the new system wouldn’t cost more than $300. If that still sounds expensive in the era of virtually limitless games like Skyrim and Minecraft, consider the fact that when the first Atari system was released back in 1976 it cost $199, which, adjusted for inflation, is about $856 in today’s dollars.
It’s honestly a miracle that Atari was able to pull this off, having gone through the ringer of bankruptcy as well as having been bought and sold multiple times over the course of the last two decades. Still, the new system manages to support 4K resolutions, offer both internal and external storage, built-in WiFi capabilities, USB, and Bluetooth. Not only will there be a bevy of modern features, but like its predecessor, the VCS will come loaded with Atari classics like Centipede, Pong, and Missile Command.
Now, while it feels a lot like buying a dinky calculator watch that can also do your kid’s calculus homework, it also sounds perfect for the person who’s looking to indulge in some simple 1970s gaming while never missing a beat in the new digital landscape. Unfortunately, even though pre-orders start at the end of this month, Atari won’t be shipping the new VCS until some time in 2019.