Mystery 'Ataribox' console stokes gamers' nostalgia, speculation
The Ataribox is shown in this image from Atari. (Ataribox / Facebook)
Published Monday, July 17, 2017 1:41PM EDT
Atari appears poised to re-enter the video game console marketplace, but questions remain as to whether the newly-teased Ataribox will emphasize next-gen performance or old-school nostalgia.
The classic video game company release new details about the Ataribox on Monday, including images of the console itself – a sleek, ribbed case that will be available in either wood or black and red plastic. Atari says the console will feature modern ports, including jacks for HDMI, USBs and SD cards.
“Our objective is to create a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari,” the company said in an email to fans.
Atari touted the system’s “modern internal specs” in the email on Monday, adding that it plans to offer “classic” and “current” gaming content. However, the company did not go into further detail.
The original Atari gaming system was released years before the first Nintendo Entertainment System, and boasted a variety of arcade-style games such as Pong, Space Invaders and Pac Man. Atari says it’s borrowing cosmetic design elements from that original plastic-and-wood console for the Ataribox.
However, it’s still unclear which Atari games will be making a comeback, or whether the company’s more recent hit, Roller Coaster Tycoon, will be included as well. Many of Atari’s most popular games are already available for free or at a minimal cost on iOS and Android smartphones.
Atari shared its first teaser image of the Ataribox on June 2, with a close-up shot of the console’s ribbed plastic and smooth wood surface. Another tease posted on July 4 showed boxes for the two console variants – one with woodgrain on the sides, the other with red sides.
“Two weeks. Two editions. Two boxes,” the post read.
If Atari does indeed revive its old-school library of games, the Ataribox will join a growing trend in throwback video game systems.
Competitor Nintendo relaunched its original Nintendo Entertainment System last fall, offering a scaled-down “Classic” version of the console with modern ports and a large library of games pre-loaded on an internal hard drive. Nintendo is poised to follow up with the release of the Super NES Classic later this year.
Atari has not announced release dates or pricing for the Ataribox.