The Atari 400 Mini is a cute little slice of video game history

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Now that nan miniature crippled console inclination has already covered astir of nan biggest devices from Nintendo, Sega, and Sony, we’re starting to participate much niche territory. The Atari 400 Mini isn’t a rerelease of nan company’s astir recognizable console (that’d beryllium nan 2600). And it isn’t afloat of family names. But that’s besides portion of what makes it truthful absorbing — nan small gadget is simply a cute, playful measurement to research a very circumstantial and formative niche of video crippled history.

Like its contemporaries, nan 400 Mini is simply a shrunken-down type of nan original. That intends a mini container successful a very 1970s shadiness of beige plastic, pinch a keyboard and cartridge slot that are purely ornamental. I admit conscionable really retro this point looks; moreover nan included HDMI and powerfulness cords are beige. It has 5 USB ports (four connected nan front, 1 connected nan back), an HDMI port, and USB-C larboard for power. There’s 1 functional powerfulness fastener connected nan rear, coupled pinch a small reddish ray to fto you cognize it’s on. You besides get 1 classical Atari joystick, which has been outfitted pinch a USB plug and nan sneaky summation of a fewer other buttons, including a enarthrosis fastener and a clickable circle astir nan existent stick.

The games line-up:

  • Airball
  • Asteroids
  • Basketball
  • BattleZone
  • Berzerk
  • Boulder Dash
  • Bristles
  • Capture nan Flag
  • Centipede
  • Crystal Castles
  • Elektraglide
  • Encounter!
  • Flip and Flop
  • Henry’s House
  • Hover Bovver
  • Lee
  • M.U.L.E.
  • Millipede
  • Miner 2049er
  • Missile Command
  • O’Riley’s Mine
  • The Seven Cities of Gold
  • Star Raiders II
  • Wavy Navy
  • Yoomp!

This is simply a plug-and-play device, truthful setup is exceedingly straightforward. It doesn’t link to nan internet, and nan ocular settings are beautiful standard. There are 2 options: nan 4:3 mode displays games successful their original facet ratio, while “pixel perfect” mode renders nan pixels arsenic squares. You besides person nan action to adhd virtual scanlines to imitate nan acquisition of playing connected a CRT display. Other than that, there’s not overmuch to it. You scroll done games successful alphabetical order, and it has console-level prevention slots, truthful you tin region and prevention your advancement astatine immoderate constituent while playing. It each useful good enough, though it took maine immoderate clip to get a grip connected navigating nan paper pinch a large joystick.

The much important portion is nan games themselves. The 400 Mini has 25 built-in games spanning Atari’s 8-bit era. That includes expected titles for illustration Asteroids and Centipede, arsenic good arsenic somewhat much obscure releases for illustration nan nautical-themed shooter Wavy Navy and Hover Bovver, Jeff Minter’s crippled astir cutting lawns pinch a stolen lawnmower. The emulation is solid, and I was amazed by really good immoderate of these games stood up. I had ne'er played Crystal Castles earlier — a platformer wherever a carnivore tries to flight a bid of magical mazes — but I ended up spending hours playing pinch my eight-year-old daughter, passing nan joystick backmost and forth. Similarly, abstraction sim Star Raiders II remains incredibly thrilling each these years later, and I was very happy to observe Airball, a imagination maze wherever you play arsenic a bouncing bubble.

It’s a well-curated list, and I recovered fundamentally everything — pinch nan objection of nan dead-simple Basketball — still playable by modern standards. The postulation does a awesome occupation of encompassing conscionable what this hardware was tin of. And dissimilar astir akin mini consoles, nan 400 Mini has room for description . The various USB ports fto you link a assortment of joysticks and keyboards, and you tin besides instrumentality successful a flash thrust to sideload games. That opens up a batch of possibilities, particularly considering really robust nan Atari homebrew segment is.

A screenshot from nan video crippled Star Raiders II.

Star Raiders II.

Image: Atari

That expertise to grow nan instrumentality is besides important because nan 400 Mini has a astonishing magnitude of competition. It’s really not that difficult to find ways to play Atari games correct now. The institution released a recreation of nan 2600 past twelvemonth that tin play aged cartridges, and nan fantabulous Atari 50 postulation not only has an expansive database of games but besides adds humanities discourse pinch its interactive documentary format. With that successful mind, a $119 mini console could beryllium a reliable sell. But nan bookshelf-worthy creation mixed pinch its elasticity mightiness conscionable push it complete nan separator — truthful agelong arsenic you person a craving for immoderate Star Raiders.

The Atari 400 Mini is on waste now.

Source The Verge
The Verge