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posted by martyb on Wednesday September 27 2017, @02:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the more-than-a-game-[machine] dept.

Atari will crowdfund an "Ataribox" console this fall, but it can do much more than play old Atari games:

Atari released more details about its Ataribox game console today, disclosing for the first time that the machine will run Linux on an Advanced Micro Devices processor and cost $250 to $300.

In an exclusive interview last week with GamesBeat, Ataribox creator and general manager Feargal Mac (short for Mac Conuladh) said Atari will begin a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this fall and launch the Ataribox in the spring of 2018. The Ataribox will launch with a large back catalog of the publisher's classic games. The idea is to create a box that makes people feel nostalgic about the past, but it's also capable of running the independent games they want to play today, like Minecraft or Terraria.

The new box will have an AMD custom processor with Radeon graphics. It will run the Linux operating system, with a user interface it's customizing for TVs. Mac said that the machine will run PC games, but it will also be capable of doing streaming, running apps, browsing the web, and playing music. As far as games go, the machine will run the kind of games that a mid-range PC can do today, but it won't run Triple-A games that require high-end PC performance.

[...] "People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores," he said. "We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers."

So it's a PC that comes preloaded with Pong, Asteroids, and presumably E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Who needs this?

Also at PCWorld, BGR, Gizmodo, and Techpowerup.

It seems whoever owns the Atari name [takyon: Atari, SA] is going to cash in with a new Linux and AMD based "console". I guess Hollywood is not the only one that can drag up old properties and wring the blood from them. Might make a decent Steambox, I suppose. Also, wouldn't be complete without crowdfunding!


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  • (Score: 1) by gtomorrow on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:11PM (1 child)

    by gtomorrow (2230) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:11PM (#573830) Journal

    Does it run TOS?

    • (Score: 2) by ArhcAngel on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:54PM

      by ArhcAngel (654) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:54PM (#573919)

      Now I'm gonna have to go pull out my old 1040STe and play Populous.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by cdreimer on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:16PM (16 children)

    by cdreimer (6673) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:16PM (#573833)

    I previously worked at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple personality disorder) during the run up to the dot com bust. Afterward, when the banks stopped loaning money, management discovered that they overpaid two to four times what each studio was worth and sold them all for pennies on the dollar. The only thing they have left today is the Atari intellectual property. So, yes, they will milk it for every dime its worth. People will probably buy this new PC with emulator because they have memories of the old Atari of yesteryear.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:35PM (11 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:35PM (#573843)

      What kind of work did you do there? IT? Dev? Test?

      • (Score: 1, Disagree) by cdreimer on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:05PM (10 children)

        by cdreimer (6673) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:05PM (#573852)

        What kind of work did you do there? IT? Dev? Test?

        I was tester for three years and a lead tester for three years.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:37PM (9 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:37PM (#573870)

          That is so cool! I've never met a real video game industry tester before. What games did you test? I always wanted to be a video game tester but I was never good enough at the games.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:40PM (8 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:40PM (#573909)

            Creimer is a known slashdot troll now moving to soylent. Please don't feed him. If you do expect your forum to fill up with Amazon affiliate links and shit posting. You've been warned.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:46PM (7 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:46PM (#573913)

              Do you have some examples of what he's done there? His comments here seem reasonable to me. I'd like to see some evidence before I make a final judgment.

              • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:08PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:08PM (#573928)

                When the green site comes back up, do a search for amazon links, you will find the vast majority are his.

                If you feed him before long he will regale you with comments about how he has done everything in the tech world, experienced everything in the world, is an ex cia, mosad, kgb, ranger who has designed processors at home with transistors that he made himself.

              • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:28PM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:28PM (#573939)

                His original account was Creimer. He had such bad karma that he had to delete that account. He now uses Cdreimer to post. On slashdot after we called him out, he started posting affiliate links using AC and the account ILoveBigFatCashews. You don't have to believe me. I'm just throwing out the warning. Maybe he has changed and won't spam SN. I hope so. But for your sake, don't feed him.

                For proof just search slashdot for "Amazon affiliate links" and you will see the threads.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:35PM (2 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:35PM (#573944)

                  Slashdot and SoylentNews act as each other's respective containment zones. The balance has been disrupted.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:38PM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:38PM (#573945)

                    Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

                    Fuckin A'

                    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:30PM

                      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:30PM (#574023) Journal

                      It's a trap!

                      --
                      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
              • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by cdreimer on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:43AM (1 child)

                by cdreimer (6673) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:43AM (#574164)

                Do you have some examples of what he's done there? His comments here seem reasonable to me. I'd like to see some evidence before I make a final judgment.

                You can check out my Slashdot page [cdreimer.com] on my author website and my blog posts [kickingthebitbucket.com]. My Slashdot trolls are frustrated because I've asked management to delete my 10+ year old account, for letting my current account languish at -1 (two posts per day), and giving them no love for following me around with their half-dozen copy-and-paste comments that is pissing everyone else off. It doesn't help that Slashdot has been offline for the last 48 hours. I'm not surprised that they came here to spread their hatred.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @04:11AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 03 2017, @04:11AM (#576416)

                  Can you show me some posts where someone is angry with your trolls and not you?
                  One that's not an AC who sounds exactly like you.

    • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:53PM

      by Pino P (4721) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @03:53PM (#573845) Journal

      Or because a traditional off-the-shelf gaming PC is a huge noisy tower that looks out of place in the living room, and home theater PCs have historically been a build-your-own thing for geeks only. Atari's industrial design would at least increase the spouse acceptance factor of using the living room TV as a monitor for an entertainment PC.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by edIII on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:07PM (2 children)

      by edIII (791) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:07PM (#573960)

      Maybe. They're directly competing with MAME, which is free, along with its ROMS that are easily found. Most people with any IT skills at all (like us here) can put together a MAME machine, hookup console controllers to it, and start playing whatever Atari titles we like along with thousands of others. Unlike what will probably be a reboot of some kind, these are the original video arcade ROMS. For those that can tell the difference between a stock arcade Galaga and one refactored 10 years later.

      The customers are people that enjoy retro gaming, are lacking in any IT skills, and also lack any other console out there, including a Steambox. I can't be exactly sure, but I know there are some Atari collections out there for different platforms (previous milking of the IP). Positive there was a Sony PSP release that had the most popular titles. Most likely it was released as a PC collection too somewhere. Never participated in the Sony online ecosystem, but I think the Play store(if that is what it is called) had some retro titles available too. I'm willing to bet real money that some kind of machine just like this already exists for retro gaming.

      All of my retro gaming needs are met by MAME quite handily. In any case, I would not buy a console when MAME is a superior product in the way an auto-piloted Tesla is superior to a tricycle. A handheld [flickeringmyth.com] is an entirely different story. That would be because I want it. I had already outfitted my Sony PSP with a rather large memory stick and multiple emulators, along with my GBA that also had emulators and arcade games. If I were to waste money on this thing, I would have at least 5 different devices capable of playing Galaga, most of them playing with the stock ROM.

      This is as if Atari forgot the lessons from 1983 and E.T. The market is already saturated with consoles, and many of those by much bigger players with longer histories of success in the console business. Then you have Steam trying to edge into the market with their "consoles", Microsoft trying to jam an entertainment center into their console, and Sony doing whatever the fuck it is doing now. Nintendo still exists, although bruised from their lack of success lately. What is Atari doing it with? The original titles most of which predate 1983. I could be wrong, but I don't think they will find much success outside of handheld consoles for less than $100 price points.

      Unless this becomes a huge "grandma" gift like the well received E.T game ;)

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday September 28 2017, @12:10AM (1 child)

        by Immerman (3985) on Thursday September 28 2017, @12:10AM (#574111)

        What could be interesting is if they actually made it essentially a low end Steambox in addition to a legal emulator. $300 isn't exactly going to buy you blistering performance, especially in a well-designed form factor, but Steam holds an endless reservoir of older games that would run like greased lightning on a modern $300 pc.

        • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:48AM

          by edIII (791) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:48AM (#574167)

          I think you're right. All they need to do is build a Steam client. That's not insurmountable, and Steam does exist on Linux.

          --
          Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:08PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 27 2017, @04:08PM (#573854) Homepage Journal

    That price range is just enough to get your hopes up, to be dashed when you put it to use. Anyone can run down to Wally World, and check out the display of laptops, and if your local WW has any desktops, check them too. Bear in mind that almost everything Walmart sells is pretty much bargain-basement with regards to performance.

    If I get all that very nostalgic for Atari games, I'll see about digging out the old console, see how many games are still hiding in the closet, and immerse myself for a few hours. Then again -

    apt-cache search atari
    aranym - Atari Running on Any Machine
    ballerburg - Classical castle combat game
    chipw - custom level editor for TileWorld / Chip's Challengeā„¢
    circuslinux - Clowns are trying to pop balloons to score points!
    circuslinux-data - data files for circuslinux
    disktype - detection of content format of a disk or disk image
    enigma - Game where you control a marble with the mouse
    enigma-data - Data files for the game enigma
    enigma-doc - Documentation for the game enigma
    firmware-linux-free - Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
    fonts-atarismall - Very small 4 x 8 font
    ttf-atarismall - transitional dummy package
    libgme-dev - Playback library for video game music files - development files
    libgme0 - Playback library for video game music files - shared library
    gnurobbo - logic game ported from ATARI XE/XL
    gnurobbo-data - logic game ported from ATARI XE/XL - data files
    hatari - Emulator for the Atari ST, STE, TT, and Falcon computers
    madbomber - Kaboom! clone
    madbomber-data - Datafiles for madbomber
    mednafen - multi-platform emulator, including NES, GB/A, Lynx, PC Engine
    solarwolf - Collect the boxes and don't become mad
    stella - Atari 2600 Emulator for SDL & the X Window System
    stymulator - Curses based player and converter for the YM chiptune format
    tcs - character set translator
    tuxpuck - air hockey game for single players
    tworld - Chip's Challenge Game Engine Emulation
    tworld-data - Chip's Challenge Game Engine Emulation - level data files
    virtualjaguar - Cross-platform Atari Jaguar emulator
    xmms2-plugin-gme - XMMS2 - gme plug-in
    atari800 - Atari 8-bit emulator for SDL

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday September 28 2017, @12:24AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday September 28 2017, @12:24AM (#574115)

      And where do you get legal roms for those? If you care about such things?

      Frankly a $300 laptop is... adequate for most everything most people do, except demanding 3D gaming. Ditch the monitor, battery, keyboard, touchpad, hinges, speakers, and the many compromises made for weight, compactness, and power efficiency, and I bet you you could afford to jazz up the CPU and 3D card enough to run most 5+ year old games fairly well. Throw on WINE and Steam, make sure they run well, and include links to GOG and HumbleBundle, and you could have a pretty sweet little retro-gaming PC on your hands.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @05:25PM (#573903)

    I'd just be happy if they would manufacture a paddle controller that works with pc with the same responsiveness as the old school Atari games. Would solve a lot of my mame issues.

  • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:33PM (16 children)

    by Aiwendil (531) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:33PM (#573942) Journal

    While on the tpoic of nostalgia - can anyone point me to an RF to HDMI-solution?

    I really would like to keep enjoying my consoles, the issue are those with RF out only (have an RCA/SCART to HDMI converter, so an RF to RCA would work as well)

    And I want it standalone, I don't mind building my own circuits if needed - but I do have an issue with the "use a vcr"-approach (VCRs are getting harder to come by)

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @06:40PM (#573946)

      Have you checked at RadioShack?

    • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:15PM (1 child)

      by edIII (791) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:15PM (#573963)

      VCRs are hard to come by?

      Computer store next door has a thrift section with two brand new Jaz disks and an actual working Jaz drive. Not to mention three VCRs sitting underneath a shelf. Goodwill always has a VCR. Like always. No idea on how to create your converter, but I know there are a couple of people here that could flat out design one for you.

      Just curious, but which consoles do you have that are RF only? I'm assuming they predate Nintendo because it has RCA outputs. IIRC, my Atari 2600 did have coax. I thought it did at least.

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:23AM

        by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:23AM (#574140) Journal

        Since I'm bordeting on hypochondria I refuse second hand, and even in junk surplus stores I havn't seen a VCR in years (they ran out there before in conventional stores - the wonders of a good recycling sysyem)

        And what devices I have thar are RF only - well, yes, I do have an Atari 2600, havn't taken a real close look at the C64 or VIC20 (current TV handles RF - I'm planning for when ot dies in 10-15 years), have a few oddballs [mixed bag of old industrial machines, videocameras, innards of an arcade-machine...].

    • (Score: 1) by Yaa101 on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:56PM (4 children)

      by Yaa101 (4091) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:56PM (#573996)

      How about google?: https://www.google.com/search?q=RF+to+HDMI [google.com]

      --
      No comment...
      • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:34AM (3 children)

        by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:34AM (#574153) Journal

        Sure, if it wouldn't also match "digital coaxial", or "HDMI to RF" or "HDMI to RCA" (gotta love when searchengine returns more stuff you didn't searcg for than what you search for).

        The few relevant hits are in the 100usd+p&p and almost always carries with them a few unwanted designchoices, but even so... It should be a simple circuit to convert RF to at least RCA (I saw lots of such drawings back in the late 90s, can't find 'em today)

        • (Score: 1) by Yaa101 on Thursday September 28 2017, @02:34AM (2 children)

          by Yaa101 (4091) on Thursday September 28 2017, @02:34AM (#574179)

          Maybe you need to look for rf to s-video?

          --
          No comment...
          • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Thursday September 28 2017, @03:29PM (1 child)

            by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday September 28 2017, @03:29PM (#574389) Journal

            Somehow that had completly escaped me and yielded lots of useful ideas, thanks.

            • (Score: 1) by Yaa101 on Thursday September 28 2017, @11:08PM

              by Yaa101 (4091) on Thursday September 28 2017, @11:08PM (#574576)

              You're welcome...

              --
              No comment...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:05PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:05PM (#574004)

      You'd be looking for an RF demodulator. After having a gander around, it looks like that would be in the ballpark of $100. (Make sure it's for NTSC or PAL or SECAM depending on your region rather than ATSC or DVB)

      That said, have you considered modding in composite video? That should be relatively straightforward for nearly any machine that shipped with coax output, and would give a much cleaner signal.

      • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:37AM

        by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:37AM (#574159) Journal

        I'd rather just build/buy one box than having to mod about a dozen machines. (Also, I'm not a fan of cracking open old consoles).

        Yeah, when DVB appeared pretty much all analouge disappeared, and here the change to DVB for TV happened quite a while ago.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:26PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:26PM (#574021)

      I have several RF-to-VGA converters, they are ~10 euros, you can connect them to VGA-HDMI if you want, but I guess there are RF-to-HDMI converters too. Try to search for external tv tuner.

      • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:25AM

        by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:25AM (#574143) Journal

        Happen to have a make/model or similar on those? Would be a very useful startpoint.

        I have VGA to HDMI (and vice versa) around already.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by RamiK on Wednesday September 27 2017, @09:11PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @09:11PM (#574042)

      You'd really want to clean the signal at the source: http://etim.net.au/2600rgb/ [etim.net.au] as mentioned here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/262209-what-is-this-witchcraft-heresy-2600-switching-power-supply-modification/ [atariage.com]

      Look up youtube for the reviews.

      --
      compiling...
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 28 2017, @02:57PM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday September 28 2017, @02:57PM (#574369) Homepage
      Bypass the RF? IIRC you can do that with ZX Spectrum, you chuck out a whole block and replace it with a single resister, and that gives you what's expected on an RCI input, IIRC, so perhaps it's doable for other machines of the same era.
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @05:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @05:02PM (#574431)

      There's always the do-it-yourself route. xD http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-an-RF-adapter/ [instructables.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @05:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @05:29PM (#574454)
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by nobu_the_bard on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:36PM (2 children)

    by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:36PM (#573974)

    So you're saying for around $250 I can get the full Pong experience my father got, particularly the part where he paid $250 to play Pong? :)

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by takyon on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:19PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:19PM (#574016) Journal

      But you can also stream Pong to your fans on Twitch while begging for money to buy a PS4 Pro.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:32PM

        by edIII (791) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:32PM (#574025)

        Thanks. I have tears down my face because of my experience with Twitch :D

        Have a younger relative that was constantly beseeching me for help with better and faster internet. Latency, latency, latency, etc. Eventually helped him because he was becoming morose since he didn't have the proper support to become a Twitch superstar, make the big bucks, and enjoy all the groupies. I sorted him out and now he thinks he will get into the "NBA" elite as a superstar. I mean, he's not even Korean. What chance does he have?

        The image of him playing retro games from the 70s while panhandling on Twitch for pennies for a better setup is comedy gold. At least to me. The only thing funnier is that these young people are turning watching video games into a sport. The new trend isn't to actually play video games, no no no, but to watch the superstars do it. They make ridiculous amounts of money from fans sponsoring them. Mind boggling, simply mind boggling.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:39PM (2 children)

    by jmorris (4844) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @08:39PM (#574030)

    This article is making three extraordinary claims.

    1. That a company that can afford to buy the Atari IP has to crowdfund a product.

    2. That AMD is taping out a custom chip for a crowdfunded project likely to fail.

    3. That any corporate entity would release the Atari IP preloaded on a truly open platform.

    On claim might be true, making this product pitch worthy of at least debating the merits of. Three?

    SCAM! Move on.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by arslan on Thursday September 28 2017, @03:04AM (1 child)

      by arslan (3462) on Thursday September 28 2017, @03:04AM (#574187)

      Eh? Unless I'm reading it wrong, #1 doesn't apply since it is Atari that is running this initiative so they don't actually have to buy their own IP?

      Also, it makes sense give they're mostly (or is it exclusively?) a software company nowadays and this is a good strategy to get back into hardware without plunking a big chunk of capex up-front, so low risk. The open platform is to spice the bait?

      I would think the future of gaming is digital delivery, ownership, community & marketplace. Any software company that has their own delivery platform is better off than being at the mercy of another company's platform...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @03:24AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @03:24AM (#574191)

        The biggest claim is that it is a "custom" SoC. Probably barely modified from off the shelf components, maybe they asked for a specific RAM chip to be soldered on. They already own and have been whoring out the Atari name and back catalog (as you stated), and the crowdfunding thing is mostly marketing want to build up hype for the product. The most interesting part is claiming that it will allow users to customize the Linux install, note that they said customize and not modify. That could be anything from changing to launcher like Android to being an Ubuntu install with no UEFI lock.

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