The Atari VCS Console Just Got a Redesign

The Atari VCS console — formerly known as the Ataribox — has a new updated design that will lower its price and make it closer to the original, the Atari 2600.

Running an AMD Ryzen processor, the Atari VCS will include 100 classic Atari games, both on their arcade and 2600 versions. The open, Linux-based console will be internet-connected and allegedly have new games like Tempest 4000.

So far, however, the $199 console only has support from small indie developers. The company hasn’t released a list of new incoming games.

Here’s a comparison between the new model and the original.

Credit: Atari

(Image credit: Atari)

Touted by the Atari team as the final model, this update has simplified the console manufacturing process. They have kept the same curved ribs but instead of being built with 16 separate fins, it only has four pieces to assemble: top and bottom housing, and from and back panels.

Credit: Atari

(Image credit: Atari)

The original Ataribox design didn’t have the base of the new model. Like the 2600, the new VCS will be elevated instead of flat with the floor. The new Atari VCS is 12.3 by 5.9 by 2.0 inches.

This new construction, Atari claims, is stronger and has better thermal management, thanks to the bigger volume. It also uses “far less material which reduces plastic waste, and has shorter and more-precise assembly times.”

The USB ports will be on the front of the bottom base, while the back will be reserved for expansion, network, and HDMI ports. The company has kept the front wood panel for the Collector’s edition, and black for the VCS Onyx edition, which keeps its red back panel.

The Onyx has lost its red LED Atari logo. Now it will use the same white LED as the Collector’s edition, and the joystick and gamepad. The design team believes that it is important that everything uses the same color code, even while the Collector’s edition is a 6,000-unit limited edition that is already sold out.

It’s not clear how the Indiegogo-backed console — which has raised almost $3 million so far — will work in a crowded market full of gaming options from Android gaming to the Switch to the big consoles and high end PCs, and competing head to head against Nintendo and Sega’s mini editions of their classic NES, SNES, and Genesis consoles. The latter group are closed emulation machines, sure, but the price is much lower than the Atari VCS and they come with much more popular and entertaining games.

But if you really must play Centipede, Asteroids, Missile Command, Pong, and Battlezone on a $199 dedicated machine, you can order the Atari VCS Onyx in the company’s Indiegogo page.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.