AtGames is back at it again with a new mini version of an absolute retro gaming classic, the Atari 2600. This latest model is called the Atari Flashback X. It’s time to brush up those joystick skills and play some Frogger, Centipede, Space Invaders and so much more. Let’s see if this is worth adding to your mini console collection.
Atari Flashback X
There have been quite a few attempts made by many manufacturers at replicating the awesomeness that is the Atari 2600 system. That’s because retro gaming continues to grow in popularity year after year, without any signs of slowing down. Even with keeping all of that in mind, it’s still amazing that a system from 43 years ago still carries such a huge and passionate following to this very day.
When we saw AtGames was releasing the Atari Flashback X, we had to get our hands on it and check out the build quality, features, game selection and performance. On paper and by the screenshots we had viewed, it all sounded highly promising. The system comes packed with 2 Joysticks, a power adapter and 110 classic Atari games that display at 720p with save states and rewind functionality.
“We were curious at first, but now the Atari Flashback X had our full attention.”
The system itself is TINY. AtGames got the size just right for a mini clone. It certainly looks the part, highly reminiscent of many visual cues and features from the original model that launched back in 1977. This included the iconic wood grain front panel, physical toggle switches up top (Power, Game Difficulty for P1 and P2, Game Select, Game Reset) and a simulated cartridge slot. The only switch missing on the Flashback X from the original Atari 2600 is the Color/B&W option…obviously not needed today in 2020.
Around the back, you’ll find two controller ports, marked Left and Right. There is a HDMI output for your HD TV or monitor (cable not included); plus a Micro-USB jack that supplies power to the device. Once everything is connected and plugged in, a very clean and easy to navigate frontend boots up. It has a sleek modern look. Each game is presented by the official box art. It is highly reminiscent of a well done RetroPie build in its overall presentation, which a big compliment in my book. The system menu is presented on the left side of the screen that includes: Favorites, Recently Played, Games by Alphabetical Order, Atari Games, Paddle Games, Settings and About. Options are limited, but you can turn the background music on or off and swap out the screen border graphics.
The two wired joysticks and console itself look good and feel excellent. I’d like the action button to be a little more responsive and feature a slightly higher sensitivity for registering button pushes. It’s something you quickly get use to however and adapt to. Saving your gameplay progress is a breeze. Simply press the Menu button the P1 controller and this brings up the in-game system menu. Here you can save or load at anytime. There are three other buttons on the front that include Select, Start and Rewind. The Rewind mechanic that is now almost a staple among these mini retro consoles, is actually pretty handy. It allows you to progress further by learning from your mistakes; winding the tape back before that tragic game ending error was made.
The Atari Flashback X by AtGames comes pretty close to a flawless performance, especially given its affordable $59.99 price point. Our only minor gripe is the responsiveness of the joystick’s action button. Keep in mind some may find it perfect. We just happen to wish it required a tad less pressure to register user inputs.
Presentation wise, it looks fantastic. The wood grain finish and authentic functional toggle switches mimicked from the Atari 2600 have been implemented beautifully here. The build quality on this mini console is on point. It has a stacked library of 110 classic games to choose from and comes with 2 joysticks for multiplayer fun right out of the box for the games that support it. The inclusion of save slots and gameplay rewind add further value and replayability to the system. This is an excellent pickup for both long time Atari fans and for those just getting introduced to this era.