Remember that scary movie as a child, the one that gave you nightmares and even perhaps prompted you to hide behind the sofa? I bet if you watched it now, you would laugh at how unscary it was. You might even wonder how you could have even thought it was scary in the first place.
The same can be said for the Atari Flashback, Atari's attempt to cash in on that nostalgia factor and get you to part with your hard-earned cash. Nostalgia can make you do stupid things. Like believing that games over 20 years old can still be any good.
Over the past year, companies have tried their best to release retro gaming devices and while the first bunch struck a cord with the novelty purchase, Atari Flashback seems just to be cashing in on the ride and in age terms, scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Designed to look like an old Atari console, the unit comes with cables and charger to connect to the power and the television. The unit also comes with two gaming joysticks from around the 7800 era so you can battle against your friends. To be fair and in spite of our verdict, we think overall the addition of a power charger and the additional joystick is a nice touch and certainly does mean it sticks out from the retro gamin console crowd.
Start the device up and you get the chance to play over 20 games. Most of the classics from the Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 are here; Breakout, Battlezone, Gravitar, Millipede, and even Asteroids. However there are also notable exclusions such as Pong and Missile Command, both of which can be found on yet another retro plug and play console at a slightly cheaper price.
24 years is a long time in the gaming industry and as you would imagine the graphics and sound are both very, very dated. Couple this with repetitive gameplay and you've the making of a 30-minute fad before it gets chucked in the bin or on Ebay.
There is a reason we aren't still playing on the Atari and this just goes to prove the point even further. Likewise there is a time and a place for nostalgia, however you'll soon come to realise this isn't one of them. Ironically in spite of the Lego graphics, it's still ironic that some of Activision's early titles have aged better, in spite of sharing the ugly visuals in some cases.