|Title||Atari 10-in-1 Games System|
|Release Date||November 2005?|
|Platform||Any TV with RCA inputs|
Atari has had some financial troubles in the past years – the company trademark sold from company to company over the years until it was finally snatched up by Infogrames, which has used the Atari license to publish many games, including the Unreal franchise. Infogrames set up a licensing agreement with Jakk’s Pacific, makers of several toy electronics, to publish a nostalgic Atari 2600 game system, ready for any standard TV.
Overall, it can’t really compete with the present console market in terms of gaming experience and has a number of shortcomings including touchy controls, a limited software library, and insufficient multiplayer support—definitely not a 360 killer. However, it is dirt cheap.
The unit comes completely intact: everything you need to play is in one piece. The reset, select, and start buttons are integrated into the base, as well as a power switch and red power LED. The video and mono audio cable are also permanently attached to the joystick’s base. The game system is powered by 4 AAA batteries (not included), which are inserted into a compartment on the bottom of the base. The batteries make the base a little deeper and the weight a little heavier than an original Atari joystick. Other than that, this has the same nostalgic ergonomics of the original Atari joystick (horrible though they may be).
The unit includes 10 games that the maker describes as “classic.” Classic or no, I must admit that the games were like nothing I had ever played before. The unit takes a few seconds to “boot up” when the power switch is turned on, which then presents a splash screen followed by a selection menu with all 10 games. The games are selected by using the joystick. Once a game is selected, the user is then presented with a short synopsis of the game and instructions. Pressing the lone fire button skips past this screen to start the game.
Once in the game the user must start the game in the same way as the original Atari 2600 – either press Start to begin at the default settings and difficulty, or press the Select button to toggle through different game modes. Once your mode is selected, pressing Start starts the game. All games are controlled using the 8-way joystick (replaced in today’s consoles by the D-pad) and a single red Fire button. The fire button feels very clicky, and the joystick responds with a little pressure in each direction. You don’t actually feel the stick move – it feels rather stiff, but responds well. The pressure and leverage of the stick makes the base want to tilt, so the player should have a death-grip on the base if they don’t want this “console” it to come flying out of their hands.
Here’s a snippet from the Jakk’s Pacific website:
The award-winning Plug It In & Play TV Games™ products are gaming systems that contain multiple games in one single controller and featuring today’s hottest videogame and entertainment licenses. All that is needed are batteries and a TV — no videogame consoles are required. Simply plug the TV Games™ unit into the A/V jacks of any standard television set, turn it on and play! The lightweight, compact, all-inclusive controller houses a combination of videogames with all of the hardware and software built right in. This technology allows gaming fans to enjoy a number of videogames with just one single purchase.