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Review: Atari Flashback 7 Plug-N-Play Console

Now I'm sure you all know by now that Nintendo is my go to dev when it comes to video games, but while Nintendo happens to be the one to make my favorite system now, when I was just a young bab the only thing I had at the time was an old Atari 2600 that was handed down to me by my grandfather. I loved that thing to death...literally. It ended up dying one day and we had to throw it out due to how expensive it was to repair something like that in the early 90's. So because of that event in my life, whenever I see something Atari related I can't help myself but to buy it. Case in point: the Atari Flashback 7 Classic Game Console. Now y'all probably thought that I would be reviewing the NES Classic Edition for the holidays this year. Well to tell you the truth that was my initial plan, but since I can't find the damn thing anywhere this will have to do instead. So let's see if it holds up to the original classic system that its trying so hard to mimic.

So from the get go I noticed that the wireless controllers that came with it used infrared instead of radio waves or bluetooth. It was incredibly annoying to try and play the games like this as the controller needed to be pointed DIRECTLY at the console's face in order for it to properly work. Luckily, I had some wired controllers from a previous iteration of the system that I could use. This is when things started to get weird. While the Flashback lists itself as being a "classic" game console, in actuality there is a small chunk of the 101 pre-installed game on it that are homebrew games (like Chase It, Miss It, and Shield Shifter) that were released within the last decade and a couple of them were games that were never officially released at all (like Tempest, Wizard, and Save Mary). While this is nice, it kinda undermines the "classic" aspect that the system is advertising on the box.

Next is the fact that many of the games in this compilation were designed to take advantage of the manuals that originally came with them. With the manuals being absent, much of the gameplay that was used in some of the games (like in the Swordquest series) is now extremely cryptic or utter nonsense as there is now no way to figure out what they mean without looking up a walkthrough online. Even Atari Anthology on the PS2 and XBox had scans of the original manuals that you could access at any time. This is just lazy.

Finally, we have the fact that a small handful of the games in this system like Off the Wall and Circus Atari are best played with the rotational paddle controllers. Now I didn't get the special bundle pack that already had these controllers, but I wasn't willing to spend an additional $20-30 just so I could play with these cheaply made controllers; they feel like I could break them if I just sneeze in the wrong direction. In addition to this, this console is composite output ONLY. There is no way to get this thing to work on an HD TV unless it already has a compatible input or if you have an adapter of some kind.

Overall, this plug-n-play is baffling to say the least. It calls itself classic even though about 10% isn't, it has games that work best with controllers that it doesn't have (unless you pay extra), and the lack of manuals make the rest of the compilation confusing to figure out. If you already know the solutions to the games then that should make some things easier, but all in all this console is pretty lack luster for the amount it costs. It would make more sense to buy Atari Anthology, so until then, I'll be seeing you.



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