by Graham Pierrepoint
Games Consoles: Is the future in the past?
The world of videogaming has become very big business indeed over the past twenty years – while the growth of gaming can be spotted all over the world, from Nintendo and Sega in Japan to Microsoft in the US, there’s now a rich history to games going back decades. This, obviously, wasn’t here years ago – meaning that, in time, videogaming will cement itself even more into the mainstream and into popular culture. One of the biggest names that helped to kick everything off back in the day – back when gaming was seen as a niche, nerdy hobby – was Atari, who infamously suffered losses following what has been termed as the Video Games Crash of the early 1980s. This was a downturn that saw the industry dip until at least 1985, when Nintendo aimed to revolutionize home gaming once again – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Atari are widely associated with a bygone era of videogaming that many players of today won’t be familiar with. While ‘retro’ gaming largely applies to the properties of the early 90s (and is even stretching ahead to the late 90s and early 00s as time presses on), this era is just about as far back as you can go – and it seems that a new console from Atari will aim to monopolize on the thirst for classic gaming that has been driving immense sales for Nintendo and Sega over the past 12 to 18 months.
The proposed slimline ‘Ataribox’ has been unveiled to fans of the firm and their games – and while release dates and exact specifications are yet to be unveiled, it is suggested that the device will be HD ready, SD card mountable and will come in a variety of flavors – possibly even in wood panelling, much like the Atari 2600 of old. It’s thought that the console will host old, beloved games and may even see new releases – offering clear indication that the NES Mini Classic has spurred the firm on to get a slice of the nostalgia pie that so many gamers are helping themselves to.
With Sinclair having made a comeback with the ZX Spectrum Vega – and with Sega producing Genesis consoles in Brazil for the first time in decades – the future really is in the past. Will Sony and Microsoft hop on board with anniversary versions of their old systems? Let’s wait and see.