May 20 2012
Thoughts on the Atari Flashback 3
After having no luck picking up either the Flashback 2 or 2+ locally, I finally managed to get my hands on the Atari Flashback 3, now being manufactured my AtGames. I have mixed thoughts on this console, but overall I recommend it IF you can get a fully working unit.

The Flashback 3 has 60 Atari 2600 games on it, mostly old classics but also some new and unreleased games. Two huge standouts for me are Combat 2 and Adventure 2, two games that expanded greatly on the originals. There's the usual share of good games and clunkers, but mostly its a good selection. One large disappointment for myself was the removal of Pitfall from the Flashback 2, as it was one of the greatest releases for the 2600 and should be here. Still, there's a good selection of classics here such as Yars Revenge, Asteroids, Super Breakout, Centipede, Ghost House, and Adventure.

It looks like AtGames is having some major quality control issues with these units. It took me three tries to get a working setup. The first one I got had a nonworking power supply. The second one powered on, but when a controller was plugged in it flipped through the menus continually. This happened with both the controllers it came with as well as the original 2600 controllers. Finally, the third unit I received fully working.

A small concern that some people are having with this newer Flashback is that it is now being controlled with an ARM CPU emulating the games instead of Atari hardware, thus it cannot have a 2600 cartridge port hacked into it in order to play original 2600 titles. To me this is a nonissue as I have both an original 2600 and 7800 to play the original games, but people who like to do mods are out of luck with this one.

Overall I think this is a decent console for people to either re-live a few of the 2600 games, to try out some of the unreleased games, or as a second 2600 to have in the living room without needing to haul all their carts around. Just be sure that you have options to return the console for a different one if you get a nonworking one, which seems to be a problem for these.

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