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The Atari 2600

Emulation

 

Flashback

Flashback 2

Activision

Last Words

Atari Joystick

Deluxe Paddles

Activision 2

Links

The Menu (Interface)

The initial menu is divided into 4 categories  Adventure, Space, Racing, and Skill/Action, similar to the original Atari 2600 category system. By using the joystick you can move up and down through the list. To select a category you press the joystick button. Once you have selected a category, you can move through the game list by moving the joystick up or down. There is a menu option to return to the the main menu. Selecting a game is done the same way as selecting a category you press the joystick button. Once you have selected the game the consoles select, reset and difficulty switches come into play. By pressing the select button on the console you will cycle through the games variations. Pressing the joystick button will start the selected game variation. Some games use the difficulty switches, they are simple a/b switches. When pressed you are on difficulty B often the easier variation, and when un pressed you are on difficulty a. The reset switch on the console will reset the current game to the first game variation, difficulty switches will remain unchanged. To return to the main categories menu you have to turn the console off by pressing the power switch twice. Once to turn it off and once to turn it back on.

The Games:

The console has 40 games built in.

Just like the original Atari game cartridges and the Atari Flashback, the Flashback 2 includes multiple variations of the included game cartridges Allowing you to play with 1 or 2 players, a harder version or variation of the game. The playability of a game lasts much longer this way, and by including the variations you have more than the 40 games include.

All the games are Atari 2600 games, except for 3 arcade versions. They have added some value to the game mix by included a few prototypes, unreleased and homebrew games as well as licensing a couple of Activision games. . They updated a couple of games like Asteroids - now it looks more like the Arcade version with the asteroids being hollow instead of blocks of color They also included Millipede, but this is the alternate version and not the one released. (I am not completely sure what is different)  There are even two bonus paddle games that can be unlocked but you need to have original Atari paddles to use them.

Adventure

Arcade

Space

Skill and Action

Easter Egg

Adventure

Arcade Asteroids

Caverns of Mars

3D Tic-Tac-Toe

Human Cannonball

Warlords

Adventure 2

Arcade Pong

Quadrun

Aquaventure

Off The Wall

Super Breakout

Haunted House

Asteroids Deluxe

Saboteur

Atari Climber

Outlaw

 

Return to Haunted House

Battlezone

Space War

Combat

Pitfall

 

Secret Quest

Centipede

Yar’s Revenge

Combat 2

Radar Lock

 

Wizard

Lunar Lander

Yar’s Return

Dodge’em

River Raid

 

 

Millipede

 

Fatal Run

Save Mary

 

 

Missile Command

 

Frog Pond

Video Checkers

 

 

 

 

Hangman

Video Chess

 

The Atari Flashback 2

On November 1, 2005, almost a year after the release of the Atari Flashback the Flashback 2 was released. The Flashback 2 was designed just like a miniature Atari 2600 and the Joysticks looked like Atari 2600 joysticks. The new console was in many ways a replacement to the Flashback and the way it should have been done in the first place, especially since the Flashback was mainly a 2600 emulator and didn’t take advantage of he 7800 platform..

 

What is in the box:

The Atari Flashback 2 comes with the main console measuring all of 5.9”l x 9”w x 2.25”h.  2 joysticks to plug into the console, a power adapter and one RCA audio\video cable to connect it to the TV. Unlike the Flashback, the RCA cable is connected to the console. There is also an instruction manual included.

The Setup

Setting up the Flashback couldn’t be simpler as nothing can be accidentally plugged into the wrong or fatal jack. The RCA cable connects to any of the RCA inputs on your television and plug the power adapter into into the console then into a two prong power receptacle (a wall plug). You should also make sure to have the joysticks plugged into the console. The manual has pictures to follow if you should encounter any problems.

The Manual:

The Atari Flashback 2 manual is well setup with a page on what is included and how to take care of the system. There are a couple of pages of setup and trouble shooting. Except for some credits and licenses at the end the rest of the manual is about the games. The Games are separated into Genres like, Space, Adventure, Sport, Arcade, etc. Each game has about a paragraph of information that contains, basic instructions and often a story line. The variations are not covered well in most cases, but you can easily figure most of them out. The instructions are okay and be enough to get you playing. Overall the manual is well laid out and helpful if and when you need it. There could be more information on the games though..

 

The Console and controls

The console is a very small version of the second edition Atari 2600, complete with a power, select and reset switch and a difficulty switch for each player. The difficulty switches and black and white switch are hard to tell what position they are in by just looking at them.  The controllers are replicas of the Atari 2600 joysticks, simple 8 directions and a single button. They can even be used with an original Atari 2600 or you can use your old Atari Joysticks and paddles with it. The joysticks work fine for the games that used paddles originally. No more unplugging the controller just to play a a different game.

The Internals:

The Flashback 2 is in all reality an Atari 2600 without a cartridge slot. It is a modern redesign but really no different from the original Atari 2600. It also means if you want to break the Licensing agreement you could wire a cartridge slot onto it and play all those Atari 2600 cartridges you have floating around. The Flashback 2 does contain a bit of new code so that paddle games, like Pong can use joysticks, but the included paddle games work fine with the joystick and I don't miss unplugging and plugging in controllers. There is also some game ROMs and menu code added to the setup. You could, if you wanted, add a cartridge slot to the Flashback 2 and you would have a working Atari 2600.

Final Thoughts:

The Flashback 2 addressed almost all of the issues with the flashback, modeling after the original Atari 2600 design although much smaller. Like its predecessor it has two player support and plugs in. Now it has 40 games, including prototypes, homebrews, Arcade variants and a couple of Activision titles.  The Flashback 2 is simple to set up and just as easy to select and play a game.  It is a great little system with games for just about anyone and that most people could learn quickly.

One draw back is that in order to select a different game (not variation) you have to turn the power off, then on. This was fine with an Original 2600 as you had to take out a cartridge and put a new one in. Having to turn the power off does keep with the classic feel but is annoying and there is no reason they couldn't have added a reset\menu button like the original Flashback had. It just doesn't seem right that I have to turn the machine off and on just to select a new game. It would also have been nice to have given the machine a pause feature.

Paddles Only -Easter egg (DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW)

To access the two hidden games, while on the main menu, move the joystick (plugged into the left controller port) as follows: up once, down nine times, up seven times, down two times. If input correctly, a new menu will appear from which you can choose the games Warlords or Super Breakout. However, in order to play these games, you'll then need to plug in the paddle controllers from an original 1970s/1980s Atari 2600.