AtGames’ Ray Attiyat joins us to talk about Flashbacks, hardware hurdles, and how the company plans to stay competitive in the crowded retro console market.
If you consider yourself a fan of retro games, you’ve probably had the name “AtGames” grab your attention. These fine folks that have been whetting retro appetites since 2004 with their series of Flashback consoles that range from the Atari 2600 all the way up to the golden age of the Sega Genesis. Having several pre-installed classics on the consoles and easy installation by way of composite cables, the Flashback series has been the most convenient way for old-school gamers to scratch their nostalgic itch. But now that most homes have shiny new HD sets within them, those composite cables don’t seem to be cutting it anymore. HDMI is here to stay and AtGames is keeping up with the times. With a new Atari Flashback 8 Gold HD and Sega Genesis Flashback HD, retro-minded gamers can now play their favorites in glorious high definition! We were able to sit down with AtGames and discuss what these new consoles have in store for us, and more importantly, what they’re doing to compete with other retro-inspired companies that have found their way onto the market.
Hey Poor Player: Hello and thank you for taking time out of your day to talk with us. A big part of our website is dedicated to retro games, and we respect any company that offers more ways for all of us to play our favorite games of yesteryear. As many retro game aficionados know, AtGames has been around for quite some time, but for readers who may not know of your company, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Ray Attiyat: The AtGames is home to a family of premiere retro gaming brands including Atari, Sega, and Konami, with more joining in the future. Our retro console and portable lineup has sold millions globally and established AtGames as a premiere purveyor of fun.
Hey Poor Player: What is your take on the retro gaming boom? Why do you feel gamers are reverting back (or playing for the first time) the classics?
Ray Attiyat: We find that our customer base is a mix of nostalgic adults and newcomers who want to check out some classic games that they may have heard about but have not yet played. Since all of our consoles come with two controllers, multiplayer gaming is a given, including between parents and kids! It’s great family fun and introduces retro titles to a younger generation.
Hey Poor Player: What do you feel is the most important factor to consider when creating one of your Flashback consoles?
Ray Attiyat: We try to mimic much of the look and feel of the original systems and controllers, but do make considerations for modern technology and the tastes of today’s consumers. For instance, our Sega Genesis Flashback console comes standard with 2.4ghz wireless controllers, but still remains compatible with the original Sega Genesis controllers. Original cartridge support is also available on the Sega Genesis Flashback
Hey Poor Player: Do you feel your Flashback consoles have paved the way for other companies to develop similar products? What are your thoughts on Nintendo and their Classic series of consoles?
Ray Attiyat: Nintendo’s releases have been great for the entire retro market. It gives everyone another great option and we welcome them into the retro gaming space.
Hey Poor Player: Your upcoming Flashback console, the Sega Genesis Flashback HD, will be hitting store shelves this September. You’ve commented that some of the review units that have been sent out have had some issues, needing a firmware update to squash out some of the bugs. Can consumers expect the launch units to be running a newer firmware than the review units, or will they have to download the firmware and update it themselves?
Ray Attiyat: Those early reviews were made on pre-production units of the consoles. We have been working nonstop and believe that both reviewers and customers will be pleased with the production units. Newest firmware will be on all units– No downloads required.
Hey Poor Player: The Sega Genesis’ Yamaha YM2612 sound chip has been proven difficult to emulate. What can we expect from the Sega Genesis Flashback HD in terms of sound emulation?
Ray Attiyat: It’s by far our most accurate sound emulation to date. While even the sound in the original consoles varied somewhat, our new implementation does a great job of making everything sound just like you’d expect.
Hey Poor Player: It seems several other companies (i.e. Hyperkin & Retro-bit) are creating products for the retro video game market. How does ATGames plan to distinguish themselves from these companies and not get lost in the retro pool.
Ray Attiyat: We feel that the biggest distinguisher would be our clearing of rights with publishers to include their games built into our systems. This year we secured Bandai-Namco for the Pac-Man games, as well as the entire Activision Atari 2600 library.
Hey Poor Player: Your Genesis and Atari Flashback consoles are going the way of HD via HDMI. Can we expect the same with your ColecoVision and IntelliVision consoles? Any other products that we can expect to see from AT Games?
Ray Attiyat: We have a few all new products in the pipeline 😉 But nothing that we can comment on now. As for the ColecoVision and IntelliVision consoles– HDMI would be a consideration if we were to begin producing those again.
Thank you so much for you time and answering our questions. We at Hey Poor Player can’t wait to experience what future products you have in store for retro video game fans!
The Atari 2600 and SEGA Genesis Flashback consoles are slated to release on September 22 and will be priced at $79.99. For more on AtGames’ upcoming lineup for Flashback consoles, be sure to check out their official site. So, do you plan on adding either of these upcoming retro consoles to your collection when they become available next month? As always, we love to hear what you think. Be sure to sound off in the comments and let us know.