Pre-orders for Atari's VCS console start at $249

Atari VCS Family

Pre-orders for Atari's retro VCS console start at $249

Atari has partnered with GameStop and Walmart to open up general pre-orders for its upcoming Atari VCS console, which will ship in March 2020 after the initial round of pre-orders arrive later this year.

The classic Atari brand is making yet another return, this time as a retro-styled set-top box gaming console.

Several models are being offered, with slightly different specs, designs and accessories.

The base VCS 400, with an AMD processor, embedded Vega graphics and 4GB of RAM, will cost you $249.

Once launched, though, the Atari VCS crowdfunding campaign proved popular: The device quickly broke through its funding goal and has now raised more than $4 million, originally on the promise that backers would receive hardware early this year. The classic Atari-style joystick and more modern gamepad will sell for $49 and $59 respectively, though, and buying an all-inclusive 800 model with the both controllers will cost you $389.

We've reported on the Atari VCS (not that one, the new one) in the past, mostly out of morbid curiosity; it's not a Nintendo system but given the popularity of "classic" retro consoles - such as the SNES Classic Edition and Mega Drive Mini - we found the whole concept incredibly interesting, as well as little worrying. GameStop is only selling the all-black model, while Walmart is offering an exclusive version with a Kevlar Gold front panel.

While the original is remembered for its wood grain and toggle switches, all-black was a look for the Atari 2600 VCS, too, often referred to as the "Vader", invoking the Star Wars villain.

Granted, there's a "Sandbox Mode" which allows you to effectively turn the unit into a traditional PC by installing your own operating system from an external drive, but is that really the kind of thing console players are going to want to mess around with when they've spent nearly $400 on a new games console?

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