Atari 2600 Flashback Portable Revealed
By James Grahame
The not-so-hot Atari Flashback and her awesome little sister -- Flashback 2.0 -- will soon have an itty-bitty portable sibling. Curt Vendel, the Flashback's designer, recently unveiled a prototype portable Atari 2600 on the AtariAge forums. It sports an angular early-1980s design and includes a 2.5" 320 x 240 TFT LCD screen with NTSC A/V output. Power will be supplied by 3 x AAA batteries (just like the Coleco/SEGA handheld).
Vendel seems determined to support DIY modifications. He explains, "There will be test points around the cpu chip to access all of the signals, I will also release the pinout of the chip, something I wasn't allowed to do previously." He also reports that the USB connector on the prototype will be replaced by a 'mini-connector' (presumably USB-B) for loading new games. This is great news for homebrew 2600 game authors, since they'll finally have a brand new platform to showcase their work. There's also a 20-pin 'micro connector' to allow users to easily hack up their own controllers (paddles, trackballs, etc.)
Of course, some sacrifices had to be made to create an affordable Atari 2600 portable: it's not 100% compatible with the original, so some titles that stretched the limits of the original hardware (Pitfall II, for example) won't run. Several 2600 die-hards have also commented on the placement of the d-pad controller, which places the 'fire' button on the opposite side compared to the original Atari joystick.
Vendel is aiming for a $39.99 retail price and the black prototype case will be replaced with something a tad more authentic. "A 2600 woody themed case is what is in the works right now," he remarks.
FB2 portable thread on AtariAge [via Joystiq]
Our original FB2 console announcement