Sometimes the Plug-And-Play systems look really nice, to be honest.
When people think of plug-and-play video game systems, they generally think of the swath of various throwaway systems that you find at your local pharmacy or outlet store. Shelves are adorned with mini arcade cabinets and licensed Intellivision hunks of plastic.
Or, maybe you have some memories of playing one of the many AtGames’ Atari Flashback systems that have been out over the past two decades. In any case, My Arcade’s Atari Gamestation Pro takes the idea and gives it a tad bit more polish than older iterations.
My Arcade, admittedly, generally is the creator of a lot of those shoveled-out systems you see on clearance. But, at least they’re properly licensed and can offer some really good games sometimes. They also tend to have pretty good controllers.
The Atari Gamestation Pro is a small plug-and-play system that comes with two wireless controllers and over 200+ games built-in. Where many have failed over and over, the Gamestation Pro looks a lot nicer.
The controller caught my attention first and foremost. While a lot of the crappy Flashback versions tried to perfectly mimic the look of a classic Atari joystick, this one merely takes inspiration from it, while bringing in a modern appeal and quality-of-life changes.
Oh, and both controllers and the console itself have RGB LED lighting because of course it does. It’s aimed at a modern gamer after all and anything that doesn’t have neon lights is clearly not for gamers.
The Atari Gamestation Pro also brings 200+ games with it. The big deal here is that it’ll include a library consisting of classics from 2600, 5200, 7800, and Arcade, as well as some “bonus titles” that aren’t specifically named. This, according to them, is the first time that’s all happened.
The Atari Gamestation Plus becomes the Pro
Back in January 2023, My Arcade announced the Atari Gamestation Plus. It was set for $99.99, includes 200+ games, and offers essentially the same thing. According to rumblings on the internet, it was due out last June.
A quick cursory look shows that the Gamestation Plus is nowhere to be found. But, when it was announced, the retro gaming forums, such as Reddit, had some complaints.
They complained that the system didn’t include the Atari Paddle at all, which is literally a big knob that acts as a controller, used for games like PONG. They also pointed out that the joystick was an 8-direction instead of a smooth 360-degree rotation. Initial impressions mention that there didn’t seem to be expandable memory for saves, either.
While the controller may not have changed, the new joystick includes a new little paddle knob on the controller. There’s no mention of the directional options, but it’s likely still the same as it doesn’t affect gameplay much on an Atari system. Plus, the press release mentions a Micro SD slot for saves.
It’s not stated that the Gamestation Plus evolved into the Pro, but it’s pretty clearly the case here. Everything is pretty identical to each other, physically, aside from the new paddle in the corner of the controller. Also, the Plus has been swept off any mention from My Arcade’s website.
While $99.99 may seem a tad steep for a potentially throwaway plug-and-play system, we hope it can be a bit more this time around. Plug-and-play video game systems are the candy corn of the game industry.
The Atari Gamestation Pro is due out on October 31st, 2023. With pricing set at $99.99, pre-orders start today on the My Arcade website. The way they turned the Gamestation Plus into a ghost feels fitting that it comes out on Halloween.