Atari 400 Mini Puts 8-Bit Atari Emulation in a Miniature Case Resembling the Outfit’s 1979 Gaming PC

While Atari is still best known for the 2600 VCS, their groundbreaking home console, they also released what’s arguably the first gaming PCs a couple of years later in the form of the Atari 400 and 800. While it’s far from the first home computer, it is definitely the first that prioritized graphics and sound like many of today’s PCs do, making video games their primary appeal. The Atari 400 Mini recreates those early computers.

No, it’s not a real 8-bit computer like the vintage Atari from over 40 years ago. While it looks a lot like the vintage PC of old, complete with the unusual membrane keyboard, the PC parts are, pretty much, just decorative. The keyboard, cartridge slot, and controller connections are completely non-functional, so you can’t use it to type on the TV, dock your old Atari games, or connect original joysticks from yesteryear. It does, however, have a built-in system running software for emulating all Atari 8-bit systems, which is enough to sell it to a good load of retro gaming fans.

The Atari 400 Mini is a miniature replica of the Atari 400, reprising its unusual shape, integrated keyboard, and overall vintage aesthetic, albeit in a much smaller package. Inside, it houses a system that can run all games from the Atari 2600, 400, 800, XL/XE, and 5200 via emulation, although it only comes preloaded with 25 games, which include Star Raiders II, Lee, Berzerk, Millipede, Miner 2049er, and M.U.L.E. If you want to play other games, you can connect a storage with your game ROMs via a USB port, which is, honestly, the one thing that’s missing from all these Mini and Classic retro consoles we see a lot of today. Yep, you can play, practically, any Atari games you want on this thing.

It has an HDMI slot for hooking up to a modern TV, although resolution only maxes out at 720p, complete with PAL and NTSC compatibility at 50Hz and 60Hz framerates, respectively. According to the product page, it can play the visuals in the original 4:3 aspect ratio, complete with the option for CRT filters, so you can enjoy the games just like they were originally intended. It also says you can play in “pixel perfect aspect ratios,” whatever that means (we’re guessing, it offers different scaling options), as well as 12 different frames, which, we guess, makes it look even more like you’re playing on a vintage TV.

The Atari 400 Mini’s four controller ports are non-functional, so you can’t actually hook up a quartet of original CX-40 joysticks to it, even if you have them.  Instead, it comes with five USB ports, so you can use one port for your flash drive with all the ROMs and the others for any other peripheral, whether you want to play on keyboards, gamepads, or something else entirely. It comes bundled with a USB-compatible CX-40 controller, although you’ll have to buy extra ones separately if you want the full local multiplayer experience (or you can just make the others use keyboards and gamepads).

Want one? The Atari 400 Mini is scheduled to come out March 28th. It’s now available for preorder.

THE400 Mini

THE400 Mini

  • Emulates all Atari 8-bit systems, from the 400 through to the 800XL, including the Atari 5200 Home…

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