Advertisement

I'm absolutely in love with the Atari 400 Mini, a recreation of one of the first ever gaming computers

 Retro Games Atari 400 mini .
Retro Games Atari 400 mini .

Here's one for those of us interested in the early days of home computing. UK based Retro Games is set to release the Atari 400 Mini, a modern take on the Atari 400 home computer, complete with a recreation of the classic Atari CX-40 joystick. And what a thing of beauty it is.

The system is a miniaturized version of the classic 8-bit Atari 400. It was released in 1979 and in many ways, was the first gaming PC. It had dedicated graphics and sound co-processors, upgradeable memory, plug-and-play peripherals and a membrane keyboard. It was regarded as being ahead of its time, but strong competition from Apple, Commodore and Tandy hampered its adoption. Additionally, its mostly closed software ecosystem led to a lack of development by third-party programmers. As a result, Atari's 8-bit systems quickly fell by the wayside in the early 1980s.

The 400 Mini is able to emulate the whole Atari 8-bit range and the 5200 console. It comes with 25 pre-loaded games with the ability to add more via USB. The preloaded games include classics such as Berzerk, Boulder Dash, Lee, Millipede, Miner 2049er, M.U.L.E. and Star Raiders II.

It can output 50Hz and 60Hz 720p video via HDMI and it includes five USB ports, meaning it should support the limited number of games that could be played by up to four players. The keyboard is likely to be too small for actual typing, but the system does support external keyboards, so you can mess around with the BASIC programming language if you want.

Retro Games says the 400 Mini supports modern USB game controllers. It even has a rewind mode, which allows you to rewind your gameplay by 30 seconds, giving you a chance to beat a particularly troublesome level. I won't dob you in if you use it.

Retro Games has a history of releasing classic remakes. It's the company behind the Commodore 64 Mini and Amiga 500 Mini. The latter was my first real foray into the world of computing and I remember arguing with a friend at the time that the Amiga was superior to the PC. History proves I came out on the losing side of that argument.

The 400 Mini is set to launch on the 28th of March exclusively at Amazon UK for £100. Those longing for a bit of nostalgia should find that price very acceptable.