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Retro consoles incoming! New TurboGrafx brings back R-Type; Atari VCS invades our space; more

By Benjamin Bullard
The TurboGrafx 16 Mini console from Konami

All we need now is a ColecoVision revival to complete the retro takeover: In a sign that video games may be approaching peak nostalgia, three huge names from home gaming’s 1980s formative years showed up at E3 2019 toting sweet-looking modern reboots for their classic consoles.

R-Type junkies, your fix is on the way: Konami revealed at E3 that it’s prepping the launch of the new TurboGrafx-16 Mini, a downscaled, totally HD-compatible version of its wayback 16-bit machine that sadly came along too late in the wave of early gaming popularity to gain a lasting U.S. foothold.

Via Ars Technica, the Mini will plug right into your wall-sized TV via HDMI, while preserving its old-school look via a fixed 4:3 aspect ratio and even “simulated CRT scanlines” on the gaming screen. Konami unveiled six TurboGrafx launch games as part of its reveal, with more presumably on the way. As of now, we know we’ll be getting R-Type, Ninja Spirit, Dungeon Explorer, Alien Island, New Adventure Island, and the CD ROM-pioneering Ys Book I & II.

We don’t yet know when the TurboGrafx-16 Mini will hit U.S. shores, nor what it’ll cost when it does — so stay tuned.

Atari’s much-buzzed crowdfunded VCS console is finally ready for prime time, with pre-orders now live ahead of the new gaming ecosystem’s release early next year. The oft-delayed buildup to launch appears to be paying off big, though: Atari revealed during E3 that it’s partnering with mega-retailers Walmart and GameStop to make sure this sleek new bad boy gets into as many hands as possible.

The VCS — short for “Video Computer System” — is taking the full buy-in approach, offering both a fully bundled, console-plus-peripherals package, and each piece of hardware separately. Unlike the TurboGrafx, the VC is going more for a heavily upscaled reimagining of its classic 2600 console design, coupling visual cues borrowed straight from the older machine with powerful AMD processing power to breathe new life into its curated lineup of famous games.

The Atari VCS console

Atari knows the VCS will look like a showcase piece of kit sitting in your living room, and pricing for the VCS reflects its present-day aspirations. The solo 400 Onyx Base console (equipped with 4Gb of upgradeable onboard RAM and no joysticks) starts at $249.99, running all the way up to $389.99 for the premium 800 Black Walnut All In bundle. For that money, you get both a modern controller and a classic-style joystick, 8Gb of upgradeable RAM, and the design prestige of the original Atari 2600’s walnut wood-grain paneling.

Early investors in Atari’s Indiegogo campaign can expect to get their hands on the VCS beginning this December. For everyone else, the retro future arrives in March 2020, when the VCS goes on sale everywhere.

Not to be outdone, Intellivision is finally ready to showcase the full spectrum — literally — of what it’s been cooking up at its own rebooted nostalgia factory. E3 proved the perfect time to show off the newly christened Intellivision Amico system, where the ‘80s gaming powerhouse debuted a new logo and teased the first handful of hues in the technicolored console palate you’ll be able to choose from when the Amico goes on sale next fall.

Mercifully, the Amico appears to distill exactly what retro gamers want in a throwback machine. The original system’s iconic paddle controllers have survived the past three decades with their basic form intact (though those winding telephone cord-style cables have stayed in the past). The updated controllers even sport a cool new video display, right where the keypad used to be.

Intellivision showed off 22 playable game demos at this year’s E3 floor, and already has said the new machine should hit the streets at a price somewhere in the $150-$180 range. Company president Tommy Tallarico told Game Informer this week that Intellivision isn’t going after the Xbox Ones and Google Stadias of the world; rather, they’re taking square aim at the casual gamer, with plans to ramp up the marketing at next year’s E3 with a “mind-blowing” Intellivision stage show.

After that, the wait won’t be long: The Intellivision Amico is slated for an Oct. 10, 2020, release.

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