7800 Expansion Module…

7800 Expansion Module after the break…

7800 Expansion Module…

There’s an old saying that we’re defined more by our mistakes then of our triumphs. That saying is part of a family of sayings who’s overall point is that, as far as history is concerned, bad stuff resonates more then good stuff. How many celebrities had exceptional careers until their bad behavior undercut their achievements? How many politicians have ruined their career over marital infidelity? How many athletes, authors, and the whatnot all had their legacy tainted because of steroids, plagarism and other shameful acts?

Even when a noted celebrity escapes into the hereafter unscathed, history has a way of undoing their achievements. Thomas Edison, once celebrated as the patron saint of progress, is now known today as the Steampunk equivalent to Bill Gates… And not in a good way.

A few posts back, I lamented that present-day Atari wasn’t leveraging their history by marketing some niche products that celebrated their video game console heritage. I cited the examples of the Pandora handheld palm top and the Do-It-Yourself video game console XGameStation as two products that could have used the Atari logo for everyone’s benefit – Atari’s to give them a niche product to offer the nostalgia buffs and the independent producers of those devices in increased revenue and recognition.

In a sign of fairness, I should advertise that the independent producers of the Atari Flashback 1 & 2 (The Flashback 2+, from what I understand, is simply an ever-so-slightly modified FB2 with a few different games) are currently producing a device called the “7800 Expansion Module” (“7800 XM” for short).

The 7800 XM is a device that is placed on top of an Atari 7800 video game console, giving that console greater graphics and sound capabilities, amongst other added features.

Quite honestly, I’m not certain what the point of the 7800 XM is. Not many people have the Atari 7800 video game console, never mind one that works once you dig it out of your basement or attic and attempt to hook it up to a modern-day HDTV. The 7800 was Atari’s last “classic” video game console before the Jaguar but even at that point, the king of video games had been deposed by Nintendo and hamstrung by numerous self-inflicted marketing and strategic blunders within the industry.

I hope that the 7800 XM is a success for them or at least as much of a success as it can be given the limited appeal of the product. If this product succeeds, then perhaps they may find additional funding for more accessible products, like a non-branded Flashback 3, Portable, or even (fingers and toes crossed), an 8-bit laptop (hey, one can always hope, right?).

We live in a world of what could-have-beens and might-have-beens; If only Atari had accepted Nintendo’s initial offer to distribute their console; If only Atari had listened to one of their employees, Steve Jobs, and built his idea of a computer instead of dismissing computers until they had to play catch-up with Apple and IBM; If only Nolan Bushnell had taken more vacations instead of getting stressed out and selling the company…

History often defines us for our failures more then our victories but it’s still important to see the victories nonetheless. The 7800 XM is a product that Atari nostalgia fans have and it ought to get at least a little coverage in comparison to my lamenting on the Atari products we don’t have. The success of the 7800 XM would mean more products from the people who are trying to produce the Flashback 3 & Portable, with or without the Atari label. We can only hope.

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5 Responses to “7800 Expansion Module…”

  1. rob Says:

    Kurt Vendel’s “Legacy Engineering” has taken 3,000 dollars of orders from people almost a year ago, and shown nothing more than concept art and boxes, and photos of empty cases and boards. This thing was supposed to come out LAST year, and now this guy stopped posting and won’t return emails. Who needs this thing anyway? And the games that were planned for it are slightly better versions of donkey kong, circus atari, and breakout? Seriously? Why even bother? Get MAME and play the real thing.

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi Rob and thank you for reading my blog.

      I have no inside knowledge as to the progress for the creation or shipping of the 7800 Expansion board. Just as you have the right to ask questions, Legacy Engineering also has the right to respond. I will not respond for them to your frustrations; Only they can and only they should. I will admit that I am not a potential customer for this particular product; I do not own a 7800 video game console or, for that matter, any of the cartridges that would go with it. However, one aspect of our great capitalist society is that we have an almost endless capacity for products and services for an equally endless number of niche demographics of which 7800 video game console owners are one of them. I look forward to the hopefully expedient resolution to this situation for everyone’s sake.

      P.S. I really wouldn’t mind if they came out with an “Atari Flashback Portable” with it’s name changed, though, to avoid the entanglement of needing Atari’s approval. Or an LE-designed Flashback 3, for that matter. One can hope.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog.

  2. Carlos Says:

    He took more than $3k, more like $30k! He has preorders for nearly 300 units, and he continues to break shipping date promises. And what’s worse is he owes more than $17k in unpaid taxes in his home state of NY. This is public information — http://tinyurl.com/3fzwtgm
    I think alot of people are about to get burned from this.

  3. AFF Chris Says:

    Looks like the XM’s are now in software programmers hands from all of their postings, photo’s and video’s and the XM’s have been shown at a few shows this year, Atariage reports that they have a couple running at their display area at the Portland Retro show this weekend, so whatever the early naysayers were pushing looks to be completely false, obviously these are now starting to trickle out and updates on things have been posted. Kudo’s to Kurt Vendel.

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi AFF Chris and thank you for reading my blog.

      I am glad that this product is a reality and that all of the vaporware accusations are beginning to die down. As I do not have an Atari 7800 console, I have not been following the progress of this venture as closely as I normally would have.

      Let us hope that the financial success of this product leads to more products that serve the Classic Atari fan base.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog.

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