Retro VGS…

If it looks like an Atari Jaguar… Eh… It Really Isn’t… After the Break…

Retro VGS…

Had I been born ten years later than I was, perhaps I would have a perpetual “soft spot” for video game designer and console maker Nintendo rather than the computer and video game pioneer company Atari. But I don’t.

Slowly but surely, though, my love for Atari has slipped in recent years and I know this for a fact because, had someone offered to me an Atari Jaguar video game console for $50 a few years ago, I would have broken all of the fingers in my hand in an attempt to all-too hastily rip the wallet out from my jeans pocket in order to pay for it. Nowadays, though, I would probably attempt to haggle the price down to $35 and, barring that, hem and haw over the offer until someone else was smart enough to snatch the console up before I had made up my mind.

The cold, cruel reality of Atari is that the company (which is now just a name on a building) hasn’t offered anyone who remains nostalgic for the days when Atari still mattered anything to really care about. Oh, look… Another “Atari Flashback.” Does it have cartridges or anything resembling cartridges? Is it portable? Is it moddable? Does it have a keyboard? Is it… Oh, forget it. If you want anything Atari anymore, you have to dig deep into the Internet to find third-party companies who make ultra-specialized hardware that either emulates Atari (such as the Firebee), specialized hardware that augments existing Atari hardware (such as the 7800XM) or software that emulates Atari (such as “Stella”).

Yet I still follow the news from the Atari community every now and again just on the slim chance that, maybe, possibly, conceivably, someone at Atari with enough brains and intellect decided to try something crazy and innovate and actually attempt to placate the nostalgia fans with something genuinely appealing rather than a “Wait, wait… This Atari Flashback has 80 games instead of 70 this time.”

So, for but the briefest moment recently, I became rather excited when I had heard that someone was making authentic replacement cases for the Atari Jaguar video game console. Wow. Color me interested even though I do not own one. Was this… Could this… No… It couldn’t be that someone was about to attempt to resurrect the Atari Jaguar…!

…Because they weren’t. See, someone had bought the official molding of the plastic outer pieces of the Atari Jaguar and were merely making a few dozen pieces before modifying the molds to suit their own project, which is something called “RETRO VGS.”

I have no expertise in the field of plastic molding. I am guessing that molds for plastic parts are just grotesquely expensive because it makes no sense to me to buy a mold and then to modify it rather then to just make a brand-new mold, especially for a new video game console. It’s not as though the Atari Jaguar console is iconic although, to be fair, the Atari Jaguar could be seen as iconic if, by iconic, you meant “Botched pretty much from the time it first arrived on store shelves until the day the things were practically being thrown at passing customers in an attempt to get rid of them all.” While individual efforts involving the console must be commended, the overall gist from historians is that Atari had simply misjudged the market on every major aspect, from price to game delivery system (aka cartridges versus CD-ROMs).

There are scant details when it comes to describing the “RETRO VGS” but, already, the project is distancing itself from being distinctly Atari despite the plastic outer molding being directly derived from the Jaguar. Why? I have no idea. It’s sort of like building a replica of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle but telling people, “No, no, it’s actually a bowling alley on the inside.” What’s the point?

I don’t hold any ill will towards the RETRO VGS project and I do wish it the best of success. Yet it’s curious that they buy the molding for a prior video game console and then take the unusual step of assuring people that the project has nothing to so with the console that the mold is based upon. Then, quite honestly, why use the mold at all?

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2 Responses to “Retro VGS…”

  1. AK Says:

    Because making a new mold is prohibitively expensive.
    Or so they say.

    • Lutonaut Says:

      Hi AK and thank you for reading my blog.

      I would first like to apologize for not approving and addressing your comment sooner.

      As the Retro VGS is not associated with the Atari brand, I am not inclined to follow it as closely as I once might have. I respect the hard work and dedication that they are putting into their product but I have never been much of a “console” player, buyer or collector. I certainly hope, for their sake, that the project comes to fruition and that it is successful for them. I am sure that you are correct and that the making of an industrial-scale mold is very expensive. However, it is very unfortunate that the Atari Jaguar (which was a bit unfairly maligned back in the day) now seems to be truly, undeniably dead in terms of hardware reproduction as the molds are now effectively useless for creating new “authentic” Atari Jaguar casings.

      Again, thank you for reading my blog and I again apologize for the tardiness of this reply.

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