|Atari Flashback 2|
|Preceded by||Atari Flashback|
|Followed by||Atari Flashback 3|
|Modes||Single player, multiplayer|
The Atari Flashback 2, the successor to the original Atari Flashback console, was released in 2005. It has forty Atari 2600 games built-in. A few of the included games are homebrews which were created by enthusiasts in recent years, and two of the games (Pitfall! and River Raid) were originally published by Activision.
The appearance of the Atari Flashback 2 is reminiscent of the original Atari 2600 console from 1977. It is roughly two-thirds the size of the original, and much lighter in weight. The Flashback 2 console has five buttons (power, reset, left and right difficulty toggles, and select); on the back it has a color/black-and-white slider switch and two ports for the included joysticks. The joysticks bear very close similarity to the original Atari 2600 joysticks from 1977, and are compatible and interchangeable with them. The Flashback 2 does not come with paddle controllers, but original paddle controllers can be connected to it and used with its paddle-based games.
Curt Vendel and Legacy Engineering returned to develop the Flashback 2. Unlike the original Flashback console, the Flashback 2 contains a single-chip version of circuitry designed by Vendel; it is a reproduction of the original circuitry in that of the original Atari 2600. Therefore, the Atari Flashback 2 runs games just as they ran on an original console. The Atari Flashback 2 project was codenamed "Michele", after Vendel's wife. Her name is printed on the motherboard.
Marty Goldberg, owner of the Electronic Entertainment Museum, was the technical writer for the packed-in manual and full design of the online manual. Because of changes in game content during the development and problems with the graphic design company keeping edit revisions straight, the manual which comes with the Flashback 2 has several errors in it including typos. For example, contrary to the manual there is no two-player mode in Centipede, and there is no connected-ship gameplay in Space Duel. Likewise in the description of Save Mary "Barnaby just blew up the nearby damn" appears.
The available games are arranged into four categories selectable from an on-screen menu. Once a game is selected, the only way back to the menu is to use the power button to turn the console off and on again.
The games listed below as hacks used other games' code as a starting point and modified their gameplay or appearance. Homebrews were written from scratch by Atari fans in the 1990s and 2000s. Unreleased prototypes are games which were developed by Atari Inc. in the 1970s and 1980s but never sold to consumers; some of these games may have bugs or be incomplete. A few of the games listed are new and exclusive to the Flashback 2.
- Adventure II, a sequel to Adventure that is built on its original assembly-based game code
- Haunted House
- Return To Haunted House, a sequel to Haunted House that is built on the original Adventure's assembly-based game code combined with graphics from the original Haunted House)
- Secret Quest
- Wizard (unreleased prototype)
- Arcade Asteroids (hack) of the original Atari 2600 Asteroids with the sprites changed to outlines to more accurately portray the arcade version
- Arcade Pong (exclusive to the Flashback 2), a version of Pong which can use paddle controllers if attached
- Asteroids Deluxe (exclusive)
- Lunar Lander (exclusive)
- Missile Command
- Space Duel (exclusive)
Skill and Action Zone
- Caverns Of Mars (exclusive)
- Quadrun (originally sold only by mail order through the Atari fan club)
- Saboteur (unreleased prototype)
- Space War
- Yars' Return (exclusive sequel to Yars' Revenge built on its original assembly-based game code)
- Yars' Revenge
The console also includes two hidden titles which require the use of paddle controllers. The Flashback 2 does not come with paddle controllers, so these games cannot be played unless the user has an original set of Atari 2600 paddle controllers. To access the hidden paddle game menu, the user must press up on the joystick 1 time, pull down 9 times, push up 7 times, and pull down 2 times (this represents the year 1972, in which Pong first appeared). The code must be entered steadily and without pauses (enter it too quickly and it won't work).
Controller test screens can be accessed by holding down the select and reset buttons while pressing the power button to turn on the console. With the color/black-and-white switch set to 'color', the joystick test screen will appear; with it set to black-and-white, the paddle test screen will appear. These test screens allow a gamer to test controller inputs as well as the console's colors and sounds. On the paddle test screen, if joysticks are plugged in as opposed to paddle controllers, the game Off the Wall can be accessed and played by moving right with the left controller.
There have so far been three revisions of the Atari Flashback 2.
- Rev. 0X has a problem with the synthesized voice in Quadrun not working due to a problem with the emulation of the original console's audio output. (When play begins, the game should speak "Quadrun" three times.) It also contains a prototype version of Millipede programmed by General Computer Corporation; this version has problems with the display losing vertical hold and appearing to "roll", making the game unplayable. This revision had the early delivery data to the chip fabricator and was not meant to be run into production. While this is commonly called Rev. A it is properly termed Rev. 0X
- Rev. A Is the correct production revision of the chip which fixes the voice synthesis in Quadrun and also contains the Atari Inc. version of Millipede as well as a newer revision of Adventure 2 that is easier to see on certain TVs that experienced too dark a color palette. This revision is sometimes referred to as Rev. B since it was the 2nd series of release.
- Rev. C features a reduced-size PCB, which was designed to simplify installing a cartridge port. There are no changes to the unit's functionality; the Revision C chip corrected some Hmove incompatibility issues, but still lacked several 65xx Illegal OpCodes and support for FE bankswitching.
A few of the included games, such as Lunar Lander, exhibit some flicker. This is due to limitations in the original Atari 2600 hardware, which the Flashback 2 reproduces accurately. Curt Vendel noted that the games exclusive to the Flashback 2 were programmed under a strict schedule, and later commissioned developers to tweak these games in order to reduce flickering. Some of these revisions were included with the Atari Flashback 2+, released in 2010.
Rev. D is the Atari Flashback Portable with support for all games with the exception of Pitfall 2 and the Supercharger games. This new chip also had built in LCD driver lines, and USB connectivity support and built in Flash RAM for games storage.