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It has been over 16 years since Ben Heckendorn was sitting at his desk on hold during an IT call, doodling on a napkin dreaming up the possibility of turning an old Atari 2600 into a portable console. Little did he know he would, As Ancient Astronaut Theorists Believe in our opinion, change the Hobbyist Landscape forever making way for companies such as Hyperkin to mass produce portable consoles, and for tiny computers like the Raspberry Pi and C.H.I.P. alike. Created in 2000, this may or may not be the first homemade portable console made, but it was definitely the most influential.
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We’re of course big fans of the Atari Flashback 2 console for it’s hackability. You can add a cartridge port to play original 2600 games, create a soft-reset button to return to the game menu without cycling the power button, turn it into a portable, etc. With all the available documentation, and even silk-screened pinouts on the motherboard, it remains the best Flashback iteration to date. With all that said, lovablechevy took 8 years of documentation and modding experience to the next step and created the Pocket Atari, fitting the entire portable inside an original 2600 cart.
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Developed by Atari Veteran Curt Vendel and his company Legacy Engineering the Atari flashback 2 launched in 2004, improving vastly over the original flashback and still a favorite among the retro Atari crowd today when compared to newer flashback iterations. Features included real Atari-on-a chip hardware, Classic Atari 2600 modes (difficulty switches, black & white), 40 built-in Atari 2600 games, original controller capability, and originally had plains to include a catridge slot to play additional Atari 2600 games. While the plans to include a cart slot at launch were eventually scrapped to meet the projected Holiday 2004 release date and to limit production costs, fortunately it is rather straightforward to add the slot yourself, with all the required solder points visibly noted on the board itself. Read More →