As arcades have begun shuttering their windows and closing their doors across the United States it’s becoming increasingly harder to find those classic titles. Due to this a new market which is focused around bringing those games into the home has begun to emerge,companies like Arcade1up and Capcom are just two examples. Both of whom have released and are currently releasing arcade cabinets or plug-n-play sticks for your TV. Soon though, there will be another company that will be entering the landscape, as well as offering something new compared to their competitors . On May 31st, AtGames announced their AtGames Legends Ultimate Arcade Machine. This will offer fans of the arcade a chance to own either a full-sized or slightly smaller compact arcade cabinet that comes pre-installed with 350 titles. These units are not cheap, with the full-size 66” unit running you a suggested retail price of $599 and the compact 44” unit costing a SRP of $399. While the pricing may be higher than its competitors, the features that AtGames is including with their Legends Ultimate machine make sense.
Bringing out my handy-dandy press release fact sheet, supplied by AtGames, the Legends Ultimate Arcade Machine will feature:
- 350 licensed games in the full sized version, 250 with the compact version built in, with options to add more
- Top Licensors include Atari, Data East, Disney, Star Wars, The Tetris Company, and more
- The 66” Fullsize version includes joysticks, a trackball, spinners, and additional “action buttons”
- Combat 44” version includes balltop joystick and “action buttons”
- Network Play
- Internet connectivity
- Cloud gaming streaming
- ArcadeNet Connectivity (Free DLC, remote play, tournaments, subscribe to game libraries, and access to your own game library”
- Expandable with Blast! Links, bluetooth accessories, Light Guns, and more.
This sounds great on paper, however retro enthusiasts and fans of retro third party consoles will recognize AtGames as the creator of the rather infamous SEGA Genesis Flashback. Which was packed with added fluff-ware of titles and poor emulation quality. But, it’s a new day, and I’m willing to give AtGames the benefit of the doubt that they’ve heard the outcries of fans and have worked to address and resolve these complaints.
After hearing about the Legends Ultimate machine, I was instantly intrigued by the promises they were making and wanted to know more. Luckily, I got my chance to learn more, and after reaching out to the PR firm that is handling this unit I was able to send my questions through to the developers! The following are the exact questions I sent and the exact responses I got, with no editing.
Me: Are these units using MAME to emulate the titles?
AtGames: All games in the Legend’s cabinet are licensed from the original IP holders and run on properly emulated ROMS or license-approved ports.
Me: What brand are the buttons and joystick that this uses?
AtGames: We are not sharing the specific specs however they are of top quality.
Me: What are the specs of the computer that this will be running on?
AtGames: For competitive reasons we cannot share the specific specs however we can share that our machines are powerful enough to support rendering cloud gaming to run PC games at a rate of 60+ frames per second.
Me: AtGames products have a bit of a tarnished image from fans and critics alike for poor quality in their emulation, what steps are they taking with this product to alleviate fans fears of a repeat, especially with this price being so much higher?
AtGames: We appreciate the feedback from gamers of all types. Some of our past product that has received criticism from the gaming community is fair, however the product intent had been for casual gamers and more created for lifestyle rather than hardcore gaming. And we have been successful in serving the intended markets as evidenced by the major retailers enthusiastic supports and the popularity of the products with their customers for over a decade. The launch of the Legend’s cabinet is a definite game changer (no pun intended) as AtGames redefines the cabinet category. Our new product is using the best components, brings new technology and compatibility to the market. We have partnered with prominent OEM partners and the biggest retailers in the world to deliver a new gaming platform. Legend’s will allow players to enjoy gaming of ALL types. We are more MEGA console with multifunctional capabilities that will allow players the freedom to enjoy games retro and new through our platform. This new unit changes the direction of how people of all ages can game at home through preloaded titles, Wifi connectivity for multiplayers action, device sharing and game download services. Simply, we have created the ultimate gaming experience for home
Me: AtGames Sega Genesis Mini, was rather notorious for marketing itself as having 85 games, but omitting that almost a third (28 games out of the 85) were random fluff games like Cannon, Checkers, and Mr. Balls, and had nothing to do with the Genesis. Will all the games in this arcade cabinet be arcade titles?
AtGames: Legend’s is more than an arcade cabinet and the functionality supports gaming that goes way beyond arcades. The machine is a MEGA console that allows players to play, connected, arcade, console and PC games. While it comes preloaded with 350 games the universe of game compatibility is limitless.
Me: In the press release, I noticed there was no mention of either Konami or Capcom titles or any partnership with them. Were these left off because they will not be featured in the cabinet, or because they will be revealed at a bigger event?
AtGames: We are working with most of the top publishers.
Me: With arcade emulation being around for so long, what is the biggest selling point and argument from AtGames that arcade fans and players should drop so much when they could run MAME on their computer or purchase a competitor arcade set up?
AtGames: The new Legend’s machine opens up a new gaming experience and universe that has never been imagined before. We are providing a lifestyle experience that allows players to have arcade feel while playing games of all types. Everyone has their favourite style of games from retro to console to plug and play to streaming and now they can play them all on one platform. It is the platform and experience that will drive the consumer to the path of purchase. Technology and the ultimate convenience of having a one stop platform where you can play together or connect online is why we believe the market is going to be extremely excited about our new gaming platform.
Between the PR speak, there are a few interesting tidbits that you can pullout from AtGames’ responses. Of particular note, is that they are framing this device as not just an arcade collection cabinet, but a “MEGA console” that will be able to play much more than just your favorite arcade titles. Streaming games appears to me as being a feature they find to be important to the product, having specifically called out that this machine can “support rendering cloud gaming to run PC games at a rate of 60+ frames per second.” for use with their soon-to-be game streaming service, ArcadeNet, which consumers will purchase a monthly subscription for.
The promises that AtGames are making for the Legends Ultimate sound great and if pulled off well, I could see them becoming popular and sought after units. With Arcade1up announcing at E3 both a Konami unit featuring the Ninja Turtles games and a Marvel Fighters unit , it will be interesting to see if we will get those games here too.
It still has yet to be seen also which games will be included in the system and which you will only be able to play using ArcadeNet. My fear is the bigger more popular games will be locked behind a subscription, and not included on the machine itself. And the thought of trying to play a fast-paced fighting title like Marvel vs. Capcom via a game streaming method keeps me awake at night with fright.
If I can play these arcade games online with people and they feel just like the original cabinets, then this is a no-brainer purchase for me. Time will tell though.