In the vast realm of geekdom, it is not uncommon for avid fans to take matters into their own hands whenever the market fails to meet their merchandising needs. If an insufficient amount of collectible items are produced for a particular franchise, fans will take it upon themselves to fill the gap through homemade resin model kits, customized action figures, detailed costumes and so on. Some fans will even do this for video game consoles that were discontinued ages ago, which bring us to the topic of this post: AtariAge, purveyor of homebrew video games for the classic Atari consoles from the '70s, '80s and '90s.
The first issue of Atari's Atari Age magazine (1982 - 1984),
the source of AtariAge's name.
To call AtariAge an exercise in nostalgia is an understatement--it aims to completely recapture the Atari gaming experience for its homebrew games by selling the in system-specific cartridges in boxes that are modeled after the Atari video game boxes, including colorful cover art. If you just want to play old Atari games, there are plenty of emulators on the Internet that you can download; if you want the full Atari game playing experience, AtariAge is the place to go.
Four of the homebrew games available at AtariAge.
AtariAge sells homebrew games for the following Atari systems: 800, 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx and Jaguar. It even sells homebrew games for ColecoVision, one of the consoles that rivaled Atari's in the early '80s. AtariAge's inventory also includes magazines, posters, and a selection of hardware items for those who are looking to modify their classic consoles.
I have to give AtariAge lots of credit for what it does, especially in a hobby area that thrives on cutting-edge technology and is built on the model of planned obsolescence. Video gaming is a culture in its own right and it's nice to see that someone is keeping the memory of gaming's early days alive in the years before online gaming gave pathological jerks places to vent their endless streams of bile.
Click here to go to the official AtariAge site, which also includes podcasts, discussion forums, blogs, and other stuff for classic gaming enthusiasts. You can also check out the AtariAge YouTube channel which features video clips of its many homebrew titles.
Here's a selection of Atari consoles that were provided by AtariAge to this month's
Classic Game Fest in Austin, TX. If you look closely, you'll notice that most of them
have been modified for stereo sound and S-Video and Composite output.