The Atari Flashback series is a line of dedicated “Plug-And-Play” video game consoles designed and built by AtGames. Under license from French holding company Atari SA, the Flashback consoles are modeled after the Atari 2600 and feature several built-in games that were once utilized by the classic console, no cartridge needed..
Initially kicking off in November 2004 with the release of the original Atari Flashback console, the series has been enjoying its fair share of retail space for close to 20 years now and has even become quite the hot-button item among the retro gaming crowd!
Two of the more popular models to see release recently have been both the Atari Flashback 8 and Atari Flashback 9.
Released just over a year apart, both consoles include a wide selection of classic Atari games and would introduce many special features to the Flashback family including scan line filtering, a very handy gameplay rewind option, and HDMI output.
On the surface, both consoles may appear to be identical. However, there are some notable distinctions between the two. With that in mind, let’s take a look at
The Difference Between The Atari Flashback 8 & The Atari Flashback 9
Atari Flashback 8
Released in September 2017, the Atari Flashback 8 arrived at retail with several different variations under its belt. They are:
- Atari Flashback 8 Classic
- Atari Flashback 8 Deluxe
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold Deluxe
- Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition
The basic model, known as the Atari Flashback 8 Classic (from Amazon) includes two wired controllers and features a total of 105 different Atari 2600 games ranging from Gravitar to Tempest. Classic titles like Crystal Castles, Missile Command, and Frogger are also included.
Flashback 8 Deluxe would also hit stores around the same time and, while it is identical to the Classic in almost every possible way, it also included a pair of paddle controllers in addition to the regular joysticks.
The Atari Flashback 8 Gold features a total of 120 different games and wireless controllers. At the same time, this model also includes ports for use with an original Atari 2600 controllers.
It has both save and pause features and includes scan line filtering. This particular model also allows players to rewind their game back several seconds. It also features an SD card slot and introduced HDMI output for 720p.
A Gold Deluxe edition was also made available with 120 different 2600 games, two wireless paddles, and two wireless joysticks.
There is also an Atari Flashback 8 Gold Activision Edition featuring ten additional games – several of which were published by Activision. It features full HD output and many iconic Atari titles like Pitfall, River Raid, Kaboom, and Spider Fighter to name but a few.
Atari Flashback 9
Released just over a year after its predecessor, the Atari Flashback 9 hit retail in November 2018. Including many of the same features that were present on the Flashback 8, this new version included two wired joystick controllers and 110 classic games including Asteroids, Jungle Hunt, and SeaQuest.
The Atari Flashback 9 Gold arrived at retail around the same time, bringing with it a total of 120 games and a pair of wireless controllers. The save and rewind features seen on the Flashback 8 Gold are also carried over here, but be aware that they are not available for use with a few of the included games like Frogger and Space Invaders.
Both versions of the Atari Flashback 9 feature an SD slot and an output of 720p. That said, this model further sets itself apart by featuring an SD slot specifically used for firmware updates, playing downloaded games, and saving and resuming game states.
So Is The Atari Flashback 9 Better Than The 8?
As both an avid retro gamer and professional game reviewer, I have had more than my fair share of experience with both the Atari Flashback 8, the Atari Flashback 9, and the various models making up the range.
That said, while I do not find there to be too many differences separating them, I will say that both represent a very strong product that serves as a very nice alternative for those retro gamers not looking to spend the time and money hunting down original examples of the 2600.
Both the Atari Flashback 8 and the Atari Flashback 9 feature quality construction and a hardy selection of video games from the era. Both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses. However, I do not feel that one outweighs the other and that both are certain to provide hours of retro gaming fun.
Granted, both models have since been replaced by the Atari Flashback X, but either can still be found new or tracked down on the secondary market at a discount.
The only thing I feel one should really consider before purchasing is the sort of options that matter most to you as a gamer. Do you prefer wireless or wired controllers? Are firmware updates important to you? Are you looking for a certain good game in particular?
Weigh these choices carefully and you’re certain to walk away with a home video game console best suited to your retro gaming needs! And at a fraction of the cost!