The RETRO VGS is to be a new gaming console that hearkens back to the early days of gaming, before on-line capabilities, before patches and in app purchases seeped in. Many of us remember this as the days of the 32-Bit era (Sega Saturn, PSOne, Nintendo 64) and earlier- more fondly at about the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis era. The RETRO VGS is taking this seriously, it is not just lip service, as the medium for the games is cartridges, not CD-ROM, not DVD’s, not downloadable over an Internet store. This may sound like one of the stupidest things ever but for many, it is an exciting event. The team behind the RETRO VGS are giving gamers the chance to speak with their dollars via an IndieGoGo campaign. The real question is, will enough gamers speak? As with most things, there is a quite vocal group on social media that are speaking but they are not speaking with their dollars.
First, let’s go over previous coverage here on RGM for the RETRO VGS and see what I thought would happen and, now based on the IndieGoGo campaign, what is actually happening. There is a lot of social media backlash about this new console as evidenced on their Facebook page (skip to page 25 or so for discussion on the current IndieGoGo campaign), this Atari Age thread and many other places.
First, that price. I reported that they were aiming for a $150 to $180 price point for this console, including one controller and a pack in game (Adventures of Tiny Knight). They are slightly higher than that, though they are apparently including more in the console (I cannot verify all of what is new since we are just now seeing, very little on the, specs). The “early bird” price for the RETRO VGS is $299 for the black model (what will become the normal console later if funding is successful). There are other colors available that range from $349 to $499+ (highest bidders receive the black edition but with a lower serial number- the highest bidder getting #1 and then up from there and so on).
According to Facebook member and member of the RETRO VGS team, John, the console will feature a “powerful” ARM Central Processing Unit (CPU) and be Field Programmable Array “enabled” and can run either one or a combination of the two. This is a concern for me as a fan because I remember the reasons the Sega Saturn didn’t receive many ports and why many devs hated working on it, and the Sony Playstation 2- those consoles all had multiple cores, CPU’s, graphics processors, or something else that only complicated matters for the developer. Not knowing the specs of the ARM CPU is also a concern also, though ARM is a popular CPU so it is possible we will see developers take to the RETRO VGS easily. I just hope we don’t start seeing Angry Birds ports or other mobile games that are best left on mobile. FPGA though is another question altogether.
I would discuss the specs more but, well, there isn’t anything really available to discuss. If this changes in the future, I will bring another article up.
Previously it was mentioned that there would be two controllers included with the console (now we are down to one with additional controllers available for purchase). Picture below. This is no big deal really as it is something that probably had to change to get the cost below $300 for the “early bird” special. Pricing after the IndieGoGo campaign is done is conspicuously missing at this time.
People are on the RETRO VGS Facebook page expressing concern over the prices.