Technological engineering company SurfaceInk has revealed their collaboration with the development of Atari’s new PC/console hybrid the Atari VCS.
More details can be found in the following press release:
Atari VCS/SurfaceInk Press Release
Atari recently announced the launch of its all-new Atari VCS™ Video Computer System. The unique PC/console hybrid system and wireless controllers are based on the gaming and entertainment company’s legendary Atari 2600 system. Surfaceink, a pioneering Silicon Valley consumer electronic product design and development studio, provided a multi-disciplined engineering and industrial design approach to develop a series of prototypes, the final production unit and accompanying peripherals, designed around the AMD Ryzen APU.
Surfaceink’s efforts included architecting the new computing system; designing for manufacturability; developing and executing a thermal strategy; integrating premium materials; refinement of industrial design and CMF; guiding product compliance; managing key supplier relationships and more, all while maintaining the original vision of the Atari VCS platform and ecosystem.
Jason Burton, Vice President of Product Development for Surfaceink, added:
“The results speak for themselves: Working as a core partner with the Atari team, we were able to help them accelerate their ability to develop and deliver the products to market. Our integrated teams, consisting of mechanical, electrical, and firmware engineers, along with industrial designers, spent a great amount of effort to ensure that the users’ experience would be transformational in capturing their vision of a new, world-class video computer system.”
“The launch of the new, reimagined Atari VCS is in response to a sustained and increased nostalgia for the brand from brand loyalists who helped fund this development,” says Michael Arzt, Chief Operations Officer, COO, Atari VCS & Connected Devices. “Our internal team, including our partners at Surfaceink, were both passionate and meticulous about delivering a product that exceeded the fans’ expectations and set a foundation for future excitement to come. And we believe we stuck the landing.”
The visual design was crucial to capturing the look and feel of the original Atari 2600. For Surfaceink’s industrial design team, it meant pushing the familiar but retro-futuristic shape with attention to detail especially paid to the colors, materials, and finishes (CMF). For example, a signature option of the Atari 2600 was the faux wood paneling on the front of the console. The industrial designers went through an exhaustive search to locate authentic wood veneer that is unique to the new premium Atari VCS.
Similar meticulousness was given to the newly reimagined game controllers. Working hand in hand with the OEM to ensure that it not only functions as intended, but also feels perfect in a user’s hands, especially the updated Wireless Classic Joystick (as the original version still holds a sacred place in the hearts of all die-hard fans). Atari’s iconic “Fuji” logo has an LED with a soft glow to give it that final touch of modernization.
Building on the core of the AMD Ryzen chipset, Surfaceink was able to design a full-feature set in a small and elegant form factor built for today’s hybrid gaming, entertainment and productivity needs. Working in conjunction with the thermal design and software engineering teams, it was possible to achieve an efficient and quiet cooling system that will fit comfortably into any home environment.
Throughout the design and development process, Surfaceink developed and created check-models, cosmetic models, and developer prototypes. The team also traveled to the manufacturer’s facility to help manage pre-production builds, create production documentation (SOPs), design assembly and test fixtures. Additionally, the team worked to develop and instill best practices for ongoing mass production.
Pre-launch Atari VCS units have begun shipping to Indiegogo backers, with pre-orders and general retail availability to follow in early 2021. The Atari VCS lineup of video computer systems, bundles, and peripherals are available for preorder at GameStop.com, Walmart.com, and AtariVCS.com at discounted pre-order pricing. The Atari VCS 800 (8GB) Onyx Base system will retail for just $299.99 USD, while Atari VCS 800 “All-In” system bundles include the Atari VCS Classic Joystick (available separately for $59.99) and Atari VCS Modern Controller ($59.99) for $399.99 USD. The Atari VCS Classic Joystick and Modern Controllers were created in partnership with PowerA. Atari VCS international presale dates will be announced soon.