Atari Reveals Its AtariBox Controller, And It’s Decidedly Old-School

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The crowdfunding campaign for Atari’s mysterious new AtariBox console is set to start any day now, with the hopes that fans will contribute to the eventual comeback of this once mighty gaming titan. But ahead of the campaign’s launch, the company has decided to reveal the controller that will be included with the system – and there’s something quite familiar about it.

Instead of going with a multi-button design that we’ve seen with other plug-and-play systems in the past, the AtariBox controller resembles the classic Atari 2600 joystick design. It features a joystick centered around a fancy looking base, so that players can move it around with ease.

But, surprisingly enough, the joystick only comes with one button, just like the original Atari 2600 pad did. There also appear to be “reload” and “home” buttons built into the controller as well, as you can see from the pictures below, but when it comes to in-game actions, there’s only the one button.

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Atari, which posted the pictures of the controller on AtariBox’s Facebook page earlier today, didn’t make it clear whether this would be the only peripheral that works with the system, but it looks that way at this point. And it makes you wonder what kind of games the company is looking for.

The idea of having more modern games for the AtariBox was certainly something that a lot of fans were curious to see in fruition, but Atari is clearly going for an old-school approach, and making the system compatible with games from the 2600 era, and possibly the 5200 and 7800.

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That’s not to say we won’t see new games that utilize this control method, as there are plenty of savvy developers out there that can make games that work with this style of controller. But it seems limiting to other developers, especially those trying to port their successful games onto the AtariBox. Can you imaging trying to play Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap or Cuphead with a controller and a single button? (Not that those games are confirmed, but you get the idea.)

We’ll see what Atari announces closer to its crowdfunding campaign. This controller is definitely interesting, and fun-looking in an old-school way, but you have to wonder what kind of restraints will come into game development for the system with it.

The AtariBox should launch sometime in 2018.