Get a hit of music-making nostalgia with the Atari VCS console-PC hybrid

Who doesn’t love a throwback?

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Atari VCS

Atari has announced the availability of the Atari VCS console-PC hybrid system, capable of running retro games and PC applications.

The machine comes three years after its announcement and is available in two retro-style designs, inspired by the 1977 Atari 2600: Onyx or Black Walnut. The latter design is $100 more expensive and comes with a joystick and gamepad. The console also comes with a library of 100 free retro games.

The Atari VCS’ computing capabilities expand to Windows, Linux and ChromeOS operating systems, along with the Google Chrome browser. Although there’s no mention of any built-in music-making systems, Atari’s marketing suggests that it will come equipped with some capabilities for music creation and production. At the very least, you should be able to use browser-based DAWs on Google Chrome.

Atari VCS

Atari VCS comes with an Atari Custom Linux OS, 32GB eMMC fixed internal storage, an internal M.2 SSD slot, and 8GB RAM. You’ll also have four USB 3.1 ports for connecting peripherals and external hard drives. Given the small internal storage, you’ll almost certainly want to be plugging in an external hard drive for more space.

Back in 1985, producers would use the Atari ST computer to sequence music with external MIDI-based instruments, thanks to several MIDI sockets on the computer. The Pro 24 software was its digital audio workstation (DAW), although was far more limited than the DAWs we use today. However, Pro 24 eventually went on to become Cubase.

Sadly, no MIDI ports are included on the Atari VCS, but its USB 3.1 ports may prove useful, and the potential limitations it has will only encourage gamers and music enthusiasts to get creative.

The Atari VCS starts at $300. Learn more at


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