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The Atari 400 is a home computer that first launched in 1979 with a 1.79 MHz 8-bit processor, 8 KB of RAM, four joystick ports, a cartridge slot, and an unusual membrane keyboard. More than four decades later, Retro Games Ltd is bringing back the Atari 400… kind of.

The company’s latest retro game system is a half-sized Atari 400 replica called THE400. It comes with 25 classic Atari games pre-installed and features a few modern hardware updates. THE400 sells for $120 and it’s up for pre-order from Amazon and Atari.com, and it’s expected to begin shipping March 28, 2024.

While the retro console looks nearly identical to the original, there are a few key differences:

  • It’s half the size of an Atari 400, measuring just 6″ x 5.25″ x 2″ and weighing 8.8 ounces.
  • The keyboard is just for decoration (you could argue the original was barely functional anyway).
  • There are 5 USB ports for connecting a working keyboard, joysticks, or other accessories.
  • There’s an HDMI port with support for 720p output at 50 or 60Hz.
  • It’s designed to work with a USB-C charger (a USB-C power cable is included, but you’ll need to supply your own adapter).

THE400 isn’t exactly a speed demon by modern computer or console standards, but its specs are big step up from what you would have found in a classic 8-bit Atari system. It has an Allwinner H3 quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with Mali-400 MP2 graphics, 256MB of RAM, and 128MB of flash storage.

That’s more than enough horsepower to emulate 8-bit Atari computers and game systems, and THE400 can handle games designed for the Atari 400, Atari 800XL, and Atari 130XE home computers as well as the Atari 5200 home console. And it comes with 25 games pre-installed, including Berzerk, Boulder DashM.U.L.E.MillipedeMissile Command, and Star Raiders II.

But one of the more surprising things about this retro game system is that you can also sideload your own games using a USB flash drive. THE400 supports “cartridge, disk, and cassette ROMs.”

There’s also support for up to four save slots per game, allowing you to suspend and resume playback at any time, as well as a 30-second rewind button to help you get through the toughest parts of a game.

The retro game system also comes with a CXStick, which is a replica of the Atari CX40 joystick that connects to THE400 via USB and features seven function buttons.

press release

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    1. Many computers don’t have keyboards today, including almost all NUCs (really small computers) and single board computers (e.g. RPi) and most tablets.

      IMHO, most buyers of this computer will just play games on it and won’t miss the keyboard. Those who do can spend as little as $10 for a far better one than the original 400 had.

      1. The article says it’s just for playing games. If you plug in a keyboard, does this emulate the computer completely, like for any Atari computer program, or does it just play games?

        1. My understanding is that right now, we are only getting game emulation and the ability to load games somehow via USB. (Likely tape or disk emulation). I too would like to use a modern USB kb and play with basic and such. Maybe that’ll get added later?