The Atari 400 Mini is a cute little slice of video game history | Gaming

The400 Mini Atari 400 1.jpg

Now that the miniature game console trend has already covered most of the biggest devices from Nintendo, Sega, and Sony, we’re starting to enter more niche territory. The Atari 400 Mini isn’t a rerelease of the company’s most recognizable console (that’d be the 2600). And it isn’t full of household names. But that’s also part of what makes it so interesting — the little gadget is a cute, playful way to explore a very specific and formative niche of video game history.

Like its contemporaries, the 400 Mini is a shrunken-down version of the original. That means a small box in a very 1970s shade of beige plastic, with a keyboard and cartridge slot that are purely ornamental. I appreciate just how retro this thing looks; even the included HDMI and power cords are beige. It has five USB ports (four on the front, one on the back), an HDMI port, and USB-C port for power. There’s one functional power button on the rear, coupled with a little red light to let you know it’s on. You also get one classic Atari joystick, which has been outfitted with a USB plug and the sneaky addition of a few extra buttons, including a shoulder button and a clickable circle around the actual stick.

This is a plug-and-play device, so setup is exceedingly straightforward. It doesn’t connect to the internet, and the visual settings are pretty standard. There are two options: the 4:3 mode displays games in their original aspect ratio, while “pixel perfect” mode renders the pixels as squares. You also have the option to add virtual scanlines to imitate the experience of playing on a CRT display. Other than that, there’s not much…

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