Where are all my arcade legends at? I think all of us looking to rekindle that relationship with 1990’s arcade gameplay have dabbled in the Raspberry Pi hardware. If you went to smaller gaming conventions pre-COVID-19 you will always find a vendor selling illegal setups with thousands of games on them for a few hundred bucks. Major disappointment when the game you want to play out of all of them does not work! Today we look at the Legends core by AtGames featuring over 100 built-in licensed games priced at $59.99 paired with their online service ArcadeNet.
AtGames is a Los Angeles based tech company founded in 2001. They are mostly known for their game console manufacturing of products like Ultimate Arcade and Atari Flashback. They have an entire lineup of arcade gaming platforms that feature fully licensed games. Why is that important? Each game is developed and tested in areas like screen resolution, button mapping, and bugs. While it does take the tinkering out of the equation, I do enjoy the turnkey ready-to-play solution much more.
The Legends Core is a standalone console about the size of a Hockey puck. It has 100 built-in arcade and console games as well as streaming and connectivity features. It has Bluetooth capabilities allowing you to connect your headset or wireless controller easily. It is however equipped with USB if you are not running wireless hardware. A simple HDMI connection into your 1080 display device and you are off to the races. We used an Xbox controller during our playtest which worked great, but it did have to be re-synced every time the controller fell asleep. Aside from this, it was very easy to set up and you’re gaming in a matter of minutes.
Each game is programmed with the custom settings the arcade owners used to have which allow you to change difficulty, scoring, and other features depending on the game. Scanlines are adjustable and look absolutely stellar! We also tested it on an ultrawide monitor and not only was it compatible but it looked great! The features this little mighty machine has are endless. You can customize the background image, change your background music and even add a custom video for when it falls asleep. I was really impressed with all the options in the easy-to-use settings menu has you can tell a lot of thought was put into the development of this software.
I think what really makes this product stand out is the ArcadeNet feature. Basic online membership is free or $10 if you buy 6 months upfront for the standard which has everything you need. Now you can play coop or battle online using lobbies! Also, have access to leaderboards which is a competitive ladder you can share your top scores on. Live stream your content to most of the popular streaming services in 1080 at 60 fps. What doesn’t it do right? You can add a feature called BYOG (Bring Your Own Game) which gives you 30 hours of PC gaming for $20 a month. You can connect to a gaming PC through the Legends Core and install a PC’s game and play similar to Google Stadia. If you are going to go in this direction for a retro console I think ArcadeNet and its community are essential.
We could go on for days talking about all the features this $60 little hockey puck has to offer. We spent over a month playtesting this product and didn’t encounter any major bugs or issues. Retro gaming is a very niche market so if this is what you are into I think you are in the right space. This console is nothing but a good time!