back to article Still waiting for your Atari retro gaming console? You're not alone: Its architect has just sued the biz for 'non-payment'

The architect of a retro games console has sued Atari for allegedly failing to pay his invoices, amounting to $261,720. Rob Wyatt's company, Tin Giant, was hired in July 2018 to design the Atari VCS console, but quit the contract in October 2019, telling The Register he had resigned because "Atari haven't paid invoices going …

  1. jonathan keith


    So when's David Levy going to be suing Atari for maliciously ripping off his business model?

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: RCL

      Cruel, but.....

  2. kevin king


    How they getting the money to pay ?

    1. ByeLaw101

      Re: Casino


  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    These retro gizmos

    They all sound great in the vaporware stage, and strive to fail from there... sad for the devs that get sucked in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: These retro gizmos

      Furthermore, and I'm one of the nostalgic here, there are WAY better ways, with all the emulators, into which passionate people have sunk a lot of time into, that replay games exactly as back then, with the real ROMs ...

      Heck, the emulated sound of the floppy drive in winUAE is EXACTLY the same I remember it to be on my Amiga 500 ! Even the timings !

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: These retro gizmos

        Sure, the emulators, but what I find the funniest is that they chose to use a $5 empty plastic box at a show, instead of paying $20 on ebay for a real Atari to use temporarily... that's incredible foreshadowing.

      2. Sam Therapy

        Re: These retro gizmos

        I almost always skip the timings - unless it makes something fall over - and go straight to Turbo. One thing I have never missed about Amiga drives is how painfully slow they were.

  4. Patched Out

    Atari VCS is an appropriate name for it

    Venture Capital Scam

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Atari VCS is an appropriate name for it

      You spelt scum wrong.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Atari VCS is an appropriate name for it

        ..and Victim, since the capital was raised from advance buyers, not investors.

  5. Steve Todd

    You’re making the mistake of thinking that this “Atari” has ever built anything

    The name has been passed through the hands of a number of companies, and is currently in the hands of a French company, Atari SA, who have to my knowledge never built anything.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another one bites the dust

    The incompetent startup using the Intellivision name is not far behind. Rob Wyatt of Atari didn’t say much but he appeared to have some hardware skills. Tommy Tallarico talks all the time but doesn’t seem to be able to back anything up, especially since his story changes all the time.

    These projects have a few things in common:

    - start with a retro name

    - claim they’re not just retro

    - design the case first

    - take money up front for custom colors

    - treat engineering as an afterthought

    - delays, broken promises

    Kieren, any chance of getting Atari’s side of this story? They made a big deal of Rob Wyatt being in the hospital after a bad skydiving accident in one update, then in the next they said he had been fully recovered for months.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: another one bites the dust

      One major difference between the Intellivision Amico and Atari VCS though. Intellivision have shown gameplay. I don't believe the Amico is a scam, just a new product, with all the problems that involves..

      However, as with the Atari, while I would like to see the Amico succeed, I don't know if it will. Nintendo and Sega have done well with their "classic" consoles, and Sony less so, but those three have something in Common. They all have games from franchises that are currently relevant. Ninty have Mario, Sega have Sonic and Sony have Metal Gear Solid. The nearest I see on either the Amico or VCS is Earthworm Jim. A franchise which, while it was entertaining, hasn't been relevant since the late 90s.

      I hope neither the Amico or VCS are scams, and I'd like to see both do well, but I don't think either will (as noted above, they don't have any relevant franchise games to sell, and don't have a manufacturer with deep pockets for marketing who can afford to take heavy losses for extended periods)

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: another one bites the dust

      Wait, Rob Wyatt of Atari? I though it was Rob Wyatt of King Crimson.

  7. heyrick Silver badge

    it wasn't until July 2018, in an effort to stop the project falling apart, that Atari hired Tin Giant to design the console

    I can't help but wonder if the lure of a large salary blinded Tin Giant to reality.

    July 2018 is after ElReg released the audio recordings to back up the story, and here is a dev brought in to design something that was previously shown off (in empty box form) and promised ages before.

    Surely, surely, alarm bells should have been ringing from every direction?

    1. grrrrrrrr

      Not sure if $140/hour is a large salary in this context - seems quite cheap for a chief architect (especially with the Xbox on his CV).

      1. jake Silver badge

        $140/hr barely keeps the lights and water on, the floors clean and the bins emptied in this context.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually, I'd say it was very cheap for a chief architect with an established record.

        It's not that much more than my last employer used to charge my time out at, and I was only a run-of-the-mill support engineer, nothing particularly special at all.

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Reminds me of the Vega+

  9. don't you hate it when you lose your account

    This was alays a bad idea

    I still have nightmares about Atari thumb after a long session.

    1. Giovani Tapini

      Re: This was alays a bad idea

      Are you sure that's Atari thumb and not something else?

      1. Pincushion Man
        Thumb Up

        Re: This was alays a bad idea

        Agreed. That's not Atari Thumb you're thinking of, that's Nintendo Thumb, especially with the stiffness that the NES controller would get after a while.

        The Atari controller was pretty ergonomic for the time frame, and the stick had a rubber mount over the top of it to protect the right hand. The rubber wore out over time, and eventually it falls off during longer sessions. But, when you're in the middle of it, you keep going at it. It's trouble when you have to go find it later, though.

        Also, if you did it without the rubber, you'd get an odd callous on your right hand, between your thumb and first finger.

  10. bombastic bob Silver badge

    best retro consoles

    the best retro consoles seem to be RPi-based DIY projects...

    a long time ago I started playing with xmame, and with some TLC it should still build and run. So on an RPi (or inexpensive PC for that matter) you (theoretically) should be able to emulate most of the old console games as well as the arcade games from the 80's and 90's.

    a few DIY shops sell the joysticks and buttons you'd need to do an arcade-style game. Or you can just get USB game controllers.

    Anyway, that'd save a lot of money and make for a fun DIY project. The only thing you're missing is the ability to run those old catridge games, or new games made for the same platform.

    Is there REALLY a market for this? Hard to say, but you have to admit the old-style console and arcade games are STILL fun.

    1. Julian 8

      Re: best retro consoles

      retropie and picade - though not hand held

  11. IGotOut Silver badge

    ANY legal gaming device WILL have problems.

    Say you get your super ZX Vectrex 500 reboot done. Well done.

    Now, games. Have fun licensing those.

  12. ElectricPics

    I'd be getting nervous if just one invoice went unpaid, let alone several months worth - you'd think he'd have walked much sooner.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Nervous, yes

      90 day payment terms are sadly very common, so the first three months don't count as they're still "in date".

      Then there's the pre-action letter, which is another two weeks, maybe a month.

      So that's four months unpaid before you've even properly lawyered up. Two months is then pretty fast for a lawyer.

      Aside from that, when you terminate for non-payment you're also committing to legal action - if you don't sue them, they'll sue you for not finishing the contract so you want to ensure they've dug themselves into a big enough hole to be a slam dunk civil case.

      Enforcing the judgement is of course rather different.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Payment terms might have been...generous. It's quite likely that payment terms were 90 days or more.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "It's quite likely that payment terms were 90 days or more."

        When an outfit has a documented history like this it's not at all unusual for creditors to keep them on a tight leash (for obvious reasons)

  13. Imhotep

    Send Me Money

    At what point do these transition from being vaporware to fraud?

  14. Bottle_Cap

    It's a shame - I know there's not really a need for this but it woulda been kinda cool to have.....I'd probably get the joystick at least just for old times sake. Hope (against expectation) that everyone gets paid.

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