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Atari 400 Keyboard Makes an (Unwelcome) Comeback

by Paul Strauss

To the best of my recollection, the Atari 400 had one of the worst keyboards in the history of computers. I was always convinced that Atari made the 400 suck so badly so people would buy an Atari 800 instead. I did. Now I’m dating myself. Either way, that didn’t stop someone from making a brand new USB keyboard based on the questionable hideous styling of the original Atari 400.


A Japanese outfit called Niyari has decided to embrace the lovely brown and orange color scheme of the original Atari 400 keyboard and update it for today’s computers. Why? Why the heck not. At least the version made by Niyari has actual low-profile keys instead of those pressure sensitive things on the original Atari 400.


Still, from the appalling industrial design to the completely impractical keyboard, to its anemic system memory, the Atari 400 is definitely not a computer milestone worth repeating in my opinion. I suppose if you’re feeling really nostalgic, you might want to grab one of these over at Geek Stuff 4U, where it sells for about $149 (USD). Or, for that price, you could just buy yourself a couple of Atari 400s over on eBay.

Comments (5):

  1. Anonymous says:

    Needs more å, ä and ö. :)

  2. Vu says:

    anemic memory? the vic-20 has 3.5K of RAM.

  3. Deltaray says:

    One of the main reasons for the membrane keyboard on the Atari 400s was because it was aimed at education. So it was easier to clean and cheaper to produce for that market.

  4. efjay dee says:

    I used an Atari 400 for years, I actually liked the keyboard. It was better than the ZX80 and ZX81 keyboards I had been using. I would buy the Niyari keyboard in a sec if the price wasn’t stupidly high, I love the retro styling and design.

    I did eventually get an Atari 800, I don’t think any computer since has beaten it’s keyboard.

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