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Antstream Arcade review: “The Netflix of retro games doesn’t feel ready for the prime time”ByNick Thorpepublished 23 August 19Review

Antstream has long been one of the most interesting projects in the world of retrogaming, as it seeks to establish itself as Netflix in retrogaming. Having spent so much time on the service has resolved some of the concerns about the concept, but most of them aren’t enough to actually recommend the service at this point in a detailed review of Antstream Arcade. ..

Antstream is easy to set up, but the iPhone, iPad, PS4, and Switch apps aren’t running yet. However, on the device I tested, it was easy to get started and connect. When you log in to the service, your easy-to-navigate home screen lists over 200 games in different genres. This screen highlights useful information such as games that present challenges. At the time of this writing, just over three-quarters of Antstream’s active library was from a home PC format with many C64 and Spectrum games and some Amiga. Most of the rest of the game is an arcade game with a small portion of the Megadrive / Genesis game that provides a single console representation.

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Low obstacles to overcome

The menu layout is very reminiscent of streaming services like Netflix, but it's much harder to find a game.

Look for fun

If the compression struggles to keep up with the action, the video quality will plummet quite badly.

decision

The challenge at Anstream is fun and one of the highlights of the service.

The challenge at Anstream is fun and one of the highlights of the service. (Image credit: antstream)

Antstream offers access to a large number of games at a fairly low price, but in its current format, the service is a substandard way to play them, to the point where they prefer to look for them elsewhere- In addition, most arcade games are offered with legacy catalogs such as SNK and Data East widely available by providers. Antstream, an ongoing service, has not stopped, and the company plans to fix a number of issues. But at this point, Antstream doesn’t feel like a prime-time product. Still, it feels like an open beta.


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Antstream Arcade review: “The Netflix of retro games doesn’t feel ready for the prime time”

By

Nick Thorpe

published 23 August 19

Review

The Antstream has been one of retro gaming’s most interesting projects for a while now, as it’s attempting to position itself as the Netflix of retro games – streaming and all. Having now spent some significant hands-on time with the service, some of our fears over that concept have been dispelled, but not nearly enough of them to truly recommend the service at this point in time in our in-depth Antstream Arcade review.
Antstream is easy to set up, though we found that the website’s claim that it is “available on all your devices” was a little misleading, as some popular ones aren’t yet supported – at the time of writing, iPhone, iPad, PS4 and Switch apps were yet to launch. However, it was easy to get started and log in on the devices we tested. Upon signing into the service, an easy-to-navigate home screen lists a little over 200 games, split across a variety of genres – this screen helpfully highlights useful information, too, such as which games have challenges. At the time of writing, just over three quarters of Antstream’s active library originated on home computer formats, with plenty of C64 and Spectrum games, rounded off by a smattering of Amiga. The bulk of the remaining titles are arcade games, with a very small selection of Mega Drive / Genesis games providing the only console representation.
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Low hurdle to clear

Searching for fun

The verdict

The challenges in Anstream are good fun and one of the service’s highlights. (Image credit: antstream)
Antstream offers access to plenty of games at a pretty low price, but the service as it stands is a substandard way to play them, to the point that we’d prefer to seek them out elsewhere – especially since many of the arcade games are provided by companies that are making their back catalogues widely available, such as SNK and Data East. Being an ongoing service, Antstream won’t stay static and the company is saying that it intends to fix many of its issues. But right now, Antstream doesn’t feel like a product that is ready for the prime time – it feels like it’s still in open beta.

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