Eight months later, Antstream still needs to improve if it wants to become the best "Netflix of retro games"

It’s been silly almost a year since we first tried Antstream, a service of old games in the cloud which has been compared not infrequently with Netflix to be basically the same.

Financed successfully in KickStarter months later, in May 2019, it has been operating only in the United Kingdom for now under closed early access, where its interface and options have hardly changed compared to December 2018. Hence, for its long start have to improve a lot if you want to be the best Netflix of video games (retro), although it does not really have competence in this area as there is no other service like it.

And what exactly needs improvement? Let’s see the most important points.

Latency and streaming signal quality


We start by the main problem, the latency and especially the signal quality of the streaming, which for now is far from what would be expected of a service that depends solely and exclusively on the cloud.

As there are no downloads, all the weight of the signal rests with the quality of our connection and despite the fact that at the beginning the games are going fairly well even if there is a warning that it is not completely optimal (which is strange since I have good sign of my ISP), in the long run the image tends to degrade, as if he did not know how to interpret what happens on the screen.

It happened to me a few days ago when I remembered the Tumblepop, checking how there were elements that looked blurry or completely modified.

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It is true that in relation to latency practically nothing is noticed, but neither does it have the quality of GGPO technology, designed to minimize the lag in fighting games, for example. There is room for improvement.

Its creators commented long ago the intention to expand the number of servers to reduce the delay, because for now if we want to play without any problem recommend that the ping be less than 15 ms.

Organization of the catalog: for now it is chaotic


Another fundamental aspect is related to the order of digital libraries. In a growing market that gives us more tools to make everything presentable, many more categories are missing for the games of Antstream and that we don’t depend so much on our favorites.

There is division by genres, but not by developers or systems, which would come from pearls. Even order by year of release, which also does not bring (option that I used quite a lot in the disappointed service of Game room). In addition, each of these categories does not show all of the video games that belong to that genre, so we depend on the integrated search engine and consult the list of games from its Web official.

To top, the similar games tab fails like a fairground shotgun when recommending games that have nothing to do. How to put the The Humans of Imagitec Design and to suggest Zool or Super kick off. Wrong.

In relation to this, it would also be appreciated to see the different versions of a game (there are a few with the original recreational and subsequent adaptations to other systems) when we are on its tab, as well as expand the description of each and every one of them, which for now is very sparse in the information, despite the fact that there are odd curiosities.

Without the usual functions of emulators


With the fashion of miniature consoles, since the boom that led to the NES Mini, we have returned to those functions so typical of emulators, as power save states of a game to resume them from that precise moment at any moment or even rewind a few seconds.

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But nevertheless, Antstream It is based on direct games and does not save any kind of progress, except for the special scores and challenges. We put the virtual currency and to play, as we did in the recreational ones.

Worse is, in any case, the fact of following without a section to configure the buttons (It is compatible with remote control, keyboard and touch devices) since the layout is fixed in each game. In addition, you can not configure options, such as messing around the difficulty of a recreational one, for example. We can only add unlimited credits.

It is also strange to see how it manages certain old computer games, such as Amiga 500, since it does not show loading screens and goes directly to the heart of the matter. It’s another issue to be discussed by its creators, anyway, so there are probably surprises here in the future.

It is equally atypical, however, that being a retro game service does not have no section to apply different filters, such as screen smoothing and similar things. For now it is parco in options.

Antstream has many games (and absences)


Antstream wicker is very good, let’s not be so negative. In fact, when we tried it last year we liked it to some extent and we saw a lot of potential, partly because there was no similar retro service.

His list of games is commendable and there are real jewels of Data East that soak us with nostalgia, like Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja, with some rarity like Nitro Ball and more of a Commodore Amiga classic that makes us happy. But it is also true that for now there are only games arisen in recreational, Commodore 64, Spectrum, Mega Drive and Amiga, and in the case of the SEGA console the number is very poor in comparison, really.

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Yes, we are still surprised to see that console as the sole representative of Antstream, especially knowing that the Mega Drive Mini is just around the corner. We also see it impossible for any of Nintendo to make an appearance, but with other machines there are many possibilities.

Its leaders made it clear long ago that the catalog will be expanded being in negotiations with other studies, but the truth is that there are notable absences such as Capcom or Konami and it does not seem that this will change if we take a look at the compilations that usually take out gradually …

Official site | Antstream

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