Retro Video Gamer

Retro Console Gaming => Atari Chat => Topic started by: TrekMD on July 27, 2013, 20:45:07 PM

Title: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 27, 2013, 20:45:07 PM
(http://dosgametoxp.at.ua/pictures2/atari-5200.gif)

The Atari5200...that huge console that Atari only released in North America that was also known as the Super System. The console that originally was referred to as the Video System X. We've yet to really discuss the system, so I figured it was time to start a thread to talk about the console itself. We have plenty of reviews that I've written for its games, so be sure to take a look there as well.

To get things started, I'm going to post this video review from Classic Game Room. Do you agree with his comments about the system? Did the system deserve the Super System moniker? Let the discussion start!


https://youtu.be/GsukDHyhHN8
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Rogue Trooper on July 27, 2013, 21:10:33 PM
Before i even watch video (5200 is a system i know so little on), i have to say this:

If i had the money, i'd buy everyone of those games featured in the photo there, i just love 2600 (and now 5200) box art!.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 27, 2013, 21:13:40 PM
Without a doubt, Atari had a knack for getting some very nice covers done.  :)
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on July 27, 2013, 21:21:47 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Without a doubt, Atari had a knack for getting some very nice covers done.  :)

2 of them?

Bloody hell! That must take up half your house!  :21:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on July 27, 2013, 21:26:39 PM
I think this machine was easily one of Atari's biggest mistakes, hands down. This machine should have used a new graphics chip or at least updated the resolution of the gfx modes and sprite count of the Antic/GTIA. It should have
had at least added 32 sprites, allowing multicolor mode with each sprite allowed its own pointer to it's own special
palette in memory. The pokey was fine but it should have been 2 of them and it should have had a TIA and RIOT
onboard to maintain the 2600 backwards compatibility built in. The joysticks sucked major hairy moose. The unit
was so f'ing big, quite honestly, they could have fit an Atari System 1 Arcade board in there...not an already outdated A8 with a new memory map....how friggin stupid was that?




Actually, they should have just released the 7800 with more memory (32k), two pokeys and a separate processor
to handle the maria so the main processor could still compute.

I have a four port and it's just collecting dust. I'd just assume use my A8 anyway.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Rogue Trooper on July 27, 2013, 21:39:15 PM
Design wise, it looks very much like the Xbox of it's day, i.e huge, which means i'll never mock the N64 Tomy stlye look ever again.It also seems to have been designed by a group of mangers just throwing key words around during a brainstorming meeting and things being ticked off without any real thought.


In terms of concept, i can see what they were aiming at as things like 4 controller ports, numeric buttons on the controller and analog control, would offer better precision, potential for deeper games etc etc, but somewhere between what sounded great on paper and what was actualy made a reality, things went badly wrong.

That All-In-One RF/AC power cord come box thing? never seen anything like it! hell, who on earth signed off on that? yeah, lets have audio, visual and power going through same cable, we'll just have it going into another chunky box (did it ever cause any interference issues?), mind you, looks like they built the damn thing to last, lol.


The 5200 appears to be Atari just buying some time, ie get something more advanced the aging 5200 out there as competition (judging by US magazine ads i've seen) were busy comparing their versions of games to the versions the 2600 recived and the 2600 was looking rough, whilst they worked on a 'true' follow up (going purely from what i've taken from the video), would this be fair to say?.

But it appears this stop-gap move back fired badly-if people wanted better looking versions of games they could buy on the 2600, there were other choices on the market and Atari serving up 'enhanced' 2600 carts just was''nt going to cut it.Kind like in many years to come, were PS2 owners going to upgrade to an Xbox, just for some minor cosmetic enhancements? no..it need the exclusive, Triple-A titles of it's own to shift systems.

What such titles did the 5200 have to offer?.

The controller though, sounds like a deal breaker (and i'm someone who got on fine with Jaguar pad+original Xbox pad).
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: DreamcastRIP on July 27, 2013, 21:40:56 PM
I believe onthinice owns a 5200. I've never played on the console myself which isn't too surprising given that Atari never officially sold it over here. That said, Atari UK marketing chief Darryl Still reputedly was once in possession of a PAL 5200 supplied to him by Atari - he may still own it along with the demonstration kiosk it came supplied with.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Rogue Trooper on July 27, 2013, 21:45:04 PM
Quote from: "Gorf"
I think this machine was easily one of Atari's biggest mistakes, hands down. This machine should have used a new graphics chip or at least updated the resolution of the gfx modes and sprite count of the Antic/GTIA. It should have
had at least added 32 sprites, allowing multicolor mode with each sprite allowed its own pointer to it's own special
palette in memory. The pokey was fine but it should have been 2 of them and it should have had a TIA and RIOT
onboard to maintain the 2600 backwards compatibility built in. The joysticks sucked major hairy moose. The unit
was so f'ing big, quite honestly, they could have fit an Atari System 1 Arcade board in there...not an already outdated A8 with a new memory map....how friggin stupid was that?




Actually, they should have just released the 7800 with more memory (32k), two pokeys and a separate processor
to handle the maria so the main processor could still compute.

I have a four port and it's just collecting dust. I'd just assume use my A8 anyway.

Video talk of enhanced 2600 games, so technically what did it offer over the 2600?
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on July 27, 2013, 22:01:40 PM
It was definitely superior to the 2600 in many ways but it should have also been compatible. The friggin thing was
so damn big it could have easily fitted an Atari System 1 arcade board in it...then you would have seen arcade
exact ports at home. Paperboy, Stunn Runner and all thouse of that time period and after.

Instead all the machine was was an Atari 8 bit computer, without the keyboard, horrible controllers
and no improvements anywhere. Not ven backwards compatible to the 2600, which at the time shoud
have been priority.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Rogue Trooper on July 27, 2013, 22:11:02 PM
Quote from: "Gorf"
It was definitely superior to the 2600 in many ways but it should have also been compatible. The friggin thing was
so damn big it could have easily fitted an Atari System 1 arcade board in it...then you would have seen arcade
exact ports at home. Paperboy, Stunn Runner and all thouse of that time period and after.

Instead all the machine was was an Atari 8 bit computer, without the keyboard, horrible controllers
and no improvements anywhere. Not ven backwards compatible to the 2600, which at the time shoud
have been priority.

Size def. seems to be a 'Made In America' marketing thing (no offence, but you good old boys seem to love your bigger and better:Trucks, cars...wars etc, just your 'Gas' prices (petrol to us low lifes) are smaller still, least you make a go of it, look at us Limey pricks..pissy little island, has an Empire at 1 point, pissed that right up again'st the wall, now run by bunch of Europeans we spent past few 100 years fighting...:-)

Putting existing A8 micro hardware inside is reason i thought it smacked of just get something better out there, fast!.No real long term planning by Atari.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on July 27, 2013, 22:17:15 PM
It was a very bad decision and if Nolan had been still running things it would have never happened this way.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 27, 2013, 23:17:08 PM
Wow, lots of discussion since I last posted! Cool! So, let me see...

Laird, the two 5200's are tucked under my bed in a plastic case. Yes, that's how much space they take! LOL

I'm with Gorf in that the console was a mistake made by Atari. The Video System X they originally had planned may have been a better system but, due to the difficulties with programming for it, they scrapped it and just used existing parts of their 800 computers to make the console. Not a very smart decision in the long run. Yes, it got them a system in the marketplace more quickly, but the system was not the success it could have been had they taken more time to develop are true Super System.

Back in the day, I did not purchase a 5200 because it lacked 2600 backward compatibility and because it was just ginormous with a list of games that I already had on my 2600. Yes, they looked and sounded better but...really? When the 7800 launched I just jumped to it. Years (hmm, decades...really) later, I came to appreciate the library of games for the 5200 given that it had several unique titles and because it had better ports of certain arcade games that never saw a release on the 7800. I ended up getting two because of the two-port, four-port compatibility with some titles and the 2600 adaptor.

On a positive note, I did like the new style Atari introduced with the 5200 and which was followed up on the 7800 and 2600 Jr. The 5200 just did not need to be so big. I know there's the American mindset of "bigger is better" but that's not always the case. We have a saying in Spanish that translates into "A good perfume is sold in a small flask." Atari should have thought of that back then! The idea of storing the controllers within the console is nifty but it does not work well in practice.

The controllers certainly are a hot issue. Yes, they were the first ever to have a "pause" button but the novelty ended there. Atari likely was trying to compete with the likes of Intellivision and ColecoVision, both of which had keypads on their controllers. That's all well and good but making controllers that lack self-centering was just as dumb a decision as it comes. Thankfully there are third-party solutions (i.e., Wico Stick) that do self-center and help with gameplay. There are some games that make good use of the non-centering joysticks (i.e., Robotron 2084) but some is not enough.

[align=center:26enfjmm](http://www.8-bitcentral.com/images/atari/5200/wicoBoxStick.jpg)[/align:26enfjmm]

I do use my 5200 but I tend to use the two-port version more than the four-port version. I just hate the stupid power/TV switch box combination thing. Another utterly dumb decision. In any case, it's the games that still attract me to keep playing, even though they are just better versions of 2600 games in several instances. Ironic that what kept me away in the 80's is the reason I play the system today. :)
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: 64bitRuss on July 27, 2013, 23:49:49 PM
Surprised at all the hate honestly, I guess it has something to do with low footprint in the UK?

The 5200 is my favorite classic system. The Jaguar is first overall, but for 8-bits, I love the 5200 more than the rest. To me, it was like having the arcade games in your home. Remember that even though it is technically an 8-bit computer consolized, 1983 didn't see widespread adoption of home computers in the states, at least they weren't marketed to gamers. So in that sense, I think the 5200 was it's own beast, as it was marketed to a completely different segment of the population. Computer nerds and gamer nerds weren't necessarily in the same category.

To me, just about every single game is superior to it's 2600 counterpart, and the audio was out of this world. There's no denying that the controllers were a problem, and they were a problem from the start. There were options of course, with the Wico Command Controller, which was readily available and analog. But, the proper replacement controller to get if you can, is the microswitch, digitial Competition Pro joystick pictured here:
(http://www.puntodepartida.com/img/retro/atari5200/competition.jpg)

This fixes most of the control issues of the games, making for a much more sound arcade experience on the Supersystem. Let's not forget the arcade-quality Trak-Ball that was produced, for use with Missile Command and Centipede, creating a true arcade experience that was unmatched in it's era. The original 5200 controllers do come in handy for use with a few games however, by using the joystick coupler that was included with Space Dungeon and Robotron, and it's not bad with the excellent Star Raiders.

I was always fascinated by the 5200, it was a taste of extravagance in home gaming to me, a poor boy. Originally I could only play it at my cousin's house, who was more well off than my family. Eventually I was able to get my own later in life, and I now have a pretty decent 5200 collection, but it could be much better. Not nearly as good as my Jag and Lynx collections. Anyway, great console, the Supersystem!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 28, 2013, 01:10:01 AM
I'm not familiar with that joystick.  I'll need to see if I can get my hands on one of them!  Looks sturdier than the Wico stick. 

I have to wonder if the decision by Atari to not sell the 5200 outside the US was because they saw the system as a short-term solution until they had something better ready, because there was a technical reason, or simply because someone just made a poor decision.  It would have helped sales had it been released out of the US.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Rogue Trooper on July 28, 2013, 01:24:58 AM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
I'm not familiar with that joystick.  I'll need to see if I can get my hands on one of them!  Looks sturdier than the Wico stick. 

I have to wonder if the decision by Atari to not sell the 5200 outside the US was because they saw the system as a short-term solution until they had something better ready, because there was a technical reason, or simply because someone just made a poor decision.  It would have helped sales had it been released out of the US.

Maybe Atari 'knew' the entire UK population alone was waiting for Nintendo to roll in and either save us from the 8/16 Bit micro's we were very much enjoying or give those who'd yet to play on said micro's or wide range of 8 Bit consoles or LCD games or arcade games, their very 1st taste of gaming, with the Nes....


Or have i been reading too many UK publications of late?.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 28, 2013, 01:32:11 AM
By the way, does anyone know if any homebrewer ever produced end-labels for the 5200 carts?  They would be very useful!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Rogue Trooper on July 28, 2013, 01:33:36 AM
Quote from: "64bitRuss"
Surprised at all the hate honestly, I guess it has something to do with low footprint in the UK?

The 5200 is my favorite classic system. The Jaguar is first overall, but for 8-bits, I love the 5200 more than the rest. To me, it was like having the arcade games in your home. Remember that even though it is technically an 8-bit computer consolized, 1983 didn't see widespread adoption of home computers in the states, at least they weren't marketed to gamers. So in that sense, I think the 5200 was it's own beast, as it was marketed to a completely different segment of the population. Computer nerds and gamer nerds weren't necessarily in the same category.

To me, just about every single game is superior to it's 2600 counterpart, and the audio was out of this world. There's no denying that the controllers were a problem, and they were a problem from the start. There were options of course, with the Wico Command Controller, which was readily available and analog. But, the proper replacement controller to get if you can, is the microswitch, digitial Competition Pro joystick pictured here:
(http://www.puntodepartida.com/img/retro/atari5200/competition.jpg)

This fixes most of the control issues of the games, making for a much more sound arcade experience on the Supersystem. Let's not forget the arcade-quality Trak-Ball that was produced, for use with Missile Command and Centipede, creating a true arcade experience that was unmatched in it's era. The original 5200 controllers do come in handy for use with a few games however, by using the joystick coupler that was included with Space Dungeon and Robotron, and it's not bad with the excellent Star Raiders.

I was always fascinated by the 5200, it was a taste of extravagance in home gaming to me, a poor boy. Originally I could only play it at my cousin's house, who was more well off than my family. Eventually I was able to get my own later in life, and I now have a pretty decent 5200 collection, but it could be much better. Not nearly as good as my Jag and Lynx collections. Anyway, great console, the Supersystem!

We had some ropey hardware design's ourselves here in UK-my 1st home micro was a ZX81, which i had to use Blu-Tac to keep the add-on 16K Ram pack steady with...a 'Dead Flesh' keyboard on the ZX Spectrum and basically the entire Amstrad range of anything, ever (no idea if any/all of those mentioned were UK designed, but just for point i'm making, it'll do.., so we were used to ugly...

However...putting everything through one cable like they did with power/audio/visual, that alone is kinda crackpot stuff for UK minds to grasp.

Your wasting you time preaching of the superior audio my friend, as a C64 owner myself, only to witness the claims made by Spectrum owners about their soundchip (woo the 128 had a buzzer as well) sniff....:-)

Seriousily though, please don't let the British outlook on things we never got, give you the wrong impression, it's a system i'd love to know a lot more about.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on July 28, 2013, 03:42:13 AM
IMO, Atari 5200 is where Atari really got the 80's arcade gaming scene right. I don't care how many internet parrots are out there calling the controllers, 'crummy' and such. There are alternatives, and rebuilding the originals takes little work (and is well worth it). I agree with the poster who said that 5200 is their favorite console. There are simply arcade games done on good old 5200 that, at least to me, are non pareil. Yes, most of the 5200 games available on other systems, but there is a certain early 80's nuance that comes with 5200 that you can get nowhere else. To me, 5200 Pac Man is the best version I have ever played.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 28, 2013, 04:18:02 AM
Some of the controller issues can be overcome by replacing some of the contacts.  I had my controllers replaced (I exchanged them) with the gold contact versions from Best Electronics.  It definitely makes a difference in the performance of the controllers (though you still have to deal with the non-centering issue). 

Sloan, have you tried the homebrew version of 5200 Pac-Man?  It really takes up several notches from the Atari version.  If you like the Atari version, you'll really like the homebrew version, Pac-Man Arcade. 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: 64bitRuss on July 28, 2013, 05:11:10 AM
Regarding the RF/AC cable combo device: That device was only issued with the first run of 4-port systems to my knowledge. Atari revised the console to a 2-port design, I think only a year later, as there were no games that utilized 4 joystick ports anyway. With the 2-port, which is what I have, there are separate power and RF cables, a standard setup. There is a BIOS revision somewhere in there also that caused some compatibility issues with 3 games. My 2-port however, plays all the games, and has separate power and RF cables, so it is my opinion that the 2-port system is the way to go on the 5200.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 28, 2013, 05:18:56 AM
Quote from: "64bitRuss"
Regarding the RF/AC cable combo device: That device was only issued with the first run of 4-port systems to my knowledge. Atari revised the console to a 2-port design, I think only a year later, as there were no games that utilized 4 joystick ports anyway. With the 2-port, which is what I have, there are separate power and RF cables, a standard setup. There is a BIOS revision somewhere in there also that caused some compatibility issues with 3 games. My 2-port however, plays all the games, and has separate power and RF cables, so it is my opinion that the 2-port system is the way to go on the 5200.

I'd agree with that.  There apparently are a subset of two-port systems (I think they have an asterisk after their serial number) that have the updated software.  I actually need to look at mine to check that out.  I keep forgetting!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on July 28, 2013, 11:32:26 AM
Quote from: "64bitRuss"
Surprised at all the hate honestly, I guess it has something to do with low footprint in the UK?

Well given that some of the criticism here has come from Americans I would say not! :3:

I have only played on one once, back at Jagfest UK in 2009 and thought the system had some cool games but I REALLY hated those controllers. The Joystick TrekMD posted looks like a massive improvement though for me, never liked the Competition Pro. so that wouldn't be an option.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on July 28, 2013, 11:34:43 AM
Quote from: "Rogue Trooper"
Your wasting you time preaching of the superior audio my friend, as a C64 owner myself, only to witness the claims made by Spectrum owners about their sound chip (woo the 128 had a buzzer as well) sniff....:-)

Each to their own but I much prefer the POKEY to the SID chip.   :)

https://youtu.be/Rdh4PO7aT68
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on July 28, 2013, 18:39:23 PM
Actually the SID chip's only advantage over the Pokey was one could send commands to it and then the processor was free to do whatever. However, this limited it's abilities as the pokey was superior in many was allowing the 6502 or whatever processor to flexibly control the chip in ways the commands on the SID chip was just not capable of doing.

The Video System X was pretty much identical to the 5200 specs wise so there would have been no help there.
It used the A8 line of chips and would have only been different in name.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on July 28, 2013, 23:46:56 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Some of the controller issues can be overcome by replacing some of the contacts.  I had my controllers replaced (I exchanged them) with the gold contact versions from Best Electronics.  It definitely makes a difference in the performance of the controllers (though you still have to deal with the non-centering issue). 

Sloan, have you tried the homebrew version of 5200 Pac-Man?  It really takes up several notches from the Atari version.  If you like the Atari version, you'll really like the homebrew version, Pac-Man Arcade.

TrekMD, is Pac Man Arcade available for sale anywhere?

Also, the best controller solution I have come across is a 15-pin PC joystick adapter that is easy to construct. Bohoki on Atari Age forums used to sell them for $10 and they were well worth it. They work well with most games except a few more analog games like Gyruss and Missile Command. The best thing about this adapter is that it allows you to use a controller made by Performance called the Ultra Racer. This controller allows for dial spinner playing of games like Super Breakout, Gyruss, and even works well with games like Space Invaders, Kaboom and Megamania, not to mention allows for steering in Pole Position.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 28, 2013, 23:50:35 PM
Sloan, Pac-Man Arcade was available on AA but I do not know if it is still available.  The demo is available for download, though, if I'm not mistaken.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on July 29, 2013, 10:36:54 AM
Quote from: "sloan"
IMO, Atari 5200 is where Atari really got the 80's arcade gaming scene right. I don't care how many internet parrots are out there calling the controllers, 'crummy' and such. There are alternatives, and rebuilding the originals takes little work (and is well worth it). I agree with the poster who said that 5200 is their favorite console. There are simply arcade games done on good old 5200 that, at least to me, are non pareil. Yes, most of the 5200 games available on other systems, but there is a certain early 80's nuance that comes with 5200 that you can get nowhere else. To me, 5200 Pac Man is the best version I have ever played.

This is not about the games quality so much as it is about the marketing business decision. Americans tend to
know when they are being rooked. Many of us Atari fans knew they were simply repackaging a computer most
of us already had and many of us were not going to spend hundreds of dollars on a system we essentially already
had in an A8. Yeah, there are alternatives for the controllers, but the system should have come with better ones
and not have to put on the consumer the burden of spending even more money to buy after market controllers to
make up for the bad decisions made by the company. Not only that, we would spend 50 bucks per cart on games
that were already just like the ones we had already spent good money on? No thank you! The fact is, no one got
the arcade scene correct in those days...some came kinda close but no cigar.

I would also argue that the Bally Astrocade version of Pac Man(Muncher) was the better of the versions of that
time. That was an unfinished prototype but it was much closer in game play all around. The 5200 controllers
did no justice at all for it's version of Pac Man.

The 5200 should have been a newer system altogether or at very least, package it as a console version of
the A8's with the old style controllers and allow those already with the games for the A8's plug these right
into the new console. Atari fooled no one except themselves and never were able to bounce back from this
really bad decision...they were never the same after this.

The biggest mistake of the 5200 was the non-self-centering joysticks. I remember I was actually excited to
try out the new system at the local game store, and when I did, I was greatly disappointed just because the
controllers were horrible....most of the games for it were in no need of analog sticks and needed the self
centering to really get that arcade feel...so no I strongly disagree with your assessment of the 5200 getting
the '80's right, because the most important part of  a game is it's contollers...you can't play a game with gfx
only. To me....the 2600 controllers(also those for the A8's) where the right stuff for that era....period.

That early '80's nuance was already available...the A8's were it and the controllers were it. The 5200 is a
perfect example of if it ain't broke....don't fix it!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: 64bitRuss on July 29, 2013, 22:37:53 PM
I disagree with your entire analysis Gorf. The marketing of the 5200 was not aimed at Atari 8-bit computer owners. Obviously, why would you buy the 5200 if you already had an 8-bit? The whole concept of the 5200 was a great idea, it was a way to sell more 8-bit hardware to a larger segment of the population, without it being a computer. Home computers were a niche market in 1982, in fact as a young boy at the time I had no clue about them, but I had a 2600 and wanted the 5200. You didn't buy home video games for dedicated consoles, in the same section of a store that you bought the computer games. It was two completely different industries, with the same name brand.

I also don't believe that the 5200 was a commercial failure, despite it's reputation of having bad controllers. I think they sold through quite well on the 5200 and it's software, because it is still one of the easiest systems to collect games for. There's always an abundance of every game available, and relatively cheaply. It happened to be in that particular time where the Atari 2600 dragged the entire industry into the gutter. You're making it sound like the 5200 was this giant colossal failure, but there's so much readily available 5200 equipment and software out there, somebody had to buy that stuff originally. You could say that Atari overproduced and point to ET as proof, but I'm sure all the companies overproduced based on market expectations. That market crashed faster than anyone could anticipate.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on July 30, 2013, 04:03:41 AM
Quote from: "Rogue Trooper"
Quote from: "TrekMD"
I'm not familiar with that joystick.  I'll need to see if I can get my hands on one of them!  Looks sturdier than the Wico stick. 

I have to wonder if the decision by Atari to not sell the 5200 outside the US was because they saw the system as a short-term solution until they had something better ready, because there was a technical reason, or simply because someone just made a poor decision.  It would have helped sales had it been released out of the US.

Maybe Atari 'knew' the entire UK population alone was waiting for Nintendo to roll in and either save us from the 8/16 Bit micro's we were very much enjoying or give those who'd yet to play on said micro's or wide range of 8 Bit consoles or LCD games or arcade games, their very 1st taste of gaming, with the Nes....


Or have i been reading too many UK publications of late?.
Oh, Rogue Trooper!  :78: Too Funny!!!!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on July 30, 2013, 04:27:52 AM
The controllers are definitely the Achilles heal for the system. With patience, a person can learn to appreciate what Atari was trying to accomplish with them.

For a long time, the 5200 had one of the better Pac-Man conversions. Better than my Atari 400 Pac-Man, which does not have the intermissions.

Pitfall II has the lost level and is cheaper to buy then the 8-bit Atari computer versions.

River Raid is better with tanks that cross the bridges and shoot at your plane. Never played the Intellivision or Colecovision versions. Not sure how it compares.

Kaboom has much better graphics than the 2600.

Frogger is great, if you use the keypad. The keypad increases the challenge and fun of the game.

Arcade favorites like Qix, Pengo, Moon Patrol, Jungle Hunt and Kangaroo are hard to find on other systems.

Blue Print, Keystone Kapers, Popeye and Q*Bert are some of my favorites.

If you like arcade games, this system will not disappoint.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: DreamcastRIP on July 30, 2013, 13:17:31 PM
Quote from: "64bitRuss"
Home computers were a niche market in 1982...

...It happened to be in that particular time where the Atari 2600 dragged the entire industry into the gutter.

I presume you're solely referring to North America when making such statements.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on July 30, 2013, 19:13:51 PM
He can refer to whatever he wants...I do not know what part of the world he comes from but just about every store had the computers and the consoles right next to each other. The system was a bad joke and it shoul dhave been an advancement in technology, not more of the same. They fooled no one. It was a miserable failure when you stack it up next to the 2600. That is what they needed to meet or exceed market wise and they failed horribly.
I like the system, I own the system but I bought a Colecovision over it back in the day...why? The Colecovision
had much more going for it in the way of different games as well as the ability to ply my old 2600 games.

No one loves Atari systems more than me but when they fucked up, I was the first in line to tell them so.
With this system, they put a hurting on themselves that they have never recovered from....and probably
never will...since the next bunch of hardware after this were pretty much miserable failures in comparison
to the day when they own/invented the industry.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on July 31, 2013, 03:04:16 AM
I actually put 5200 as the last console where Atari had a well-conceived and enacted strategy. That is until the US crash brought it all to an end. Given until NES launched in 1985 for the 5200, who knows what may have ensued? Instead, Atari basically let 5200 die on the vine beginning in 1983 and the 7800 and XEGS were too little too late. With exciting and new games, along with an improved controller, the history for 5200 may have been far different.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on August 01, 2013, 01:40:51 AM
Quote from: "sloan"
I actually put 5200 as the last console where Atari had a well-conceived and enacted strategy. That is until the US crash brought it all to an end. Given until NES launched in 1985 for the 5200, who knows what may have ensued? Instead, Atari basically let 5200 die on the vine beginning in 1983 and the 7800 and XEGS were too little too late. With exciting and new games, along with an improved controller, the history for 5200 may have been far different.

I agree!!!!

Sometimes I wonder if the 2600 was planned to perfection or just a fluke? Either way Atari had the loyalty and fan base to make the 5200 a success.

Stupid US videogame crash! >:(
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on August 02, 2013, 00:47:17 AM
The VG crash had little to do with it. The crash hurt EVERYONE. Atari got it backwards on this one. If
they wanted to use the ANTIC/GTIA/POKEY chipset in a console, it should have been done before they
did it in a computer. Better yet...release it as a console with computer add-ons...ie the SIO, Keyboard
and such already built in to the 5200. Then offer all the add-ons later. Have the Basic built in so all
you needed to do was to plug a Keyboard connector into it and the Basic would boot....as long as no
other GAME cart was plugged in....so then if you want to extend the basic you could do it out on the cart
with a different header telling the system that basic could run with it. THAT would have been a truly
innovative move on Atari's part and I believe it would have worked and it would have survived the crash
as it would have been a very viable computer which was what most people were turning to, which is why
or at least a big reason why the crash took place anyway.

The 2600 was lucky....it was only designed to play pong type games. Atari never intended it to go where it
did, but the system had the abilities and the programmers were able to take advantage of them.

The 2600 was not by any means a big reason at all for the crash...just one of them and not really a
big one either. Home computers were probably one of the biggest reasons, that and the fact that a lot
of the software at the time for consoles was getting rather disappointing, especially when you consider
the much more advanced versions of games the computers were able to play.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on August 12, 2013, 06:56:08 AM
I would also add non-gaming parents. I saw the importance of upgrading from the Atari 2600 to the 5200, but my parents did not. We had the same appliances for years and years. If it was not broke, no sense in fixing it or replacing with a better model.

A for computers. I remember getting a Vic-20, felt great till a year or two later, when all of my friends had the Commodore 64. I did eventually get the C64 and spent most of the late 80's playing Buck Rodgers, Crusade in Europe and Pirates. Missed a lot of the Nintendo era. It had to have been 1988 or 1989 when I got an Nes. A year later, bought a Genesis and Turbo-16. Then the Commodores went in storage. Consoles for me at least had come full circle.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: DreamcastRIP on August 12, 2013, 21:46:59 PM
Quote from: "onthinice"
... the Nintendo era.

Say what?  :10:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on August 12, 2013, 22:05:22 PM
Quote from: "DreamcastRIP"
Quote from: "onthinice"
... the Nintendo era.

Say what?  :10:

I'm sure he's talking about the Nintendo era in the US.  Something that has never existed in Europe.   :21:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on August 13, 2013, 01:04:57 AM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Quote from: "DreamcastRIP"
Quote from: "onthinice"
... the Nintendo era.

Say what?  :10:

I'm sure he's talking about the Nintendo era in the US.  Something that has never existed in Europe.   :40: My mistake. The Nintendo Entertainment System came out in 1985/86 and I missed a few years. I bought the Nes when it was still new but like I stated it was 1988 or '89. So I did miss a few years of the Nintendo era. :4:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: DreamcastRIP on August 13, 2013, 03:46:04 AM
USA for Africa - We are the World (http://http)

 :3:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on August 13, 2013, 04:13:45 AM
Thanks for reminding me why I grew quickly sick of that nonsense! Nothing's changed
either! :107:

Now I need to listen to a few hours of some hateful death metal bands to clear my mind! :10:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: DreamcastRIP on August 13, 2013, 05:17:44 AM
Quote from: "Gorf"
Thanks for reminding me why I grew quickly sick of that nonsense! Nothing's changed
either! :4:

Quote
I will say, that most of those people were clearly singing out of their natural range.
MJ, Dianna Ross, Dionne Warwick, Cindy and Steve Perry aside. Those folks can
sing in any range...Springsteen? Really? :10:

Too funny! 'The Boss' certainly embarrassed himself, no argument there!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Gorf on August 13, 2013, 05:36:04 AM
Quote from: "DreamcastRIP"
Haha! I posted it not due to anything related to Africa but solely for the song's title... to humour onthinice's post!  :P
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on August 14, 2013, 05:59:39 AM
Quote from: "DreamcastRIP"

Haha! I posted it not due to anything related to Africa but solely for the song's title... to humour onthinice's post!  :21:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on September 14, 2013, 03:48:54 AM
Found this video looking at 20 games that defined the Atari 5200.  What do you think?  Do you agree with the selection? 

https://youtu.be/Eo0Si_AGYuM
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: 64bitRuss on September 15, 2013, 20:19:15 PM
I don't really agree with many of those games being on that video, as 'defining games'. The first one is Super Breakout, I mean that's probably the worst game released and an unbelievably stupid free launch game.

I certainly agree with Pac-Man, Space Dungeon and Jungle Hunt. But alot of the other games are uncommons, or semi-rare like Montezuma's Revenge and Mr Do's Castle. I'm not sure enough of those sold to define the console in any sense.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on September 15, 2013, 20:30:42 PM
I was surprised to see Super Breakout on there as well.  That games did nothing to push the 5200.  I wonder if they included it on the video precisely because it was the initial launch game with the system.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on September 15, 2013, 22:44:54 PM
It is hard to sell the idea of the 5200 as anything but an at home arcade machine. The video makes that point well.

I would have left off Super Breakout and Ms. Pac-Man. Added Frogger and River Raid.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on September 22, 2013, 18:13:05 PM
Here's CGR looking at an Atari 5200 catalog...

https://youtu.be/oHicXPDwtsE
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on September 22, 2013, 20:59:36 PM
Ouch! Flipping off a catalog.

I really think with patience the 5200 controllers can be appreciated. It is big but still a nice design with quality games that still hold up well today.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on September 22, 2013, 21:03:33 PM
Quote from: "onthinice"
Ouch! Flipping off a catalog.

I really think with patience the 5200 controllers can be appreciated. It is big but still a nice design with quality games that still hold up well today.

The controllers aren't as terrible as many say.  Yes, they are hard to use with games like Pac-Man but I find that you can adapt to them.  For games like Pac-Man I just use a Wico controller since self-centering really helps with those games. 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on September 22, 2013, 22:29:19 PM
Y, the controllers are what they are. Not so good on some games, especially those that require quick precision. For those, Wico or a 15-pin PC adapter work best. I picked up a 15-pin controller with mini analog thumb stick yesterday. Waiting to try it out as it may be the best 5200 controller I have come across yet. That is if it works the way I am hoping.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on September 23, 2013, 10:11:20 AM
Quote from: "sloan"
Y, the controllers are what they are. Not so good on some games, especially those that require quick precision. For those, Wico or a 15-pin PC adapter work best. I picked up a 15-pin controller with mini analog thumb stick yesterday. Waiting to try it out as it may be the best 5200 controller I have come across yet. That is if it works the way I am hoping.

Keep us updated!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: guest4753 on October 21, 2013, 18:20:13 PM
Quote from: "Rogue Trooper"
The 5200 appears to be Atari just buying some time, ie get something more advanced the aging 5200 out there as competition (judging by US magazine ads i've seen) were busy comparing their versions of games to the versions the 2600 recived and the 2600 was looking rough, whilst they worked on a 'true' follow up (going purely from what i've taken from the video), would this be fair to say?.

If the video promotes that, it's completely false. We have the full story in our book.

First off, what became the 7800 was developed by the company GCC in response to the release of the 5200. Not because Atari was doing a stopgap because they knew they were moving to it.

The 5200 was specifically designed to box out the Intellivision, being placed as Atari's "higher end" offering with the 2600 being moved down to the lower end. It was not intended as a replacement for the 2600, there's no way marketing would ever allow that.

The road to a followup to the 2600 actually started way before that. What became the Atari 400 was intended to be a next-gen game console, and in fact was still designed as one up until 6 months or so before the introduction in 1979 when a keyboard was slapped on it because marketing didn't want to interfere with the 2600 sales (sales of the console had been dismal in 1978 and caused massive losses for the company. So the focus for 1979, per Warner's direction, was to get the 2600 on it's feet). So the 400 became a game computer instead. (This sets up the relationship to the 5200).

Then in 1981 the effort began on three separate products: Stella, a repackaging of the 2600 with no changes. Sylvia (also called Super-Stella), intended to directly compete against the Intellivision. PAM (Personal Arcade Machine), a high end console that Atari was going to pour a lot of market research into.

Sylvia was at one point also referred to as Project X, and was in essence an enhancement of the 2600 concept - almost a hybrid between the 2600 and 8-bit computers. It featured a full 6502 CPU, an enhanced version of the original TIA chip, and a version of the ANTIC chip called FRANTIC. It also featured a full 2K of ram and a speech synthesis chip. It was to be packaged in a case similar to the Atari 2700 (and whose case was used in the Sears Video Arcade II).

PAM was purely a designed by market research console. Starting in 1981, Atari did exhaustive research asking gamers what they wanted in a new console. When it became clear that three products at three price points would be rejected by retailers and consumers, Sylvia was dropped and PAM became the focus - taking on both high end and compete against Intellivision roles. PAMs design was purely targeted towards early 80s game buffs, heavy coin-op players and those who would always buy top price products. The features of PAM were all designed on the findings of this research and what gamers at the time said they wanted.

The all in one power/auto-switch RF chord (last seen on the RCA Studio II) was put there because gamers requested a cut-down on the amount of wires, since most entertainment centers already had a rats nest of wires behind them. Just a single button to turn on the power and switch the tv.

As far as compatibility with the 8-bit lines, there were several stories we were told by ex-employees regarding tension between the home computer department (HCS) and PAM group, with HCS not wanting PAM to step on their territory. Hence the different memory map. There was also talk about a keyboard originally being attached through the extra two joystick ports (the reason for having 4). The expansion port contains most of the lines for an SIO, so other peripheral were planned but scrapped. We didn't include this material in the current revision of the book because we're still holding out for more concrete documentation (i.e., a directive from marketing, which is who usually stuck their noses into projects to change them).

There was also initially a speech synthesis module expansion for the 5200 (a holdover from Sylvia and being done on contract with Milton Bradley), and the 2600 adaptor was planned from the beginning. The module was cancelled, and the 2600 adaptor was delayed because of a snafu that did not make the adaptor electrically compatible with the 5200s cartridge port. Gary Rubio came out with a fix for the 4-ports already out there with the problem while the final runs of the 4-ports had the modifications built in.

Also, regarding the joysticks, Atari was aware focus groups evaluating System X before the launch were complaining about the sticks being non-centering. Engineering wanted to delay the launch to have time and fix the issue, but Marketing wouldn't allow it. So the boot around the stick was upgraded to a thicker/heavier rubber to provide a modicum of centering while they moved on to design self-centering sticks.


Quote from: "TrekMD"
The Video System X they originally had planned may have been a better system but, due to the difficulties with programming for it, they scrapped it and just used existing parts of their 800 computers to make the console.

No, it was the reason I stated above.

Quote from: "Gorf"
Atari got it backwards on this one. If they wanted to use the ANTIC/GTIA/POKEY chipset in a console, it should have been done before they
did it in a computer. Better yet...release it as a console with computer add-ons...ie the SIO, Keyboard
and such already built in to the 5200. Then offer all the add-ons later.

I'm sorry, but that comes off as an opinion based on hindsight rather being familiar with the timeline and projects mentioned above. That just was not possible given the circumstances presented and where these projects evolved from.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on October 21, 2013, 18:31:31 PM
Some interesting stuff there Marty, even though I had read some of it in the book. Thanks for coming here and posting!  :111:
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on October 21, 2013, 22:30:28 PM
Thanks for that post, Marty! 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on October 22, 2013, 01:13:43 AM
Good stuff there, and backs up what I have read before, that 5200 was released as an answer to Intellivision, not to compete with Colecovision. So much revisionist history out there.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on October 26, 2013, 17:37:58 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Here's CGR looking at an Atari 5200 catalog...

https://youtu.be/oHicXPDwtsE

2:20 on that video lists a game called "Tank". Say what???!!!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on October 30, 2013, 03:23:24 AM
I guess that's a title that was either not released or it was renamed.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on January 11, 2014, 01:05:14 AM
Just saw this article over at Classic Game Room's site. Have fun: PlayStation 4 vs. Atari 5200 (http://http).

(http://classicgameroom.com/articles/files/2014/01/PS4vs.jpg)
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on January 11, 2014, 03:16:16 AM
Now that is funny.

Maybe tongue in cheek, but I did notice that he mentioned the "fire hazard" myth for the 5200 power supply.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on January 11, 2014, 03:17:24 AM
Quote from: "sloan"
Now that is funny.

Maybe tongue in cheek, but I did notice that he mentioned the "fire hazard" myth for the 5200 power supply.

Hey, but the 5200 came on top!  ;)
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: retromod on January 14, 2014, 17:31:30 PM
The 5200 was a great system and at the time it was announced everyone in europe waited for the release until the "sorry" arrived. Next info within the atari club magazine was that the atari domputer is now in focus. It was soo terrible for us even if the run to the atari xl was a big success for atari. I personally waited for the atari 1200 and 1450 which never arrived, too.

The 7800 was a big surprise and not really a big step into the right direction. As taken from book marketing was the reason for it preventing any further models and development specially as the atari 400 was mainly planned as a 2600 replacement without keyboard and crippled down version. 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on January 14, 2014, 20:27:32 PM
Atari definitely made a number of mistakes with their Super System.  No doubt there.  Unfortunate because the system was very good and it does have a nice game library.  In some cases, titles that were not ported to other Atari consoles.  Games like Kangaroo, Gremlins, and even Pac-Man were never ported to the 7800, for example.  Others simply remained unique to the 5200.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on January 15, 2014, 00:37:10 AM
Would a European player be able to even hook up a 5200 NTSC console to a PAL television? Do they make adapters of some sort for converting between the standards?

One game not mentioned by you, Trek, is Space Dungeon. That game is the best reason to own the 5200 imo.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on January 15, 2014, 00:55:02 AM
Well, I was just giving examples not all the titles.  :)  Space Dunegon is superb and Robotron is another one thanks to the dual control adapter to truly emulate the arcade.  Robotron, however, did get ported to the 7800.  Another good title on the 5200 that was not ported to the 7800 is Popeye. 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on January 15, 2014, 01:03:09 AM
Quote from: "sloan"
Would a European player be able to even hook up a 5200 NTSC console to a PAL television? Do they make adapters of some sort for converting between the standards?

One game not mentioned by you, Trek, is Space Dungeon. That game is the best reason to own the 5200 imo.

Pretty much any PAL TV made in the last 15 years also supports NTSC, hell even the one I had when I was a kid did as I used to switch my ST to 60hz. So the only problem is the step down converter for the power supply.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: retromod on January 16, 2014, 13:45:20 PM
Quote from: "sloan"
Would a European player be able to even hook up a 5200 NTSC console to a PAL television? Do they make adapters of some sort for converting between the standards?


yes. Most current TV sets available in europe are able to play any input using NTSC/PAL/SECAM. Nevertheless nearly 99.9% of all 5200 are modded for S-Video or AV. S-Video is a dying standard so I would personally not use it anymore as only 4 manufacturer are left to support this on their televisions. Even Scart input suffer from the S-Video signal today on most devices. Mine is 2 years old have plenty of technology but no S-Video at all. No single connector, no Scart implementation. Nothing. So I'm stuck with RGB and AV/HDMI.

HDMI is worse if you do not have a device supporting the source target, e.g. default upscale looks quite ugly for all Atari Konsoles and Homecomputers. So in sum any device delivering < 640 x 400 pixel leads to a bad experience using such converters for HDMI. I've tested a lot and in summary it was a desaster.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on January 19, 2014, 01:13:16 AM
So, overall, would you say that many 5200 consoles have been imported to UK?
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on January 19, 2014, 01:20:05 AM
Quote from: &quot;sloan&quot;
So, overall, would you say that many 5200 consoles have been imported to UK?

I would be surprised if there were even 50.

At the end of the day the 5200 offers pretty much nothing over the Atari XL/XE and they are pretty easy to come by.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on January 19, 2014, 02:15:39 AM
Quote from: &quot;The Laird&quot;
Quote from: &quot;sloan&quot;
So, overall, would you say that many 5200 consoles have been imported to UK?

I would be surprised if there were even 50.

At then end of the day the 5200 offers pretty much nothing over the Atari XL/XE and they are pretty easy to come by.

That is lower than I would have thought. Also, I wish I could say that XE was easy to come by around my area.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on January 19, 2014, 02:19:47 AM
You tried eBay, there seem to be quite a few on there!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on January 24, 2014, 23:26:34 PM
Thought I'd share this blogpost discussing the Atari 5200:  Gen 2.5's 5200 Reasons to Cry (http://www.noisefromthebasement.com/gen-x5-part-3-gen-25-5200-reasons-to-cry/)
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on January 25, 2014, 00:33:17 AM
Great blog post, Trek. I remember the day it launched like it was yesterday. I lusted for it, but alas VCS was all I had until NES hit North American shores in 1985. I remember a friend of my sister's family got one with Centipede and Pac Man. Man, was I impressed. I played it one time at their house and it was as close to arcade Pac Man as it got at that time. Centipede was nice too, only they didn't have the trak ball controller. Nowadays, I have the trak ball controller and it is the only way to play Centipede on the beloved 5200.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on January 25, 2014, 00:46:00 AM
Oh, I remember the launch of the 5200 and seeing it in stores in Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the money to get it.  I ended up skipping it altogether and getting a 7800 while in college.  I got it as an adult and I like it, despite some of its faults.  It has an excellent library.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: retromod on January 27, 2014, 12:50:05 PM
well in my opinion the roadmap was quite clear but always interrupted by marketing due to it's Atari 2600 benefits.

In the book of Curt Vendel the situation is clearly pointed out. The Atari 400 was planned as a successor for the Atari VCs but then due to marketing it was altered to a homecomputer. The Atari 800 should be the homecomputer part, the 400 a videogame console. At the time of planning quite reasonable and a good approach.

Then after some sidesteps of prototypes they planned officially a successor: the Atari 5200. It was well designed in my opinion but the major issue was the lack of compatibility to Atari 2600 and again marketing who influenced them until it was too late and too bad.

The rush to Atari 7800 - a machine created outside of Atari itself by a small group of hidden engineers was ok but again too late and finally the hardware too bad. As I correctly understood at this time Atari currently dealt with Nintendo to release their system under Atari brand. The Atari 7800 was a quick shot to be first on the market but failed due to weakness in game titles. Specially the lack of games was the major impact, it doesn't make sense to someone owning Asteroid for 2600 to buy Asteroid for 7800 or 5200. 

Here in europe the Atari 2600 was a strong seller but the lack of good games were quite visible in 1982 and later, specially as all good programmer started their own companies flooding the market with game clones.
The 5200 was introduced and dropped until we are able to buy them. Moving quickly to new Atari XL series.
The 7800 was quickly introduced a short time after the Atari 800XL but was not available in stores anymore.

Atari plannings at this time was having the Amiga chipset for their new video game console. But the deal failed finally specially as Tramiel dropped in. All the great developments were stopped without review after Tramiel took over Atari. And that is bad because several 16/32 bit machines were ready somewhere in Atari labs including the famous soundchip AMY and the Gold & Silver Chipset. But Tramiel was someone who was only interested in quick money and to devices not compatible to each other. see the commodore line the "development" was only done to make the device cheaper not to enhance it's features or possibilities.

Commodore and Amiga was also something which doesn't really fit. Specially as the developed machine C900 from commodore itself was a real killer - ready for marketing and cheap in comparison to the Amiga. A failure to stop it and introducing the Amiga which was quite too expensive with functions nobody needed these days (far ahead it's time). the end of the great Amiga Chipset and due to all these extension cards and product families the Amiga abondend from the screen. Sure whom to support? the group using 680x0 cards, the powerpc groups? the AGA users? same on Atari ST: 5 Eur per device on ebay, nobody is really interested in it, it doesn't play a big role at all (also due to splitting of the market, ST, STE, TT, accelerator cards etc.)

In my opinion it was the typical "startup" problem. It worked until a specific size of the company was reached. then many people jumped in to be the right man in management. but instead they failed due to misunderstanding of the business pssing the developers and creative people inside the company. If developer and creative people leaves a company then the end is quite near. And this happend finally.... hardware itself doesn't count if there is no software who drives it beyond it's limits
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on February 05, 2014, 14:09:17 PM
Since the thread has discussed so much about how and why Atari made the 5200, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at a review of the original Video System X...

RARE ATARI VIDEO SYSTEM X PROTOTYPE Review (1982) - Documentary (http://http)
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on February 15, 2014, 13:11:30 PM
Atari Age members Aking and Paul Lay have been converting a ton of Atari 8-bit computer games over to the 5200. These are all games made with to be compatible with the original 16k Atari computers so fit into the memory constraints of the Super System.

The most notable of these is the rather good Anteater, which you can read my review of here (http://http), a game by industry legend Ed Fries. For those that don't know he was Vice President of Microsoft's games division through the years of the original Xbox and the 360 and was responsible for the acquisitions of companies like Bungee and Rare. He also programmed the official 2600 version of Halo too.

[size=140]Anteater (http://http)
Drelbs (http://http)
Floyd The Droid (http://http)
Hot Blocks (http://http)
Oil's Well (http://http)
Savage Pond (http://http)
[/size]


https://youtu.be/F9Cl_yG1Z6w
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on February 15, 2014, 15:33:20 PM
Downloaded all of these to give them a spin!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: onthinice on February 15, 2014, 16:36:37 PM
Anteater Rules!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on February 20, 2014, 15:43:07 PM
And a couple more 5200 conversions from Aking:

[size=140]Pooyan (http://http)
Caverns Of Mars 2 (http://http)
[/size]


And one from Fandal:

[size=140]Galactic Chase (http://http)[/size]
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: sloan on February 20, 2014, 23:52:09 PM
Wow. Lots of goodness for the 5200, but no flash cart here  :P
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on February 21, 2014, 02:30:52 AM
Quote from: &quot;sloan&quot;
Wow. Lots of goodness for the 5200, but no flash cart here  :P

You don't have one?  I'm surprised.  Very convenient! 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on February 22, 2014, 13:12:46 PM
[align=center:3razxpwm]This is a very interesting prototype:

Atari 5200: Blaster [Atari] (Unreleased Prototype) (http://http)[/align:3razxpwm]
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on February 22, 2014, 15:43:55 PM
This looks really cool! 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on March 15, 2014, 18:46:59 PM
More Atari 8-bit to 5200 conversions and one of them is very special indeed!

[size=140]Rampage (http://http)
Bacterion (http://http)
Protector II (http://http)
Phobos (http://http)
Floppy Bird (http://http)[/size]

[align=center:3qb7lu7d]Rampage - Atari Xe/Xl 800 Game (http://http)[/align:3qb7lu7d]
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on March 15, 2014, 18:48:35 PM
I wish they'd convert Mr. Do! 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on March 16, 2014, 10:57:11 AM
You might also be interested to know that Protector II that you see there is the prequel to the Jaguar game of the same name!!!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on March 16, 2014, 14:06:20 PM
Quote from: &quot;The Laird&quot;
You might also be interested to know that Protector II that you see there is the prequel to the Jaguar game of the same name!!!

That's cool!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: WiggyDiggyPoo on March 16, 2014, 18:58:52 PM
Watched the original video and have to say I disagree re the TV/Power Box - it actually makes sense to me to have it like that where the console itself only has 1 wire coming out the back. From a clutter POV at least lol
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on March 16, 2014, 19:07:15 PM
I think clutter was what they had in mind when they did that. 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on April 08, 2014, 19:40:20 PM
Yet more Atari 8-bit conversions:

[size=140]Deluxe Invaders (http://http)
Pool (http://http)
Tutankham (http://http)
Laser Hawk (http://http)
Ducks Ahoy (http://http)[/size]

[align=center:2c55y25u]Laser Hawk for the Atari 8-bit family (http://http)[/align:2c55y25u]
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on April 08, 2014, 21:11:05 PM
Excellent stuff!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on June 05, 2014, 02:03:13 AM
https://youtu.be/85H0i82aX_0
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: retromod on June 05, 2014, 11:30:35 AM
just bought a 5200 and waiting for shipping..... there are 15 cartridges delivered with it. Seems one joystick is broken but it requires a mod anyway as it can't be handled from power supply and tv connector in europe.

Main interest are the joysticks (dreaming of modded joysticks for the 5200 as there is a real delivery gap for it) and of course the RGB mod allowing to play NTSC games on PAL tv-sets without a dedicated NTSC tv set. Stereo and Surround would be as easy as on Atari XEGS I'll bet. The brezel plate is screwed up as I saw which also requires some repair or repro steps...... and the housings must be polished and refurbished.... wish I have a 48 hours day  :43:

After 30 years I own a 5200! Can't believe it the first time I saw it was in the Atari club magazine as an announcement to replace the Atari 2600. Then it was dropped and we saw the Atari 600xl as "successor" within the next Atari club magazine release.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TL on July 17, 2014, 21:32:41 PM
https://youtu.be/CDLfJbQVxJY
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 17, 2014, 22:02:19 PM
Quote from: &quot;The Laird&quot;
https://youtu.be/CDLfJbQVxJY

Eh, this video sucks!!!   <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/112.gif" alt=":112:" title="112" />
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on August 05, 2014, 21:15:19 PM
https://youtu.be/ZQCpQbBR-oA
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: retromod on August 07, 2014, 08:34:29 AM
as the A5200 is only NTSC and only spreaded outside of europe, would an "european" version (of course still NTSC inside) a valuable product? It is not a big task changing the video output to support PAL directly - today modern video processors having this feature intergrated for free. Demand?
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on February 15, 2015, 19:23:39 PM
Here is Metal Jesus' review of the "mighty" Atari 5200! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRxyJdGQzLU
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 22, 2017, 02:56:09 AM
https://youtu.be/4Svok4cn40Y
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: Shadowrunner on July 22, 2017, 03:59:55 AM
Great video. I really don't know that much about the 5200 but it looks pretty good.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 22, 2017, 13:53:14 PM
It's a cool system.  It has a lot of good titles.  In fact, it is impressive to see how many good games it has and some of the arcade ports on it are unique and not available in other Atari consoles. 
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: ArcadeAction on July 27, 2017, 06:20:16 AM
I've probably replied on here somewhere before, but the Atari 5200 was the first home game console I owned.

My favorite parts of the system are:

-Good selection of arcade port titles of which most are very good, and most importantly fun games to play. Especially good ones in my opinion are: Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Centipede, Mario Bros (better than the NES version - I really like Mario Bros and just feel offended playing the NES version as I felt it was done so poorly and the box art even mistakenly uses Super Mario graphics), Moon Patrol, Frogger, Defender, Robotron etc... I used to play Centipede by myself over and over again for hours, and Pac-Man with others for hours.
-I liked the silver/chrome styling on the console, games, and advertisements, and the way the edge connectors were covered on the cartridges.
-The joystick storage was nice.

Yes, even both of my joysticks did stop working back then. We took them apart and temporarily fixed them for a while.
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 27, 2017, 23:08:53 PM
There's a Mario Bros Arcade version that has been made available (as a download) for the 5200 and it looks very nice.  The updates to the graphics and sounds make the game even better!
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on April 28, 2018, 03:01:30 AM
This is just too cool.  Had to share it!  I want one! 

https://youtu.be/RMTOzNfq5og
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on July 29, 2018, 04:46:07 AM
Here is a brand new review of the console fro ReplayRetro...

https://youtu.be/Nyd9QKjI3iw
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on March 09, 2019, 03:07:31 AM
Here is a pretty extensive video looking at the Atari 5200 and its titles...

https://youtu.be/TLw8PyVHF2I
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on August 09, 2019, 00:24:05 AM
Since the 5200's lifespan was cut tragically short by the crash of 1984.  There are large number of unreleased prototypes that have been found.  This video looks at some of them.  Thankfully, some of these games have been completed by hombrew developers and have seen release.  Two of those games are Tempest and Xevious.

https://youtu.be/wlmSj-LKPBw
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on September 16, 2019, 02:12:29 AM
No love for the 5200?  Here is a video looking at Parker Bros games for the 5200...

https://youtu.be/nRGS8aoB4Kk
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on November 13, 2019, 21:41:14 PM
Not much love for the 5200?  Here is a video that looks at some history of the system and ALL the games sold during it's commercial lifetime...

https://youtu.be/RIS0vz_b7co
Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: ArcadeAction on November 16, 2019, 03:55:15 AM
Nice video to see all of the games. I'd his assessment of Centipede for the 5200 though. That game is excellent and because it uses the same audio chip as the arcade it sounds identical. It is pretty much every bit on par with the arcade but just a different format (horizontal vs vertical) layout. I'm very happy as an adult to finally be able to own the trackball controller I never had as a kid.


Not much love for the 5200?  Here is a video that looks at some history of the system and ALL the games sold during it's commercial lifetime...


Title: Re: The Atari 5200 Discussion Thread
Post by: TrekMD on November 16, 2019, 14:14:33 PM
The 5200 Trak-Ball controller is awesome!  That was one of the first things I got once I purchased the console several years ago.