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Atari 7800 System Video Review

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#1 nosweargamer


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Posted 20 May 2015 - 04:55 PM

Guess what? I reviewed the 7800 system itself including going over some of the history and what originally came bundled with it. You can check it out here:


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#2 Lost Dragon

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 05:12 PM

Always fantastic to see something like this.


My exposure to the 7800 has been very limited over the years, whilst it was covered in magazines like Raze: (some great reviews) they were also guilty of printing some very incorrect info..Turrican would be playable at upcoming Atari Uk Railway Carriage Tour? we wish......



ACE..6 Ex-Imagine coders contracted to produce 6 games a year? 1st and last i ever heard of that, plus (and Zero were guilty of this also..) Bob Armour converting Gauntlet to 7800? again another utter myth, no truth in what so ever.....



Zero...i have to hand it to them for previewing very early WIP version of Chronicles Of Cute (which ended up being switched to Chronicles Of Omega on the ST etc) so a Lost Game covered there, but boo, hiss again for the Gauntlet claim....



And C+VG:Tony Takoushi and his Hot Gossip column, where he wanted Atari UK to release the 7800 over here, but was happy to point out later Atari UK had decided again'st it and were going with the XEGS instead and.. which came as a change of direction after Atari UK had previousily annouced plans to bring 7800 over here...he pointed out UK Gamers were paying far too much for 8 Bit Carts on the Master System/NES as was..



To Paul Glancey doing the Son Of VCS feature on it, very open look at hardware, admitting of the 15 games he tested, none really matched best MS (Wonderboy III) or NES (SMB III) had to offer, but again soured by incorrect claims Gremlin were developing for the 7800, a fact Ian Stewart was happy to confirm to me a while back, they'd just aquired a title, hell even those who had licensced out titles (Nebulus/Tower Toppler)..Andrew Hewson said they saw the platform as a step backwards....



Retro Gamer Magazine has covered the machine numerous times, with some great in-depth features and fantastic minority reports, though last one i read was a little 'muddled' in numerous places, spec sheet comparing 7800 to NES/MS was well out on MS specs, plus a few miss-quotes statements cropped in and article seemed to suggest 7800 was A)a match for the Sega Master system, which was odd as RG had interviewed interviewed 7800 Principal designer, Tom Westberg, way back in the early days (Volume 2, issue 2), who'd made his views quite clear:


TW: 'Graphically the 7800 is probably a bit better than the NES, but not quite up to the standard of the Master System.In terms of sound, it was behind both'. 



So hopefully any future issues covering the system, will adress the concerns raised from past feedback and the errors get corrected.




It'd be nice if they looked at the lost games with the most recent findings/news:1)That Paperboy was completed, delivered yet never released and 2)They took a look at how 7800 Toki is progressing etc.

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#3 The Professor

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 06:52 PM

It's confirmed that Paperboy was completed for the 7800?
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#4 Lost Dragon

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 07:44 PM

Confirmed indeed :-) Coded by Andrew Holdroyd, Ex-Tiertex who did Wolfenstien 3D on the MD (unreleased), Mercs and D.Strike on the Master System...


You can read all about all of these in the interview i did with him, HERE:




Enjoy :-) 

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#5 The Professor

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 11:05 PM

We absolutely need to get that ROM released. Paperboy, RoadBlasters, and Marble Madness all should have been 7800 exclusives.
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#6 Lost Dragon

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 09:30 AM

Unless it's found..either he finds he has back-up files or it turns up somewhere else, sadly proverbial cat in hells chance of anything happening to it.

I'd love to know what Atari did with the completed code...

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#7 AlamoAtari


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Posted 01 December 2015 - 07:21 PM

oooohhhh paper boy. That would be fun!
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#8 RickR


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Posted 02 December 2015 - 12:50 AM

What a shame if it's gone forever. 

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#9 Retrogamer81081


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Posted 02 December 2015 - 08:50 AM

Great review! And such a terribly underrated system. The good thing about the 7800 today is there are a lot of great homebrews being released for it today. Roadblasters, Toki, Paperboy, Marble Madness, Tetris, Rolling Thunder, and Hard Drivin' would have been great releases for the 7800.
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#10 Lost Dragon

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 01:54 PM

Mentioned Tony T's comments from C+VG regarding the 7800..


Paul Glancey also wrote about the 7800 for C+VG on more than 1 Occ:


'Atari also decided that, as Christmas approached, the time was finally right to dust off its 7800 Pro System console and present it to the Britsh public at the low price of £70.Sadly, by this time the 7800's range of conversions of old Atari coin-ops and outdated Atari Computer games looked feeble next to all the latest 16-bit console titles'.


The Son Of VCS and Tony T.Mag Scans i had put up here:






When i do (try and..) compare 7800 versions of say C64 games i knew well, even knowing why Atari ran with the concept of putting Pokey on the carts, not in the console itself, it still smacks of madness at times, how can you class your system as superior and offering the best versions of multi-platform games, when the audio is weaker?


To my mind, whilst the underwater bonus stage and main game visuals look more colourful on the 7800, they seem to be running in a lower resolution in several areas and the harsh title screen music and in-game Sound FX really are hard on the ears, compared to the C64 version.So, it's a hard sell for Atari to push this and indeed the 7800 itself, as being 'superior' to the existing C64 version (which i feel is the best of the 8 Bit versions, but in fairness, whilst technically very impressive, i found the game such a frustrating platformer.I'd rather of had a weaker game in terms of magic it was doing, if it was far more fun to play.)


If we are talking what Atari should have done with the 7800? from a UK point of view:


1)Gone straight in with the 7800, ditch any ideas of 65XE/XEGS..stock clearance of existing 800XL's at reduced rates might have boosted the A8 UK userbase, but it did not bring a new era of strong UK software house support to the format.


2)So.. i'd of said Atari, by going with the 7800 in UK from day 1, should have done everything possible to bring to it the KEY titles we were promised on A8 (Summer Games 2, Winter Games 2, Druid II, The Last Ninja etc etc) and rather than port games that already existed on A8, go for the sequel instead, which existed on C64 etc..so no Gauntlet, Gauntlet II instead.Also, go after C64 disk only games..i'd of loved to have seen Project Firestart on 7800 cart for example.


3) It would of badly needed the full, not token support of likes of:Ocean/System 3/US Gold/E.A/Elite/Firebird etc.


We've seen what Chris Butler could do with C64 Space Harrier (NTSC version) imagine him with the 7800!.


Last Bit:


A 7800 Pro System running:


Bubble Bubble, Operation Wolf and Thunderbolt, Combat School, Skyfox, Toki, Cabal, Roadblasters, Sirus, Gauntlet 2, IK+, Buggy Boy, Cal Games, World Games, Last Ninja 1+2,Space Harrier, Powerdrift, Project Firestart......


Games that made full use of the hardware's sprite handling and had none of the chronic tape-loading issues that blighted we UK C64 owners.


Pokey as standard on each cart.


Yes Atari it would of cost money, but how much was wasted i wonder on projects like 65 XE/The XEGS, Panther etc i wonder?.


Sadly instead the entire project was just 1 massive wasted opp. :-(


Not really sure where best to put this, but as it details 7800 history and Jeff Minter seems quite unknown in USA...


Just a footnote really, as Jeff seemed very impressed by reports of 7800 filtering out of the USA at the time, talk of "unlimited Sprites" in particular and asked fans to imagine how "Revenge Of The Mutant Camels" would look on the 7800, done using 80 sprites and the hardware's colours...


Crying shame we never got to do anything more than dream, as Jeff never developed for the 7800. :-(


Mentioned C+VG columnist Tony Takoushi and his 7800 and A8 views, I feel it's only fair to point out he wasn't just a writer, but a coder..went onto write a NOUN game, but had platforms like C16 and A8 under his belt.


He did Frenesis on A8.



Sadly, it wasn't that great though...

Edited by Justin, 07 June 2017 - 04:26 PM.

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#11 kamakazi20012


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Posted 23 October 2016 - 02:24 AM

I am with most posters here; the 7800 is a very underrated system.  And I also believe that it was mishandled by Atari themselves.  While it had graphic abilities similar to arcade games from the early 1980's they should have tried to push the system to do more unique and original games.  Most of the games it got, while some of the best ports any Atari console ever seen up to that point, was already worn out and the public had moved on.  


It's already been proven that the 7800 could have done a great adventure game so I would have liked to see something like Gradius on the system.  There are so many things that could have been done that wasn't.  I really believe that the 7800 could have out powered the NES in the graphics department because of the amount of sprites it could handle at one time.  That, alone, is something that the NES simply couldn't do.  The graphic power was there and, even with just the TIA chip providing the sounds, there are times when the two-channel sound limitation is not noticeable with proper programming.  Just listen to Ms. Pac-Man and Xevious on the 7800.  Those are using TIA and not the POKEY add-on.  


The only thing I could think of that would have hurt the system would have to be those GOD-awful joystick controllers.  For some games the joysticks worked well but for extended or endurance gaming forget it.  


Again...just my opinion.

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#12 Lost Dragon

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:06 PM

Just want to recap regarding Atari UK showing the 7800 off to the UK Press and Public, it being the planned system to replace the by now very dated 2600 here in the UK, having previousily annouced the 5200 WAS going to do that and then explaining IT wasn't coming to the UK after all....



The event was the Atari Christmas Show, held at the Royal Horticultral Hall, Westminster, London SW1.


Took place in November 1986


A 3 day event: Fri Nov'28 10Am-6PM/Saturday Nov 29 10AM-6PM/ Sunday Nov 30 10AM-4PM



It was basically ATARI's chance to show Press, Public and developers alike the NEW Hardware PLANNED for Europe/UK in the next 12 months..


Atari were showing off the 1040 ST and the 7800 Pro System (Believed to be a developer unit, not actual retail model, some sources say).



The 7800 Pro System was described as the Atari showpiece of the event.


Atari talked of pricing:Console was to cost £70, Games between £10 and £15


Talk of a mid'87 release, so Atari UK keen to build the hype up for it no doubt.



Games on show for the 7800 were:


Pole Position II








The event was covered by at least 3 Mainstream UK Games magazines, at least TWICE.




There were some, ahem, brave statements made by Atari UK:


Talk of UK software houses clamouring to develop for the 7800-NOT true at all, sadly.


Plenty of software coming in for it from the USA...ahem...



And as we soon found out, Atari delayed the 7800 so the XEGS could be introduced, just to clear old stock of A8 games etc, 7800 titles like Electrocop, Skyfox, Rescue On Fract.Never made it and completed 7800 titles like Paperboy were delivered to Atari UK, never released, sadly seem lost.


UK Press happy to create myth of Bob Armour doing Gauntlet (i wish)


7800 Turrican would be seen running at Atari Show (again i wish).



All of this should of been made crystal clear when RetroGamer featured their look at the XEGS and 7800 consoles, but it seems numerous UK writers were not aware and the Atari fact checker used by magazine was going off USA side of things-Not much good for a UK historical viewpoint.



But at least it's now made clear what really happened.

#13 nosweargamer


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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:05 AM


UK Press happy to create myth of Bob Armour doing Gauntlet (i wish)


7800 Turrican would be seen running at Atari Show (again i wish).



I've heard many mentions of 7800 Gauntlet, but of course no evidence that anything really got started on it.

That's the first mention of Turrican on the 7800 I've heard. With all the sprites the 7800 could fit on screen, it might have worked, although it seems more like a 16 bit title to me and the Turrican name wasn't all that strong in the US. (They turned Turrican 2 into Universal Soldiers for the Genesis). But again, that sounds like nothing more than a rumor.


I wonder how easy it would be start a new 7800 rumor?


Hey! Did you hear about the Dragon's Lair game in development for the ill-fated Atari 7800 Laser Disc add on? 

Rumor has it that Atari made a prototype that Jack Tramiel ended up putting in a playroom for his grand kids after he bought the company.

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#14 Lost Dragon

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

The 7800 Gauntlet rumour, UK wise was started by ACE and Zero Magazine, falsely claiming Bob Armour was working on it.


We saw a lot of this, Press simply ASSUMING person or team X were converting a big Name game to an Atari format..John Croudy doing Druid II for A8 as he'd just converted 1st..utter B.S, he'd moved onto ST.


Thalion converting Nebulus II to ST-again utter B.S


Gremlin converting Technocop and Eliminator to 7800-Not according to anyone from Gremlin, including Gremlin's M.D, i've spoken to.


Adam Caveman played by a reporter on A8 at a UK trade shpw, utter poppycock..thats mentioned in a scan on 7800 UK Press i've put up today i think...



The 7800 Turrican..being on display at Atari Railway Carriage tour..Raze, again going off a P.R release and just adding stuff on it seems.


Then you have the Rescue On Fract.Sequel claim..again, pure fabrication.




How easy is it to start an Atari rumour?



LMAO, Easy as saying you spoke to Jeff Minter, he'd worked on Lynx Star Raiders, even though in interview he'd previousily stated why Llamasoft never touched Lynx, period, even though he homself loved the hardware.

#15 TrekMD


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Posted 15 March 2017 - 06:43 PM

Well, someone should hack Dark Chambers and just get Gaunlet made for the 7800 that way. 

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#16 Lost Dragon

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 03:03 PM

Bit more UK Press coverage.

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