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No love at all for the 5200?


TheOldDragoon

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Ok, Ok, we all know about the controllers and the lackluster reception of the 5200...

 

  Lemme say this, though.  My family got an Atari 5200 for Christmas, and as a wee nipper who had only really played a lot of 2600 at that point I found the graphics amazing.  We played a lot of Centipede, one of the cartridges where the analog stick was actually a boon rather than a bane.  We played a lot of Moon Patrol, Dig Dug, Pac-Man...  We had a ton of carts once the prices plummeted.  I had the same experience as a kid that I did with the ET cartridge for the 2600 - I had no idea how badly they sucked because I was having too much fun playing them.

 

  So, yes, I have a love for the 5200.  Maybe it's nostalgia becuase that's the console my family had until we got the NES what seemed like an eternity later.  My friends had Intellivision and ColecoVision, but we had a 5200 and a 2600 and we had a total blast with it.

 

The Old Dragoon

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You said you had no idea how badly they sucked because you were having too much fun playing them. That says it all. Maybe you had no idea how badly they sucked because they were actually pretty awesome.

 

The giggling moronic brats in the gaming media would have you believe these were the worst things in the world. They've been spoon fed this crap and they accept it because it's considered cool to bash these things, even if you've never played them. Any independent thought is assailed by this tyranny of cool, if you think ET was a halfway decent game they treat you like a heretic.

 

The 5200 controller gets a bad wrap, deservedly so in many cases. But that doesn't mean the 5200 wasn't amazing. Centipede was awesome. You had a lot of fun with it when you were a kid, and you have so many childhood memories affixed to the 5200. It deserves your love because it's earned it and retained it for 30 years. And the rest of the gaming world deserves to hear your story.

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I never owned a 5200 growing up, but my best friend did, it was amazing to go from the 2600 Pac Man to the 5200!! Now, at age 42 I have a 5200 with about 30 games and I love it! Yes, the controller sucks, but the trak ball rules!!!

 "Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime."

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I like the games that are unique to that system.  5200 Centipede is way better than the 8-bit computer version.  Berzerk is amazing and has the robot voices!  And Baseball is just plain fun. 

I don't have a trackball.  I should check that out.

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PS - I do have an Atari analog track ball for the 2600/8-bit computers, and the 8-bit version of Missile Command with this controller is the best thing EVER.  You have to press ctrl-T to get it to work, and it is awesome.  I'm guessing the 5200 track ball is just like that. 

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It's amazing to me how the Atari 8-Bit Computers received so much praise at the time, and still do, and how the 5200 was so maligned. For the most part the 5200 shared the same technology and many of the same games. The major difference was in how we interacted with that technology: the 8-Bit computers used traditional Atari Joysticks, Paddle Controllers, and a keyboard, while the 5200 was forced to cope with the flawed Joystick. A simpler joystick and possibly more memory would have put the 5200 in a much stronger position.

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I think you inadvertently hit the nail on the head.  The hardware was almost identical to the 8-bit computers, which were several years old when the 5200 came out.  I remember being disappointed that they didn't come up with something newer and better. 

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If Atari had released the new system in 1979-1980, the one that ended up becoming the technology in the 8-bit computers, I think things would have been really different. Atari wouldn't have been scrambling to play catch-up against Intellivision, wouldn't have been so myopic against Colecovision, and would have been better poised for the crash. One reason the crash happened was a glut of games in 1982-1984 that were designed for a console that was obsolete by 1979. If Sony were still dumping PS2 games on the public I'd stop buying games too. What a tremendous misstep.

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Hi all, this is my first post (I just logged-in to this awesome site for the first time, about 30 seconds ago!).  Here's my take on the Atari 5200.  Back around 82, I was thrilled to get a new ColecoVision.  I had a few games for it.  i later heard about Atari's new console.  I was really intrigued, but our finances (I am the youngest of 4 children, and I was 11 at this time) didn't allow me to even think of owning another new console.  Well, my brother talked me into returning my beloved ColecoVision and then purchasing a 5200 Supersystem.  I caved in, and a bus-ride to Cerrito's Mall later (I grew up in Long Beach, CA), I returned my CV (kept the games) and went over to Toys-R-Us and picked up a 5200.  I think I got Star Raiders and maybe 1 more game, I can't recall.  Of course it came with Super Breakout.  Well, I got it home, and was amazed!  I stayed up all night playing Star Raiders and loving it (even those so-called "horrible" controllers)!  Did I miss my CV?  Sure, but I didn't regret my decision.  Fast-forward many years, when I moved out, ALL of my gaming/computer collection (I had amassed a LOT, by '98) was stolen!  Well, now I am in the process of building a serious collection (many systems and arcade games, even a couple of pins).  And the Atari 5200 is definately part of it!  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I actually really like the 5200 analog controllers!  They aren't too difficult to rebuild, and with the Rev-9/"Gold" parts in them, they are even more awesome!  I have a Trac-Ball that I opened last year when I met Dan Kramer and he was kind enough to sign both the box, as well as the controller itself! :)  Happy gaming my Atari friends...

My YouTube Channel: youtube.com/arcadedude44

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Well there is a Podcast for it now :)

The Atari 5200 Super Podcast Facebook - https://www.facebook...200SuperPodcast

The Atari 5200 Super Podcast Blog - http://the5200superp...t.blogspot.com/

Twitter @The5200Podcast

 

Here is a link to Episode 0, episode 1 records this weekend about the pack ins - Pac Man and Super Breakout :)

 

http://the5200superpodcast.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-atari-5200-super-podcast-episode-0.html

My Youtube Channel Arcade USA! - https://www.youtube.com/user/SVT512

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Jeez, I'm glad I missed the groups that were bashing the 5200. The controllers downgraded the system at the time, sure. But its games were top-notch and highly-rated in magazines.

 

While I never got to own or play a 5200, it just made me happy to know my beloved console had a big brother doing well for itself.

And I'm not saying this as a joke, I expected Atari to keep churning out cool titles for my 2600 as the company's lifespan chances got better with more people talking about its cool things.

 

Back in the day, home video games were nascent and not really well-known as the next-best-thing.

They were just a thing. A fad. A yo-yo to keep the kids (and a few parents) busy for a while until school days returned.

Arcade games were big - home games were nice, but quaint, to most adult eyes.

That's why magazines like EG, Joystick, Video Games and a few others were spreading the faith, spilling the beans on this secret world of tomorrow that arrived today.

 

Systems like the 5200 showed evolution.

You had 4-bit entertainment and it worked for you customers, right?

Now here's double that computing power at work.

 

And that Pac-Man port proved it right, getting the blue maze layout required for immediate identification.

That ad alone must've gotten interest running in the 5200. It worked for me.

But those controllers killed it.

As Prof said, the controllers were the means of interaction with a system worth hundreds of dollars.

As it stands, our local sellers did not carry the 5200 very long because of this. And they spread the word.

It wasn't in bad faith. Just business.

 

We ended up getting a Colecovision as a next system.

All different games. Yeah the graphics were an amazing upgrade but...something was missing.

Ended up playing the 2600 just as much as ever.

 

I wished the 5200 had made it to our house.

 

Today, my adult eyes sees the bright glow in every retro console, so it's definitely in the cards.

 

eh...would need a bigger castle to fit all these nifty bringers-of-joy in, though.

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I was recently smiled upon by the video game gods and managed a complete, still in the box first model 5200 (even has the original sales receipts)... well... complete minus the awkward combination RF & AC adapter adapter block. I see them on eBay from time-to-time, but I'd much rather work out some sort of a deal with a fellow enthusiast! Lack of that switch and game carts are the only things keeping me from enjoying the 5200 in all of its 80's glory... can anyone help me out?

Atlas was permitted the opinion that he was at liberty, if he wished, to drop the Earth and creep away; but this opinion was all that he was permitted.

 

Franz Kafka

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I have instructions for building your own RF box for the original.  Are you handy with building this type of thing?  Let me know, and I'll send you the docs.  It's basically some pretty simple soldering and about $10 in parts. 

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And thank you, Yo-Yo. If I muck up building one, I can still afford to buy one and be out less money than eBay!

Atlas was permitted the opinion that he was at liberty, if he wished, to drop the Earth and creep away; but this opinion was all that he was permitted.

 

Franz Kafka

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I'll just post it here for anyone that may be interested.  I just pulled this off a 5200 FAQ, and I can assure you this does work.  I had one.  To be completely honest, I hated the 4-port because of this stupid box, and ended up selling mine and getting a 2 port instead.  The 2-port lets you use the standard screw-in RF adapter, whereas this one requires you to unscrew it, and then screw this one in.  It just gets tiring switching in/out when you want to use a different system. 

 

 

 

5200 Switchbox.pdf

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Right on, Rick; thanks! Who knows where the future will take me 5200-wise, but this one my first and the price was right, so I'll prolly keep it around. Thanks for the help!

Atlas was permitted the opinion that he was at liberty, if he wished, to drop the Earth and creep away; but this opinion was all that he was permitted.

 

Franz Kafka

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