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Gianna

What was Atari doing with the 5200 in 1984?

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9 hours ago, BlackCatz40 said:

I would not mind getting a VCS adapter for my A5200. I think that it would enhance my collection exponentially. As previously stated earlier in this topic, I used to have a VCS adapter for my ColecoVision, when I owned one. It was a fun add-on. It played all my A2600 games with virtually no compatibility issues, of course it was a stripped-down A2600 in the first place. But, I guess that there are some issues with some A2600 games and the A7800 in compatibility. Sometimes, like with Activision's Decathlon and Robot Tank, they will not work. I guess that there might be a fix for that, but I am not worried about it. I have an A2600 Junior Short Rainbow that plays every game I have anyway.

Unfortunately I couldn't use one on my 5200...and I don't want mine modified to use one.  I have two working 2600 machines (a woody and a JR model) and the 7800 is 2600 compatible so having the VCS Adapter would be overkill.  I'd have one if I found one just for completeness but I wouldn't use it. 

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On 5/17/2020 at 8:44 PM, TrekMD said:

They had a 5200 Jr model in development as well but that never panned out.  The Atari Museum has a prototype.  You can read about it here:  The Atari 5100 (Little PAM).

Atari 5200 Jr.jpg

That 5200 Jr model is sexy!  THAT's the 5200 that should have been released.  That's the 5200 that should be sitting in my collection.  

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4 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

That 5200 Jr model is sexy!  THAT's the 5200 that should have been released.  That's the 5200 that should be sitting in my collection.  

I'm really partial to the original 4-Port 5200 design. Its designer Regan Cheng said he wanted to give it a "nasty" look, something kind of mean looking but also something that felt like it would've been bought in a Bang & Olufsen store in the world of Blade Runner. The warm glow of the red light was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think it's one of Atari's best looking systems.

What would I have done differently? Make it the size of the 2700. It's a little smaller and easier to handle. I also would have made the plastic 100% black, like the 7800.

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4 hours ago, Justin said:

I'm really partial to the original 4-Port 5200 design. Its designer Regan Cheng said he wanted to give it a "nasty" look, something kind of mean looking but also something that felt like it would've been bought in a Bang & Olufsen store in the world of Blade Runner. The warm glow of the red light was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think it's one of Atari's best looking systems.

What would I have done differently? Make it the size of the 2700. It's a little smaller and easier to handle. I also would have made the plastic 100% black, like the 7800.

I agree that is might be a bit too big. But I really really like the wedge look of the 5200. I still think it is one of the best looking consoles not just from Atari, but ever released. I also wish it were actually black and I tend to forget it isn't until I'm cleaning one up for a client and then with my overhead light I'm able to clearly see the brown coloring that the console actually is. 

The glow from the power LED is cool, but also a pain for those that might want a different color LED. The smoked plexi will obscure some colors. So I've found that UV LEDs just look blue and Yellow will just look white. So the only colors that work well are Red, Blue, White, and ...I think thats it because even Green ends up looking white through the plexi. I found all of this out when I tried to put a UV one in my 5200 years ago as most of my personal consoles all have UV LEDs in them but it just looked blue, so I just put a blue in it.

 

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4 hours ago, Justin said:

I'm really partial to the original 4-Port 5200 design. Its designer Regan Cheng said he wanted to give it a "nasty" look, something kind of mean looking but also something that felt like it would've been bought in a Bang & Olufsen store in the world of Blade Runner. The warm glow of the red light was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think it's one of Atari's best looking systems.

What would I have done differently? Make it the size of the 2700. It's a little smaller and easier to handle. I also would have made the plastic 100% black, like the 7800.

That 5200 Jr prototype looks like they would have succeeded in reducing the 5200's original size.  I'd have been happy with it.  The 5200 was suppose to be more powerful than the 2600 so I can understand its size; to make it look "beefed" up.  I also really like the piano finish except it scars and scratches very easily.  I'd love to get my unit refinished or buffed if it would remove the scuffs and scratches without hurting it.  That piano finish is beautiful when it's not messed up.  

24 minutes ago, CrossBow said:

I still think it is one of the best looking consoles not just from Atari, but ever released.

Hehe...obviously Sony thought so, too.  At least with its color scheme.  

1920px-Sony-PlayStation-3-CECHA01-wController-L.jpg.76f453a35505baf39f309b51643ea0c3.jpg

The first PS3 units had chrome where later models had silver but the color scheme is still there; piano black with a chrome/silver trim.  So in some ways the 5200 has kept some what a positive influence on the market.

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10 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Unfortunately I couldn't use one on my 5200...and I don't want mine modified to use one.  I have two working 2600 machines (a woody and a JR model) and the 7800 is 2600 compatible so having the VCS Adapter would be overkill.  I'd have one if I found one just for completeness but I wouldn't use it. 

Hey, Kamakazi, does your particular A5200 need to be modified to use it? I only ask because isn't the VCS adapter just plug-and-play? I also want to collect the following A2600 systems:

Heavy Sixer

Light Sixer

Darth Vader

Junior (Long Rainbow version, since I have the Short Rainbow version already)

 

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3 hours ago, BlackCatz40 said:

Hey, Kamakazi, does your particular A5200 need to be modified to use it? I only ask because isn't the VCS adapter just plug-and-play? I also want to collect the following A2600 systems:

Heavy Sixer

Light Sixer

Darth Vader

Junior (Long Rainbow version, since I have the Short Rainbow version already)

 

most 4 port units required a factory mod to allow the VCS adapter to work on those older 5200 units. You can still purchase these in kit form from Console5 but again with 2600s all over the place and so many ways to play 2600 games, I've never wanted much less seen the need for the vcs adapter in my collection. Some later 4-port units and all the 2 port units should work as it with the VCS adapter. Later 4 ports that work with the adapter were stamped with an asterisk on the serial number sticker to indicate they had either been modded for the VCS adapter, or were using the newer mainboard revision to account for the VCS adapter. However, the units that weren't originally and were then sent back for the factory mod or had the modification applied by a local atari service center I don't believer were marked that they had been modified. So it isn't unusual to see posts at AtariAge where someone has taken the cover off their 5200 to adjust the pokey or color and freak out a big when they see these stray leads soldered to components going in under the shielding. 

 

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30 minutes ago, CrossBow said:

most 4 port units required a factory mod to allow the VCS adapter to work on those older 5200 units. You can still purchase these in kit form from Console5 but again with 2600s all over the place and so many ways to play 2600 games, I've never wanted much less seen the need for the vcs adapter in my collection. Some later 4-port units and all the 2 port units should work as it with the VCS adapter. Later 4 ports that work with the adapter were stamped with an asterisk on the serial number sticker to indicate they had either been modded for the VCS adapter, or were using the newer mainboard revision to account for the VCS adapter. However, the units that weren't originally and were then sent back for the factory mod or had the modification applied by a local atari service center I don't believer were marked that they had been modified. So it isn't unusual to see posts at AtariAge where someone has taken the cover off their 5200 to adjust the pokey or color and freak out a big when they see these stray leads soldered to components going in under the shielding. 

 

That was what I surmised. I had heard that there were some issues with the four-port version. I would still like to collect the adapter anyway. It would be a nice addition to my collection, I think.

Edited by BlackCatz40

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15 hours ago, BlackCatz40 said:

That was what I surmised. I had heard that there were some issues with the four-port version. I would still like to collect the adapter anyway. It would be a nice addition to my collection, I think.

If you try to use a VCS Adapter on an unmodified 4-port you will fry the 5200.  Crossbow is right...on 4-ports look for an asterisk mark (*) on the serial number sticker.  Mine does not have it and mine has not been modified.  I checked when I took it apart to clean it.

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5 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

If you try to use a VCS Adapter on an unmodified 4-port you will fry the 5200.  Crossbow is right...on 4-ports look for an asterisk mark (*) on the serial number sticker.  Mine does not have it and mine has not been modified.  I checked when I took it apart to clean it.

Yeah. That was what I thought. Darn.

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YES it's big and crazy but I loved that about it 😆

Mine is an original 4-port which I love but I believe it had the mod done to work with those couple games that caused issues if memory serves. It's in great condition, I immediately purchased a BEST ELECTRONICS refurbished controller. Despite all the complaints of the original controller I get it, for certain games though it seems decent, not so much for others. I REALLY need to get around to cleaning my 5200 trakball one day as it did not seem to work great with the little testing I did. I have a Atarimax flashcart (USB type) but I do have several original carts. I think I got a nice full package deal some years back I could not resist, I did purposely choose the original 4 port, my only experience with it back in the day is a friends dad had one but NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO PLAY IT 😛 I also have the 2600 adapter, 2 actually, one stock and one that has been modded to work either connected to the 5200 OR as a standalone 2600 console, I really hope to get around to do some up to date videos on it all again someday, here is a couple of my old videos on it: 

Here I talk about getting a 5200 soon! This was, my god...9 years ago! 

First hook up and testing of the 5200 and some games ! 

My nice refurbished 5200 controller unboxing from BEST ELECTRONICS. 

 

Atarimax 5200 multicart

 

Testing the ,multicart, refurbished controller and even a PC joystick adapter ! 

 

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On 5/20/2020 at 9:01 PM, Gianna said:

I did a little more research and here is what I found:

A May 22, 1984 article by David E. Sanger of the New York Times entitled "Atari Video Game Unit Introduced" (P.3 Section D) states:

I guess that’s the answer, no matter what happened with Warner and the Tramiels, Atari was killing off the 5200. It’s crazy to think a game system could come and go in 18 months!

Do you want to know a little more truth?  The 5200 was literally what was costing Atari money.  I got this info from a trusted friend.  I won't say any more and leave the details up to them to share when they are ready.  But it's hard to think the one console I favor above all others was killing Atari.  At least the 5200 got more games in 1984...I just never seen or heard about them until the internet became a necessity instead of a luxury.

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In my honest opinion Atari should have released the 5200 games they had completed even when they stopped 5200 production.  The games they had could have been the grand finale because Atari had some fabulous games they had worked hard on finished, or appeared finished, and would have given the 5200 games no other console had.  

  • Super Pac-Man
  • Jr. Pac-Man
  • Millipede
  • Sinistar

All of those games I remember playing in emulation during the early 2000s when I first discovered emulators.  What I played blew my mind.  The sounds on all games were spot on with the arcades and all of them played very well.  These four should have been released.  It definitely wouldn't have hurt Atari to try because these games were very well done.  No other console received Super Pac-Man or Sinistar so those could have been seen as 5200 exclusives. 

It's a shame they couldn't milk the 5200 for what they could.  Any new Atari 8-bit games could have been easily converted to the 5200 and, BOOM!, you have two releases, side by side, to make money from.  That's what I would have done.

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The thing I don't get about the 5200 is how the weakness of the system was clear from the very beginning.  The controller.  Every article mentioned it.  Every kid knew it.  They were detachable.  Why not create a different design and release it separately?  I know the trakball was available, and it was cool.  But it wasn't good for every game. 

An improved joystick, maybe with the self-centering gimbals from the original design.  Or a digital stick like Wico was making.

What did they have to lose? 

The same could be said for the Intellivision 2.  Imagine if they'd come up with something better there. 

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8 minutes ago, TrekMD said:

They actually were developing a self-centering version of the joystick but the system was killed before it got released.  It was pretty much the same controller, only self centering.  You can read about it here:  The Atari CX-52L Self Centering Joystick

This is great.  Too bad this 52L never made into production.  Game changer! 

From that same Atari Museum site:

It should be noted, that during the course of Atari's support of the Atari 5200, 9 revisions of the Atari 5200 joysticks were made.   The rubber base was made thicker, the joystick stalk was shortened and the "flex circuit" improved.    Atari was also working on a new self-centering joystick as well as an Arcade joystick.

Edited by RickR

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6 minutes ago, RickR said:

This is great.  Too bad this 52L never made into production.  Game changer! 

From that same Atari Museum site:

It should be noted, that during the course of Atari's support of the Atari 5200, 9 revisions of the Atari 5200 joysticks were made.   The rubber base was made thicker, the joystick stalk was shortened and the "flex circuit" improved.    Atari was also working on a new self-centering joystick as well as an Arcade joystick.

Yes, it would have been a game changer. Better design, for sure. :O)

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