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Is there a smaller sized substitute for the massive 5200 trackball unit?


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On the 5200, there are only a couple, possibly a few games that I'd ever use the trackball with, so, for me at least, paying a premium price for a used Trak Ball unit is not in the cards.  I might add the thing is a monster in size and I simply do not have the room for one.  Now with all that said, I'd probably be able to justify a lower-priced unit if it was much smaller in size and of course new.  Does any such creature exist? 

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Far as I know the CX-53 Trak-ball is the only one that was ever made available for the 5200. The designer of the Trak-ball Dan Kramer is a member of the 5200 group on FB in fact.

For the record, it isn't just the best controller that Atari designed for the 5200, but very possibly the best controller that Atari has ever designed. Missile Command with one of these is my favorite way to play the game. I did try it with Xari Arena, but I'm not that good at that game to begin with so can't really say it helped me much there.

 

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4 minutes ago, RickR said:

Buy it.  It's worth it.  It works with more games than you realize.  Super Breakout, Galaxian, Space Invaders, Centipede, Missile Command, etc.  And if you ever buy the Tempest homebrew, you'll be happy you have this controller. 

I have the Tempest cartridge, I purchased it when it was released.  That game and Missile Command is why I was asking this question.  I simply have no room left to spare for something the size of the CX-53, so it'll never be in the cards.  I was hoping that because I use a Y-adapter with my CH Flight Stick, I could find something that I could plug in temporarily.  Maybe there's a market for an enterprising individual with a 3D printer, a few cue balls and some parts? 

 

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I'll put it like this:  It's like the Odyssey 2 and "The Voice" module.  IMO, you are missing out if you don't have it, regardless of cost.  Store it in a box and pull it out only when you feel like using it. 

Here's the thing.  As @CrossBowmentioned, it's so well designed.  You'll wonder why Atari didn't use the same bubble switches for normal controller buttons.  You'll play more games for longer times because it's that enjoyable. 

They could have made it smaller by only having one set of buttons.  But that's not what the 5200 was supposed to be.  BIG.  Larger than life.  Big flippin' American tail fins.  Go big or go home.  I'm not saying I agree with that philosophy, I'm saying that was their design philosophy -- take it or leave it. 

 

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That controller is a rock solid controller. I had one during the system's production run and loved it.  More games than Centipede and Missile Command use it and I do remember titles supporting it before it was available.  

If you can find scans of them, the backs of the 5200 game boxes that support the trackball will have an AT&T like logo on them.  And, yes, I've tried them. It opens a whole new challenge with those games.  Pole Position was especially interesting.

If you can get one I would while you can.  Atari stuff is drying up.  I'd love to get one again. It's the arcade trackball in a slightly smaller package and its very durable.

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32 minutes ago, - Ω - said:

I have the Tempest cartridge, I purchased it when it was released.  That game and Missile Command is why I was asking this question.  I simply have no room left to spare for something the size of the CX-53, so it'll never be in the cards.  I was hoping that because I use a Y-adapter with my CH Flight Stick, I could find something that I could plug in temporarily.  Maybe there's a market for an enterprising individual with a 3D printer, a few cue balls and some parts? 

 

If the Y-Adapter has a 9-pin you might could get away with the 2600/A8 trackball.  But the 5200's is true analog only while the other is analog and digital.  I don't know if it would work because both controllers need the +5 volt supplied by controller ports and if your adapter doesn't support that then there is the possibility that no trackball controller will work.

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Yep, my CH Flightstick is analog also.  But seriously...

The CX-53 is too big (strike one)  -- I cannot modify the laws of spatial geometry.

The CX-53 is too expensive (strike two) -- I'm not going to pay more for a trackball than I did the main unit.

Only a few games I'd play occasionally use it (strike three). -- Price to benefit ratio is illogical.

 

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Well I actually don't have a dedicated place for my 5200 to sit due to the size of the console. I actually have it on a rolling cart that was designed originally for a 2600 sized console so it still doesn't fit right. But doing this I can roll the 5200 nearby when I want to play it and then use whatever controller I want. If I use the trak-ball then I place that on my cocktail cab that I use as a coffee table in the middle of the game room. Not ideal and yes it is something I basically have to "setup" for when I want to play but quite a few of my consoles require this sort of treatment.

 

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No pressure or anything.  Whatever you choose is good.

But I thought I'd share my storage solution for the gigantic 5200 just because I like to share.  Everything I have (except boxed games -- they are on a shelf) fits in this one plastic tub.  5200, 2600 adapter, trackball, a bunch of controllers, the multicart, and a bunch of loose carts (in the blue tub at the bottom).  I leave it boxed up and take it out when I want to play it.  And it will be like this until my kids fully move out due to lack of space.

 

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2 hours ago, - Ω - said:

I'm even going to have to downsize in the not to distant future

I'm totally with you here, as I've been slowly downsizing with the intent of my wife and I moving into a much smaller one-level home as soon as everything settles down in our lives.  As you may have seen in my statuses over the last several months, I've been selling off pieces of my collection in chunks, and it's going very well.  I'm lucky to have a long time to get this done.  It takes time and effort to do it right!  But I've made people happy to receive some of the rare stuff I've decided I don't need.  And I've got extra cash that goes into the bank to help me retire early (hopefully). 

And it's not just video game stuff.  Books (we're down to one shelf), clothes (if you haven't worn it in 1 year, consider ditching it), stereo stuff (small Bose speakers instead of giant bookshelf speakers), etc, etc.  Everything is getting a stern evaluation.  And it's been so liberating!  Less stuff, less clutter.  And keeping the really important things.  It feels good. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, - Ω - said:

I'm envious of you guys that have all the room in the world to put stuff.  

That counts me out.  Room is not something I have a lot of.  I have an amazing collection that I'm proud of and have a history with (2 consoles are an exception).  But I don't have them all hooked up.  I have them on a shelf with a TV, yes, and I do have the selector switches to hook up at least 7 consoles to a single TV if done right, 8 if I use 2 TVs. Sadly I rarely go in that room to play games...I merely store them in there, out in the open, where I can "visit" the collection and pull out what I want to play when I want to play it. Unfortunately the single-bedroom apartment we live in comes at a size cost...very little space for collecting anything at all.  

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