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The Professor

Does the Atari 5200 really deserve to be included as one of the worst consoles of all time?

  

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  1. 1. Does the Atari 5200 really deserve to be included as one of the worst consoles of all time?

    • YES
      5
    • NO
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Does the Atari 5200 really deserve all the hate? It's a question I want to pose to the entire group. The Angry Video Game Nerd has a video titled "Top 10 Worst Video Game Consoles" and the very first console on the list is the Atari 5200.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The merits of the AVGN can be contested, but the Atari 5200 seems to show up on a lot of these "Top 10 Worst Consoles" lists. Was it really that horrendous? Does it deserve to be there? Why or why not?

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AVGN's 5200 episode was easily one of his worst. If I recall, he didn't even get it connected to review any games; he just gave up. IMHO the 5200 is far from the worst among classic systems. That said, it is my least favorite Atari system and I have about half the library plus the SD cart.

 

Atari made a few huge missteps with the 5200. The size, price, controllers and 16kb RAM limitations were all problematic. The inclusion of Super Breakout as the initial pack-in was a horrible decision. While fun, it is barely better than the 2600 version and in 1982 Breakout was stale and dated. Add to that Coleco's arcade licensing coup that starved the 5200 of many contemporary non-Atari arcade hits.

 

Hindsight being what it is, I think that Atari should have taken the approach it did with the XEGS and delivered a consolized A8, w/64k RAM, compatible with existing A8 games and peripherals. By the time it was released in '87, the XEGS was severely outdated and Atari Corporation's limited resources were split between the XE, the 7800, the 2600, and the ST. In '82, Atari, Inc. could have made a run with the concept. Also, in '82 the XEGS would have been sleek and black, not pasty grey with Easter pastel buttons.

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I'm with ataribc on this one.  It's the worst Atari system.  So many bad design decisions.  The biggest being...it was just the Atari 400 technology...4 years old at that point.  All the fluff they added (giant size, auto switching RF, controllers with keypads, controller storage in console) just wasn't enough.

 

It doesn't deserve hate though.  The games are all fun. 

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I used to think the 5200 controller sucked because of it not centering but then I got better at using them. The controller still suck by how easily they break.

 

If you stack the 5200 against the Colecovision I'm taking the CV every time because it has a better software library. Too many games on the 5200 are meh.

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The downfall is really the lack of innovation.  Everyone was doing arcade conversions at that point.  It's like they forgot about games like Adventure on the 2600...one of the most beloved games of the older system.  It wasn't an arcade port, but something more.  A game that took time and could be replayed over and over.  Why didn't they put something like that onto the 5200...with better graphics and sound?  Home systems should be more deep than an arcade port.  After all, you have hours to spend on games instead of just a few minutes like the arcade.  Star Raiders is a great example.  It's really good on the 5200.  But essentially the same as the 4 year old computer version.  They couldn't plus it up...even a little?  And how about games like that, only new and exclusive? 

 

It's really easy to play coulda/shoulda with hindsight...but even back then it was mostly "meh" for the 5200. 

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Come on you are all crushing my favorite system of all time!  When I got my 5200 it blew away the 2600, none of us knew the controllers were bad as kids all we knew was the graphics were better.  Maybe it's because I didn't have any friends with a colecovision (only atari and intellivision.)  I guess my dad knew the controllers sucked because he got me the masterplay interface so I could use 2600 controllers and the Wico 5200 joystick.  All of these I still have today (except I lost the second button for the masterplay, so if anyone knows where to get one.)  I'd say the odyssey 1 and 2 are much worse than the 5200 both may have possibly just as bad controllers ( I'm not saying I don't love me some odyssey.) 

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It's definitely Atari's weakest effort.  The market was ripe for a new-gen Atari console, and they totally blew it.

 

Worst console of all?  Nah.

 

I don't think it's fair to call it their weakeast effort - maybe from a marketing standpoint, yeah... From what I've read and understand, the 5200 was supposed to be the sequeal that not only looked great but also was a huge step up from the 2600, and it definitely was! They really focused on making such an elegant, futurisic product but managed to screw it up royally with the wonky ass controllers. I think they were intended to be wireless but were cut due to cost concerns.

 

Definitely not the worst console of all time - without a doubt the worst included controllers of all time, even if they featured pause, select and start buttons with numeric keypad.

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The 5200 is a solid system hardware-wise, but Atari mismanagement screwed it over badly.

Yep, even the trackball was bigger then a NES and the console itself was HUGE. No standard Atari joystick while the other companies followed "Atari standard". Atari 5200 was anything else then a success. In the meantime Atari 2600 sold like hotcakes.

 

The same thing happend all other companies as well, from Commodore to Sega, or Nintendo.

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The console itself is great with some really solid arcade ports.  So no, it doesn't deserve a ranking with the worst consoles of all time.

 

The CONTROLLER however, easily one of the worst I've ever used.  I was lucky enough to pick up a "Redemption 5200" adaptor that allows you to use any other Atari/Sega controller instead of the original and it makes all the difference in the world.

 

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AVGN's 5200 episode was easily one of his worst. If I recall, he didn't even get it connected to review any games; he just gave up. IMHO the 5200 is far from the worst among classic systems. That said, it is my least favorite Atari system and I have about half the library plus the SD cart.

 

Atari made a few huge missteps with the 5200. The size, price, controllers and 16kb RAM limitations were all problematic. The inclusion of Super Breakout as the initial pack-in was a horrible decision. While fun, it is barely better than the 2600 version and in 1982 Breakout was stale and dated. Add to that Coleco's arcade licensing coup that starved the 5200 of many contemporary non-Atari arcade hits.

 

Hindsight being what it is, I think that Atari should have taken the approach it did with the XEGS and delivered a consolized A8, w/64k RAM, compatible with existing A8 games and peripherals. By the time it was released in '87, the XEGS was severely outdated and Atari Corporation's limited resources were split between the XE, the 7800, the 2600, and the ST. In '82, Atari, Inc. could have made a run with the concept. Also, in '82 the XEGS would have been sleek and black, not pasty grey with Easter pastel buttons.

Then you missed the Jaguar episode where Jaguar + mounted CD ended up as a toilet?

 

Part 1

Part 2

 

To be honest, even if Angry Video Game Nerd dissed Atari 800 or ST, Playstation, SNES or Nintendo 64, he can be quite funny at times. I laughed several times when watching this episode. The Sega 32x episode were quite funny too, or the 10 worst video game consoles of all time.

 

And i agreed, 5200 wasn't that bad even if some of the hardware design could have been better.

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The downfall is really the lack of innovation.  Everyone was doing arcade conversions at that point.  It's like they forgot about games like Adventure on the 2600...one of the most beloved games of the older system.  It wasn't an arcade port, but something more.  A game that took time and could be replayed over and over.  Why didn't they put something like that onto the 5200...with better graphics and sound?  Home systems should be more deep than an arcade port.  After all, you have hours to spend on games instead of just a few minutes like the arcade.  Star Raiders is a great example.  It's really good on the 5200.  But essentially the same as the 4 year old computer version.  They couldn't plus it up...even a little?  And how about games like that, only new and exclusive? 

 

It's really easy to play coulda/shoulda with hindsight...but even back then it was mostly "meh" for the 5200. 

OK, so I sold my 5200, and then bought one again a few months later.  While my opinion above stands, I will say that it's a good system that is a lot of fun to collect for.  The library is great, and small enough to collect most games.  The Colecovision is better -- it has a better library and some really unique games.  But CV has an equally bad controller and is a less polished system that doesn't feel as quality as the 5200. 

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While my opinion above stands, I will say that it's a good system that is a lot of fun to collect for.  The library is great, and small enough to collect most games.  The Colecovision is better -- it has a better library and some really unique games.  But CV has an equally bad controller and is a less polished system that doesn't feel as quality as the 5200. 

 

That's a very honest assessment Rick.

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