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5200 Cartridge End Labels!


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Hi friends! As we all know, carts for our beloved Atari 5200 console surprisingly did not come with labels on the top, making it very frustrating to find a particular title. OK, not as bad as loose N64 carts, but still bothersome. I have been scouring the forums, have asked around, and it seems that no one has made end labels (top labels) for the 5200 and made them publicly available. Many people say to just use a Dymo label maker (and I say boo to that!) I asked a few people who have made end labels for other consoles, and no one had any interest in making labels for the 5200. I finally realized, with some encouragement from bah, to attempt to just make my own. I decided to do that and I'd like to put them out here for the community to use, if anyone so desires. My intention was to make a label for every cart that was unidentifiable in a loose collection.



EDIT 12/22: Based on feedback and thinking about them more, I redesigned the 5200 labels to look more authentic to what Atari may have released, if they had put end labels on themselves. I scrapped the box art spine idea and made these from scratch. I think they look 1000 times better and really make the games look gorgeous. I've very happy (and somewhat surprised) with how nicely they turned out. The previous labels were grey, the same color as the box art. The grey didn't really look right as a label, nor were they really consistant with Atari's end labels before and after the 5200. These new labels use the cobalt blue of the 5200 box art with a rainbow stripe across the top. Care was taken to put trademark symbols where appropriate, in the correct places (as if Atari had made them) and that the RealSports font is correct. I hope you'll agree they look sharp. Post updated below with new pics and instructions, along with the new .pdf template. Here is a pic of the labels themselves:

Just to be clear, I'm not selling labels. I'm simply supplying the label templates I used and info on how I made mine, in the hopes of making it easy for others. I used a site - www.onlinelabels.com - to make them, but also want to make clear that I'm not associated with them. I did have a nice transaction and recommend them; if you do want to print your own labels, my instructions will be using the templates they use. Basically, you would have to buy the label paper from them and print the .pdf below to it. What kind of paper and how much you get is all up to you. Of course, you should plan on getting extra because you will most likely have some issues with alignment.

Each label is 3.125" x .5" These are the longest labels I could find that were suitable. Sadly, they look a little short and really should be 3.5" x .5" I designed these labels using box art from thecoverproject.net and my pathetic Photoshop skills. I barely know how to use PS, so these labels are nothing fancy but I think these blue ones turned out quite well. I originally made them simply white text on blue, and decided to see how it would look with the rainbow stripe across the top. I think the splash of color looks nice (but could easily make an alternate set without the rainbow stripe).


The 5200 labels require Template OL1543 at onlinelabels.com:

To experiment, I bought 3 different kinds of their paper for my laser printer: Standard White Matte, White Gloss Laser and Weatherproof Laser. I had best results with White Gloss Laser. The White Matte is workable and doesn't look bad, but the glossy truly looks best for these blue labels. The Weatherproof did not print correctly for me at all.

When printing from my Mac -> Samsung laser printer, I used Preview with the default "US Letter" page setting, "Glossy Photo" paper type and "Best" quality. For PC users, I don't imagine it could be much different. However, I haven't tested them on a PC or an inkjet printer. The template of the label paper doesn't leave any room for "bleed" so it will need to be pretty exact. You can print a blank template from the website and use it to help align before wasting label paper.

Here are some pics of my collection:

Someone much more artistic/talented than myself should make replacement labels for CBS games, totally identical to the original and applied over the old sticker, upside-down, so the game name reads on the end. I'm not ever eager to deface a label, but I could make an exception for CBS carts. I recently came across an extra Blueprint who's corner was peeling, so I slowly removed the label and applied it the "correct" way, to see how it would look. Forgiving the damage the left cart's label took from being peeled off, which looks better to you?

I also made a set of Vectrex labels for my loose collection. I used box art for them and they turned out pretty authentic-looking. If someone with good printing equipment can make fancier ones, please do and sell them on the forums for cost + postage!
The Vectrex labels require Template OL6950 and White Gloss Laser looked best to me.


I hope this helps, and if anyone tries printing/making their own, I'm interested to know your results. Cheers!



Edited by glazball
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Neat project!


I would be glad to have labels made of the appropriate size (any custom size, doesn't have to conform to any existing shape) and then print them either on a high quality inkjet or color laser (both of which I own). I just don't have the skills to make the nice labels. I'll then gladly make them available at a reasonable price for anyone who wants a complete set, either 5200 or Vectrex.



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PacManPlus posted pictures of his blue labels, but I never found that he made them available. bah also made his own which were also blue:




I agree with AtariBrian that they should be shiny silver to match the front label (mine are the same gray from the box art). Originally I tried to use the fancier titles from box art on carts with special artwork, like Berzerk, Choplifter, Robotron 2084, etc (as opposed to Countermeasure, RealSports, etc that just have the plain Atari font). It proved too difficult for me, but my hope is that someone can make nicer ones. Hopefully Albert or someone can print and cut them to a lovely 3 1/2 x 1/2" and make them available here!


title from box art:



first attempt to use it just doesn't look clean/professional:



so I settled on using the Atari font for the final label:


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I think all of these projects are ultra cool but without offending anyone, I think PacManPlus's blue labels look the most "authentic" as to what Atari Inc. should've/would've/could've done standard back in 1982.


Then again, Atari seems to be the only company to ever receive flak over missing end labels. Nintendo's done it twice but their legion of fanboys never seem to criticize them - or the professional critics too - for repeating Atari's perceived mistakes.


Holy krap, look at that old thread…look at Bohoki's customized 5200 controllers. Those are fantastic! I swear, there should be a web page devoted to 5200 and 7800 customized controllers...

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You're right Lynxpro, and no offense taken here. The more I look at his labels, I suppose they are the most "authentic" as to what probably would have existed had Atari made end labels. I guess when I said authentic, I was meaning in terms of quality: glossy finish, sharp text/images and good adhesive.


I considered making similar (solid color) labels for myself, but wanted the rainbow somehow, either as a stripe or the Atari logo. In the end what I did was take the shortest route. I simply cropped the spine from the box arts on thecoverproject.net and shopped them to work as a label (adjusted size, centering, etc). Here's a box art for Berzerk so you can see what I mean:



There is also the issue of 3rd-party titles that wouldn't have necessarily conformed to Atari's designs: Meteorites, Miner 2049er, Quest for Quintana Roo. Though I did make test labels, to me, putting an Atari font on them would just be wrong. I kept it simple across the board: whatever artwork was on the box spine was going on the label.


Like I mentioned, I am horrible with Photoshop - I haven't used it in years, and had to teach myself some stuff. It was definitely a fun learning experience. I know that there ARE people out there who are masters of working with PS and other graphic design software, who would probably laugh at how easy it can be to make something as simple as labels. I wish one of you could have mercy on the perpetually hated-on 5200 by designing some professional labels and making them available.


I do like the simplicity of PacManPlus's labels and maybe I'll go back and rethink mine. Try out a few other things. I have a friend coming by this evening that's coming by this evening, so maybe I'll just pick his brain for some tips!

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I'm throwing around the idea of making labels for Odyssey^2 carts also. I have about half boxed and half loose, and may give up trying to complete a boxed collection (though I love the O2 box art so much!) Not sure how well labels would work with the handles on the carts, but I'll experiment and post what I come up with in this thread.

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@ the last 3 who replied: Please read the first post! I'm not making or selling these, only trying to make it easy for anyone to make them. Download my .pdf attachments, buy the label paper from onlinelabels.com and print them with the instructions above. Good luck!


I was responding to Al's post about printing them if someone did the label design.

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Is there a collector/enthusiast consensus as to the direction the end labels should face? I'd image it would be the reverse of the 2600 end labels since if you stacked the carts on a shelf, you'd probably want the graphics to face up and the end label readable instead of upside down. Gotta take a look at Bob's pic again but I think that's how he did them.

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