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Well none, really, if you purchase a memory-upgraded 800. But I'll assume that you're referring to stock units, in which case the 800XL's increased memory will let you play the minority of titles that require 64K. You might, on the other hand, have difficulty with the tiny number of 800 games that may not run properly on the 800XL.

There's some difference in games that use artifacting, but you're probably not going to run into one of those unless you hunt them down.

 

NTSC/PAL compatibilty issues are generally a bigger concern if you're going for the late-day European releases with impressive graphics.

Edited by davidcalgary29
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I can't think of any 64K game that has the 'must play' quality about it - so as to go for the 800XL?

Koronis Rift and Eidolon comes to mind - but I didn't find these far better than Rescue from Fractalus and BallBlazer.

A late addition is Crownland - which is a must see for it's graphics rather than it's gameplay - which is on the frustrating side.

Just look through the 64K required list and see if there's any you're likely to play for a long time?

 

The 800 is more preferable - if you're drawn more towards the 1979 to 1982 period - in which this was the most logical choice for that time.

You'll probably go for both - if you find the Atari 8-bit games to your liking - as one can serve as a back up for the other, as time passes on....

 

Harvey

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There are lots of excellent 64K XEGS games, but they're either really hard to find or only exist as protos. They're probably not 'must haves' for the new collector, but are my most-played games. I can't imagine not having 'Crystal Castles', 'MIDI Maze', 'Deflektor', 'Commando', or 'Xenophobe' (or 'Dr. Mario XE, for that matter) for my A8 -- they're all spectacular ports.

Edited by davidcalgary29
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I'd get an XL or a 130XE if I was you, the 800 is a beauty of a computer and everyone should own one just for that BUT unless as said its been ram upgraded there will be some items that will not work out of the box, its not many but always better to have than not. There's also one issue that has been not mentioned, if you plan to get software from the internet and use it via and SIO2SD adaptor or some newer dumped real disks you will come across stuff that has been compressed and it won't in 99.9% of cases work on 48K (from my years of playing). The compression was done by users to fit more on disks and not on the original copies so they should work fine if you have them.

 

So the dilemma is, 800 which is the most classic machine of the Atari family (for me) or the more toyish looking newer machines with the extra memory, personally I'd get one of each but if its for optimum playing / usage I'd get an XL or XE just to have the spare ram if its needed.

 

In terms of performance there's nothing different ie no graphic enhancements or speed, just a slightly different OS.

 

Oh and the 800 does not come as standard with Basic, on that machine it was a cartridge you purchased separately but on the XL onwards it was built in and was a newer bug fixed version (although most people would not notice).

 

Hope that's helped..

 

Paul

Edited by Mclaneinc
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I have both.. In fact I have 1 - 800 and 3 - 800xl(s) 1 of which is the valued Hong Kong version - Which will be my main "USER" machine - I am putting a Ultimate 1mb board in .. with a UAV. This as far as I am concerned with my SIO2pc makes this a fantastic gamer, programmer, and general user friendly retro machine.

 

But if you have no intent to do modifications to it.. then the 800 is a very cool, classic machine that will play 96% of everything, can be hooked up to a monitor, not just TV, and has a great keyboard.. AND 4 joystick ports.

 

James

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... AND 4 joystick ports.

 

James

Yes this is the important bit! - If you have people round the 800's 4 player joystick games are great fun (e.g. Dandy, Killa Cycle). Though the multijoy device will let you play multiplayer on the XL/XE and has some new games for it to make up for some that haven't been converted :) [paddles support 4 players on 2ports]

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While this is list of actual physical carts - it is a start as to which ones do require 64K.

 

http://members.tcq.net/video61/compnew.html

 

Here's comment on this topic

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/170605-atari-xegs-list-of-games/

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/106809-xlxe-only-games/

 

A good question is what method you'd use to play the games on the target machine you're aiming for?

Are you in it just for the gaming fun part of it - or are you the serious collector of original carts, etc?

 

As mentioned previously - the way to go these days - if you want the easiest way and cheapest way to just play the games is to use the modern flashcart or equivalent format.

(It may not be so cheap to get started with it but thereafter it doesn't involve any more extra expenses),

All I experienced in this regard, is the Atarimax flashcart in which compiliations are easily found and loaded, and individual games loaded/deleted from them.

I presume the other modern options are the same? Which means you don't need to go the disk drive route and can easily find files online to download and run.

 

Harvey

Edited by kiwilove
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Harvey--thanks for this info! I'm in the uncomfortable space in-between. I emulate and am cool with multi/flashcarts (best think to ever happen to my astrocade), but I like the physical product as well. In some ways now, I'm trying to flesh out whether I want to try and buy both an A8 and a C64 or just one or the other. I'm starting to lean towards C64; I don't know. Lots of choices. Would be interested in hearing what people think of that as well.

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Get both! Either system equipped with a flash drive will probably set you back about $100. While the C64 has a larger commercial game library, the A8 is an outstanding system -- Atari's best, really -- and the two systems have pretty similar hardware specs, which makes the A8 especially impressive given that the 800 was first released in 1979. The A8 also has an active scene, and modern products have pushed the platform in ways I've never have expected from a 36 year-old system.

 

You can also mod Tulip's 64DTV computer-in-a-joystick into a working system! I've seen some truly neat setups with these mods. They're most widely available in Europe.

Edited by davidcalgary29
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It's actually very simple to do. If you buy a flash unit you can ask the vendor to pre-load it with software if you're truly at a loss. It's a great way of getting lots of European software, but beware of PAL incompatibility issues.

 

Most carts have been dumped and are available as disk images (go to atarimania.com). You can also buy multicarts with upwards of thirty games on them if you're looking for a hassle-free approach, but these can be hard to track down.

 

Disks and tapes are prone to failure that can make game-playing a hassle, and most modern users would prefer not to put up with excessive load times. Those are probably the main reasons why few modern users use them extensively.

Edited by davidcalgary29
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Well there's certainly no reason not to enjoy disks, and I'm sure that users here will give you some if asked nicely. Tapes are much more of a hassle, but the A8's tape drives have a really interesting feature that allows two different tracks to be played, which enabled programmers to put spoken narratives into software! It's a pity that most of the programs that used this were released before 1983 and, well, suck.

 

Historically, the C64 had the edge with its tape systems because of turbo-loading. Europeans released these for the A8 in the '90s, but they're nearly impossible to find in North America.

Edited by davidcalgary29
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Harvey--thanks for this info! I'm in the uncomfortable space in-between. I emulate and am cool with multi/flashcarts (best think to ever happen to my astrocade), but I like the physical product as well. In some ways now, I'm trying to flesh out whether I want to try and buy both an A8 and a C64 or just one or the other. I'm starting to lean towards C64; I don't know. Lots of choices. Would be interested in hearing what people think of that as well.

I did have a C64 back in the day - also - so I do know how capable this machine is, with the right supporting hardware (Action Replay II cart for disk drive use). And I have run both via emulation.

I'm only active nowadays with the Atari 8-bit. For me - I can't tell it apart, when emulated - so when you do get an Atari - you can always run the few you can't run - via Altirra.

You might as well enjoy gaming on both systems - and eventually get both hardware (if you so desire). Because some games are done better on the Atari (Blue Max springs to mind - and there are others....) and others on the C-64 (Zaxxon for one) and there will be games exclusively for that system alone.

While I don't really play videogames anymore (on any system) but will playtest anything I'm doing the graphics design(s) for - if you enjoy videogames - it really doesn't matter what system it's for - you'll usually have the urge to play them all? Because I've played so many games on so many systems (computers and consoles) - you do get burned out, I guess.

By the time PlayStation 2 arrived - I got the machine - but didn't get around to buying games for it. Mainly because I couldn't afford to. I don't mind seeing demos of the latest videogames running - so as to know what current games are like? But even with this I'm probably a few years behind on.

 

Harvey

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Get an 800XL. The 800 is an interesting piece of history, but there are too many drawbacks IMO with not having RAM under the OS, and not having the ability to have portb RAM upgrades-not to mention most hardware upgrades being produced today do not work in the 800. No sense limiting yourself in case you do get into the hobby in a larger way.

 

With flashcarts (at least the Atarimax), if you want to put single-disk, or multi-disk games on them you'll need a 64k machine for instance.

Edited by Shawn Jefferson
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Thank you all for this. I'm many years behind on this, as I started in the NES era due to my age (35) and only recently got a PS2. I have a Wii, but I use it almost exclusively for emulation. It's weird; my "gaming" passions straddle JRPG's mostly and dinosaur machines like 2600, Bally, Coleco, and INTV. The computer thing is new for me, I never had these machines but wished I did when compared to my parents' 8086 AT/T computer. I'm 100% decided I want to eventually go for Amiga, but for 8-bit I'm still thinking I guess. Like you guys have said, there's a lot to be said for both A8 and C64...

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I think your hardware choice is always determined by the software (games) that it runs best. What type of games you really liked playing or to play?

 

And that the hardware is only carefully considered - for when you are developing games. For me it was an easy choice as to what system I wanted to get back to - the Atari 8bit. That I always felt it was underrated back in it's day - against it's competitors and that certain games should have been developed for it, but weren't.

 

Harvey

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The problem is I like all sorts of games, but I lean toward the Colecovision style of games--arcade translation. The other half of me leans heavily towards RPG's. I even loved text adventures as a kid. The more I learn, the more I feel like I have to make a choice due to all the flashcarts and peripherals. I love the LOOK and the NAME of the 800 particularly (I even like the bizarre retro juice-box friendly 400), but the C64 keeps pulling me towards it. Maybe this has something to do with my deep desire to buy an Amiga as it seems easier to me (I'll probably get in trouble for this) that it is quite superior to the ST. That will probably complete my collection, but I don't think I'd ever be AVERSE to gettin an 8 bit Atari. I just know most of the games I've seen are superior in multiple ways on the Commodore.

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You may find that you'll simply do the grand tour and play all the better games on the better systems - whether they be computer or console? Simply because emulation allows you to - and you can be more selective as to what physical system you'll collect and play?

I was always for arcade styled games - always going to coin-op arcades to see the latest - and I wanted home systems that could emulate them if possible. As coin-ops used better and better hardware - home systems had to likewise power up. I didn't find enough high quality arcade action games for the ST or Amiga - despite so-called conversions done for them.

That few arcade games actually used it's hardware to it's advantage. It was the 16-bit consoles that did deliver the coin-op experience into the home. I did play the other games - such as 3D simulations and adventure games. Not into the strategy games which require a manual to be studied to play.

Everyone has their own likes and dislikes etc. There are real gems out there in which the best was made of the hardware and graphics, etc. And games which don't look like much - but play amazingly well - such as Tetris - which spawned a whole series of puzzle games.

 

Harvey

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I'm a firm believer of enjoying the full range of computers and games machines out there, personally I think Spelunker is at its best on the NES but don't if you can miss out on the Atari Computer, there's stuff like Star Raiders etc that are superb on the Atari and is still regarded as one of the best games EVER, the C64 is also a really lovely machine and there are some crackers on there but many are ports from the Atari and the version remain best on that machine but in an ideal world I'd say get them ALL :)

 

The Atari and the C64 as a combo will give you one hell of a playable time but try not to have one or the other but if you have to I'd say start on the Atari and next to a 64.

 

As for disks etc, you can still have the feel of the actual floppies as there are still new floppies out there and tools to put the images back on them but to be honest the quality of emulation and the inclusion of sampled floppy noises on the emulators for both machines means you can actually sit there and enjoy(?) the loading as if it was on a real drive.

 

For me the Atari 8 bit was the first machine I saw quality arcade games on, technically I could play invaders, breakout etc on my ZX80 but it was a black and white display and unless you could afford the ram pack most stuff used standard characters as opposed to a redefined character set that took up more ram so The Atari with sprites and a great custom display hardware meant Gyruss etc looked nigh on like the arcade.

 

All I'll say is you have some hard but very enjoyable choices, to quote a certain game series "Collect 'em all"...

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