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Was the 5200 really that bad?


Frozone212
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15 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

Agreed. BTW, you did forget to mention the XEGS, I don't know its sales during its run so you should look into it.

 

As for the controllers, once you got used to the way they operated, they were THE BEST, good players quickly adjusted to them and their MO, they also contoured to your hand and ergonomically the best designed ones of the bunch, the CX24 ProLine stick for the 7800 was similar, but smaller, and a little thinner, so it was tougher to handle, had it been the same dimensions as the CX52, then maybe perhaps the "PainLine" would not have been so painful. Atari had the right idea for the CX24, as it was almost an exact clone of the CX52, in fact I like to use them with my AA Redemption 7800 interface I have had for nearly 20 years.

XE game system is not really a console but sold around only 100k units.  More like an XE with a gun and an updated keyboard.  It was also too late releasing in 87 when Sega, NES, and the 7800 using late 70s technology.

Edited by phuzaxeman
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1 minute ago, phuzaxeman said:

XE game system is not really a console but sold around only 100k units.  More like an XE with a gun and an updated keyboard.  It was also too late releasing in 87 when Sega, NES, and the 7800 using late 70s technology.

That's a good call, the 7800, if marketed properly, in which (unfortunately) Tramiel-era Atari was famous for bumbling on, would've probably been a bit more competitive alongside NES, Sega and even the TurboGrafx 16 at that.

 

Yes the XEGS ran on 1979 tech but it had 64K and relied exclusively on its existing 8-bit software and hardware as well as that detachable keyboard and light gun, but it did also introduce a slew of original (at that time) games for it, like Flight Simulator II and Bug Hunt and the likes.

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6 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

That's a good call, the 7800, if marketed properly, in which (unfortunately) Tramiel-era Atari was famous for bumbling on, would've probably been a bit more competitive alongside NES, Sega and even the TurboGrafx 16 at that.

 

Yes the XEGS ran on 1979 tech but it had 64K and relied exclusively on its existing 8-bit software and hardware as well as that detachable keyboard and light gun, but it did also introduce a slew of original (at that time) games for it, like Flight Simulator II and Bug Hunt and the likes.

 

You can't be competitive if you only release 59 7800 titles.  The sound was 2600 quality.  I liked it back in 87 but it was no match for NES and Sega.

 

XE game system released most games that were already on disc.   

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Yes, it's bad. It's bad. Come on. (Really really bad). 

You know it's bad.  It's bad you know it. (Really really bad).

And the whole world has to answer right now just to tell you ONCE AGAIN

It's bad.

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5 hours ago, phuzaxeman said:

 

You can't be competitive if you only release 59 7800 titles.  The sound was 2600 quality.  I liked it back in 87 but it was no match for NES and Sega.

 

XE game system released most games that were already on disc.   

well the 5200 herself only had 69 titles, but, look at how many newer titles have been produced down the past 3 decades for both of those systems, if they only had that much support back then it might've been a different story, at least we all stuck it out tried and true and have finally been rewarded for our loyalty to our consoles.

 

Guys like Bob Decrescenzo @PacManPlus, Steven Tucker @classics, Paul Lay @playsoft, @Ryan Witmer, @Wrathchild, @glurk and many others in both the 5200 and 7800 homebrew and conversion communities have been the ones who have weaved their magic to make our systems the greatest they have ever been, our once neglected and criticized consoles have now never looked better because of them!!!

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13 hours ago, edladdin said:

I loved my OG 4 port 5200, which I got when I was 14.  I'll never forget how spectacular the title screen on Pac-Man looked the very first time I fired it up.  It felt like a huge leap forward from my 2600, which I also loved.  Yeah, the controllers felt a little weird at first, but pretty quickly I got the hang of how to use them properly and it was never much of an issue again.  In those days Qix, Space Dungeon, and Gyruss were my favorites.  Today I can't get enough of Dreadnaught Factor, and Pengo and Popeye have joined the list of go-to favorites.

oooh, Dreadnaught Factor. I forgot about that game.  Very nice.

 

Blaster was made for the 5200, I wish they would have released it back then.

That game looked amazing...

 

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21 hours ago, zzip said:

But the 8-bit E.T. had almost no hype.   Even to this day it rarely gets talked about, good or bad, and it's easy to forget it exists.   I did get a second hand copy on cart back in the 80s but could never figure out how to play it so I can't say if I like it or not.

Ha!  For a second there I thought I had two accounts.  ?

 

I should try E.T. 800 again someday...

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13 hours ago, almightytodd said:

 But seriously guys - it's all just good natured ribbing; until it's not.

 

The old term around here for that was "half joking, full intention".

Good term in my opinion, and you make a good point, thanks.   ?

 

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On 5/27/2022 at 3:40 PM, Leonard Smith said:

 

Also, it's highly recommended NOT to post people's full names and apartment #'s in a public forum.

I removed the personal info for him.

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On 5/27/2022 at 8:19 AM, zzip said:

I don't really think E.T. had anything to do with the crash.   It was just the biggest sales flop simply because they produced a ridiculous number of cartridges.  It became the icon of everything that ailed the industry, helped fueled by the urban legend of carts being buried in the desert, which turned out to be true- kind of.   

 

But the 8-bit E.T. had almost no hype.   Even to this day it rarely gets talked about, good or bad, and it's easy to forget it exists.   I did get a second hand copy on cart back in the 80s but could never figure out how to play it so I can't say if I like it or not.

 

Guilt by association is likely what ET really suffers from.  A lot of games in 1983 were churned out more rapidly then the local gnat population.

 

I still play the 2600 - it's forward-thinking at the time with the quest trope, multiple screens, varied adversaries, extra life flower and neat easter egg turning into Yar and buzzing off, and so on... that alone makes me want to re-play this, just to find them all...  and a monumental task given how difficult it was to code for the thing, especially with the limited development time and insanely small cartridge size (not unlike the Pac-Man debacle.) ET is surprisingly enjoyable despite its simplicity; and despite homebrew hacks fixing the edge detecting and changing his color from puke green to regular brown, the other tweaks involving removing of energy dwindling ruin the challenge. 

 

I tried the 800 version once... once... maybe one needed the manual even more than for the 2600 version's, but there's a distinct lack of charm, despite the more expansive world ET waddles around in. 

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I have an OG 4-port and a modded 2-port 5200.  Most of the games are great.  Depending on the game, the controllers are either the greatest thing or the most vile abomination to grace the Earth.  Playing Pac-man on the CX-52 is an exercise in patience and frustration.  Games like Space Dungeon, the CX-52 can't be beat.  Overall, IMO, the CX-52 just makes the 5200 more frustrating then fun.

 

Now, the Pro-Line Trak-ball controller is amazing...but can anyone tell me why there were the two keypads on it?  I get it, it was designed with symmetry, but it looks like it was designed to be a two-player unit.  What were they going to do?  Fight over the ball?  The dual keypads always bothered me about my unit, but it plays Centipede and Missile Command like it was meant to be played.

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On 5/26/2022 at 7:27 PM, RangerG said:

If you had one in 1982, you had a top of the line machine that looked the part and you got to mock your friends and their 2600 Pac-man.

Yes. But if you had an Atari 400 you had an even better machine.

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On 5/25/2022 at 7:50 PM, Frozone212 said:

I know the controllers were awful but is all this hate for the console overblown or is it all true?

Probably overblown. Though I've made myself crystal clear in earlier posts.

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Easy to find faults with it now.  BITD this was a great system  Analog joystick.   Start / pause / reset on the controller!  Spot on arcade ports and some unique titles! (space Dungeon anyone)  No more playing Intellivision after getting the 5200.

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10 hours ago, Keatah said:

Yes. But if you had an Atari 400 you had an even better machine.

Yeah but most of the 400/800 games that were ported over to the 5200 actually played better with the CX52, for a game like Star Raiders having all the controls right then and there onboard the CX52 as opposed to having to take your grip off of the joystick to utilize the separate keyboard to activate crucial controls like your shields or the attack computer, could mean the difference between staying in the game and getting your ship destroyed. Also, while in the hyperwarp, the CX52 trounces all over any digital stick when it comes to steadying your ship during it. and of course navigating the cursor on the Galactic Chart is also a breeze with analog controls.

 

... and of course, having all of those controls onboard the CX52 for games like Defender is why it is the best to have been supplied with any console once you got used to their MO, having the smart bombs (top fire button), hyperspace (any key 1-9 during game play) readily available when and where you absolutely need them the most is crucial, and could possibly mean the difference between life and death.... try activating the smart bombs or hyperspace on a 400, A8, or an XEGS, how do you do that???

 

As for games like Pac-Man, Dig Dug or Qix you either have to do one of two things:

 

1) have patience and learn how to deal with it, most good players like myself did exactly that,

 

or

 

2) get yourself either a Masterplay or RetroGameBoyz 5200 controller, they are both readily available. For digital games I myself am fortunate to still have one of my vintage AtariAge/Pixels Past Redemption 5200 interfaces that allows me to utilize my 7800 (CX24) sticks, and since they feel the same as the CX52 do, albeit a bit smaller.

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Other questions that need answers:

- Would the 5200 have succeeded if SEGA, Nintendo, and all other rivals of Atari never existed?

- Was Atari's biggest mistake to launch the 5200 without a CD-ROM drive?

- Isn't it a miracle the 5200 was a failure?

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3 hours ago, BIGHMW said:

Yeah but most of the 400/800 games that were ported over to the 5200 actually played better with the CX52, for a game like Star Raiders having all the controls right then and there onboard the CX52 as opposed to having to take your grip off of the joystick to utilize the separate keyboard to activate crucial controls like your shields or the attack computer, could mean the difference between staying in the game and getting your ship destroyed.

At the same time you can't have a co-pilot operating those functions for you.. No 2-player gaming.

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On 5/28/2022 at 8:42 PM, CommodoreDecker said:

especially with the limited development time and insanely small cartridge size (not unlike the Pac-Man debacle.)

But unlike Pac-Man, Atari gave E.T. an 8K cart.   I wonder how much of that went into creating the title screen?  That screen was one of the most detailed things we had seen on the 2600 up to that point.

 

On 5/28/2022 at 8:42 PM, CommodoreDecker said:

I tried the 800 version once... once... maybe one needed the manual even more than for the 2600 version's, but there's a distinct lack of charm, despite the more expansive world ET waddles around in.

That kinda sums up my feeling too.   Yeah the world is more detailed than the 2600 game, but something feels off about it.   Maybe charm is a good word for it.

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On 5/29/2022 at 2:56 PM, roots.genoa said:

Other questions that need answers:

- Would the 5200 have succeeded if SEGA, Nintendo, and all other rivals of Atari never existed?

- Was Atari's biggest mistake to launch the 5200 without a CD-ROM drive?

- Isn't it a miracle the 5200 was a failure?

Also: Would ET II have saved the 5200?

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

"Did Gremlins destroy the 5200?"  "Is there a curse of Spielberg movie tie-in games?"

Indeed, since contrary to the other games in the series, 1941 was only ported on the SuperGrafX, and we know how it went for that system. ?

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