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Atari in Canada?


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Posted (edited)

While I myself am not Canadian, I am still curious as to knowing exactly what Atari products were released in Canada.

 

I've seen conflicting info from years past that the 5200 was available there but via mail order (and possibly only in Ontario), and I think pretty much every Atari system from the VCS/2600 up to the Jaguar, including also the 8-bit computer line from the 400/800 to the XEGS, had been released there, but not the 5200 Super System.

 

So may I ask what reliable Canadian sources as of late make mention of the 5200 Super System having a limited release (and which games were available for it)?

 

Thank you,

 

 

 

Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981
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Speaking as a Canadian who has been collecting (on and off) video games since about the late-1980s, I have never seen a 5200 console -- either used or new -- nor any cartridges for the system.

 

I do not recall ever seeing the XEGS at retail, but I did see it on sale through the Home Shopping Club TV channel. 

 

One challenge to documenting the availability of the 5200 (or any other system) is the total absence of Canadian gaming magazines. I do not know of any that existed in the 1980s. The only real way to document what was for sale at a given time is to look for newspaper advertisements; this is an extremely time-consuming process and there is no guarantee that everything will be listed.  

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I recall coming across the XE at Toys R Us in Toronto.  There were also still many 2600 titles at TRU in the early 90's, but I only ever saw 5200 at stereo shops (early-mid 80's).

 

@jhd if you were in NB back then, I don't think you would have seen anything other than what Woolco, Zellers, Kmart, Canadian Tire and Consumers Distributing carried.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/7/2024 at 4:56 AM, jhd said:

 

Speaking as a Canadian who has been collecting (on and off) video games since about the late-1980s, I have never seen a 5200 console -- either used or new -- nor any cartridges for the system.

 

I do not recall ever seeing the XEGS at retail, but I did see it on sale through the Home Shopping Club TV channel. 

 

One challenge to documenting the availability of the 5200 (or any other system) is the total absence of Canadian gaming magazines. I do not know of any that existed in the 1980s. The only real way to document what was for sale at a given time is to look for newspaper advertisements; this is an extremely time-consuming process and there is no guarantee that everything will be listed.  

That aspect about the lack of gaming magazines over there back then appears to show that home video gaming in the early '80s, before the crash of '83/'84, was slow to catch on in Canada than here in the U.S., especially for Atari fanboys.

Atari did have a Canadian subsidiary since the VCS/2600 days, which debunks info I've read about it being established after the crash.

 

~Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981
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I  have seen a few 5200's through the years on the retro game market, as well as the odd smattering of cartridges.  I remember friends of my parents had a 5200 in the mid-80s, which was the only time I ever saw it when it was relatively current.  I remember playing Pole Position, Qix, Frogger, and Countermeasures.  I'm in a border city so I suppose it's possible they picked it up on the US side and brought it back, but I never realized that the availability of the 5200 in Canada was in question.  I guess I never cared enough about that console.  

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23 hours ago, Cynicaster said:

I'm in a border city so I suppose it's possible they picked it up on the US side and brought it back, 

 

Systems certainly do get imported: I have seen one or two Sears-brand "Atari" systems at garage sales and thrift shops here in Canada, even though they were never originally sold in this country.

 

Because of the price differential (and a much better selection), most of the video games that I bought in the 1980s were acquired during visits to the United States. 

 

More recently, my NES Classic console came from Wal-Mart in a small Maine town. It was unobtainium here in Canada, but stock remained in more obscure places.  

 

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1 hour ago, jhd said:

 

Systems certainly do get imported: I have seen one or two Sears-brand "Atari" systems at garage sales and thrift shops here in Canada, even though they were never originally sold in this country.

 

Because of the price differential (and a much better selection), most of the video games that I bought in the 1980s were acquired during visits to the United States. 

 

More recently, my NES Classic console came from Wal-Mart in a small Maine town. It was unobtainium here in Canada, but stock remained in more obscure places.  

 

Oh, for sure.  I remember making the trek across the border to pick up both my original Lynx and Genesis back in 1990 or so.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, jhd said:

 

Systems certainly do get imported: I have seen one or two Sears-brand "Atari" systems at garage sales and thrift shops here in Canada, even though they were never originally sold in this country.

 

Because of the price differential (and a much better selection), most of the video games that I bought in the 1980s were acquired during visits to the United States. 

 

More recently, my NES Classic console came from Wal-Mart in a small Maine town. It was unobtainium here in Canada, but stock remained in more obscure places.  

 

Actually, Sears itself did have a Canadian presence (Simpsons-Sears Ltd. from 1952 until 1984 as a result of the joint-venture between Sears, Roebuck & Co. here in the U.S. with Canada's Robert Simpson Co. Ltd.; then Sears Canada, Inc. afterward).

 

Therefore, the Tele-Games Video Arcade consoles and cartridges sold in Canada, if at all, will mention Simpsons-Sears Ltd.

 

~Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981
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