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The Atari 5200: Why bother?


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#1 krypton85 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:55 AM

This system is one of the most worthless systems out there. Discuss :P

[/troll]

#2 bomberpunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:02 AM



#3 AtariBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:14 AM

it probably is at the bottom of systems to have in some peoples opinion, but there are some good games for it and good homebrews. the controllers are what really hurt it

#4 OldSchoolRetroGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:35 AM

All I need to say:



#5 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:59 AM

it probably is at the bottom of systems to have in some peoples opinion, but there are some good games for it and good homebrews. the controllers are what really hurt it


Conversely:

it is at the top of systems to have in my opinion, and there are some great games for it and fantastic homebrews. the controllers are what really make it so great

Edited by Mirage, Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:00 AM.


#6 KevinMos3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:23 AM

The Atari 5200: Why bother?
This system is one of the most worthless systems out there. Discuss :P

Definitely trolling, but in lighthearted good fun I hope.

Plain and simple; it has a lot of great games, many of which are my favorite version for any system. The controllers do hurt it for some games, but are great for others. For games that are better with digital control, I recommend a Wico controller. I absolutely love mine. Having both digital and analog available as well as a trackball makes the system perfect for almost everything – with one exception named below. This makes the controller issue a moot point for me.

Some examples of games meant for analog:
  • Pole Position
  • Missile Command
  • Centipede
  • Kaboom!
  • Rescue on Fractalus
  • Star Wars Arcade
  • Blaster
  • ...and pretty much any flying game
Games definitely meant for digital:
  • Keystone Kapers
  • Pitfall I & II
  • Montezuma's Revenge
  • Kangaroo
  • Pac-Man
  • ...and pretty much any game like these where precise directional movements are needed
Some games that are great with either:
  • Adventure II (My favorite)
  • Buck Rogers
  • Gremlins
  • Defender
  • ...quite a few fall into this category
Unfortunately, one of my favorite games on other systems is virtually unplayable for me on the 5200 – H.E.R.O. The controls for this one were truly converted over to analog, but I've never been able to get used to it. Using a digital joystick with this one makes it unplayable due to the digital "all-or-nothing" control, so it lacks small precise movements for navigating through the mine shafts.

Edited by KevinMos3, Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:25 AM.


#7 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:15 AM

Yep, as others have said, it's all about the controllers. I'm a big fan of the A8, but even I prefer the 5200 for playing trak-ball games, games that use the analog controller, and games that use two buttons.

Plus, who doesn't love the massiveness of the thing? Even the carts are huge. It's a very manly system. :P

#8 VicViper OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:37 AM

I'll stick with my 800XL....

Edited by VicViper, Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:37 AM.


#9 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:54 AM

I think it was a troll in lighthearted good fun, and either way, since this exact same discussion comes up here every so often, and I haven't seen one in awhile, a love/hate 5200 thread was probably overdue! :)

#10 fernando marrin OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:12 AM

all i know is that i drooled over the 5200 on catalogs back in the day
because i was a "poor" 2600 owner

now it's a priceless system to me

#11 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:45 AM

I'm a recent 5200 owner, having bought my first 5200 system within the last year. I grew up playing games on the 400/800 systems, and for the longest time I didn't see any reason to own a 5200 since it's based on the same technology. It was the last of the Atari systems that I added to my collection. Now that I have one, along with an AtariMax Ultimate SD cartridge and a good set of joysticks and trackballs, I've gotten to like it for several reasons:
  • This may be a superficial item, but I really enjoy the overall 5200 design. I much prefer the wedge-shaped, top-loading form factor for cartridge-based consoles, and the 5200 is probably the most attractive specimen that Atari produced. The size, the color, and the overall level of polish and professionalism really creates a luxurious, "no expenses spared" impression, and to me it's representative of the American video game industry at its pre-crash climax. The 7800 is a nice-looking console, too, but it's much smaller and lighter and has more of a "budget" feel to it, which isn't quite as appealing.
  • Several of the "Atari 800" games I've played for years were actually 5200 games that had been converted to the 400/800 computers. Now that I have a 5200, I can play them on their "native system", and I find that several of them (particularly trackball games) actually work better. Speaking of which ...
  • OH MY GOD the 5200 Trak-Ball is a gorgeous controller! It's quickly become my favorite of all the trackballs I own. I love the fact that it has two keypads for left-handed and right-handed players, something that almost didn't happen: Dan Kramer apparently liked the two-keypad design so much that he hid away the single-keypad prototype in his closet, so that it wasn't even available as an option when the final design was chosen. I think it adds to the luxurious feel of the 5200 that I mentioned earlier.
  • I've found that the joystick controllers aren't as bad as their reputation would suggest. I'm using a pair of refurbished joysticks from Best Electronics, so I'll grant that I'm experiencing them in their best possible state (which not everyone has the luxury of doing), but I still don't see what all the fuss is about. They took some getting used to, but they function quite well for me. My biggest issues are: the possibility of perspiration accumulating behind the side action buttons (these really should not have been soft rubber), and the fact that several of the games only respond to the extreme edges of the joystick's range. Bounty Bob Strikes Back is the most heartbreaking game in this regard: I really want to play this on the 5200 exclusively, but I have to push the joystick all the way to the right or left to get Bounty Bob to move, and sometimes even that isn't enough. Perhaps I need to recalibrate the controller ports again.
  • The 5200—at least the original version—is the only Atari-produced console which had four controller ports, without requiring an external adapter (like the Jaguar's Team Tap). This opens up intriguing possibilities for four-player games. Although few of the 5200 titles that Atari produced took advantage of this, I'm still hoping that homebrew developers explore more multi-player game ideas on systems like the 5200.


#12 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:49 AM

The answer is "Why not?" :)

Edited by NE146, Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:49 AM.


#13 Rex Dart OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:08 AM

So far the tally is:

1 vote for "It's shiny"
1 vote for "at least you don't need separate paddles"
and 1 vote for "Why not"

#14 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:15 AM

So far the tally is:

1 vote for "It's shiny"
1 vote for "at least you don't need separate paddles"
and 1 vote for "Why not"


You forgot "it's huge".

#15 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:40 AM

This system is one of the most worthless systems out there. Discuss :P

[/troll]

Attached Thumbnails

  • crying 1.jpg


#16 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:43 AM

Besides the look and feel of the console and its carts (which truly are really a notch above most other Atari hardware), I really like the small, but awesome library of games for the system. It's not terribly hard to get a full collection of the 70 or so games released for the system "back in the day", especially since just one game is really rare (Bounty Bob Strikes Back), and even it can be had without having to sell one of your organs (unlike the dozen or so 'holy grails' for the 2600.) And there's very, very few bad games in the library. It makes the system a real delight for the collector.

Also, I'll second KevinMos3's recommendation of the Wico controller. For me, it makes a huge difference, largely because I can't stand side-mounted fire buttons.

#17 AlvinKarpis OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:34 PM

I love the 5200, it is by far one of my favorite consoles

#18 Curious Sofa OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:52 PM

1. Best version of Moon Patrol of the consoles (only other one is the 2600, and the 5200 version whips its buttocks)
2. Dual controller Space Dungeon
3. Generally much better sound than either the 2600 or 7800 (see above, Moon Patrol soundtrack for example)
4. My favorite version of Pac-Man for any system. I can't even fully explain it, I just really love 5200 Pac-Man, even above the arcade one.
5. My favorite version of Space Invaders for any system. Love the different creatures, the sound effects, the animations on the invaders.
6. I love the Dreadnaught Factor, and don't have interest in an Intellivision (the only other console it came out for I believe). The video game critic hated it, but that guy is often completely insane.
7. Controller problems? Get a Best Electronics lifetime gold refurbished controller for $40ish. Problems solved.
8. Hate the controllers? Okay, I'm sort of down with this, particularly the buttons for button mash games. Solutions are out there though; Wico, competition pro, or in these forums there are dudes who mod PC controllers for the 5200. I've got one and love it.
9. Qix

#19 BydoEmpire OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:53 PM

I love the 5200, it is by far one of my favorite consoles

Seconded! I didn't have a 5200 back in the day. I picked mine up a few years ago, but it quickly became a favorite. Great games - that's why I bother!

#20 Nuclear Pacman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:59 PM

Just the fact that it annoys 800xl fanboys is reason enough.

#21 Chuck D. Head OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:08 PM

It is a useless abomnination and I would be glad to dispose of one for anyone unfortunate enough to own one. Please include a trakball and games.

#22 krypton85 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:16 PM

I had one of these as a kid, but we got it right before the nintendo came out, then all my friends had NES, and I was the kid with the shitty system that no one wanted to play. Maybe it's long lost pent up anger from dealing with that... :)

#23 Chris++ OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:22 PM

I've always wondered about this: Since the 5200 is an Atari 8-bit without a keyboard, why would one bother with it now? Are there more games that are identical on both platforms, or are they outnumbered by those that are different on the 5200?

#24 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:32 PM

I've always wondered about this: Since the 5200 is an Atari 8-bit without a keyboard, why would one bother with it now? Are there more games that are identical on both platforms, or are they outnumbered by those that are different on the 5200?

I believe that the majority of 5200 games were also released for the 8-bit computers, and that most if not all of the exclusives and updated titles that the 5200 got (such as Qix and Centipede) have since been ported over to the 8-bit computers, too.

What the 5200 still has to offer is the tactile experience of playing these games on the 5200 itself, with its cartridges and analog joysticks and Trak-Ball controllers. Some of the games, such as Space Dungeon, don't work as well with the digital joysticks on the 8-bit computers, and there are also a few homebrews that are exclusive to the 5200.

But for the most part, if you already have an 8-bit computer, you don't really need the 5200: you already have access to almost the entire library of games, and you can play them with digital joysticks, which are a better choice for many of them.

#25 Chris++ OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:36 PM

I see. Thanks. :)




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