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Is the 5200 such a "SUPER" System?


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#1 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002 7:19 PM

Lately I've had the opportunity to pick up the 5200's arch-nemesis the Colecovision and I've got a fair amount of titles and some interesting things:

Controllers:

Everyone bitches and moans about the 5200 controllers. Well the fire buttons are definitely bad, they should never have been so small or rubbery, bad choice.

The Coleco controllers don't seem to fair any better then the 5200's in comfort and the short stalk is not as comfortable to use as the 5200 joystick.

One thing that definitely is a major plus is the pause button the 5200 controller.

Now, the Colecovision did outnumber the 5200 in peripherals, certainly the Super Action Controllers were cool, the Driving Controller was great and a major missing item from Atari's periperhal lineup.

However while both Colecovision and the 5200 had trakball controllers, the Colecovision is a bit of a kludge to have to get going and a bit of a pain.

While the 5200 trakball simply plugged in and you were ready to go, the Coleco roller controller is a pain to have to connect into the coleco power supply, you had to plug the controllers into the ports inside the controller and locked in after messing with the cords a few times, then you connected it up to the console, phew..... how annoying is that?

Not lets talk games....

While Colecovision touted itself as bringing home The Arcade Experience, the arcade titles (with the exception of Donkey Kong, jr. and Zaxxon) are mostly forgotten, or lackluster titles and didn't have much in the way of graphics and sound. While many complained that the 5200 had just rehashed 2600 games, lets face it, Pac Man, Centipede, Defender and so forth rocked!!! Space Invaders lost a lot in the translation.... lets look at Star Raiders, Space Dungeon and others Whoa!!! These games were amazing.


Expansion

Hands down, the Colecovision ruled at Expansion, with its 2600 module and upgrade to the Coleco ADAM, Coleco put a lot of thought into where they wanted the Colecovision to go.

Atari's 5200 had an expansion connector, but it seemed more like a token gesture then a well thought out path for expansion. Instead of putting all of the lines of the cartridge port out to the expansion bus plus additional lines for video input/output and so forth, the port should've also been put on the side of the 5200 and then thin wedges could be added to the side of the 5200 keeping its lines and look. The 2600 adapter was an example of nonsense to package a whole 2600 into a plastic case and have it sticking out of the 5200 like that.

So while Colecovision was certainly from a marking standby really catching people's attention, in a real hands down, direct side by side comparision, the 5200 really is the SUPER of the two Systems.


So, lets hear others commments and personal views, feelings and stories.


Curt

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#2 Lemmi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002 8:46 PM

Well on my side of the monitor the super system between the 5200 and colecovision is the colecovision

I love all the Colecovisions add ons and the controller is 90 times better then the 5200's controllers

As for the games, im going with colecovision's only because i grew up playing the colecovision, and the whole experience of playing those games are stuck in my head, and i never knew anyone that owned a 5200, i also never saw a 5200 in the wild untill 1991 so my first playing experience on the 5200 was almost 10 years after it came out


So from over here, i love my colecovision

#3 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002 9:06 PM

For some reason the 5200 always seemed to enthrall me. Maybe it was the system shape, the funky joysticks, or the kick ass blue and silver color scheme, but it always seemed cooler than the Colecovision.

I don't know why people always complain about the 5200 joysticks, with the exception of the mushy buttons (is there a fix for this?) I like the 5200 stick. I find the Colecovision joystick to be ackward and painful to use, playing Mr. Do's Castle for more than 5 mintues gives my hands cramps!

On the game front it's a mixed bag. The 5200 had all the awesome Atari arcade hits, but the Colecovision was able to pick up some great Exidy titles (Pepper II rocks!). For some reason Parker Brothers titles all seem to look much better on the Colecovsion, I think they just tried harder. The Activision titles look better as well, but they play like shit! For graphics I think the Colecovision beat the 5200, but for gameplay it's the 5200 all the way!

My biggest complaint about the 5200 is that most of the 3rd party manufacturers simply ported their titles from the 400/800 to the 5200 without changing anything but the controls. I know why they did it (they're the same system more or less), but it still ticks me off that they didn't try to take advantage of the 5200 a bit better. At least Atari updated most of their old 400/800 games before porting them (Dig Dug, Qix, Centipede).

I like some of the things about the Colecovision, but not enough to pull me away from my 5200. Not by a long shot.

Tempest

#4 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002 9:16 PM

I never got either one of these systems until I was an adult, but I always wanted one or the other. But I'm going with the 5200 because I did grow to love atari as my favorite electronics company after getting the 130XE in high school, and essentially the 5200 is an 8-bit computer at heart just like the 400/800/XL/XE line, I played all the computer versions of the classic 5200 games which for the most part are identical. So I felt right at home with the 5200 when I got it as far as the games go. IMHO the Atari 8-bit's were the greatest 8-bit computers of all time, so naturally I pick the 5200 as the greatest 8-bit console of it's era. I'm not going to compare it to the NES, SMS or 7800 though since they came later with more memory, etc. But I do readily compare the Atari 8-bit computers to the NES, SMS, C64 and 7800 and think the Atari 8-bits blow them away over all.
I like the 5200 controllers. I like the analog stick, I like the mushy buttons, I don't like the short cord though...I do prefer the 5200 controller over the 2600 CX and the 7800 controllers as far as being more comfortable to me...But then I never really hated either of those others either. I do however hate the CV's knob stick (thank God I have the Advanced action controller) and I do hate the Intellivision controller. Now all I need is another Colecovision so I can use the controller on it instead of the 2600/7800/XE. I used to own a colecovision, so I know what it's like; right now I just have games and the super action controller for it. anyone want to donate or trade a Colecovision? I have a 7800,10 games and 2 controllers for trade as well as a C-380 and an entire C64 with hundreds of games, 2 disk drives, a printer, tons of apps and geos&mouse up for trade. All i good working order.

[ 02-07-2002: Message edited by: Gunstar ]

#5 Adrian M OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002 9:30 PM

Well, I just got my 5200 and some games earlier this week and I must say, I am more than happy with the 5200. THis is coming from someone who has owned practically every gaming system (my current modern console is the XBOX). While I love my XBOX, there's something to be said for the 5200's great and addictive game titles. I just spent an hour tonight playing 5200 Galaxian! Pacman is just as good! The controllers are a little uncomfortable at first (my hand seems to cramp up a little at first probably due to using control pads all these years) but the non-centering sticks really aren't a problem to me. Does the 5200 kick the Colecovision's ass? I'd have to say yes. I don't need all those extra peripherals that the Colecovision has...all I need are some working joysticks and some cool games. The 5200 has that covered. I'm not sure what it is either...I've owned some of the games that I have for the 5200 on my 2600, but there is indeed something appealing about the 5200 that I just can't pinpoint. It's fun and addictive and that's the mark of a great Atari console.

#6 Cafeman ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2002 9:37 PM

I'm with Tempest 100% -- I think the 5200 controllers are much better & more comfortable to use than the CV's knob controller. I've never had much problem with getting used to them.

The CV has some unique, interesting games, like Pepper II, and Mr. DO (my hand cramps too! ouch!), Congo Bongo, Tarzan ... I can't even remember all of them. CV seems to have more intricate visuals, but 5200 has more smooth animation and better action & collision detection overall. Defender on CV initially looks pretty neat, but after playing it in action, I prefer the 5200 version more, for example.

#7 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 1:04 AM

While I agree there are some good games on the ColecoVision, I've always had a difficult time getting past the controllers. Those little, nubby joysticks are terrible and seem to get worse with age. The ColecoVision is one system that benefits greatly from third-party controllers. The 5200 controllers aren't much better, IMHO. But at least the joystick is more comfortable to use, even if it isn't well-suited for many games. And the fire buttons are definitely terrible. We've certainly come quite a ways as far as controller design goes.

So, controllers being roughly equal in my eyes, I prefer the 5200 to the ColecoVision. I never had a 5200 when I was growing up. First, they were too expensive, and I was lucky to have a 2600 as it was. Second, what money I did make from things like my paper route was sunk into my Atari 800XL setup. In my eyes, the 5200 and 8-bits are roughly equivalent, at least internally. So I have a natural bias to favor the 5200 vs. the ColecoVision. There are many great games in the 5200 library, more than I enjoy on the CV.

Externally, I prefer the 5200, although its huge size is certainly a negative point. Everything about the 5200 seems over-engineered, from its analog controllers, to the controller storage space, to the wacky RF switch that shipped with the initial 4-port units. Even the cartridges are contoured and shaped unlike anything else (with no end labels and a million indentations that dust and dirt love to hide in).

I think the 5200 gets a lot of grief for just being a re-hash of the Atari 8-bit computers. This is deserved to some degree, as it would have been nice if Atari improved the graphics and sound capabilities a little. For instance, having a better multi-color sprite system would have been great. Or multiple scrollable backgrounds. And a better sound generator could have helped also. While the 8-bit hardware was up to the task, the 5200 could have been more.

But even with its flaws, I think the 5200 is a great system, and one I prefer to the ColecoVision.

..Al

#8 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 2:07 AM

Oh boy you're opening old wounds.

Now THIS was the stuff of many a heated debate and magazine article (see below) back in the day. Since I was lucky enough to have a 5200 I remember being totally dedicated and hoping that the 5200 would win the "war". However quite honestly, I of course inwardly wanted a Colecovision as well.

Eventually I borrowed a Colecovision and played the heck out of great games like Smurf Rescue, Zaxxon, DK, Venture, Pepper II, and Gorf. So yes, Colecovision kicked ass. However, my heart still remained with my 5200 and IT'S great games and the 2 mainstays JOUST & ROBOTRON. Of course Space Dungeon and the others were great too.

In regards to the joystick, lets not go there. Lets just say I spent many a heartbroken night staring at the Joust demo screen pressing that "start" button as hard as I could with no results... no fun for a little kid who wants to play his games. At least the Colecovision controllers were somewhat more reliable. Eventually I learned how to fix my 5200 controllers but it was years later and probably too late.

My verdict? They're both pretty much equal. However the 5200 is my sentimental favorite. But I think if I had a Colecovision first my opinion might be different.

By the way, here's a good scanned example of an old article in regards to this:
http://cvmm.vg-network.com/cvsa1.jpg
http://cvmm.vg-network.com/cvsa2.jpg
http://cvmm.vg-network.com/cvsa3.jpg
http://cvmm.vg-network.com/cvsa4.jpg

(edited: You'll have to cut and paste the urls in your browser as it looks like it doesn't allow direct linking)

[ 02-08-2002: Message edited by: NE146 ]

#9 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 2:41 AM

I've copied the images to AtariAge's server, so you can just click on them without any fuss.

ColecoVision vs. Atari 5200 - Page 1
ColecoVision vs. Atari 5200 - Page 2
ColecoVision vs. Atari 5200 - Page 3
ColecoVision vs. Atari 5200 - Page 4

Enjoy,

..Al

[ 02-08-2002: Message edited by: Albert ]

#10 liveinabin OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 6:37 AM

Gah! No fair! I want a 5200! curse Atari for never releasing it here!!

#11 MrRetroGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 8:40 AM

Does anyone know what issue of Electronic Games magazine that article came from? I could provide a better hi-res scan from my collection if I know which issue it was from.

As far as the debate, I grew up with the Colecovision, I remember getting one on the day it was released. My other friends had the 2600, Intellivision and the O2. Before that, I had the Channel F (which they got me INSTEAD of a 2600, not my decision, but in hindsight, not that unhappy since I still have it and it's COMPLETE!). Since I felt like I was behind the curve, I was drooling over the Colecovision until it's release.

At the time, the Donkey Kong pack-in was awesome. The rest of the games, while somewhat obscure, still provided may hours of enjoyment.

I never owned any Atari products back then, I considered them as the rival or competition to be avoided! But last year, I had the opportunity to get a 5200 and I must say that it is a great compliment to the CV. Now that money is less of an object that it was when it came from your paper route and that you can buy this stuff for less money (most of the time) than what it originally cost, it's great to own them all!

Don't get me started on the joystick situation, all I can say is that 3rd party ones are necessary for both systems, and CV had a better assortment to choose from. The Questar CV joystick was one of the best 3rd party sticks out there, possibly considering any system.

#12 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 8:59 AM

I too admit, I was quite envious of the Colecovision when it came out. I still remember the night I got the 5200, it was one of the very first shipped and the rubber boots around the joysticks was the much earlier, very thing type.

After only 3 hours a playing various games I noticed the rubber boot on one joystick was starting to tear slightly....

All I could remember thinking was "This is an Atari product?!?!?" It made no sense since Atari always symbolized high quality and the best of the best.... I was quite envious of the various peripherals Coleco was making and one of the things I had always liked about Coleco's 2600 carts... they were white plastic and looked different and oh so cool.... especially in the ads with all the carts stacked up and spiral turned. Coleco knew how to market!!!


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#13 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 9:10 AM

Well, this is supposed to go public into an announcement this weekend on the Atari History Site and I've already let Albert take a sneak preview, but this thread is picking up nicely.... its really great to hear everyones views and inputs and its also to see the opinions of those who were original owners vs those who are recent collectors just now experiencing both consoles.

Just as a reminder, it is the Atari 5200's 20th anniversary this year and hopefully some more interesting topics and conversations about the system, its successful sides and downfalls will continue throughout the year. So... below please find a link to a new section of 8 never before seen since 82-83 commercials for the Atari 5200:

http://www.atarimuse...ommercials.html


Enjoy everyone and lets keep the 5200 topics and threads rolling!!!!


Curt

#14 Jetboot Jack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 9, 2002 12:35 AM

Coleco vs. 5200...

Well I loved Zaxxon, Pepper II & Ladybug - but that did not convince me that the Coleco was better than the 8bit/5200 in ANY way.

I always looked at the comparison from the potential of the system and its clear to anyone that the systems have some features better than the other, but on balance the 5200 is the more powerful system - let me give some details:

Graphics - background

The CV manages 256X192 (or thereabouts), in 16 colors. But limits each 8X8 character cell to have 2 colors. There is a mode that allows 2 colors per line of the character block (look at Penguin Adventure and Burger Time), but it was rarely used :-(

The 5200 manages up to 16 colors (mode 9/11)on screen from a 256 color palette, and the reolution can be up to 160X192 in 5 colors (320X192 in 2 colors). Each character cell can display 4 colors mixed however you need. Add a Display List Interrupt and you can have 5 different colors per character line of the screen.

Graphics - Sprites

The TI chip gives the CV 32 sprites each 16X16 and one color each - but only 4 per line.

Antic gives 4 players per line (5 if you combine the missiles) plus 4 missile objects too. But they are only 8 pixels wide :-( Using a DLI you can create a very large number of objetcs, that exceed the 32 onscreen limit of the CV.

Sound

5200 - Pokey wins!

The Yamaha chip in the CV has less voices than Pokey, has a smaller octave range (remember you can combine 2 voices to get a massive octave range on pokey). The audio quality that the 5200 can produce is (and I'm not trying o be subjective here) far better than the CV, richer tonal quality, better noise generation. Simply listen to tunes from the last few years of the 8bit's life - just listen to Plastron for instance (nice plug!)!

Unfortunatley the 5200 had a bad start, poor games at release, poor controllers, Atari's lack of drive to make the system sell based on their arrogance that they owned the market. All contributed to a debut that was a bit of a wimper when the CV landed with a bang!

sTeVE

#15 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2002 1:28 PM

quote:


Originally posted by MrRetroGamer:
Does anyone know what issue of Electronic Games magazine that article came from? I could provide a better hi-res scan from my collection if I know which issue it was from.


That particular one is from the March 1984 issue of EG I believe. Come to think of it, I believe I have another similar article from another magazine as well which I can probably scan but I'll have to dig it out tonight after work. Stay Tuned!

#16 HawgWyld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2002 3:43 PM

Rats!!! All of this talk has made me realize I need to get a 5200. Frankly, the controllers on the ColecoVision are just plain horrible, although I enjoy the games I have for the system ("Pepper II," "Gorf," "Venture," even "Looping" and others). The controllers, in fact, are quite restrictive, and I'm not sure why so many rotten controllers were released (the ones on the Intellivision were particularly bad, and that Joypad I have for the Atari 7800 is decent, but not great).

I haven't messed with a 5200 for years, and I can't recall if the controllers stunk or not. They couldn't have been that bad, otherwise I would have remembered them.

Now, if someone figures out how to wire a PS1 dual shock into some of these classic consoles, the world will be a better place.

#17 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2002 5:22 PM

That article sure brought back a lot of memories...that was before I was loyal to Atari too. I remember at that time that I wanted a Colecovision more than anything in the world...except a 5200. Really. No, really.
Actually, it was the Colecovision UNTIL the Atari commercials started playing on TV for the 5200 too, then I wanted both, and decided to go with the 5200 by my track record with the 2600; a good one. But I never got either one...I stayed with the 2600 until I go my 130XE in '85...

#18 sermajic OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:39 AM

is there a chance of seing Tempest 5200 finished?



For some reason the 5200 always seemed to enthrall me. Maybe it was the system shape, the funky joysticks, or the kick ass blue and silver color scheme, but it always seemed cooler than the Colecovision.

I don't know why people always complain about the 5200 joysticks, with the exception of the mushy buttons (is there a fix for this?) I like the 5200 stick. I find the Colecovision joystick to be ackward and painful to use, playing Mr. Do's Castle for more than 5 mintues gives my hands cramps!

On the game front it's a mixed bag. The 5200 had all the awesome Atari arcade hits, but the Colecovision was able to pick up some great Exidy titles (Pepper II rocks!). For some reason Parker Brothers titles all seem to look much better on the Colecovsion, I think they just tried harder. The Activision titles look better as well, but they play like shit! For graphics I think the Colecovision beat the 5200, but for gameplay it's the 5200 all the way!

My biggest complaint about the 5200 is that most of the 3rd party manufacturers simply ported their titles from the 400/800 to the 5200 without changing anything but the controls. I know why they did it (they're the same system more or less), but it still ticks me off that they didn't try to take advantage of the 5200 a bit better. At least Atari updated most of their old 400/800 games before porting them (Dig Dug, Qix, Centipede).

I like some of the things about the Colecovision, but not enough to pull me away from my 5200. Not by a long shot.

Tempest



#19 Pureisuteshon Tsu OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:05 AM

Holy thread ressurections, Batman!

#20 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:48 AM

Short answer: No

The library as a whole is mediocre (exclude the home brews). While there are some really good titles in the library, most are average or below average.

I'm a different breed and so I favor the ColecoVision because of the forgotten titles.

#21 tep392 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:58 AM

What I find interesting about this very old thread, is that except for one banned individual, the original contributors are still active at AA.

#22 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:24 PM

And of course, the size of the 5200 is super too (well Coleco/Adam/printer is even more supersizer)

#23 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:22 PM

Short answer: No

The library as a whole is mediocre (exclude the home brews). While there are some really good titles in the library, most are average or below average.

I'm a different breed and so I favor the ColecoVision because of the forgotten titles.


LOL! So if the 5200 library is mediocre, what does that make the CV library since close to half the arcade ports are cheap knock-off games that bombed in the arcades?

#24 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:07 PM


Short answer: No

The library as a whole is mediocre (exclude the home brews). While there are some really good titles in the library, most are average or below average.

I'm a different breed and so I favor the ColecoVision because of the forgotten titles.


LOL! So if the 5200 library is mediocre, what does that make the CV library since close to half the arcade ports are cheap knock-off games that bombed in the arcades?

superior

#25 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:37 PM



Short answer: No

The library as a whole is mediocre (exclude the home brews). While there are some really good titles in the library, most are average or below average.

I'm a different breed and so I favor the ColecoVision because of the forgotten titles.


LOL! So if the 5200 library is mediocre, what does that make the CV library since close to half the arcade ports are cheap knock-off games that bombed in the arcades?

superior


Ah! So you speak in opposites. Crappy copycat games = superior, and mediocre = graphically better original games.
Got it. ;)




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