It was 1984 when Atari introduced us to their CX-77 Touch Tablet, which at the time was pretty amazing. Or at least I thought so . And when first introduced, it could be bought as a bundled package consisting of the CX-77 touch tablet, a stylus, the Atari Artist cartridge, and a formatted DOS 2.0s 5.25" floppy system disk, all for the price of $89.95.
So after stumbling across an AtariArtist.xex file the other day, I loaded it up and what I saw looked pretty cool, although I couldn't do diddly squat without the touch tablet. So being curious as to what the 1984 experience would have been like, I set off on a mission to find one of these on eBay. But every single one I came across was either pretty beat up, or in the case of one being sold as Brand New, they wanted way too much money for it in my opinion.
Next I decided to do a search at BEST Electronics to see if they perhaps had a reconditioned one for a more reasonable price. My search quickly led me to a page about joysticks, paddles, light guns, and low and behold a blurb about Brad having sourced some NOS CX-77's that had been stored away in an old warehouse in Holland. Apparently he had bought every one that they had, and was offering them for sale on the BEST website. But before I got too excited, I took note of the original copyright date on his website page, which was 2002 (although it also stated: This page Last modified: January 12, 2018) LINK. The price was being advertised at $49.95, which seemed too good to be true.
So I contacted Brad and asked him if he still had any of these left, and if so, how much were they going for now.
And here was the price break-down he emailed me...
1 New Atari CX77 boxed Touch Tablet U$D 49.95CA Sales Tax U$D 4.31
Shipping to CA 95407 U$D 7.80
Total U$D 62.06
Wow I thought, that sure beats the pants off of the new one being sold on eBay . So I bought one .
And here's it being un-boxed and tested.
The tablet and the program work very well together, and as I used it for a bit, I was also impressed with the fact that the pen position on the tablet was relative to it's position on screen. Not having used one of these before, I had previously thought that it was going to be more like a mouse, and not really positionally accurate.
I really feel like this was a great deal, and well worth the money. Also it was the first time in over 30 years that I got to open a brand new sealed Atari product, which kind of took me back in time .