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How Atari Could Have Saved The 5200


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#1 NovaXpress OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:13 PM

It wasn't the system or the controllers. The launch titles were bogus. Let's see what could have been . . .

Scrap the following games: Space Invaders, Missile Command, Super Breakout, Galaxian, Defender. We're left with Centipede, Pac-Man (oldie but still popular), Qix, Star Raiders, and the three Realsports games.

So add the following five games which Atari could have released: Phoenix, Stargate, Berzerk, Tempest , Battlezone. They knew that Coleco was packing in DK, so match them with a Tempest pack-in. Coleco was going after the cute market, the 5200 could have been the shooter's choice.

Now that's a launch that would have turned heads.

#2 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:28 PM

Why not replace Galaxian with Galaga?

#3 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:31 PM

Actually, if they had gotten silmutaneous rights to Donkey Kong and just ported the far superior version from the computer line then the 5200 would have blwon the CV away.
Or, just included PacMan. Older game but it still had plenty of appeal and would have helped the 5200's sales.
BTW, what would we be saving it from?

#4 NovaXpress OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:47 PM

Saving it from being discontinued after two years?

I'm playing safe by going with games at least a year old. Atari had two years with Tempest and the hardware to come up with a kick-ass home version by 1982. Maybe they could have even busted out Ms Pac-Man or Galaga if they'd put in the foresight and effort.

#5 Random Terrain ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:54 PM

BTW, what would we be saving it from?

From traveling too fast through the bowels of time? The best you can hope for is to be like undigested meat in the colon of a fat guy and cling to the sides for as long as possible. You don't want to splash down into the cold porcelain whirlpool before your time. The 5200 was devoured and shot out the other end faster than a contaminated Chalupa from Taco Bell.

#6 Lord Helmet OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:01 PM

Scrap the following games: Space Invaders, Missile Command, Super Breakout, Galaxian, Defender. We're left with Centipede, Pac-Man (oldie but still popular), Qix, Star Raiders, and the three Realsports games.


I could see scrapping Space Invaders, and Super breakout, but why scrap the others. At the tme I'm pretty sure that the 5200 was the only place to play Galaxian. Missle command was as close to the arcade as you sould get (as good as the 2600 version was, this one was MUCH better). Defender on the 5200 was as near arcade perfect as you were going to get at the time. It was also a game that graphically could be used to distance the 5200 from it's little brother, the 2600. It looked and played like the arcade game, which the 2600 version did not. If you're going to keep Pac-Man, you have to keep Defender.

#7 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:10 PM

Was Defender a launch title? I don't remember it as such... :ponder:

#8 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:18 PM

Was Defender a launch title? I don't remember it as such... :ponder:

Maybe close enough? The 5200 version and the 8bit version have onscreen 1982 copyrights on them:
Defender5200b.png Defender5200b.png

EDIT:

I'm playing safe by going with games at least a year old. Atari had two years with Tempest and the hardware to come up with a kick-ass home version by 1982. Maybe they could have even busted out Ms Pac-Man or Galaga if they'd put in the foresight and effort.

According to KLOV:
Space Invaders 1978
Super Breakout 1978

Galaxian 1979

Defender 1980
Missile Command 1980
Pac-Man 1980
Tempest 1980
Centipede 1980
Berzerk 1980
Tempest 1980
Phoenix 1980
Battlezone 1980

Qix 1981
Stargate 1981
Galaga 1981
Ms. Pac-Man 1981

Edited by vdub_bobby, Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:31 PM.


#9 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:21 PM

Was Defender a launch title? I don't remember it as such... :ponder:


Maybe not...if it wasn't, it came out REAL soon after...I cant swaer to it...1982 was a looooong time ago.
Gettin' old. :sad:

#10 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:23 PM

I think the biggest mistake Atari made on the 5200 is the same one they made on the 7800. They had a gigantic existing and comaptible software base just waiting to rush into the 5200 market, but they treated 3rd party software companies as competition rather than partners, so they mostly stayed away.

Steve

#11 NovaXpress OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:51 PM

Ah, so Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man could have been done as well? There's no excuse then.

The 5200 had 12 launch titles, the ones I named. I checked. mags and catalogs confirm it.

Third party companies were all over the 5200 in 1983.

#12 8th lutz OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:01 PM

If the 2600 and the 5200 didn't have the same titles in some cases. Along with pac-man being on the 5200 not the 2600. The pac-man of the 2600 hurt the 5200 version along the fact that title could of waited for the 5200. People would be after pacman as a launch title along with having better controllers.

Edited by 8th lutz, Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:07 PM.


#13 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:01 PM

The launch title was totally ridiculous for the 5200. Management knew games could sell a system such as how Space Invaders was causing people to go out and buy a 2600 console to play the game. They should've packed in Pac Man right off the bat or Tempest or one of the other hot games of the day, Super Breakout was a joke.

They should've also listened to the engineers and designed better and easier to use controllers and had been working on a 2600 compatibility module right off the bat. The 5200 could've been readied in 1981 and they could've kept it under wraps and improved it until 1982 when it would be released, it was not the right system for consumers. I still love the beastie to no end, the 5200 rocks, management of it didn't.


Curt

It wasn't the system or the controllers. The launch titles were bogus. Let's see what could have been . . .

Scrap the following games: Space Invaders, Missile Command, Super Breakout, Galaxian, Defender. We're left with Centipede, Pac-Man (oldie but still popular), Qix, Star Raiders, and the three Realsports games.

So add the following five games which Atari could have released: Phoenix, Stargate, Berzerk, Tempest , Battlezone. They knew that Coleco was packing in DK, so match them with a Tempest pack-in. Coleco was going after the cute market, the 5200 could have been the shooter's choice.

Now that's a launch that would have turned heads.


Edited by Curt Vendel, Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:02 PM.


#14 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:22 PM

Defender on the 5200 was as near arcade perfect as you were going to get at the time.

Having played Dropzone, I can say with great certainty that no, it was not as arcade-perfect as you could get. The 400/800/5200 Defender port was written on a frickin' Apple II, for crying out loud. It uses none of the Atari's special graphics features. No hardware scrolling, no DLIs, not even a single sprite. Just big dumb bit blitting. And the conversion of the arcade graphics was barely adequate. The font isn't even close, and the Landers look absurd.

Granted it was fun and I got so good at it that I could play a single game pretty much forever, but a technical masterpiece it was not.

Edited by ZylonBane, Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:29 PM.


#15 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:56 PM

When it came out, the 5200 was obviously a repackaging of older technology (the 400/800). True, it put them into a somewhat cheaper package, but the 5200 from the get-go seemed more backward-looking than forward-looking.

The Colecovision hardware was pretty much a TI 99/4A with a few hundred bytes of extra RAM (enough to make a BIG difference, to be sure). Nothing really newer than the 5200, but the games were all new and the system itself seemed new.

My perception at the time was that the 5200 was trying to "closeout-price" the 400/800 line (just as the 2600jr was a 'closeout-priced' 2600) but it got squeezed because it was probably still pretty expensive to make. I don't know all that much about the systems, but I suspect the manufacturing costs on the 7800 were well below those of the 5200.

#16 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:07 PM

Other 1981 coin-ops:

Frogger
Turbo
Vanguard
Venture
Wizard of Wor
Lock 'N' Chase
Colony 7
Gorf
Lady Bug

#17 NovaXpress OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:18 PM

How's this for a launch slate then:

Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, Qix, Star Raiders, Galaga, Stargate, Berzerk, Tempest , Battlezone, Realsports Football, Realsports Baseball and how about a freaking adventure game? Why weren't games like ROTLA or ET developed for the new system? Atari put all the gimmicks into the 2600 and left their new investment to rot through its first Xmas.

Other 1981 coin-ops:

Frogger
Turbo
Vanguard
Venture
Wizard of Wor
Lock 'N' Chase
Colony 7
Gorf
Lady Bug

Every one of those games except Colony 7 was already purchased for the home market by this time. Some had been on the market for six months already.

Edited by NovaXpress, Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:19 PM.


#18 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:31 PM

Yeah I'm pretty sure after thinking about it that Defender was NOT a launch title.. I mean it came out shortly afterward, but if you bought a 5200 in the first few weeks I'm pretty sure that title wasn't available for you to get.

The only launch titles I can really remember are Pac-Man, Super Breakout, and Space Invaders. The rest is all foggy to me.. I think Soccer, Centipede, definitely NOT Qix..

Now that we're on the subject does anyone even HAVE an idea of what the 5200 launch titles were? i.e Games you COULD GET the first few weeks of the system's availablility? :? The catalog doesn't mean anything.. heck it shows Asteroids :P

#19 NovaXpress OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:57 PM

Okay, the best source is AtariAge (magazine). And they provide the following launch list: Galaxian, PacMan, Missile Command, Space Invaders, Star Raiders, Soccer, Defender, Football (the final 2 hit the shelves in December rather than October). Centipede and Countermeasure landed in January 83. There ya go.

#20 Vic George 2K3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:59 PM

Replacing the analog "pot stick" with a standard eight-way control stick on the 5200 controller would have helped.

#21 8th lutz OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:51 PM

About having crazy climber as a lunch title? That game was a limited addition on the 2600.

#22 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:54 PM

About having crazy climber as a lunch title? That game was a limited addition on the 2600.


Heck I would love to see Crazy Climber for the 8-bits.. PERIOD. :D Is there one or at least a clone? :ponder:

#23 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:39 PM


About having crazy climber as a lunch title? That game was a limited addition on the 2600.


Heck I would love to see Crazy Climber for the 8-bits.. PERIOD. :D Is there one or at least a clone? :ponder:


Sort of...
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#24 Lord Helmet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:50 PM

Defender on the 5200 was as near arcade perfect as you were going to get at the time.

Having played Dropzone, I can say with great certainty that no, it was not as arcade-perfect as you could get. The 400/800/5200 Defender port was written on a frickin' Apple II, for crying out loud. It uses none of the Atari's special graphics features. No hardware scrolling, no DLIs, not even a single sprite. Just big dumb bit blitting. And the conversion of the arcade graphics was barely adequate. The font isn't even close, and the Landers look absurd.

Granted it was fun and I got so good at it that I could play a single game pretty much forever, but a technical masterpiece it was not.


When I say "as arcade perfect as you could get" I was referring to the licened game "Defender" not a clone, but your point is taken.

#25 Lord Helmet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:52 PM


About having crazy climber as a lunch title? That game was a limited addition on the 2600.


Heck I would love to see Crazy Climber for the 8-bits.. PERIOD. :D Is there one or at least a clone? :ponder:


Man, I'd love that too :)




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