Jump to content
  • entries
    287
  • comments
    752
  • views
    51,639

How to play 5200 games without the 5200

DoctorSpuds

59 views

      Yesterday I finally crossed a big name off of my ‘get’ list, a working Atari 5200, I have long had a busted one that I’ll just keep around for parts now. I don’t intend on buying any games for it or even hooking up to my TV because I still can’t really play it. I suppose that’s the unique thing about the 5200, some consoles are unattainable because of the price of the games, or of the unit itself. The 5200 is unique for a totally different reason, the controllers. Oftentimes a working 5200 controller will set you back 30 or so bucks for a working one and easily double that for a refurbished one if you don’t want to do it yourself. I suppose that’s why more people don’t own 5200's, or if they do they don’t play them, the controllers might just stop working for no apparent reason. There are controller alternatives, the WICO Y-cable and separate key pad seem to be the only officially released alternatives, but they have a similar drawback to the official Atari controllers in that they’re horrendously expensive. At my local game store they sold one of those Y-cables for 50 dollars, just the cable itself for 50 dollars, then you’ll still have to find the keypad as well. People have also made their own adaptors from the Atari 9-pin to whatever the fuck the 5200 has, but there is still that overbearing keypad, it’s almost as if these games weren’t even made for this console in the first place… wait a second.

 

     The solution is simple, buy an Atari 800, or any Atari 8-bit computer, the hardware is identical, buy an SIO2SD drive and get the files. There is an issue with the SD drive route though, you can’t play any cartridge files, no .BIN or .ROM files will work and since most of the 5200 games I want to play were released on cartridge this makes things complicated. But alas, I got lucky. In a thread from last year User DrVenkman posted a folder containing a bunch of .XEX conversions of almost all the Atari 5200 games. (I will attach a download for the sake of posterity, and include a link to the thread). Even though the files are formatted for Atari XE systems I can still run them through an XE loader I have on the SD drive since I have an 800, and since I have the right amount of RAM I can actually play the games. Even better, since the games have been altered to work on an XE system, with a keyboard, they work perfectly with the Atari 800. Now I can play whichever game I want with whatever controller I want, since the keypad issue has been resolved with an entire keyboard.

Alright, so let’s go through this step by step.

 

     :If you want to play Atari 5200 games but don’t want to deal with the horrific controller you should

1.       Buy an Atari 400/800/XE/XL

2.       Buy an SIO2SD drive

3.       Include XE reader (400/800 users only)

4.       Add 5200 XE conversions to SIO2SD drive

5.       Enjoy to the best of your abilities.

 

     Admittedly this is far more expensive than just buying a 5200, working controller, and a bunch of games, but with this you also get access to the expansive Atari 8-bit library of over 4000+ games all the way up to the XE, 1200 more, if you have enough RAM, and most importantly you can play with whatever controller you want which was the whole point of this venture in the first place.

 

     In my experience convoluted workarounds usually pay off less than if you just did things the way you were supposed to, but not this time.

 

5200 XEX conversions.zip

Thread where I found them

  • Like 1


5 Comments


Recommended Comments

I know...Apple and Oranges but Altirra emulator works great.

I say that because you want to play 5200 games and already you aren't using real equipment so....

I don't care what anyone ever says about the 5200.
I have had several over the years and I thought it was awesome at the time.
I used to wipe out pacman and space dungeon.
I used the quirkiness of the controllers to my advantage.  It just took some getting used too.
What you get now is 20 something youtubers want to crap all over these machines just because WIKI says so and without doing the research.
 

Edited by Mike Harris
  • Thanks 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
2 hours ago, Mike Harris said:

I know...Apple and Oranges but Altirra emulator works great.

 

I don't care what anyone ever says about the 5200.
I have had several over the years and I thought it was awesome at the time.
I used to wipe out pacman and space dungeon.
I used the quirkiness of the controllers to my advantage.  It just took some getting used too.
What you get now is 20 something youtubers want to crap all over these machines just because WIKI says so and without doing the research.
 

 

I would only use an emulator to get screenshots for a review otherwise I prefer to use actual hardware, and I'm really only going this route because I already have an 800 that I was neglecting and playing on actual hardware just feels so much better.  

 

As for the hate the 5200 gets I think much of it is unjustified, it is a good solid machine with its only handicap being the controllers and their notorious reliability issues. My best guess is that most of the people who discount the 5200 as a hunk of junk probably watched that one AVGN video from ten years ago and called it a day and have never actually played on one themselves.

 

 

Share this comment


Link to comment

My friend actually won an Atari 600 from MacDonald's and I got to play with it.

It did 100% NOTHING so I never gave the Atari line a second thought.
Come to find out that you needed actual software to run the thing.
Back then the only experience we had with the Atari was the 2600.

Share this comment


Link to comment

Is an 800XL, 65XE or 130XE + a SIO2SD really much more expensive than a 5200 + either an AtariMax cart or a bunch of original cartridges? In particular the latter sounds expensive to me. Also the fact that the 5200 only existed in NTSC version with its combined power and video output device would make it less of a choice for European users, though of course you'd want an NTSC 8-bit computer to fully enjoy those 5200 conversions anyway.

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
2 hours ago, carlsson said:

Is an 800XL, 65XE or 130XE + a SIO2SD really much more expensive than a 5200 + either an AtariMax cart or a bunch of original cartridges? In particular the latter sounds expensive to me. Also the fact that the 5200 only existed in NTSC version with its combined power and video output device would make it less of a choice for European users, though of course you'd want an NTSC 8-bit computer to fully enjoy those 5200 conversions anyway.

 

It's actually more expensive, way more expensive, but you get far more for your money than if you just bought a 5200 and all the extras. This workaround does work on all atari 8-bit computers though, you don't need anything XEX compatible since you can force compatibility in the SIO2SD drive. I only really came up with this because I already had an 8-bit and really didn't want to pay for a working 5200 controller. And there's the added benefit of using any controller you want as well.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...