Im quite new to the Atari 7800 and indeed this forum, but not new to Atari (Is anyone?). I only found out late last year that the Atari 7800 even existed! Since then, I have managed to source a great boxed example from Ebay and some old familiar games.
Let me give you some background, I live in the UK and Im 31 years old. I got my very first Atari 2600 (Woodgrain front & six switches) when I was just 13. I was hooked, although I seem to recall that even back then in 1984 the cartridges cost £30 - it was alot of money for a schoolboy. Still, I managed to collect 13 games and rented many from a video rental centre. I also joined the official Atari Club and looked forward to the quarterly newsletters and special offers - who still has their original Atari T-shirt?
I remember distinctly that the Atari brand back then had a sort of magic much like the Disney brand had and still has. I was obsessed with my Atari, although as time went on I started to compare the graphics with the Arcade counterparts. Silly I know but 2600 games like CBS's Donkey Kong and Atari's Pac-Man were quite poor when compared to the Arcade versions.
Eventually, I purchased an Atari 800 computer, I convinced my parents that it would secure me a job when Im older with computers. Although I knew that it was simply because of the impressive Arcade conversions line up that I went for this timeless 8-bit machine.
From there, I went to an 800XL, and then finally the 130XE. Because of my interest in video games I had learnt to program in Basic and finally Assembly. I had a couple of games listings published in a national computer magazine (C+VG) and I had also learnt some electronics through my keen interest in modifying the Atari.
I kept my Atari 130XE right up to the end when they died and the 16-bit machine revolution began. I must have collected almost 2000 games on the 8-bit computer before I sold it and invested in an Atari 520STFM.
What a mistake, my interest in computers fell dramatically once I realised that this new 16-bit machine was so unlike the 8-bit variant. I don't really know why I didn't take to it like the 8-bit machine, it just didn't feel like an Atari. Then again it wasn't really, more like a Jack 'We make computers for the masses not the classes' Tramiel computer with an Atari badge. I didn't keep the Atari 520STFM long, just for a year and then finally sold it and forgot about computers and video games and pursued women and alcohol for a while. That is until the Sega Megadrive and Nintendo Super NES finally appeared and I was hooked again.
I was very sad when the real Atari died, it should never have happened, Atari used to dominate the video games market, and at times it seemed that no one could topple them. I can understand how Sega and Nintendo took over the market, after all, they have a long video game history in the Arcades. However Sony? They made great Walkmans and TV's but video games? It reminds me of Nissan and their Skyline GTR, no motorsport history but they can still make a great supercar.
I have to admit, when the Jaguar news surfaced, I was quite excited, but the long delays in releasing the console mean't that by the time it did materialise it was too late, Sony had already announced the Playstation and Nintendo had the N64. Still, it wasn't a real Atari, was it?
Today, I have a powerful windows based PC running the best money can buy, a PS2 and finally a real Atari 7800. Im also self employed and run a Computer Consultancy business all thanks to my Atari.
I was quite suprised how good the graphics for the Atari 7800 were for its time, especially Dig Dug, Ms Pac Man and Joust. These were very close to their arcade parents. The sound though? God it's terrible, how anyone can play Karateka and Ikari Warriors with the volume up is beyond me.
Since the old Atari died, we very rarely get any original games anymore, who can remember original games like Dig Dug, Missile Command, Star Raiders, Marble Madness and Toobin? No more! I would love to see the old Fuji logo come back in a big way, but I think that will just remind us of the great eighties video game decade.
Anyway - just thought Id share all this with you Atari people.