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Did anyone cut their gaming teeth on the 5200?

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I used to dream of getting a 5200 back in the day. But Coleco Vision was the closest I ever got. Turns out I had to wait another 25 years before I finally got one

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My first system was the Intellivison 2 (came with Burger Time) with Christmas money in late 1983. I was in my master's program and a roommate had both the 2600 and 5200. With the 3 systems, we were "livin' large." I bought my 5200 (Pac Man came with it) about 6 months later.

 

Sold both a few years later after getting the NES and then bought reconditioned versions of each over the past 6 years. I love 'em both - I guess I just got used to the "weird" controllers.

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We got one for Christmas of 1983 when I was 10. I was so pumped, but couldn't believe Atari was bundling a next-gen system with a lame game like Super Breakout. For some reason I also was positive the front panel would flip up to reveal the trak-ball. Alas, it was not to be (but I must say it would have been a good idea)

 

The next game we got was Galaxian. I think it was $30 or $40 at Toys R Us the week after Christmas, which was a TON of money in 1983 for a videogame. It was fun at first, but grew boring quickly -- as did many classic-era games. I remember lusting over the videogame aisle back then, but lamenting how few 5200 games there were compared to 2600 and how expensive they were. I always hoped for more depth to the games, but rarely was rewarded.

 

We built up a collection that included Kangaroo, Frogger, Pitfall, Kaboom and Defender before the crash. I remember my disappointment at Quest for Quintana Roo. I chose that for a birthday present one year thinking it was a true adventure game and being sorely disappointed with it being such a bore. I remember jamming pencils into the start buttons to get a game to start and learning to play with buttons on the right when the ones on the left died. My dad tried getting parts a few times, but the joysticks always broke. When KayBee toys started closing stuff out we bought a Competition Pro for like $3 and Gyruss for $1 or $2 at Tel-Twelve Mall in Southfield, MI. Gyruss was a great game and the last new game I recall getting for the system until I started collecting again around 1995. My parents kept everything in storage for about 10 years except my dad at some point tossed the cartridge boxes, instructions and controller overlays.

 

Goodwill and thrift stores were flush with cheap classic era stuff as were the Flea markets and Usenet groups like rec.games.video.classic in the mid 1990s. It was great because every game I could have dreamed of owning as a kid was available for just a few dollars. I ended up buying an O2 system, Intellivision, Colecovision, 7800, boxed Atari Pong 2 (now in color!), a bunch of 2600s, Adam, Aquarius, and an Arcadia 2001. I ended up finding "in the wild" almost every 5200 game except Meteorites, K-razy Shootout and Bounty Bob. Keita Lida (I think that's the name) at one point had someone sell him a stash of old Masterplays and Meteorites unopened which he offered on Usenet (I think) to people who contacted him for (I think) $20 each. I ended up selling both (along with the Arcadia, Aquarius, Adam and a few others) as I was trying to downsize the collection -- still regret selling the Meteorites and Masterplay along with the sale of my nearly complete set of Jag stuff assembled during the liquidation days of 95-96 (including the original BattleSphere).

 

Today the same 5200 is still hooked up with a 128-in-1 multicart in place and the controllers rebuilt a few more times (never have sprung for the Best gold upgrade), the Comp Pro still working (with a frayed cord) and a PC joypad adapter I recently acquired. The original carts are in a wine crate.

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Yup, bought it for $200 at JC Penney's the first week they came out, was very few games to choose from at first and they were pretty pricey too. Got 2 extra controllers after a few months thinking that they would come out with some 4-player games. Waited an eternity for Pac-Man, then got Miner 2049'er and played that until my thumbs hurt. Played a lot of football and baseball and did a lot of complaining that "this controller isn't working right" as my friend was kicking my ass, never knowing of the controller problems until many years later when I started collecting. Kept taking them apart and messing with the trigger backs. Broke a couple pins in the connector from jamming the controller plugs in trying to get the controllers to work, fixed em with cut-off sewing pins. Ahhh, the good old days. Eventually got a C64. Now have a complete boxed 5200 collection and several mint consoles, along with rebuilt controllers that work. Still love it the most. I may be insane...

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Yup, bought it for $200 at JC Penney's the first week they came out, was very few games to choose from at first and they were pretty pricey too. Got 2 extra controllers after a few months thinking that they would come out with some 4-player games. Waited an eternity for Pac-Man, then got Miner 2049'er and played that until my thumbs hurt. Played a lot of football and baseball and did a lot of complaining that "this controller isn't working right" as my friend was kicking my ass, never knowing of the controller problems until many years later when I started collecting. Kept taking them apart and messing with the trigger backs. Broke a couple pins in the connector from jamming the controller plugs in trying to get the controllers to work, fixed em with cut-off sewing pins. Ahhh, the good old days. Eventually got a C64. Now have a complete boxed 5200 collection and several mint consoles, along with rebuilt controllers that work. Still love it the most. I may be insane...

 

 

YAY! We got one... a 5200 gamer from the week it was issued!

 

The way Colecovision would brag, it made me like the 5200 more... hehe.

I didn't own an Atari 5200 untill about 2006. Got Intellivision in 2010 I still don't own a Colecovision.

:twisted:

 

I really should get someone to fix my 5200 controllers sometime, I have yet to play it. LOL...

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Not me. My first cartridge system was the Atari VCS/2600 in '81. We (my family) picked up a TI-99/4a a year a so after that and then and Sears Super Video Arcade. Before long we moved on to an Apple //e and then an IBM PC clone. I didn't get my hands on a 5200 until 2007 although I'd seen one and played one back in '82 or so. I loved the 5200 back then but just couldn't get my parents to buy me one, its among my favorites systems now though.

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My parents kept everything in storage for about 10 years except my dad at some point tossed the cartridge boxes, instructions and controller overlays.

 

Goodwill and thrift stores were flush with cheap classic era stuff as were the Flea markets and Usenet groups like rec.games.video.classic in the mid 1990s. It was great because every game I could have dreamed of owning as a kid was available for just a few dollars. I ended up buying an O2 system, Intellivision, Colecovision, 7800, boxed Atari Pong 2 (now in color!), a bunch of 2600s, Adam, Aquarius, and an Arcadia 2001.

 

Cool, I think the lack of selection and higher prices of games was factors the 5200 didn't sell too good, also the fact the game crash was coming to town...

 

When I was a kid, I never saved boxes or manuals... probably because I didn't care but also because my house was pretty small, and it took up too much room!

 

Nice stuff you got, in the mid 90's... at best in my small town area I would find a 2600 in the daily newspaper.

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The 5200 was my first "real" console. Growing up at some point my parents had a Coleco/Telstar Pong unit; I wish we would've kept it for nostalgia now but at the time we gave it to my cousins. Doubt they even played it more than 2-3 times, but that's another story.

 

But I was totally into going to the arcade and such, for a long time my parents really held off on the idea of having such a toy around, but they finally saw I was REALLY interested in all the technology and stuff so they let me buy one early one summer (I think-- memories have gotten hazy) with a combination of some money I had saved up and some money they'd throw in for it. I remember going to buy it, I mentioned this in the Colecovision area, but until the day we bought it was pretty up in the air if we'd end up with a 5200 or ColecoVision. I (of course) wanted both but could only buy one, it came down to the 5200 having Pac Man and a few other really "classic" games. (I REALLY wanted Turbo on the Colecovision but the cost of the system + driving module was just too much) I know my mom really liked Frogger so we got that, Pac Man (the packin was still Super Breakout which I got ungodly good at for a while there!) and Realsports Football with the system. I know we still have the receipt around my parents' house somewhere, I saw it like 10 years ago and said it was too cool to throw away at this point. I am thinking it must have been in 1982.

 

It was hooked up to our family TV so it got a lot of use that first year, then for Christmas that year I got a black and white TV for my room to hook it up to. I was pretty excited about that. :) One year my parents went to Las Vegas for their anniversary so I got packed up with the 5200 to go to my grandma's, and my parents bought me Vanguard to keep me occupied with a new game. (I played a LOT of Vanguard and Dig Dug that weekend!)

 

I felt bad about how many joysticks I went through for a few years; my parents didn't have a ton of money and every time a controller broke it might take a little while to get a new one. But they got them for me and I'd happy play on for a few months until it broke again. :/ Too bad we didn't have the internet or guides about how to fix them.

 

It ended up being a pretty fun system to have at the time, I always wanted the 2600 module because my best friend had a 2600 and we couldn't trade carts, but I never got one (still haven't had one). That 5200 did great until I bought Berzerk for it, I was so excited because the game talked..!! Plugged it in and it fried the 5200. Have no idea what happened, if it was a fluke or a defective cart or what. So we took the cart back and got our money back but the 5200 was fried. :( I THINK around this time I bought my 800XL (I think it was bought in part because the 5200 was fried and I wanted a computer, and my parents wouldn't let me use their DEC Rainbow to just play around with [they bought it for a business they were trying to start so if I broke it it'd be a big problem-- they probably thought the 5200 controllers breaking meant I'd break anything electronic! ;) ]) but I can't remember.

 

So, I can't remember exactly how this happened but I think we had called around about getting the 5200 repaired, but this was the summer of 84 when Atari's future was in extreme doubt and no one would repair them anymore. Somehow we decided to send the 5200 to Atari with a note explaining what happened, how Berzerk fried the system, how no one would fix it, and asked if they could. The system was probably 2 years old at this point and well out of warranty... didn't hear anything for MONTHS but one day a big box came from Atari -- it was a brand new boxed 5200 with a note from one of the pretty high ups (I can't remember if it was a Tramiel or not but I think I recognized the name even then!) apologizing for the long delay and that they hoped a new 5200 would make everything better.. which it totally did.

 

I still have that 5200, don't play it as much as I should but I do think I'm one of the few that really cut their gaming teeth on the system.... still have very fond memories of the system (and how exciting it'd be to get a new game -- which only happened a couple times a year!), and it made me an Atari fan (went through the 5200, 800XL, 130XE, 1040ST, etc). I always wonder what would've happened had I ended up with a Colecovision that day..!

Edited by Justin42
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I really should get someone to fix my 5200 controllers sometime, I have yet to play it. LOL...

 

Send them to me and I will refurb them for parts cost alone.

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I really should get someone to fix my 5200 controllers sometime, I have yet to play it. LOL...

 

Send them to me and I will refurb them for parts cost alone.

 

Thanks buddy, I should take you up on that sometime soon... besides, even if my controllers are in semi-okay shape, by having myself open them to clean 'em I'll probably ruin something lol.

 

One controller I think has a few working buttons and the other one just maybe 1 or 2. They look in good shape (on the outside)... :ponder:

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Yup, bought it for $200 at JC Penney's the first week they came out, was very few games to choose from at first and they were pretty pricey too. Got 2 extra controllers after a few months thinking that they would come out with some 4-player games. Waited an eternity for Pac-Man, then got Miner 2049'er and played that until my thumbs hurt. Played a lot of football and baseball and did a lot of complaining that "this controller isn't working right" as my friend was kicking my ass, never knowing of the controller problems until many years later when I started collecting. Kept taking them apart and messing with the trigger backs. Broke a couple pins in the connector from jamming the controller plugs in trying to get the controllers to work, fixed em with cut-off sewing pins. Ahhh, the good old days. Eventually got a C64. Now have a complete boxed 5200 collection and several mint consoles, along with rebuilt controllers that work. Still love it the most. I may be insane...

 

 

YAY! We got one... a 5200 gamer from the week it was issued!

 

The way Colecovision would brag, it made me like the 5200 more... hehe.

I didn't own an Atari 5200 untill about 2006. Got Intellivision in 2010 I still don't own a Colecovision.

:twisted:

 

I really should get someone to fix my 5200 controllers sometime, I have yet to play it. LOL...

 

I remember there was a big display on the aisle that showed a planned keyboard add-on that would fit into the game slot an lay on top of the case, it basically covered the whole case, that was the promise that really sold me. As I recall I had to buy two games and and the 5200 to get the $200 price, which was around a $50 savings or thereabouts. I got Soccer and Galaxian, I can't remember but I think they were $40 or $50 bucks apiece. Football was pretty awesome when it came out, my friends were amazed at the ability to run around in circles with the 360 degree controllers. Being able to select plays from the playbook and "put your arm into the throw" was pretty cool.

Edited by itsralph

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I still have that 5200, don't play it as much as I should but I do think I'm one of the few that really cut their gaming teeth on the system.... still have very fond memories of the system (and how exciting it'd be to get a new game -- which only happened a couple times a year!), and it made me an Atari fan (went through the 5200, 800XL, 130XE, 1040ST, etc). I always wonder what would've happened had I ended up with a Colecovision that day..!

 

You sure did cut your teeth! Awesome 5200 story, and a sweet ending to it...

hehe. Atari came through, was a little nail bitting at the end there! I bet Atari was having a lot of "Doh!" moments with the problematic 5200 controllers being returned... but they came through for you... very cool.

 

Colecovision, pfff... I chose an Atari 5200 over it ;)

Even if I haven't done more then look at the title screen so far.

lol.

 

Are Colecovision controllers/systems a lot more reliable then 5200? I heard them Colecovisions break sometimes too.

 

I have had two Intellivisions so far, and they have no problems. (I sold one) but both systems and controllers work a-okay. Probably the most reliable controller of the early 80's! Besides I guess Odyssey 2 hanging in there pretty well too.

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I have both CV and 5200. They are equally reliable IMO. One of my CV controllers was a little off kilter when I bought it off CL, but I took it apart and cleaned the contacts. Presto, it works great now.

 

I actually consider 5200 and CV to be complimentary systems from that era. For 80's arcade enthusiasts, I highly recommend owning both systems.

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Are Colecovision controllers/systems a lot more reliable then 5200? I heard them Colecovisions break sometimes too.

 

 

The Coleco controllers are ok. Besides for being hand cramping with a stupid short coiled cord, they don't go bad like the 5200 controllers do.

 

The ColecoVision console develops a problem with the power button. It corrodes and gets stuck. If it is not stuck it makes bad contact and the system shows garbled graphics and such.

It needs to be removed from the board and cleaned. People over in the CV section of the AA forums offer this service. :)

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