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Atari the Jedi

So how did you get your first 5200?

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Holy epic read Keatah! :rolling:

 

Back in the day, saw it at our local Sears once or twice and thought "oh cool", but then quickly and utterly forgot about it as we continued to support our beloved 2600 an aisle away.

 

First 5200 I owned must have come from a flea market or community thrift store in the early 90's. After dealing with the retarded RF switch box/power supply thing, rebuilding controllers and amassing some games - system severely underwhelmed and I quickly got rid of her.

 

Today, I think it's a cooler system than I gave it credit for, but it's still mostly a tough pill to swallow. If you know what I mean. ;)

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We were all crazy undisciplined loudmouths back then. Psychiatrists and police seemingly knowing our former section of town by first names. But never really doing much about it. We never caused significant hardcore trouble, just being excessively noisy and annoying, you know, running your car with open headers, banging on the garage door at 12am with a sledgehammer to unstick it, oil changes without a drip pan, homebuilt engines, shooting model rockets at the neighbors, that sort of thing. So don't get the wrong impression. Typical teenager stuff with a touch of science here and there. We grew up quite nicely later.. much later.

 

Narrowing my general like or dislike of the 5200 down, it was, to me, a duplication of efforts, what with the 400/800 and all. I liked the stuff it had, but I already had it on the computer.

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I would be careful trading in games unless you know what exactly you got. A few carts (games) are worth alot and sometimes those places will give you pennies and then sell for tons more. Check the net to ensure you do not have a Holy Grail of a game first. I am not sure about the switch box since my machine is a two port which uses another set up.

 

I'm pretty knowledgeable about 2600 games. The ones I got are super common like Pac Man, ET, Defender, Kaboom, River Raid, Home Run, Circus Atari, and a few others.

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Christmas of '82. My brother and I drank the Kool Aid and insisted that the 5200 was the only way to go. We got it, plugged it in and had one game to play -- Super Breakout -- the worst pack-in game ever. We ended up getting Galaxian the following week, but the fun in that also got old quickly. I wanted something more immersive, which I never really got. I remember buying Quest for Quintana Roo thinking it was going to be this great, deep, adventure game. Man, that game was a disappointment. The collection grew over the years, with all games kept in their original boxes. After college I insisted on taking the setup, but my dad had by then tossed the boxes, instructions and overlays (he thankfully kept the carts).

 

I started collecting again in 1995, a great time to buy classic gear because a lot of people were getting rid of it at bargain basement prices. I was really in to flea markets and thrift stores and, over time, amassed a good collection of 5200 gear from those sources and rec. games.video.classic I also delved into Colecovision, Intellivision, Odyssey 2, Arcadia 2001 and the 7800. I remember getting some joystick parts from Best Electronics back then and seeing they had Bounty Bob available. But, hell no, I wasn't going to pay $40 for a 5200 cart! I'd find it in the wild someday, so I thought. Alas... not every decision was a good one back then.

 

I still don't have every game (shoulda bought Bounty Bob from Best), but I traded Sean Kelly a semi-working Vectrex for a dip-switch 5200 multicart, which was great. I buy some new stuff as it becomes available -- my Gauntlet order is in and I picked up Sinistar when that came out. But I find much less time/motivation to play these days.

 

The 5200 was always a bit of a disappointment to me back in 1982. I wanted it to be another leap ahead -- an NES or even an N64. I imagined someday consoles being so sophisticated that they would be like playing a cartoon. That wouldn't happen until a few years later... Still, the console resonates with me from a nostalgia and 80s industrial design standpoint. Oddly enough, the games I acquired in the 90s ended up being my favorites for the 5200 -- Pitfall 2, Hero, Montezuma's Revenge, Miner 2049r -- platformers that, in retrospect, were precursors to Super Mario and many NES-era games. Of course, many of the games bought at garage sales just plain sucked -- Congo Bongo, anyone?

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I found mine at Goodwill. It was the last chance Goodwill store where they dump everything into bins. Luckily someone there put in on a shelf with a bunk of games. They had a $20 price tag but I talked down to $10. Best $10 I ever spent. I went there a month or two later and found another 5200 sticking out from under a pile of stuff in a bin and rescued it for $5.

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My mama bought it for me. There really was no other way since my earning power at that age was zero. :P

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I found mine at Goodwill. It was the last chance Goodwill store where they dump everything into bins. Luckily someone there put in on a shelf with a bunk of games. They had a $20 price tag but I talked down to $10. Best $10 I ever spent. I went there a month or two later and found another 5200 sticking out from under a pile of stuff in a bin and rescued it for $5.

 

My 2 port came from a goodwill.. it was around $5-$10, but I don't remember. I use this one more than the four port I got off of Craigslist (that was around $25 with some commons). Boy... miss those days when you could find stuff without scouring the earth only to find one with broken controllers for $50.

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I've only ever owned two 5200's in my life; both four ports. The first I got for free along with about eight games in 1993-1994 when someone was throwing it out (literally) after it didn't sell at a garage sale. I gave that one away in 1999 after one of the controllers stopped working and the fact that I didn't want to drag it across the country with me. The second I bought in April or May of this year from eBay for next to nothing because the seller couldn't spell Atari correctly nor did they use "5200" in their auction title.

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I don't remember where I acquired my first 5200 (that is, first since I started collecting), but I can tell you it was around 1996 when I was living and working in the Boston area. I started collecting 2600 games when I was on a game development with with Rex Bradford, who worked for Parker Brothers and Activision producing 2600 games "back in the day" (such as Empire Strikes Back and Jedi Arena). I didn't have a large 2600 collection while growing up since we were fairly poor, so I was quite eager to try out all the 2600 games I never experienced (little did I know there were so damn many!)

 

Initially I stuck with the 2600. But, as my desire for more 2600 games grew, I started acquiring games for other systems, usually when I bought large lots of games from individuals. Or I'd find loose carts for these other systems (5200, 7800, ColecoVision, Intellivision, etc.) at flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales. I naturally then had to purchase systems to play these games, and the 5200 was the second system I purchased during this early phase of my collecting...uhrrr...habit. I had various Atari 8-bit systems in the early 80's, so I had no desire to own a 5200 back then, but I was happy when I did finally purchase one. I cannot remember if the controllers that came with that system worked or not. :D

 

..Al

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In late '83 I bought one from a retailer who had just put a pile on the floor for the Christmas season. I was curious how it differed from the 400/800 that I knew and loved. I played the included Pac-Man and was quickly disappointed with the joystick. Being analog, it could have been a big improvement over the standard stick, but they had screwed it up.

 

Next I tore it open, traced the circuit, disassembled the ROMs, and converted the Pac-Man code to work on the 400/800. I thought that what I learned would make a neat magazine article so I wrote it up and sent it to a few rags. ANALOG published it the next year (see: http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/130940-article-transporting-atari-computer-programs-to-the-5200/?do=findComment&comment=1580189 ).

 

Being cheap, I returned the 5200 to the retailer, complaining of the joysticks (shame on me for that and shame on me for lying to you in the old post that it was a friend's 5200). Last year I found one dirt cheap (and dirty) on Ebay and fixed it up. I got Star Raiders for it and now I think the analog sticks are better for that game.

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Never played one back in the day - the family had an Intellivision, and I ended up getting a 2600 from a friend somewhere around '84 - give or take. Certainly knew about the 5200 from magazines, but it was never high on my list back then.

 

I bought one about 20 years ago from a used game shop I used to go to, but the controllers didn't work. Not knowing any better, I took it back and got something else (I think my O2). About 15 years ago a friend of mine at work knew I liked classic games, so he gave me a bag full of common 5200 carts (and a working Astrocade with 8-9 carts), but I didn't have any way to use them until...

 

About 5-6 years ago I came across a 5200 (2 port) at Flea World and picked it up for $35 with I think 3-4 commons. Not a bad deal. Got it home and believe it or not, the controllers worked. I did get a Best Electronics controller shortly thereafter, and it's been my favorite classic system since.

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I upgraded from 2600 pretty fast. I got 2600 for "graduating" 8th grade. The summer between 9th and 10th grade, I sold my 2600 and bought a 5200. Must've been 1983 or 1984. Can't remember the financials but parents probably forked over most of the money, as I didn't have a regular job.

 

My friends and cousins enjoyed playing 5200 at my house, and some had one themselves. There was the friend who had more games than anyone; the other friend who had to play 5200 Q*bert on his b&w TV (snicker!) ... mostly we played 2-player Joust and Mario Bros. Then when the bottom dropped out, I picked up a bunch of games for under $10 each from the bargain bins.

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I got my first 5200 at a flea market Raleigh NC, with games in a short time later the 5200 killed over. :-o Than my other 5200 was found at a flea market in Smithfield NC it was like new, I think when the Controllers stop the previous owners just put the 5200 in a box and just forget about it until that day they sold it to me at the flea market. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Edited by walter_J64bit
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I got mine at a flea market within the last five years. It was around the $20-$30 range. I can't remember everything that came with it but I remember thinking it was expensive for what little it had. That doesn't sound too exciting but it came with a pair of joysticks that I haven't seen before. Later I found out that they are Competition Pro, that they are a little rare, and that I got the set for cheap.

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I got my first 5200 in the late '90s (I think, maybe early 2000s) at a garage sale for $10. It was a 2-port model in the original (badly damaged) box and had the 2600 adapter. Came with just a few 5200 games and overlays, and a small selection of 2600 games. After I got tired of it, I sold it on eBay for $50 (I think). A few years later I got to missing it, and managed to grab a 4-port off eBay for fairly cheap, with three games (luckily, it included the RF switch and power adapter so I didn't have to mod it or anything). I want to say it was $30 plus shipping, which I believe put it around $45 total, but I can't be certain of that. That one did not come with the box. I got both controllers working after coating the carbon dots with CircuitWriter conductive ink.

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Bought my first one at a rummage sale about 20 years ago about the time of the 16-bit console wars. I don't remember what I paid for it but it did have games for it.

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I got my first 5200 a few days ago. I was at Game Exchange and I saw someone trying to trade in a 5200 and some games. Because Game exchange pays only store credit for old Atari games, and he wanted cash, he was ready to walk out with the 5200. I offered him $8 and he took it. I got a 4 port 5200 with no controllers or hookups, 6 common games, as well as 18 2600 games he couldn't trade in either.

 

Unfortunately, I've never had a 5200 before, so I realized when I got home that hooking it up isn't quite that simple (or cheap). I know that I need a switchbox, power adapter, and at least one controller to make it usable. I have a couple of questions if anybody could help me out:

 

-Once I have the switchbox, do I need another cable to connect the 5200 to the TV? Or, does the wire from the switchbox connect directly to the TV? I already have a coaxial (F-type) to female RCA adapter which I use to connect my Colecovision.

 

-I've read that the 5200 can use an Indus GT power supply (which I have). Is this true?

 

Unfortunately, my impulse purchase may end up costing me more than if I just bought a complete 5200 setup. I don't really have the money right now to buy the pieces I need, but if you guys could tell me exactly what I need, I'll keep a lookout for them.

 

Also, it appears that the tape was never removed from the silver "Atari 5200" panel on top of the unit. I scraped some off with a razor, but it left a dry residue behind. The old tape is yellowing and cracked, and I'd like to take it off if I can get rid of the 30 year old residue underneath.

 

As far as the 2600 games, I already have 12 of the 18. However, since I would gladly take store credit at Game Exchange, I'll trade in the duplicates there for a few bucks to offset my outlay.

 

My advice is to mod the unit so it no longer needs the combination power and AV box. My 5200 has a typical power brick hardwired to it. I did the mod following instructions on this board and using parts obtained from Radio Shack.

Edited by shadow460
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I found mine on Craigslist, a 2 port model with 8 games for $40. The guy I bought it from either didn't use it much or took immaculate care of it since it seems like it's almost brand new outside of some minor scuffs on the front of it.

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Got mine Christmas of 83 and played the hell out of Star Raiders, Star Trek and the Star Wars Arcade game. Now that I'm older, I'm only 8 games short of a full boxed retail collection.(Of course, they are the most expensive ones to get: Bounty Bob, Frogger II, Gorf, HERO, MegaMania, Metorites. Have Quintana Roo and Wizard of Wor, but no boxes for either.)

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