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segasaturn

I'm actually very interested about the 7800

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Even though I'm 20, like everyone else here I love video games and yes....Atari. I currently have 29 systems, and I'm currently thinking about what to get next. Of course I have all the Atari systems except the 7800. Its the only one left and what recently got me interested was I went to goodwill the other day and got a 7800 asteriods CIB for 2 bucks. I live in MAINE so finding anything Atari is pretty rare. It was in good condition too! (I attached the picture of it). And I was thinking about getting one soon. For those of you who have it I wanted your opinion on it. Like what games to get, is it reliable, whats it like, etc,.? I was thinking about the system and it seems pretty cool. It has recent games(for the time) like Double Dragon, and old ones like Galaga(my favorite) so I was wondering about your opinions on the system as a whole? Is it worth the 100 bucks(the price its going for on ebay)?

post-20583-0-56970800-1390018436_thumb.jpg

Edited by segasaturn
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For one there are lots of great homebrews for the 7800 and to me that alone is worth it . Other games that are worth trying are Centipede , Joust , Midnight Mutants , Galaga , Commando , Ballblazer , Ikari Warriors , to name a few and Im sure Im forgetting some . Not the biggest lineup and the games for the most dont have the best sound .

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Welcome, segasaturn!

Relatively recently there was another newcomer with a similar line of questions. You may find this thread helpful and insightful offering various opinions:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/218854-just-got-my-1st-7800-now-i-have-questions/

At the very least, you owe it to yourself to check out the AtariAge store and pickup some of the fabulous homebrews for sale there, when you do get your 7800. (Notice the 'when' and no 'if' :-D )

I wouldn't pay $100+ for a 7800 unless the condition is fantastic and complete with box.

A decent system could be had for $40-$80 depending on what's included. Patience is the key.

If you wish to spend $100-$150 on an excellent/like-new system with an A/V composite mod, I recommend Best Electronics:
http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/7800.htm

Specifically:
Reconditioned Atari US CX7800 System Upgraded with the Atari Engineering 7800 Rev. 2 Composite Video Modification below. Comes with CX7800 Console (All in like New condition), two New Non Atari brand PB or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks) (Some Atari 7800 game cartridges require an Atari CX24 Joystick or CX78 Joypad for proper game operation), New Atari CX7800 Power Supply, New boxed Atari 7800 Jinks game with Owners Manual (see Atari 7800 Game listing below for more information on the Atari 7800 Jinks game), New 7800 System Owners Manual and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released! CX7800-RECV 124.95

On the other hand, if you end up with a 7800 system from another source, but you still want an A/V mod, and you're not a do-it-yourself type, or just suck at it (Me raises hand :dunce:), then I highly recommend this service:

http://electronicsentimentalities.com/InstallationServices.html

The A/V mod is of excellent quality, and ensure you get the TIA 9 switch to ensure you receive no video interference in 7800 mode from the TIA chip.

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From the commercial releases, Xevious, Ballblazer, Galaga, Food Fight, Robotron 2084, Midnight Mutants, Dark Chambers, Joust, Ms. Pac-Man, One on One Basketball, Activision's Double Dragon, Centipede, and Commando. I have a soft spot for Tower Toppler too...

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I live in MAINE

Where in Maine do you live? As a fellow Maine classic gamer, I know how hard it is to be a collector here. If you live in the Portland area, check out Electric Buddhas in downtown Portland. I've picked up 5200 and 7800 carts there in the past as well as a nice lot of Intellivision manual/cart/overlays and there are usually a few 2600 systems available and not too long ago there was a decent selection of loose 2600 carts. It's a pretty cool retro store; I try to check it out pretty regularly as you never know what may show up there.

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Where in Maine do you live? As a fellow Maine classic gamer, I know how hard it is to be a collector here. If you live in the Portland area, check out Electric Buddhas in downtown Portland. I've picked up 5200 and 7800 carts there in the past as well as a nice lot of Intellivision manual/cart/overlays and there are usually a few 2600 systems available and not too long ago there was a decent selection of loose 2600 carts. It's a pretty cool retro store; I try to check it out pretty regularly as you never know what may show up there.

I'm from the Auburn Area, but I have been to "strange Maine" in portland off of congress street many times. Its the only place I know if that really sell a lot of old video games and music (I collect records also). And I haven't heard of that store yet. I"ll have to check it out one day thanks!

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It always amazes me to hear about people finding stuff at Goodwill. Not in this part of the country!

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It always amazes me to hear about people finding stuff at Goodwill. Not in this part of the country!

Ditto. The oldest stuff, for the few times I have looked in a Goodwill just for the chance of getting some 'classics', is 16-bit Genesis. Even then it was only one or two tites. I have yet to see anything older; mostly PS2, PS1, Gamecube and XBox.

 

I would be ecstatic to see some older classics in a store...maybe someday.

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Most of the video games in the Goodwill stores around here are the sealed games that had been Target clearance games that were later donated an written off. So PS3, DS, etc.

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The 7800 makes me cry. It's a beautiful ball of unfulfilled potential. Thank god for the homebrew scene.

 

It runs virtually every 2600 game out of the box and plays its own games as well, many of which are excellent near-arcade perfect adaptations of classic 2600 titles. If you're interested in 2600 gaming to any degree, the 7800 is well worth owning. In fact, I leave my 7800 hooked up over my 6 switch 2600.

 

The only thing that sucks about it is the controller. That thing has to go. Get yourself a Euro 7800 gamepad or a modded controller from another system.

 

BTW I purchased the Best Electronics modded unit that Trebor mentions. I did an unboxing of that item and posted it here Pricey but definitely worth it. Composite video really adds to the experience.

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The TIA sound leaves much to be desired. But hearing what is done in DK VCS makes you realize that a huge factor may also be at times the programmer's (lack of) ability/time/resources to work with the chip to its full potential within a game depending too on what is trying to be accomplished.

 

Granted, it is not POKEY or a Yamaha sound chip, but Joe really makes the TIA sound shine (Especially compared to the original official retail releases) in a way I never thought possible.

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The basic issue with the TIA is that it's very very raw. You can get it to sound nearly as good as the SID, of course, since you can push the waveforms directly. The problem, though, is that you don't have the drivers, processor speed, or the memory, to do the mixing and sequencing required BEFORE you send all that to the TIA. You can get nice sound from the TIA, but doing it without making the 7800 choke and cry is another problem entirely.

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Digital audio isn't terribly relevant in the discussion of any sound chips from this era, since they could ALL do it, at the price of throwing gobs of memory and nearly 100% of your CPU time at it. Hell, even computers with 1-bit speakers can do digital audio.

 

The TIA's greatest shortcoming is its frequency resolution-- only 32 different note values for each distortion setting (compared to 256 for POKEY, and 65536 for SID). This is weird when you consider that they gave each channel 16 volume levels. Seems like taking a bit from volume and giving it to frequency would have been a better tradeoff.

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Digital audio isn't terribly relevant in the discussion of any sound chips from this era, since they could ALL do it, at the price of throwing gobs of memory and nearly 100% of your CPU time at it. Hell, even computers with 1-bit speakers can do digital audio.

 

The TIA's greatest shortcoming is its frequency resolution-- only 32 different note values for each distortion setting (compared to 256 for POKEY, and 65536 for SID). This is weird when you consider that they gave each channel 16 volume levels. Seems like taking a bit from volume and giving it to frequency would have been a better tradeoff.

possibly the volume levels were some lingering design idea from when they were going to release the VCS with built-in speakers, and they just never altered the spec to give more channels?

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possibly the volume levels were some lingering design idea from when they were going to release the VCS with built-in speakers, and they just never altered the spec to give more channels?

This post makes no sense.

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I received the 7800 the year it was released for Christmas with Food Fight. Nostalgia aside, it is a fun system to collect for as most games are relatively cheap and easy to come by. Boxed and sealed games can also be had at reasonable prices. As others have said, some drawbacks include poor controllers, bad sound, and rehashed 2600 titles. Also, it's library is small and there are not many original titles to be had if you don't count homebrews. $100 for one sounds steep unless your looking for CIB.

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After living with the 7800 for a few months I can say a few things. There is a solid bunch of very excellent original release games -- I think most of them have already been listed above. But there are plenty of turds out there unfortunately. I made the mistake of picking up a lot of 8 or so carts off eBay a while back, the turd to gem ratio was bad. I am now much more careful when buying and probably will only buy title by title for stuff I want. I did get two homebrews, Frenzy and the ever excellent Pac Man Collection for Christmas and both are good.

 

Controllers are just bad. The ones that came with my console felt sloppy and worn out. I bought a pair of NOS controllers off of eBay and they are only somewhat better. The buttons are in great shape but the stick is so sloppy. For games that don't need two buttons I use either an Atari CX-40, my Epyx 500XJ, or a Sega Genesis pad. Best Electronics sells a patch cable to make Genesis pads work as two button controllers on the 7800 -- that may be my ultimate solution.

 

One thing I will ultimately invest in is a composite video mod. The video quality on the RF mod lives a bit to be desired.

 

 

The 7800 makes me cry. It's a beautiful ball of unfulfilled potential. Thank god for the homebrew scene.

 

Not to mention it is a nice looking piece of kit that feels well built. Especially in comparison to my 2600 jr and my XEGS. A week or so ago CGR did a full week of NES reviews and it made me mad. Nintendo, for the most part, invested the time and money to have good quality games on its console. And we aren't even talking about flagship stuff like Mario, Zelda, etc....

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After living with the 7800 for a few months I can say a few things. There is a solid bunch of very excellent original release games -- I think most of them have already been listed above. But there are plenty of turds out there unfortunately. I made the mistake of picking up a lot of 8 or so carts off eBay a while back, the turd to gem ratio was bad. I am now much more careful when buying and probably will only buy title by title for stuff I want. I did get two homebrews, Frenzy and the ever excellent Pac Man Collection for Christmas and both are good.

 

Controllers are just bad. The ones that came with my console felt sloppy and worn out. I bought a pair of NOS controllers off of eBay and they are only somewhat better. The buttons are in great shape but the stick is so sloppy. For games that don't need two buttons I use either an Atari CX-40, my Epyx 500XJ, or a Sega Genesis pad. Best Electronics sells a patch cable to make Genesis pads work as two button controllers on the 7800 -- that may be my ultimate solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with the stick is that they are to tall and they can roll out of your hand . I have some of these modded and they make all the difference along with the ball knob . http://atariage.com/forums/topic/198160-ball-knob-mod-7800-controllers-dreamcast-cart-batteries-jan-2014/

Edited by AtariBrian

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Speaking of the 7800, I just took pix off all of my 7800 Cartridges (and some 2600) today and dumped them onto my Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

like this very odd game, featuring Grampa of the Munsters:

12057220343_66be2cf4b6_z.jpg

 

I was going to buy another copy of Midnight Mutants to send to director/producer Bryan Fuller - he tried to reboot The Munsters and endorsed my Twitter suggestion of making a home brew game of it for the 7800 - but then I noticed the current eBay prices were massively inflated compared to the price I paid for mine from O'Shea's a decade ago.

Edited by Lynxpro

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I started collecting 7800 last spring and it currently gets more play time than any of my other consoles. The original release titles are some of the best arcade ports of the era. As others have said, most of the best games are cheap and easy to come by. Add to that the continual stream of amazing homebrew games from Pacmanplus and nearly full 2600 backwards compatibility and you have a fantastic system. If you decide to take the plunge, RF can be iffy so definitely look into a composite or S-video mod as others have mentioned.

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