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Can you go home again?

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I was nine when I was first exposed to computers. That was an Atari 800. It was replaced by a 65XE. I still have the 65XE. But sadly I threw out the 800 in 92. Im trying to decide if I want to buy restored 800. Can you go home again? Or will it collect dust stored in the closet? What has been yalls experience.

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If your budget can afford to get a new 800, I'd probably be inclined to bite the bullet and just get one. You'll get a lot of enjoyment out of putting it through its paces for a while and the nostalgia factor is immeasurable. Even if it eventually ends up in the closet after a while, chances are that you'll pull it out every now and again and do the whole process over. Other than possible financial constraints, I cannot think of a good reason NOT to get one.

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I still have an Atari 8-bit hooked up 100% of the time, and I am building some new ones from time to time. I would say that yes, it's very much possible to go back.

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My 800 Incognito will *NEVER* be in a closet.

It runs 24/7/365.25.

Nothing will change that.

Nothing.

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I think that the 800 had the best construction of all the A8s. If you’re looking for durability, I would consider it. I have had a 1200XL and 65XE fail on me, so my 800 is a nice backup system.

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You can always go home again.....

 

 

... the current owners may call the police on you for breaking in....

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You can always go home again.....

 

 

... the current owners may call the police on you for breaking in....

 

You made me laugh! :D

 

Yes, you can always "go home" because home is where the heart is and not where a building stands or what electronic gizmo is on your table. If you're already getting dreamy eyed thinking of your childhood experiences with your 800 then you're already home. You didn't mention if you have any peripherals, cartridges, or interfaces to go along with your 65XE. I recently bought a SIO2PC-USB connection kit from AtariMax and it has blown the doors open for me. Maybe you could get yourself a kit like that (or make a kit like that) instead of buying an 800.

 

Of course, if your heart is set on an 800 and everything in life is lined up just right for you then go for it. This is soul soothing nostalgia. Logic doesn't apply here. Just be thankful you're being tugged to a "simple" Atari 800 vs spending $100k on a monster truck. ;)

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The 800 was my entry into the Atari world as well and I have my original as well as a backup. I still like the looks of the originals better than the XL/XEs and the only machine that looks sharper than an 800 is a 400 ;) (but even if some renowned games were written on that keyboard, I couldn't tolerate it for anything but playing games with occasional keyboard input).

 

While the 800 may not give you access to as much software as your 65XE, you can still keep that for "modern" stuff and wait for some new gizmo like Incognito to resurface which will give you an 800 and a fully decked out XL in an 800's guise.

 

If you like it, get yourself one, they're probably cheaper now than they will be in 5 years as some are bound to go to a landfill every year when their original owner dies and those cleaning out the closets are in a hurry and can't be bothered to look at EBay or Craigslist to get them a new home. There are 800s on EBay all the time and with some patience they can be had at reasonable prices, I'd say.

 

Brad Arnold from ANTIC podcast always says he needs to downsize and get rid of some, so you could also try to contact him directly.

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By now I think you can see that "going home" is the best option, the fact you asked tells me that you want to and you won't be disappointed, the 800 is a beast and a beautiful one at that, its a defining computer for me, it looks epic, the keyboard is still superb and it just says "use me / play me" all over it.

 

You will probably over do it initially and it will see a little down time but you will go back to it and keep doing that...

 

At worst there's two things, you spend a little bit of money and possibly annoy your wife or partner with 'another toy'......The good thing is that you will have a fantastic memory kick and a bloody good time...

 

Paul...

 

Go on, you know you want to...What's not to like here...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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The question is how much dust is your 65XE taking now. The 800 will be probably taking the same.

And... modern software for 8-bit Ataris typically requires XL/XE, so the INCOGNITO board is strongly recommended.

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It depends...you see, my first Atari was a 130XE. It made me fall in love with Atari 8-bits. But, I always hated the mushy keyboard, cartridge in the back and over-all flimsy design. I had it for about 20 years. Once I learned to upgrade though, I moved to a 1200XL and upgraded it with Rambo and I have never looked back. I now use a 576K 1200XL with all kinds of bells and whistles and I have an STOCK (FTM) 800 which is set up and I also use it. If it can be done in 48K, I'll use my 800, if not, I use my 1200XL. But as far as I'm concerned I've always been home as long as I have an Atari 8-bit of some kind, even a 130XE, though I have no intentions or desire to own an XE model again. So in the sense of going back to my first Atari? No, I'll never go home again to that one-room shack 130XE when I now live in a million-dollar home of my upgraded 1200XL. But as has always been said, and is true; it's what's on the inside that counts and I've never left home to begin with if that's the case, I've only changed the outside, not the inside.

 

But my situation isn't the same as yours...if I had only a 65XE though, I sure as hell would get an 800, just to have a good keyboard, cartridge slot in a good spot and the because it's built like a tank. The XE would go to the closet except for when I need 64K (assuming I hadn't already upgraded my 800 to that or beyond). In your case, go home boy, get out of that low-rent housing and own a family home again in the 800.

Edited by Gunstar
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As others have stated, with the Incognito expansion board, the original Atari 800 is the ultimate 8-bit Atari.

 

It can run pretty much everything, the keyboard is good (albeit with a horrendous position), is almost indestructible, and you can bask in the glorious late 70s design language.

 

But as I understand it, the Incognito is currently out of production and we don't have any firm dates on if or when another run will be done.

 

Without Incognito, the 800 is quite limited. Many of the XL/XE era games, including later cartridges, need 64K, and many of the best games and demos released in the last 15 years need even more. Whereas there are RAM expansions for the stock 800, none of them AFAIK, follow the Claus Buchholz design, which is what pretty much all of the XL/XE software expects to see.

 

So what do you want to do when you go home? If playing the early to mid 80s Atari classics is your thing then the 800 is great. If Bombjack, Numen, Commando or Yie Ar Kung Fu is your thing then the stock 800 won't help much.

 

Or get the 800, and if/when Incognito 2 is available, you'll be set.

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when you are lying in a hospital bed waiting to die - dont let not being a kid again with an atari and maybe even a 300 baud modem connected to your VOIP line (like me) be something you regret.

 

dont ruin a marriage over it or anything - but hell yes... get it.

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My 800 Incognito will *NEVER* be in a closet.

It runs 24/7/365.25.

Nothing will change that.

Nothing.

Not even a power outage? :D or... leap years..

Edit: ah you accounted for leap years :)

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Thanks everyone for your opinions. I think I will go visit the National Video Game Museum in Frisco, TX today. (http://www.nvmusa.org/) I think I read somewhere they have retro consoles and computers displayed there. Maybe seeing one up close will help me decide. I can only hope they have some you can at least touch.

 

As for the 65XE's keyboard, isn't there an upgrade for that available at Best-Electronics?

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As for the 65XE's keyboard, isn't there an upgrade for that available at Best-Electronics?

There are upgrade springs that were originally intended for Atari ST keyboards, but work on XE's too. They help it feel less flimsy, a bit stiffer, but still too mushy for say, something like word processing. An 800 and most XL keyboards are far superior than XE's. It depends on what you use it for. If you don't use the old gal for any productivity software, then the springs would probably be sufficient for you to bolster the XE keyboard a bit. Once I typed on my first 1200XL and then 800 keyboards, I just couldn't go back to the XE. Once I had an expanded memory XL, and could run virtually all the 130XE software, there was no reason for me to keep it. My peripherals were all XL though anyway, so that way I finally had a matching system too...

 

I would get the 800 if I were you, and use it as the main computer, but keep the 65XE around for 64k stuff. You'll appreciate the substantialness of the 800 far more, and more feeling of nostalgia. I do, even though the XE was my first, I have more nostalgia for the 800 in store front windows and on display, that I dreamed of getting several years before. A big, serious looking computer with a quality-feeling keyboard like and Apple II. I just got my second 800 ever last fall, the first I owned around 2005-2009, and it made me forget all about my super-duper 1200XL for about a month, and now I still use it as much. Though I do have upgrade plans for it that I am working on.

 

Edited by Gunstar

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Not even a power outage? :D or... leap years..

Edit: ah you accounted for leap years :)

 

Yeah, I need to get a U.P.S.

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As for the 65XE's keyboard, isn't there an upgrade for that available at Best-Electronics?

 

I recall there being both springs and silicone cups but only found the silicone cups on the webpage. (According to the Best website there are two types of XE keyboards, one of which can be fitted with his "best touch" improved silicone cups (which give the keyboard "springiness"), while the other type has springs. You'll need to look inside to find out if you have the type that can be upgraded.

 

(Those improved springs were called "mega touch" but are referenced in user comments only.)

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Best is all out of the *touch keyboard upgrades long ago when I asked recently.. Still has XE mylars though.

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I recall there being both springs and silicone cups but only found the silicone cups on the webpage. (According to the Best website there are two types of XE keyboards, one of which can be fitted with his "best touch" improved silicone cups (which give the keyboard "springiness"), while the other type has springs. You'll need to look inside to find out if you have the type that can be upgraded.

 

(Those improved springs were called "mega touch" but are referenced in user comments only.)

 

I've a 65XE with springs already in the keyboard. Always thought it was stock, but since I'm not the original owner, IDK. The keycups from Best, IMO are better than my spring keyboard. All the XL's (800/600) I've owned have had worse-than-XE keyboards, so a lot of subjectivity. I'm one of those rare Atarians who strongly prefer the XE line :-) But at the end of the day, I'll take any model and roll with it; they are all 800 series Atari's and all have pro's to enjoy!!! I can make the most of any. (though, I've still never owned a 1200XL ... maybe one day)

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I was nine when I was first exposed to computers. That was an Atari 800. It was replaced by a 65XE. I still have the 65XE. But sadly I threw out the 800 in 92. Im trying to decide if I want to buy restored 800. Can you go home again? Or will it collect dust stored in the closet? What has been yalls experience.

 

I was introduced to Atari computers through the 400, and soon thereafter an 800. For reasons not worth getting into here I got rid of it. I feel I can never quite go back completely and unlatch the door unless I could somehow magically reacquire my original hardware.

 

You may go back, but it will be different. There are different forces at work today then there were in the 80's. And these flavours and forces will influence how you rediscover the past and how you discover the future.

 

Nowadays, instead, I enjoy the full constellation of Atari 8-bit machines through the telescope of emulation. To some it's only looking through the looking glass and not getting the full experience. To me it is as timeless and steadfast as the stars themselves. Always there. Never wavering. Always a twinkling beacon in the night sky. As the years, the decades, pass - this telescope's optics are continually improved, thus revealing more nuances and greater and finer detail. And more. It's an experience like no other to those that can appreciate what's out there.

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Thanks everyone for your opinions. I think I will go visit the National Video Game Museum in Frisco, TX today. (http://www.nvmusa.org/) I think I read somewhere they have retro consoles and computers displayed there. Maybe seeing one up close will help me decide. I can only hope they have some you can at least touch.

 

As for the 65XE's keyboard, isn't there an upgrade for that available at Best-Electronics?

 

sounds like you are local to me.. I'm in Richardson.. I've been thinking about going to that museum and just havent done it yet... What did you think about it?

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