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Available game titles for Atari 800 vs XL/XE/64kB

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Hi there,

 

just out of curiosity: can we somehow estimate the total number of games available for Atari 800 and in comparison to XL/XE/64kb+/only game titles that are not-compatible to a stock 48kb Atari 800?

 

I'm asking because if we had some kind of commercial success indicator derived from the number of available titles which platform would be the winner?

 

Atari 800 (counting all 800/48kb-compatible titles)

Atari XL/XE/64k+ (counting only XL/XE/64k titles, not running on stock 800)

 

I would say that Atari 800 would be the winner. But it's hard to tell.. 

 

 

 

 

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Depends if you guage it one "as released" or "patched to work" by the community.

 

Likely there'd be less 64K+ games around than legacy games that weren't compatible with the XL.

But these days, there's extremely few games that haven't been made to work on the XL (ignoring "cheating" by installing or loading a different OS)

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On 4/25/2020 at 10:56 AM, Rybags said:

Depends if you guage it one "as released" or "patched to work" by the community.

 

Likely there'd be less 64K+ games around than legacy games that weren't compatible with the XL.

But these days, there's extremely few games that haven't been made to work on the XL (ignoring "cheating" by installing or loading a different OS)


well. it was more my point, that my whole understanding of my personal Atari 8bit experience is actually much more an "Atari 800" experience.

When I was a kid growing up with an Atari800 XL (dad) and Atari 130 XE (grandfather), I had no idea of the Atari 400/800 early 80s home computer line. When I first time saw pictures of an Atari 400 I thought it was just an old-styled case of an Atari XL but otherwise the same.

 

But it turned out that my world was 90% "Atari 800" and only 10% "Atari XL/XE". So to speak, the XL/XE line was a very unsuccessfull platform after all. 

(ignoring the fact, that XL/XE was of course able to run 800 stuff).

 

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On 4/25/2020 at 2:30 AM, twh/f2 said:

Hi there,

 

just out of curiosity: can we somehow estimate the total number of games available for Atari 800 and in comparison to XL/XE/64kb+/only game titles that are not-compatible to a stock 48kb Atari 800?

 

I'm asking because if we had some kind of commercial success indicator derived from the number of available titles which platform would be the winner?

 

Atari 800 (counting all 800/48kb-compatible titles)

Atari XL/XE/64k+ (counting only XL/XE/64k titles, not running on stock 800)

 

I would say that Atari 800 would be the winner. But it's hard to tell.. 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, this cannot be answered wholly, unless looking at both sides of the time-scale (history).

 

If you look at it from the early-side of the time-scale, there's obviously a lot work and production for the 800, as it is, in reality, the true starting point of the entire line-up.

 

If you look at it from the latest / recent side, there's plenty of quality-stuff (even on large-cart format) that will leverage and exploit 800XL's memory space (not possible directly on 800).

 

Now, if you look at it from a pure HW-platform potential, even as distant as it may look, the 800 is inherently more capable or has higher potential than the 800XL, when it comes to architecture and expansion resources. Has more space to work, you don't need to butcher internals to get the job done, and can handle HW configs. that simply impossible on my 800XLs. That, of course, is a reflection of the competitive landscape and regulations they were meant to address... The 800 was designed to compete with the Apple II, while the 800XL was a direct answer against Commodore 64.

 

Overall, the 800 was (and is) the real boss (in my opinion, of course).

 

 

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On 4/25/2020 at 2:30 AM, twh/f2 said:

Hi there,

 

just out of curiosity: can we somehow estimate the total number of games available for Atari 800 and in comparison to XL/XE/64kb+/only game titles that are not-compatible to a stock 48kb Atari 800?

 

I'm asking because if we had some kind of commercial success indicator derived from the number of available titles which platform would be the winner?

 

Atari 800 (counting all 800/48kb-compatible titles)

Atari XL/XE/64k+ (counting only XL/XE/64k titles, not running on stock 800)

 

I would say that Atari 800 would be the winner. But it's hard to tell..

 

The vast majority of commercial game maintained compatibility for not just the Atari 800, but the 810 disk-drive as well.   Which meant more disk-flipping than we could have had.

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I'm not sure I understand the point of this thread.

 

You're considering the 800 some sort of winner over the XL/XE line because it runs more titles than the XL/XE's can run as exclusive 64KB required titles?

What's the logic here, when the XL/XE line can run all the titles, even the 800 only titles once they've been patched?

 

Certainly backwards compatibility held back the XL/XE line, but the stock XL/XE's are definitely superior to the stock 800 in terms of software library.

 

Edited by MrFish
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I think he means something like this:

 

- How many titles are there requiring no more than 48k RAM (counting for Atari 800 then) ?

- How many titles are there requiring min. 64k RAM and/or RAM under OS ? (counting for the XL/XE) ?

 

And answering these two questions (with a guess or an approx. number or approx. percentage), who would be the winner - old Atari 800 or newer XL/XE machines ?!? Well, I think the old Atari 800 would be the winner here, since almost all commercial titles (and even most PD Software) in the 80s was made to run with 48k RAM. Even with newer titles from the 90s and 2000s onwards, the max. 48k RAM programs are still in the lead I think...

 

Luckily, the A8's are compatible to each other, so the XL and XE computers can run the older 48k titles as well, with only a few ones requiring a translator disk or OLD-OS and very few titles that do not run at all on the newer machines... (however, with large RAM and other hardware upgrades this changes nowadays, since some more programs do not run anymore - or are NOT allowed by its coders to run anymore)...

 

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I understand the question, and the answer.

 

What I don't understand is how that makes the 800 any sort of "winner". It wins because it can run less titles? :-/

 

What's the point of restricting XL/XE's from counting titles that they can actually run?

 

Commercially, we understand the XL/XE's were held back by the 800's. So, the 800 was victorious in holding back the XL/XE's? I guess so...

 

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10 minutes ago, MrFish said:

I understand the question, and the answer.

 

What I don't understand is how that makes the 800 any sort of "winner". It wins because it can run less titles? 😕

 

What's the point of restricting XL/XE's from counting titles that they can actually run?

 

Commercially, we understand the XL/XE's were held back by the 800's. So, the 800 was victorious in holding back the XL/XE's? I guess so...

 

Business-wise (the only thing that matters), XL / XE was a CAPITULATION for Atari.

 

XL: when they learned they could not really beat Apple nor compete with IBM. They had to settle facing Commodore.

XE: business-in-comma. Just avoiding the inevitable.

 

Why? Because when young I worked in retail-sales (IT/Computing) and we saw everything that was happening, right from consumers' point-of-view. Only thing I did not sell directly (nor I could care less for) was XE. 

 

Having said that, yes, XL will have the largest SW library, for sure, but the incremental gains were modest, though. Except for memory management, not a SINGLE evolutionary improvement on CPU. GFX or I/O (essentially same core-chipset). At least NOT like what we saw with Apple, for instance...

 

Edited by Faicuai

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Out of ~800 of my XEX games, ~130 require 64K RAM.  So the 48K 800 can handle about 86% of the games in my XEX library.  Sounds good at first glance, but what about the other 14% (~130 titles)?  Those tend to be later titles and some of them are among the best on the platform.  For that reason ladies and gentlemen, I sold all my beige beauties (400/800) and I'm not looking back.  Sticking with the 1200XL.  Does everything I need it to do.   The Incognito is interesting, but for me, I keep coming back to why?  A 64K machine with an SIO2SD works for me.  The 800, in 1979, was as amazing as the Apple II in 1977, but for me, the 1200XL is the boss.  The 2012 Asteroids emulator requires 64K RAM.  There are several other titles like that that are unplayable on a 48K rig.  Again, a lot of folks like the modifications, but I'm just not one of them.  I was BITD, boy was I ever.  So for someone like me, a 64K rig with the 800XL OS is the ticket (99% of the stuff works).  Again, that's just me.  

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Exactly, there aren't as many 64KB titles in comparison, but those titles weigh heavily as a body of software within the library; and that only grows over time. This is exactly why XL/XE compatibility is so important to people with 800's -- now that it's available. Just look at how popular the Incognito has been, and is.

 

 

Edited by MrFish

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Yeah, I kind of read this thread as how many games suffered to keep compatible with the 800.  Ultima IV being one of them, dropping the music from the game.

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I know I don’t need to do this since there are xex files that work fine but I just love being able to put my Demon Attack cartridge in my XL and it works now thanks to OS swapping tools like the U1MB.   I have a couple carts like this that I couldn’t use until recently.  I have never owned a disk drive for the A8 so the translator disk wasn’t an option for me.  
 

I would grab an 800 though if I saw one cheap enough.  The thing is a beast.  Still kicking myself for not grabbing a working 400 when I had the chance.  

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Things became weird by the fact that the general hardware never changed.

Generally you could put all games using GTIA 9, 10, or 11 to the "XL/XE" . 

Well, GTIA existed before, but there was no dedicated number of machines and buyers of a game. 

Owning an XL assured that GTIA modes will work. 

This 48K thing even outlived the 80s. 

Isn't it the polish "Atari-Age" that formed real software around the specs of the XL/XE line?

 

 

On 4/27/2020 at 10:32 PM, Faicuai said:

 

XL: when they learned they could not really beat Apple nor compete with IBM. They had to settle facing Commodore.

XE: business-in-comma. Just avoiding the inevitable.

 

 

This is even weirder. The Atari 8 bits have been great business machines back at that time. 

The ease of handling and the nice speed of a stock Floppy drive was really great. 

The key to have the top selling point, was a real new "GTIA" chip. 

Let's say the chip  had some access to some internal Ram and internal double clocking. Resulting in a real 80 column display (not to tell of other doubled specs). 

How much more expensive would the XL have been? Also, a GTIA with some internal RAM would have allowed to switch ANTIC of for fast calculations, while the sceen wouldn't turn black. 

 

 

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Unfortunately the time lost and damage done during the time Warner looked to offload Atari, and the eventual sale, was too much.

 

Look at how quickly the C64 gained traction. When the C64 was first becoming a thing in the UK, everyone was pointing to the Atari as the machine to beat, even software houses that had never supported the A8. 

 

The success or lack of for the Atari platform doesn't mean it wasn't a great educational, business or games machine. It was all of those things. But, regardless, 16-bit machines were always going to have been around the corner. 

 

Unfortunately the US epoch ended with the Atari XL, which was when the European Epoch started, followed by the Eastern European Epoch. Just call me Epoch Powell. Those later epochs pushed the capabilities of the platform more.

 

Looking at a C64 now, first time in my life, I haven't seen anything yet that has made me think wow... this is leaps better than an Atari 800XL.  Maybe Atari should have done what Commodore did Vic-20/C64 and kill off the 400/800 and make a bigger leap with the XL series. But, like I said, I haven't seen anything yet on my C64 that blows my mind compared to what I can run on an Atari XL or even Atari 800. Let's not even talk about disk drives.

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6 hours ago, svenski said:

Looking at a C64 now, first time in my life, I haven't seen anything yet that has made me think wow... this is leaps better than an Atari 800XL.  Maybe Atari should have done what Commodore did Vic-20/C64 and kill off the 400/800 and make a bigger leap with the XL series. But, like I said, I haven't seen anything yet on my C64 that blows my mind compared to what I can run on an Atari XL or even Atari 800. Let's not even talk about disk drives.

You can try looking at it from the perspective of someone who purchased an Atari 400 versus someone who purchased a Vic-20.  Both of which I considered - although I ended up going for an Atari 800.

A Vic-20 owner would have to sell the Vic-20 to move up to the C-64 - and could only keep the joysticks.  Or simply waited - till the C-64 arrived?  Whereas the Atari 400 owner would sell the 400 while keeping what software/carts that person already purchased.

As for what C-64 games that stood out?  For me it would be the Thalamus games - particularly Sanxion, Delta and Armalyte.

The sticking point for me - for the Atari's - was the limited sprites- versus more sprites on the C-64.  Programmers had to work around this on the Atari.  The Atari design dates back to 1978?  Whereas the C-64 design is 2-3 years later on.

 

Harvey

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3 hours ago, kiwilove said:

You can try looking at it from the perspective of someone who purchased an Atari 400 versus someone who purchased a Vic-20.  Both of which I considered - although I ended up going for an Atari 800.

A Vic-20 owner would have to sell the Vic-20 to move up to the C-64 - and could only keep the joysticks.  Or simply waited - till the C-64 arrived?  Whereas the Atari 400 owner would sell the 400 while keeping what software/carts that person already purchased.

As for what C-64 games that stood out?  For me it would be the Thalamus games - particularly Sanxion, Delta and Armalyte.

The sticking point for me - for the Atari's - was the limited sprites- versus more sprites on the C-64.  Programmers had to work around this on the Atari.  The Atari design dates back to 1978?  Whereas the C-64 design is 2-3 years later on.

 

Harvey

From the perspective of someone that upgraded from the VIC-20 to the C64, I was happy to do away with everything including the joysticks and start fresh with the C64 - As the VIC-20 wasn't in any way a very good machine to begin with. I didn't want to run VIC-20 software on the VIC-20, I certainly didn't want to run VIC-20 software on my C64. History tells us that this starting with a fairly clean slate and creating a new standardized platform for the C64 was a good move on behalf of Commodore. In hindsight, I certainly didn't want to run the huge VIC-20 cartridge on the C64 as the C64 cartridge slot has some interesting implementations that have significantly extended the life of the platform.

 

The 800 competed with the Apple II, not because the 800 was a superior product to the XL line, but because there wasn't much else for it to compete with at that time with the exception of possibly the TRS-80.

 

When the C64 came along I'd say that in terms of audio and video, as well as the fact that it was a standardized platform with very flexible memory management using features available to the 6510, It had the A8 line from the 400 through to the 800/1200XL beat - The only two area's the A8 line excelled were FDD speed and the size of the colour palette. At time of release the C64 was very well priced due to the fact that Commodore owned MOS Technologies, which sort of made up for the FDD speed.

 

As time progressed, the community totally rectified any speed issues surrounding the Commodore IEC standard, and I never felt, and still don't feel, like the colour palette was really a huge advantage when the A8 line was so fragmented regarding memory configurations. Both platforms didn't have great BASIC implementations at the time, not that it really mattered when assembly code was a magnitude faster. Both implementations didn't have great DOS wedges via BASIC, instead relying on a DOS wedge that you'd load via disk giving you greater control.

 

Later on the DOS issues were refined greatly via implementations such as JiffyDOS for the C64 and SpartaDOS-X for the A8, and continue to be refined to this day.

 

Both great machines in their own way, hence the reason I want to own one of each. ;)

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mazzspeed said:

Both great machines in their own way, hence the reason I want to own one of each. ;)

 

I did own a C-64 back in the day when I got disappointed with the lack of new software for the Atari's - and had it for around 10 months?  Going from cassette to a disk drive with Action Replay II cart.  I didn't do much art on it - but managed to do these 3 pics with a BASIC art program? (I think).

I certainly think it was a good experience seeing what a different system was like because each system had it's own advantages over the other.

I was in the UK when the C-64 was released over there and there was a lack of software at it's very start.  I came across a proud owner of one - but he had little to run on it.  It was something like 6? years later on, back in NZ - that I got around to owning one.

Somehow I got into contact with Atari users more easily than C-64 users - and the response was overall much better with Atari users but this is probably due to more time spent looking for Atari users...

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vlcsnap-2019-07-22-10h11m53s935.png

Edited by kiwilove
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58 minutes ago, kiwilove said:

I did own a C-64 back in the day when I got disappointed with the lack of new software for the Atari's - and had it for around 10 months?  Going from cassette to a disk drive with Action Replay II cart.  I didn't do much art on it - but managed to do these 3 pics with a BASIC art program? (I think).

I certainly think it was a good experience seeing what a different system was like because each system had it's own advantages over the other.

I was in the UK when the C-64 was released over there and there was a lack of software at it's very start.  I came across a proud owner of one - but he had little to run on it.  It was something like 6? years later on, back in NZ - that I got around to owning one.

Somehow I got into contact with Atari users more easily than C-64 users - and the response was overall much better with Atari users but this is probably due to more time spent looking for Atari users...

vlcsnap-2019-07-22-10h11m06s621.png

vlcsnap-2019-07-22-10h11m28s527.png

vlcsnap-2019-07-22-10h11m53s935.png

Very interesting! I like hearing other people's perspectives. Here in Australia the C64 was an instant hit, there were countless titles available. I have mentioned in the past how I had a brand new 600XL, I got it for free as my uncle was an electronics retail salesperson and they just couldn't sell it, so my uncle scored it free (brand new in the box) and gave it to me. I tried to get into it, I really did - but back then peripherals were expensive and Atari software wasn't as readily available as it was for the C64. As a result it sat, boxed, under my bed as a kid until I moved out of the parents house and (regrettably) scrapped it.

 

However I am making up for my past mistakes and awaiting the arrival (hopefully) of a nice little 600XL that I plan on upgrading. I've done my homework and the way I see it, in this modern day and age, the PAL XL's provide the best bang for buck of the A8 lineup and the 600XL has a couple of features that make it a tiny bit more desirable than the 800XL (slightly better PBI bus port implementation and I believe slightly better Svideo output once modified, as well as a smaller footprint), from the looks of things this 600XL also has the more desirable keyboard variant.

 

I'm looking forward to receiving it, may carefully pack the Amiga 1200 away for a bit to make space for the A8.

 

Awesome pics! In your younger years you were a far better artist than myself!

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10 hours ago, Mazzspeed said:

However I am making up for my past mistakes and awaiting the arrival (hopefully) of a nice little 600XL that I plan on upgrading. I've done my homework....

I did briefly own a 600XL back in the day, and had a friend upgrade it to 64k.  It's video output wasn't all that great but the keyboard had an excellent feel to it.

I wouldn't mind getting a 600XL again - if it's a reasonable price?  Need to have it all upgraded because I don't do mods myself.  So if you do come across a cheap 600XL and can do the mods for me - I'll pay you for your time, etc.  This is nothing urgent at all - because I like to get a 400 and 800 too, adding to the 800XL that I currently have.  If I can get those at a reasonable price.

Maybe when I got all of those machines - then, I may think about getting a C-64?

I never worked on any C-64 projects, probably because I couldn't find any C-64 programmer to work with.

 

Harvey

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I'm not sure I understand the question and comparison, nor how we got into C64 land and the history of why the XL exists.

Cost Reduced 800 designs were already in the works for a few years before the VIC40 C64 came out, several of them morphed into single board designs with 64K.  I'm not sure I agree with the XL was Atari's response to the C64.  Heck the 1200XL was already in the works when the C64 was announced/introduced.  Just think of the XL's as the cost reduced cheaper versions of the 800 repackaged.  Think of the XEs as a way to make money off of old stock parts and keep users alive while you flipped them to STs, let alone as a way for Jack to get back at C.

 

Anyway, the comparison of 48K to 64K RAM games I wouldn't consider a legitimate argument as to which system won and which failed.  The 800 already had several memory expansions that some dedicated applications could use.  Most, not all, 64K XL software could still run on 48K, they just had less disk access with 64K -- similar to the 128K (Think: AR Dungeon), some might have had some better sound effects (MegaBlast).  I would imagine many demos later in the 8bit life required 64K or more, but exactly how many applications failed to run at all if you didn't have 64K?  Not many.

 

Developers catered to the most common base: 48K SD disk drive.  The same thing happened on the C64: 64K, 1541 Disks.

 

Heck how many C64 apps require 128K ala the C128. (Probably more than the 64K XL in hindsight)

 

As a "commercial success" indicator, well, I would think Atari sold way more XL/XE than any amount of 800s.  It is hard to find sales numbers, and the ones I've seen combine 400/800 together.  If anything its an even split between the pre XL and post 400/800 amounts.

 

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6 hours ago, kheller2 said:

Heck how many C64 apps require 128K ala the C128. (Probably more than the 64K XL in hindsight

None, not a single C64 software package that I know of requires 128k as almost all 64k with the exception of some IO space was available to the programmer via bank switching. Considering both the C64 and the C128 were retailing at the same time, the 128 was in no way the true successor to the C64, and in comparison to the C64 the 128 has almost no native software available for it. It's a bit like saying the C64 was the true successor to the VIC-20 - It wasn't, both platforms weren't compatible, even the underlying architecture differed. There was no true successor to the VIC-20 in the same way there was no true successor to the C64.

 

Everyone I know that ran the 128 in the day ran it in C64 mode.

Edited by Mazzspeed

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8 hours ago, Mazzspeed said:

None, not a single C64 software package that I know of requires 128k as almost all 64k with the exception of some IO space was available to the programmer via bank switching. Considering both the C64 and the C128 were retailing at the same time, the 128 was in no way the true successor to the C64, and in comparison to the C64 the 128 has almost no native software available for it. It's a bit like saying the C64 was the true successor to the VIC-20 - It wasn't, both platforms weren't compatible, even the underlying architecture differed. There was no true successor to the VIC-20 in the same way there was no true successor to the C64.

 

Everyone I know that ran the 128 in the day ran it in C64 mode.

 

Now I'm derailing the topic :)

 

https://rclassiccomputers.com/c128software/

Seems like a lot of dedicated 128 software... but not because of RAM.

 

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