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Drsoren24

is the 7800 necessary?

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  I am a huge 5200 fan.  I have tons of games, alternate controllers and love the system.  I was thinking about getting a 7800 and the more research I do on it the more I ask myself...why?  It uses the same processor as the 5200, the sound is crap, the only upgrade seems to be the graphics.  Most of the games that I'm interested in are on the 5200.  The only ones that are on the 7800 that I want that are not on the 5200 are food fight and galaga, and I have them on other systems.  I would like ikari warriors and a couple others too, but they are really expensive and not exclusive and cheaper on the other platforms. The homebrews seem to cost more on the 7800 also.  So I guess my question to all you 7800 fans is why do you like them, and is it worth getting one for somebody who has a great 5200?  

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Better controller options, great sound on homebrews, console and controllers are durable, the graphics are more colorful the the dull 8 bit computers. Lots of exciting homebrews!  Rikki and vikki. Bentley Bear and 10 or 20 others are great reasons to have a 7800

 Watch u tube vids and then decide for yourself. 

 

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What Jinks said, but I'd also recommend grabbing a 7800 emulator and playtest all the roms of homebrews that are available freely on the forums here.  I gained a lot of my appreciation for the system while playing through homebrews and the like and seeing what it did and reading up on the hardware itself to see what sorts of things it was capable of that weren't even tapped yet.

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Yes try the javascript emulator and drag and drop roms to try games!! 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Drsoren24 said:

 The homebrews seem to cost more on the 7800 also. 

There are some things you need to understand with the 7800 compare to the 5200 from a homebrew side. Baby Pac-Man costs $50.00 right now because it is a boxed version. Albert later on sells the same game not in a box with being $15.00 to $20.00 cheaper. 

 

Bentley Bear's Crystal Castle, and Super Circus Atariage costs $75.00 right now for 2 reasons. They are currently boxed only. The 2nd reason is those 2 games have a Pokeyone sound chip built inside a game cartridge. 

 

Froggie, Beef Drop VE, and  Pac-Man Collection cost $65.00 each because of the Pokeyone sound chip.

 

That sound chip is not cheap to get, but it is a better option than taking Pokey sound chips out of 7800 Ballblazer cartridges.  The Pokeyone sound chip is a replacement for Atari's Pokey sound chip. The Atari 7800 cartridges were designed for adding sound chips and ram. GCC saw adding better sound chips inside a game cartridge as the answer for the 7800 having a very outdated sound chip inside the system itself.

 

If you complain about the Rikki and Vikki game price being almost $60.00, I have an explanation for that. Rikki and & Vikki's price is box related and it is very advanced 7800 game due to the amount of hardware built inside the game cartridge.

 

The game has a mapper and a music coprcessor inside the game cartridge. You are dealing with a game that has  512k of game code and graphics.  You are dealing with a game that is way more advanced than the Atari 5200 is capable of including sound.

 

Rikki and Vikki is basically a 7800 game done the NES/famicom way. The Nes had a lot games with mappers and this 7800 game has. Some Japanese famicom games even have a sound chip built side a game cartridge also.

 

 

 

Edited by 8th lutz
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I enjoy aspects of both systems, but the 5200 homebrew scene was once dominant, the 7800 has largely eclipsed it on the work of @PacManPlus, @TailChao, @CPUWIZ, Ken Siders, and many others I'm obviously forgetting off the top of my head, as well as the 7800 Basic team.  Pokeyone was a great idea.  I for one hope that the 5200 continues along, but it's really the Atari 8-bit homebrew scene that's alive, with the 5200 usually getting the sloppy seconds with 8-bit ports, ha ha!  I think there's a better "future" for the 7800 scene (regardless of XM).  Perhaps not to the level of the 2600, Colecovision or Intellivision, but a decent one, if we just had a new flash cart 😢.

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2 hours ago, Drsoren24 said:

  I am a huge 5200 fan.  I have tons of games, alternate controllers and love the system.  I was thinking about getting a 7800 and the more research I do on it the more I ask myself...why?  It uses the same processor as the 5200, the sound is crap, the only upgrade seems to be the graphics.  Most of the games that I'm interested in are on the 5200.  The only ones that are on the 7800 that I want that are not on the 5200 are food fight and galaga, and I have them on other systems.  I would like ikari warriors and a couple others too, but they are really expensive and not exclusive and cheaper on the other platforms. The homebrews seem to cost more on the 7800 also.  So I guess my question to all you 7800 fans is why do you like them, and is it worth getting one for somebody who has a great 5200?  

Well, you can play 2600 games on the 7800.  For me, that is a big selling point.  There are great versions of Asteroids, Centipede, Ms Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Food Fight, Robotron, Dig Dug and more.  If you don't mind the 80s look of the 7800, you can basically get rid of your 2600 (assuming you have one). 

 

1 hour ago, 8th lutz said:

The game has a mapper and a music coprcessor inside the game cartridge. You are dealing with a game that has  512k of game code and graphics.  You are dealing with a game that is way more advanced than the Atari 5200 is capable of including sound.

 

Rikki and Vikki is basically a 7800 game done the NES/famicom way. The Nes had a lot games with mappers and this 7800 game has. Some Japanese famicom games even have a sound chip built side a game cartridge also.

What, exactly, is a mapper?

 

2 hours ago, Jinks said:

Watch u tube vids and then decide for yourself. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I do not have a 5200, but an Atari 800 XL that I am co owner of since late 2018.

 

I do not have 5200 for a few reasons. The 5200 has a well known controller issue. The 5200 got a lot of Atari 8 bit computer conversions after its commercial life ended. A lot of the 5200 games also were on the Atari 8 bit computers also. The 5200 does not get a big homebrew scene at all.

 

I have the Atari 7800 that my younger brother and I got for Christmas in 1989 as a Christmas gift. I was born in the later period of generation X. I already had an Intellivision 2 with a 2600 super charger and an Atari 2600 Jr.  Having a 7800 made sense since I already had 2600 games. I did get a NES in 1991. 

 

The 7800 is a very good game console if you are into arcade ports. It also had Midnight Mutants, and Ninja Golf as original games. 

 

The homebrew scene has some impressive stuff and I feel it is at its peak right now. There are a lot of 7800 games being worked on currently. Some of the 7800 homebrew games currently being worked on are not on the 5200 or any other game console. My Atari 7800 also works with 2600 homebrew games.

 

As far as yourself goes, I can not give you a straight answer. What I can tell you is look at videos on homebrew Atari 7800 games, try playing Atari 7800 games by Emulation and look if any upcoming Atari 7800 games you would be interested in.

 

Here is a link for the upcoming 7800 games: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by 8th lutz
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6 minutes ago, christo930 said:

What, exactly, is a mapper?

 

 

A mapper is various circuits, hardware,  and the configuration and capabilities inside a game cartridge.  Mappers are designed to extend the system and bypass its limitations, such as by adding RAM to the cartridge or even extra sound channels.

 

Here is an example of a mapper: 

 

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3 hours ago, Drsoren24 said:

 ...is it worth getting one for somebody who has a great 5200?  

Well...why not? 😜 It's a different experience than the Atari 5200. There are quite a few games that didn't appear on the 5200, and the titles they have in common have a different flavor.

 

If you don't have, or don't want to deal with the 5200's VCS Adapter, the 7800 is also handy for playing 2600 games.

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4 hours ago, Drsoren24 said:

and is it worth getting one for somebody who has a great 5200?

Hell yeah, it's worth getting...

 

...Original Library...

Robotron (Best home version). I own a 2/4 Port 5200 & play 5200 Robotron with an Edladdin Super Twin, but still prefer the 7800 version.

Asteroids - excellent version

Food Fight

Alien Brigade

Ikari Warriors

Midnight Mutants

Commando

 

...Prorotypes...

Plutos

Sirius

 

...Homebrews...

Baby Pac-Man (Home console exclusive)

Beef Drop

Bently Bear Crystal Quest

Dungeon Stalker

Froggie

Pac-Man Collection

Rikki & Vikki

Super Circus Atariage

T:ME Salvo

 

...WIP's...

Arkanoid

Dragon's Cache

Dragon's Descent 

Knight Guy - Castle Days

Millie and Molly

Spire of the Ancients

 

 

 

 

 

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I think you have your answer already, but to throw my two cents in...

 

If you care just about the official library, the 5200 is much better than the 7800, in my opinion.  Thanks in part to being gimped by Nintendo's anti-competitive practices and Atari arguably giving up prematurely on the 7800 for an ill-fated revival of the 8-bit computer line, there isn't much to choose from, and a lot of what is available are games originally made famous on 8-bit computers that also play much better on those 8-bit computers.

 

However, thanks to homebrews, the 7800 is turning into a fine contender for best Atari console.  I would even say the homebrew selection for the 7800 easily beats that of the 5200.  Also, while there may not be a lot to choose from among the official library overall, some of those choices shine best on the 7800, particularly Ballblazer and Food Fight and arguably even Robotron 2084 and Xevious (not counting the original arcade games and their emulations, of course).

 

In short, the 7800 may not be "necessary", but I think it would be well worth your time.

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Many already covered the phenomenal homebrews and even great original titles.  As another reference, here's a link to a top 10 retail games list with some honorable mentions.  Of course, much of this is subjective: 

https://atari7800prosystem.blogspot.com/

 

Here is a link for a YouTube video list that covers much of the library, especially the better ones:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIsV_UGq8zBi6QqXp0uHLVeOCtilSmbN2

 

Check the Homebrews and Hacks thread.  Those listed are just the publicly known ones at this time with even more coming down the pipe:

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/232487-atari-7800-homebrews-and-hacks-thread/

 

Now, I'll give you another reason for owning the 7800...This part of the AtariAge community.  Other sections and platforms are wonderful too; however, this segment of the community I am particularly fond of.

 

There are some outstanding individuals you'll engage with not just having an interest or passion for the platform, but also for genuinely helping and even a sense of camaraderie.  Both the hardware and software side, player, tester, developer, combination of two or all three, overall just a pleasure to be a part of and among it all.

 

A place and community that even after ~20 years, I still find myself regularly participating and supporting.  No one and nothing is perfect, but this platform coupled with this community is just fantastic to me.

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13 hours ago, Mord said:

What Jinks said

Ironically, jinks is one game on the 7800 you'd want to avoid 😉

 

Otherwise I'm someone who prefers the 7800 over the 5200, especially for arcade ports. Robotron, food fight, Galaga, Centipede and asteroids are prime examples of games that either don't exist on the 5200 or are superior to their 5200 counterparts. Centipede is excellent on both to be honest. Homebrew scene is fantastic as others have mentioned.

 

I think I have the best of both worlds with a 7800 and an 800XL with a flash cart. Bottom line is a 7800 is well worth it and the best original games are fairly cheap and easy to get

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Well the OP is already knee deep in the 5200, and I presume is wondering if the 7800 is something he should go for?  i.e. if you like the 5200 as he does.  I still believe, simply based on "contemporary" games, which includes released, unreleased 5200 titles plus ports from 8-bit or wherever, you can be perfectly happy with the 5200, you don't need a 7800.  I would concur with his assessment that the 7800 has better graphics, particularly color depth, but the 5200 sound and music is 50x better.  Yes true, original game homebrew has a future on the 7800, but this guy seems to be a cart collector, and starting on 7800 will cost him hundreds of dollars.  My advice is @Drsoren24 to buy the AtariMax Ultimate SD, expand your 5200 library that way, and call it a day. 

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 Great reasons.  I recently discovered the wafer drive for the 5200, so I will be getting rid of all my carts that I have found a rom for.  Because of that I think I'm going to check out the 7800.  Does the 7800 have a wafer drive?  I looked on ebay and couldn't find one.

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Drsoren24, if you have nostalgia for the 5200, or are a collector, DO NOT, sell your carts.  All these flash drives are great, but if you are like me and many others, you will want to buy them back in the near future,  flashcarts are great, but are not like having a library on the shelf.  Also SD and micro SD cards have a 3-5 year lifespan and dominant media platforms always change, those carts may very well outlast us all.   I did this with my PC Engine collection and had to buy it all back.   Anyway on the 7800, almost every game thats on both consoles is superior on the 7800, but if you have a massive 5200 collection and you have working controllers, you'll probably be just fine sticking with the 5200. 

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17 hours ago, BassGuitari said:

Well...why not? 😜 It's a different experience than the Atari 5200. There are quite a few games that didn't appear on the 5200, and the titles they have in common have a different flavor.

 

If you don't have, or don't want to deal with the 5200's VCS Adapter, the 7800 is also handy for playing 2600 games.

 

To expound on this a little, as far as their original games lineups go, the 7800--it's handful of relatively impressive later titles notwithstanding--is really more of a sidestep from the 5200 than a true step up. In that sense, I think the 5200 and 7800 are great foils to each other. They fill in each others' gaps, so to speak.

 

Additionally, if the Atari 5200 is a console you're passionate about, I strongly advise against getting rid of your 5200 cartridges.

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3 hours ago, Drsoren24 said:

 Great reasons.  I recently discovered the wafer drive for the 5200, so I will be getting rid of all my carts that I have found a rom for.  Because of that I think I'm going to check out the 7800.  Does the 7800 have a wafer drive?  I looked on ebay and couldn't find one.

If you mean a cartridge that takes an SD card or anything similar (I've never heard them called "wafer drives" but it makes sense), then the answer is yes and no, sadly.  An old project known as the Cuttle Cart 2 lets you keep a library of 2600 and 7800 games on an MMC card, but sadly the CC2 hasn't been in production for well over a decade, and now they tend to go for a small fortune whenever one is served up for sale.  The makers of the 2600 Harmony cartridge are working on a 7800 version, but quirks between all the different hardware revisions of the 7800 have made that project difficult, and I haven't heard of any progress on that front for a couple of years now.

 

So, one does exist, and hopefully another will exist Real Soon Now, but at the moment it's not easy to get a hold of one.

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The answer is no SD cart is available, you're stuck buying carts on 7800, though most of them are not expensive.  Hopefully one comes out in the near future but current efforts seem well off.

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It's backwards compatible with the 2600. You get two consoles in one box!

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Yes is the simple answer.

 

The longer answer for me is that it has some of the best home versions of arcade games out there (both system originals and homebrew). Why not just use mame I hear you scream and play the actual arcade games!? Because in a lot of instances I find that the versions on the 7800 play better because they're not designed to let you play for 3 mins then ramp the difficulty stupidly like arcade games do in order to keep you feeding 10p into them. Indeed I think the 7800 has the best playing period arcade games of any system.

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I love my 7800's (I have PAL, NTSC and SECAM) but sold my 5200's because of reliability, the terrible controllers and my 8bit computers do more and take up less space

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