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Drsoren24

is the 7800 necessary?

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As is often the case, such ignorance is it's own punishment.

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8 pages of trolling. Maybe make these topics for the 2600,5200,800xl,intellivision, coleco, xbox, gamecube, ps(etc.)  and see where it gets you.

 

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1 hour ago, Jinks said:

8 pages of trolling. Maybe make these topics for the 2600,5200,800xl,intellivision, coleco, xbox, gamecube, ps(etc.)  and see where it gets you.

A wonderful idea! But hardly need be repeated across multiple threads. Your job.

 

Most systems are "required" or fill their section of the market without duplicity. Unfortunately there are systems that don't. This applied to many companies of the day.

 

This happens when an overactive marketing department insists on making a new product without allowing technology to advance sufficiently. Or when a company feels pinched and needs to make "something". A perfect modern-day example is graphics cards. EVGA sells them with a granularity of $10, with equally small amounts of performance differences.

 

Consoles back in the day that were definitively unique and carved out their own space were:

Apple II+ and //e

Intellivision

Atari VCS

Atari 400/800

Atari 65/130xe

Vic-20

C-64

ColecoVision

Vectrex

Actrocade

NES

SMS

PS1

NeoGeo

Sega Genesis

SNES

JAG

3DO

XBOX

TS1000

TRS-80 CoCo 1 & 3

TRS-80 I/III

..and perhaps a few others I'm forgetting at this moment.

 

Other systems were not significantly different enough or only had minor improvements. They were spinoffs, repackage jobbers, "spiritual replacements", or intermediaries with minimal technical advances. A list of such systems would start with:

Atari 600/800xl (with the 800xl being a top seller)

Commodore 128

Apple //c

Platinum//e (a remote possibility)

Atari 7800

Atari 5200

Atari 2600 jr.

Plus4

Intellivision II

Commodore 16

XE Game System

..and likely more.

 

Peeps gonna hate if their fav system isn't in the first category. It is what it is. And that's ok.

Edited by Keatah

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If not for my 7800, the books it's acting as a bookend for would fall over.  I'd then have to rearrange them, which would be mildly annoying.

 

Of course, that happens every time I hook it up to the TV & play games on it.  But that's different.

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6 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

Im still on the hunt for a 7800, would love to own one. Remarkable machine to say the least

 

In a way, it's a machine that I'm glad that I came to later in life as opposed to when it was still current.  Being able to compare it objectively to its then-competition without getting caught up in platform wars really makes it possible to see how well it stacked up (and still stacks up) against other machines of the time.

 

It's a pity that Atari handled it the way that they did.  Truly a squandered opportunity.

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11 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

In a way, it's a machine that I'm glad that I came to later in life as opposed to when it was still current.  Being able to compare it objectively to its then-competition without getting caught up in platform wars really makes it possible to see how well it stacked up (and still stacks up) against other machines of the time.

 

It's a pity that Atari handled it the way that they did.  Truly a squandered opportunity.

It's a strange comparison between machines of the time. Reason i say is because the system was technically 3 years old by the time of official release (almost completed it's hardware lifespan). I used to compare the system to NES and SMS however i hardly think it's fair to go by release dates alone. I mean the hardware was intended to compete against the colecovision in 83. Having said that the system still gives the NES and SMS a run for their money for the sheer fact of the number of sprites Maria can handle (it's a beast).

 

If only the system had a few further tweaks and the pokey chip at the minimum when they decided to re-release the system. Anyway it is what it is and i agree looking back nowadays after the dust has settled, all the bullshit can be put aside. I can now appreciate the system for what it is rather then comparing.

 

Homebrew scene shows the system was hardly pushed to its full potential with the original titles - plus or minus a few.

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43 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

Im still on the hunt for a 7800, would love to own one. Remarkable machine to say the least

I got mine already thanks to a small loan from @CPUWIZ so I can get one, I plan to get a Concerto multicart to go with it, I already have all the games ready on an SD card for her too!!!

 

Here is the unit I got, don't worry, I have plenty of CX24 controllers I bought deadstock some many years ago so I have parts for them so never mind the one missing the metal bezel on it. And, another good thing, the unit still has the protective plastic foil on the metal strip so it's unscratched!!!

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATARI-7800-CONSOLE-BOXED-WITH-POWER-CORD-2-CONTROLLERS-WORKS/274527518141?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Edited by BIGHMW
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2 hours ago, Keatah said:

Other systems were not significantly different enough or only had minor improvements. They were spinoffs, repackage jobbers, "spiritual replacements", or intermediaries with minimal technical advances.

 

This may be a mistake, but Ill bite. Which of those terms and phrases — spinoff, repackage jobber, spiritual replacement, intermediary with minimal technical advances — do you think applies to the 7800, and from what earlier system?

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42 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

It's a strange comparison between machines of the time. Reason i say is because the system was technically 3 years old by the time of official release (almost completed it's hardware lifespan). I used to compare the system to NES and SMS however i hardly think it's fair to go by release dates alone. I mean the hardware was intended to compete against the colecovision in 83. Having said that the system still gives the NES and SMS a run for their money for the sheer fact of the number of sprites Maria can handle (it's a beast).

 

Agreed.  I look at the 7800, NES, and SMS as being the first significant entries into the third generation of console gaming, with each one having its own strengths and weaknesses.  Having said that, I also see where it would have been competing more or less directly against the Colecovision, at least in the North American market.  Realistically, though, that would not have been a difficult obstacle to overcome - Coleco was already losing interest in its electronics division after the Adam fiasco, and were looking to move into more profitable areas like Cabbage Patch Kid dolls.

 

42 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

 

If only the system had a few further tweaks and the pokey chip at the minimum when they decided to re-release the system. Anyway it is what it is and i agree looking back nowadays after the dust has settled, all the bullshit can be put aside. I can now appreciate the system for what it is rather then comparing.

 

Yep, sound is definitely the 7800's one out-of-the-box shortfall.  That said, as a price reduction measure, I can see why the decision to go with 2600 audio and allow cartridges to include anything supplemental they might need was the one that won out.  A 7800 with an AMY, though...  That would've been a hell of a combination for 1984, and one I would've also liked to have seen in the ST and XE range.  That's a complete tangent, though.

 

42 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

 

Homebrew scene shows the system was hardly pushed to its full potential with the original titles - plus or minus a few.

 

Absolutely.  It really does amaze me as to just how much creativity the 7800 has brought out of people; for a system that never realised its full potential when current, it truly does seem to be attracting folks now who can just wring the daylights out of its capabilities and then some.

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The 7800 system is unique.. Comparing it to a 2600jr(vcs)and a 5200(8 bit computer) makes no sense..Name another console that plays 7800 games?? 

So yeah go to the other forums to troll those consoles if you want to make friends. Tag your it! 😛

 

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4 hours ago, bizarrostormy said:

This may be a mistake, but Ill bite. Which of those terms and phrases — spinoff, repackage jobber, spiritual replacement, intermediary with minimal technical advances — do you think applies to the 7800, and from what earlier system?

It doesn't have to be a mistake. As long as others can learn to respect people with differing opinions everything will be fine.

 

Atari saw the system as a real successor to, and replacement for, the 5200. And because of that they should have included 5200 compatibility. But I see it as the 2600's spiritual successor, because of the original TIA chip and 2600 backward compatibility.

 

The console should have been launched in 1984 (as soon as it was ready). By the time it did launch in 1986 "port fatigue" as I like to call it had set in. What was available on one system was often made for many others. If not the same precise game, then look-a-likes and play-a-likes. Consoles were beginning to become redundant. Not only that, but attention was becoming more focused on computers and even the possibility (at that time) of owning a PC at home. Never mind the first up & coming 386 machines from would be costing $20,000! We all knew prices would drop.

 

 

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Insists on respectful discourse shortly after asserting the proper use for a 7800 is to hold up another machine.

Asserts that the 7800 is part of a set of "spinoffs, repackage jobbers, "spiritual replacements", or intermediaries with minimal technical advances" and holds up this very hardware based assertion with an explanation about the game software being arcade titles - which are the same kind of titles he lauds in the 2600 homebrew scene, no less. 

 

Honestly folks, Karl was right. I've put the troll on ignore.

 

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9 hours ago, Keatah said:

Atari saw the system as a real successor to, and replacement for, the 5200. And because of that they should have included 5200 compatibility. But I see it as the 2600's spiritual successor, because of the original TIA chip and 2600 backward compatibility.

 

And this is where I think Atari made one of their more major mistakes with the 7800: it wasn't clear enough in its mission to be a replacement for the 5200.

 

Having said that, built-in 2600 compatibility was, IMHO, a good idea - after all, the 2600 had a much larger userbase than the 5200, and therefore potentially more users (and purchasers) looking for an upgrade path.  Being able to keep playing their 2600 games would have been a good draw for the system where the 5200's VCS adapter hadn't really worked out.

 

However, there's no reason why the 5200 owners couldn't have been tossed a bone in the form of a 5200 adapter.  Hang it off of the expansion port so that it's an optional extra and let the smaller number of folks looking to move from that platform decide how they feel about backwards compatibility with that system.

 

The 7800 would absolutely have needed better sound capabilities, though.  At least one POKEY if not two, or even an AMY.  Hell, an onboard POKEY could even have been used by a 5200 or 8-bit computer adapter, price-reducing those peripherals if at the expense of increasing system costs for the 7800 itself.

 

In a sense, the 7800 could have been what the XEGS was three years later - just in a more modular fashion, and able to be built up over time.

 

9 hours ago, Keatah said:

The console should have been launched in 1984 (as soon as it was ready). By the time it did launch in 1986 "port fatigue" as I like to call it had set in. What was available on one system was often made for many others. If not the same precise game, then look-a-likes and play-a-likes. Consoles were beginning to become redundant. Not only that, but attention was becoming more focused on computers and even the possibility (at that time) of owning a PC at home. Never mind the first up & coming 386 machines from would be costing $20,000! We all knew prices would drop.

 

Agreed on the above, and this is where I come back to the 7800-cum-XEGS idea: it could have offered actual expandability into a real computer system with a massive pre-existing software library, which was something that nobody ever quite managed to pull off successfully.  The Coleco Adam came close, but its own issues basically hung it by its neck.

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Would a 5200 adapter have been practical from both a cost and technical point? The ColecoVision had a 2600 adapter that was essentially a replication of the 2600's hardware. From the looks of what's onboard the 7800, a 5200 adapter would essentially need a complete 8-bit computer in it. I see that as being too expensive for the time. Especially the later years.

 

I often wondered why a POKEY wasn't in 7800. Was it again cost? A shame because I always preferred it above most other sound chips of the day. Including the venerable SID. The 7800 had fresh graphics in the form of MARIA, so why not fresh sound?

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2 hours ago, Keatah said:

Would a 5200 adapter have been practical from both a cost and technical point?

 

I think it could have been, but that hinges on a couple of caveats.  More:

 

Quote

The ColecoVision had a 2600 adapter that was essentially a replication of the 2600's hardware. From the looks of what's onboard the 7800, a 5200 adapter would essentially need a complete 8-bit computer in it. I see that as being too expensive for the time. Especially the later years.

 

Points taken.  However, with an expansion port that was more akin to the PBI on the XL range, a 5200 or 8-bit computer adapter could potentially have leveraged both the 6502 and a (notional) POKEY in the 7800.  That would obviate the need to include them in those peripherals, dropping their prices accordingly.  Of course, the peripherals would still need to contain things like the respective OS ROMs, ports unique to each system (5200 joysticks and SIO spring to mind), and so forth - but they wouldn't have needed to be fully-fledged machines in their own right like the Colecovision's 2600 adapter was.

 

Quote

I often wondered why a POKEY wasn't in 7800. Was it again cost? A shame because I always preferred it above most other sound chips of the day. Including the venerable SID. The 7800 had fresh graphics in the form of MARIA, so why not fresh sound?

 

My suspicion has always been that it somehow tied back to the 7800 being a GCC product as opposed to an Atari in-house design.  This is pure speculation on my behalf, but given the timing of the 7800's creation I can see why Atari wouldn't want to throw any more money at it than was absolutely necessary.  Since it was effectively 100% paid for when GCC handed them the final hardware, any reengineering by Sunnyvale would've likely been viewed as the company unnecessarily spending money on a completed project that was really close to RTM, and especially so with the losses that Atari was sustaining at the time.

 

And yep, I absolutely understand how self-defeating that sounds...  But that sums up a lot of decisions Atari made.

 

One other advantage that Atari could have potentially generated from this: killing the 2600 line.  Just build it into the 7800 and skip the 2600Jr.  Let the 7800 be the final hurrah for that platform, as well as the 5200 and 8-bit range (but continue the XL range separately until the 7800 is EOL'd).  Start shifting focus to the 16-bit world, both in terms of consoles and home computers.  This would have kept a lot of established users in the family, so to speak, while giving them a clear upgrade path to the next-generation machines.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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On 10/10/2020 at 6:11 PM, Keatah said:

Atari 600/800xl (with the 800xl being a top seller)

I would argue that the 600/800XL is necessary, and the XE isn't..   Espeically the 65XE which isn't much more than an 800XL made cheaply.

600XL was necessary when released because it brought a proper keyboard in an entry-level package (unlike the 400).   But the price war meant it wasn't necessary for long

 

And a 2600 successor console was necessary, but only one.   Atari mishandled both the 5200 and 7800.

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On 10/11/2020 at 2:18 PM, Keatah said:

Would a 5200 adapter have been practical from both a cost and technical point? The ColecoVision had a 2600 adapter that was essentially a replication of the 2600's hardware. From the looks of what's onboard the 7800, a 5200 adapter would essentially need a complete 8-bit computer in it. I see that as being too expensive for the time. Especially the later years.

 

I often wondered why a POKEY wasn't in 7800. Was it again cost? A shame because I always preferred it above most other sound chips of the day. Including the venerable SID. The 7800 had fresh graphics in the form of MARIA, so why not fresh sound?

Supposedly because of physical space on the motherboard.   They didn't want another "huge" system like the 5200, but the 600XL showed that the 5200 didn't need to be huge.

 

Better console solution to me would be the 5200 with Maria-like sprite capabilities.  That would have been a killer console for the time.   Make a 2600 adaptor for it.

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THREAD_TOPIC        EQU $2808

; -/W

; Writing any value contributes noise to the thread and increments the subject counter by one.

;

; After 192 ($C0) writes the subject counter will automatically wrap back to $00. While the counter's value can't be

; read directly the loopback point can be detected by an uptick in complaining about the hardware's poor audio, lack

; of POKEY, and assumptions regarding GCC's intention to make their own way-better-than-anything-ever sound chip

; which could have saved the 7800, satiated world hunger, cured all diseases, cleaned up all pollution, ended all fighting,

; and funded the development of a truly sentient robot dog.

Edited by TailChao
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The 7800 is a weird one. On one hand, the 8-bit line is better in many ways, on the other, it's MARIA/Sprite handling capabilities are superior. It's a step forward in terms of sprites and a step backwards in terms of sound and (often) cheap, quick ports. Had Atari included a POKEY or some other sound chip, taken the time to do quality ports, and not been giant cheap asses, I would be less on the fence in terms of 'historical necessity' even though I had one at launch and always really enjoyed a few games from the library.

However, this doesn't take into account the modern Atariage homebrew library, particularly Bob's stuff. When you add in all of the incredibly good arcade ports and homebrews, especially the stuff you can get nowhere else like Pac Man collection, Baby Pac, Moon Cresta, Frenzy, Space Duel, Failsafe, Crystal Quest, Rikki and Vikki, and so on, I really do think the console becomes essential. It went from a console I'd drag out occasionally to play Desert Falcon, Xevious and Midnight Mutants on a couple of times a year to one of my go-to arcade port consoles I keep perpetually hooked up. 

Honestly, I think the 7800 is literally the only console in history where fans of the system have retroactively made the library twice as good as the original games made it. The programmers here have really shows what the console is/was capable of, had it gotten the support it deserved back in the 80s.

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