Jump to content
The Strangest

What made you want to start collecting 5200?

Recommended Posts

I used to think I didn’t want to collect for the 5200 but now I’m intrigued and on the fence.

 

I do want to collect for Atari 8-bit computers also, but I’m a bit turned away by the prospect of finding the discs, a drive, and loading them. The cartridges of the 5200 seem like a nice alternative.

 

If you didn’t grow up with the system, what pushed you over the fence and into collecting for the 5200?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it was two games that I knew about and wanted to play. Once I played them on a real 5200 I was hooked and started to collect from there. Those two games I've said in several other threads over the years but they were...

 

Star Raiders and

Rescue of Fractalus

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it was seeing and playing Tempest on a 5200 (w/Trak-Ball controller) at the 2015 Classic Game Festival in Austin.@Albert had an awesome AtariAge setup at the festival.

 

*Note* Rescue on Fractalus is great!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Wanted contemporary home-video-game-console versions of Arcades I played as a kiddo; ie from systems contemporary to the original Arcade-originals.

1) Star Wars 

2) Pole Position

3) Pengo

 

 

Discovered lots of other interesting games in the process...

Edited by Giles N
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was young, say 5th or 6th grade, I had a best friend who had a 5200, and playing it together was a very impressionable experience, especially Centipede with the Trakball.  I never got around to getting one in my youth. . . got a 7800 (for my birthday or something) when I was in high-school.

 

To me, the mid-80s was the pinnacle of video-arcade culture; and I discovered later. . . I guess in my mid-to-late 30s. . . that the 5200 had some very good ports from cabinet-arcade machines of that era. . . Centipede, Qix, Space Dungeon, Robotron 2084, etc. . . games I remember  having enjoyed very much as a kid whenever I had an opportunity to go to the arcade.

 

We move around a lot, so collecting the actual cabinets is not practical (I'm particularly fond of the cocktail arcade-tables); in my mind, the 5200 is the next best thing.  The homebrew ports of those early-mid 80s classics have been a wonderful addition to the 5200 library.

 

I suppose also there's that feeling that the 2600 and the 5200 were most representative of the at-home arcade gaming phenomenon, when Atari was still Atari (Atari Inc.), before the so-called Crash.  There was such a frenzied whirlwind of innovation in the 80s; it seemed like every so many months there were things being made to change how you saw, felt, and interacted with the world.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, patroclus99 said:

the 5200 had some very good ports from cabinet-arcade machines of that era. . . Centipede, Qix, Space Dungeon, Robotron 2084, etc. . .

This.👍

Space Dungeon is actually a home console exclusive and an excellent twin-stick game.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, patroclus99 said:

When I was young, say 5th or 6th grade, I had a best friend who had a 5200, and playing it together was a very impressionable experience, especially Centipede with the Trakball.  I never got around to getting one in my youth. . . got a 7800 (for my birthday or something) when I was in high-school.

 

To me, the mid-80s was the pinnacle of video-arcade culture; and I discovered later. . . I guess in my mid-to-late 30s. . . that the 5200 had some very good ports from cabinet-arcade machines of that era. . . Centipede, Qix, Space Dungeon, Robotron 2084, etc. . . games I remember  having enjoyed very much as a kid whenever I had an opportunity to go to the arcade.

 

Same here (almost).  Best friend had a 5200, we'd play that thing all night on weekends.  I had the 2600 (which was the king of alternate game options).  Years later when I became aware of the A/V conversions I decided to get a 5200 and ditch that power brick.  Even back in the day I loved the analog joystick (except maybe for the lack of centering but I quickly got used to it, certainly lightyears better than that painful Intellivision disc) so that was never a deterrent (Vectrex has an analog stick as well so I guess I'm biased).  I also have an Atari 800 home computer so I was aware of Atari 8-bit family and the games, and specifically Star Raiders but when I saw how much better the 5200 version was with that joystick (and having all the controls on the keypad) I was hooked.  And that was before the great homebrews and released protos available now.  Tempest is fantastic and I'm looking forward to playing Scramble.

 

Ya, to me the '80s were thee best for arcade games and home video games.  I know more recent stuff is faster, more powerful, better graphics.  But I miss the innovation, the variety of early '80s arcade games (especially the unique controllers) and home consoles.  I don't give a goddamn about sims.  But it ends with 8-bit hardware.  Can't stand 16-bit and beyond, cannot stand that shit.  I'd much rather play Tempest, Xevious, Centipede, Star Trek: SOS, Armor..Attack, Red Baron, etc., than the newer stuff.  And the 5200 embodies that vibe.

 

But I guess I'm old-school, I mean I'd rather watch old theatrical cartoons for days over anything recently animated, that stuff is trash.  I have all the WB and MGM cartoons I can find (including laserdisc), the DePatie-Freleng stuff (Pink Panther, The Inspector), all the Disney cartoons that were released in those Walt Disney Treasures tins, there's no comparison.  Same goes for 8-bit for me.  There's just something about having to make solid, quick, fun video games in that environment compared to new games that eat gigs of diskspace and require 4-core CPUs.  No thanks, I want to live in Flynn's arcade, that upstairs looked roomy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found my Atari 5200 first on eBay in 2006 untested w/5 games for $15 dollars. So I bid and won it, very cheap. Got it, set it all up... powered on fine, controllers didn't work, so I put it away for a couple years. I suspected they wouldn't work from what I heard, so I wasn't dissapointed.

 

Then I came back to it, read some game reviews... the graphics, game library seemed impressive considering the wonky controllers ended its shelf-life too soon. I wanted to play some more Atari games, so I had the controllers repaired by a friend at AA, got a nice deal $ to pay him for a clean and fixing (if broken) He said they were in good shape, and just needed cleaning mostly.

 

I like the controller design actually, if it wasn't so fragile. I prefer it over 2600, and 7800 standard controllers. The keypad is cool, and the stick is very comfortable, easy to move... and all buttons are easy to push. Yeah the Joystick doesn't center itself... but really doesn't matter to me most of times. My 5200 controllers are working pretty well, just 1 of 4 fire buttons is off.

 

I enjoy the games 5200 library has, most are decent quality. I even like Galaxian best on 5200, also Defender and a few others like Pac-man and Moon Patrol are really good as well. :) 👍

------------------------------------------------

 

As for Atari VCS standard joysticks,

I really would like comfort and simplicity of these best, IF if... they all were made with more give on the joystick itself, kills my right hand, and the spring or fire button didn't feel like I was pushing it "twice" (most of 'em), and worst for me... they all break too easy! Either the wire bends loose, or the domes quit. I repaired about 10 and eventually none working properly... not one! Also the sticky rubber feet "fall off" over time, hate when those things come off. 😕

 

If you find a good one though... its like YEAH why can't they all be this way!!!! :o

 

I have an Epyx controller for over 20 years and still working well today. Its what I am using right now, because my last 2 standard are fussy, unresponding after fixing, and losing more of their rubber feet. 😛

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in the 90's, I stopped late at a flea mkt and most vendors were packing up. left behind at one spot, I found a 5200 console and took it home. I was determined to make it work and found a few games locally, then stumbled on one for sale in the 2nd hand paper magazine then. I bought it and between the two, made one work that I still use today. Yeah, I had all the same games on other things: 2600, C64, Tandyvision, etc, but the 5200 made them all feel new again. I use the CX52 almost exclusively still, but understand the grief it gets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, The Strangest said:

I used to think I didn’t want to collect for the 5200 but now I’m intrigued and on the fence.

I kind of skipped some of the practical considerations re. the 5200 which may, or may not, be important to you; it was the DeLorean of game-consoles. . . cool AF. . . but really a POS.

 

I should probably point out that, in my opinion, it's one of the more maintenance-prone consoles. . . more so than most other legacy consoles of that era; it had some cutting-edge features, most notably the controllers.  I think when the design folks were sitting around the project-table,  most of them probably agreed the silkscreens and production-drafts for these controllers looked really good, but at the accounting and manufacturing level there were some changes made which rendered the controllers nigh useless.  The problem was the buttons, because I think the conductive polymer dots between the flex-circuit and the buttons themselves were not good at all.   I believe they're carbon/graphite-based, but the compound they used is not reactive enough with devices that operate at such low voltages.  What eventually happens is that the dots, under repeated use, muck-up the contacts on the flex-circuit, and this near non-conductive residue negates contact.  I also believe these dots start to become inert with age.  It was a disastrous implementation.  Because with this console, if the controllers don't work, the console doesn't work; the only interface on the console is the power button, everything else is on the controller, which in theory is incredibly slick.  Conductive polymers can actually work really well; controllers today have them still.

 

So, if you get a 5200, the first thing you'll need to do is refit and refurbish the controllers, if you want to use the stock controllers.  But you don't have to use them because there's other controller alternatives; there're controller adapters out there that allow you to use various controllers with this console.  However, you may run into some problems when playing games like Space Dungeon, Robotron 2084, Space Shuttle, Star Raiders, RealSports Baseball. . . oh hell, just fix the stock controllers.  But really, refitting and refurbishing the stock controllers isn't difficult if you're patient and have a nice clean, clutter-free work area (I use the kitchen counter).  Typically, all that needs to be done is creating solid contact points for buttons, and refurbishing the potentiometers.  There are many good suggestions and resources here on the forum, and there are also some incredibly good videos on YouTube.  And there're controller repair-kits and so forth that are widely available.

 

Also, logic-chip failures on the system-board seem to occur often, relatively speaking.  So these will need to be replaced every now and then.  They're easy to replace.  When working on the board, be sure to wear an anti-static wrist-strap or something; it doesn't take much to wreck these old chips.  And there's always the crapped-out capacitor and such.  I will say, however, that I've only come across a broken trace once or twice, and that was on the controller flex-circuit.

 

So, consequently, if you don't like tinkering with electronics, quite honestly, you want to stay as far away from the 5200 as possible.  But, if you don't mind working on things like this, you'll find it incredibly rewarding. . . hope this was helpful. . . good luck!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never had a 5200 as a kid, but I knew a few people who did and I always though it was an amazing system.  I think it was around 2006 or so when I got on a 5200 emulation kick.  After realizing that I was spending a lot of time playing Berzerk I decided I had to fulfill the childhood dream and get me one of those things.

 

I started collecting games and after I discovered the homebrew scene, started learning how to program for the beast.  Now over a decade later, I'm only missing nine of the original releases and I've written three games.  It's been a fun ride.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info everyone. Lots to consider here. The software is extremely enticing, it’s just the maintenance of the controllers that is the final barrier for me. I’ll have to check out some tutorials or look into refurbishing services!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well when I was like 7, 8, 9 we had a 2nd hand Atari 2600 and 400 computer (with disk drive and bootlegs).  I enjoyed the 2600, but the 400 was too difficult at that age for me to really comprehend so I rarely touched it.  Plus my mother felt the PSU was too big and would burn the living room down!  Anyway, I treasured the one copy of the Atari Stars poster which I had, and used to really marvel at the games listed for the 5200.  As a result, decades later I just wanted to get one for that nostalgic reason and have always been fond of it.

 

@The Strangest You could hunt down a WICO or Competition Pro joystick though both are a lot of money.  My advice is to look up the @MakerMatrix 5200 game pad controller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only got a 5200 last month, so I'm very new. I also never considered getting a 5200. I didn't own one as a kid, and I wasn't sure about getting into collecting for a new console. I did play it regularly at my friend's house as a kid in the early 80s. I loved playing RS Football with him although he crushed me all the time.

 

Couple of months ago, I decided to get a 5200 because, first and foremost, it's an Atari console. Even if I didn't play games on it, I'd have wanted one for display alone. I found the perfect one here in the AA for sale forum right when I started looking, one lovingly restored by Crossbow. Second, I decided early on to get the AtariMax cartridge and not buy actual games to save space. Third, I read up on the 5200 controller situation and decided that it way overblown. I saw YouTube videos on the adapter made by @ikonsgr that allow you to use other controllers (e.g., Genesis gamepad) with the 5200.

 

So, where am I now with the 5200? I'm still in the process of setting it up. The adapter from ikonsgr arrived a couple of days ago. I did get the AtariMax cartridge, but I found a great deal on a bunch of 5200 CIB games on ebay and bought most of them. I also got a tube TV a few weeks ago and that's made a huge difference to the gaming experience. I now have 2600, 5200, and 7800 consoles, and I am very happy. The first time I played 5200 Berzerk, I knew I made the right decision. The 5200 is a thing of beauty that has gone under appreciated too long. It kills me that one of my favorite YouTubers, Metal Jesus Rocks, called it out as the worst console. Oh well, to each his own, but I'm right and he's dead wrong :) 

 

Edited by socrates63
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got it for Christmas in 1983, my very first system. It's the system that started it all for me. I love gaming and collecting because of it. While not my favorite system today it is the one that will always be a part of my life. Love collecting ANY homebrew or conversion cart because the system was capable of so much more than just 2600 ports. The best original release has got to be Space Dungeon. It's an obscure arcade game and the 5200 is the only system that saw a PORT.  Looks, sounds and plays great despite some minor slowdown. The couple makes that game

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, socrates63 said:

It kills me that one of my favorite YouTubers, Metal Jesus Rocks, called it out as the worst console.

Yep...this is when I stopped following him.

 

Btw, congrats on your purchase. Crossbow does excellent work.👍

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you @sramirez2008! I’m extremely happy that I got one that was fully restored by Jesse. Buying old electronics is a bit of a crapshoot, so getting one from him meant a lot to me.
 

BTW there are multiple “sramirez” on AA :o But you knew that already 😊

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People kept throwing in 5200 carts as bonuses in trades for other systems (this was fifteen years ago, when most commons were worth next to nothing). I believe that I had 20 or so commons, a multicart, and a trackball before I finally threw in the towel and bought a console. :)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never much collected for the 5200 beyond what was available back in the day. I loved the styling of the console. Quite futuristic and fun to play while having sci-fi movies on in the background. I only became a little miffed when I fully realized the games were essentially the same as what I had on the 400/800.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple things to consider is that Edladdin looks to be coming close to releasing 5200 controllers which alleviate that hurdle for you. Also, regarding the 8-bit computer, check out some of the SD card solutions to avoid having to worry about disk drives.

Edited by stirrell
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/20/2020 at 9:04 PM, The Strangest said:

If you didn’t grow up with the system, what pushed you over the fence and into collecting for the 5200?

I was a Bit Wars kid who burned out on Nintendo and Sega. I was fascinated by "Atari" and got a 2600 in the late '90s. Then I wanted to see what all the other Atari systems were about, and the 5200 was the next one. 🙂

 

An EGM article about retro systems from 1997 (where I first learned of the 5200, incidentally) described the 5200 as such: "A lot of the games that came out on the 2600 also came out for the 5200 and as gamers can probably guess, the graphics were a step up--that's right, there were 10 blocks instead of three. Actually, many of the games were almost arcade perfect, rivaling versions that have come out for newer systems [PlayStation, Saturn, Nintendo 64]." Interestingly, the blurb didn't mention the controllers at all--possibly the first and only instance of discussion about the Atari 5200 that didn't involve criticism of the controllers. 😆

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update - it looks like upgrading the controllers with the previously mentioned gold contacts is my best option, for now. Does the stick itself usually go bad too or should I be good there?

 

What pushed me over the edge was seeing all of the conversions of games from the 8-bit computer line over to the 5200 in the AA store. As much as I love having original software, the homebrew and hack scene of the Atari community really interests me too.

 

Still looking for a console, but I’m already on my way on the cartridges. Gyruss was one of the first games I saw that I wanted from the 5200 library so I’m glad to have grabbed that as my first game. And as a huge Sega Genesis fan, I love having these pre-console Sega carts.

 

Thanks for the input everyone!

 

E70ABD04-1573-44EB-BB97-8F5A066C1CCE.jpeg

10AC3C00-8F64-4982-9479-25ACD164A30E.jpeg

Edited by The Strangest
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...