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Ricardo Cividanes da Silva

Why Atari 5200 was considerate a fail?

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On 4/19/2021 at 10:43 AM, Cafeman said:

Agreed.  It is possible that people with the opinion that the sticks were unusable had crappy busted sticks that were indeed unusable.  But among myself and 2 close friends, we bought new systems and new sticks and the accusation simply was not true.  We all had our own 5200's, and we played every game just fine with the stock sticks.   I never used the keypad for Frogger. You press the direction you want to go and press the button once for each hop .  That solution gives movement accuracy.  Q*bert truly benefited from the analog stick with true diagonals.  You just hold the button in to move (no repetitive presses like with Frogger), and release the button to safely stop (like on the edge next to a disc).   We could play Pac-Man endlessly with those sticks (there is a bug on the key levels where the ghosts stay blue until you eat them).  I don't remember problems playing Berzerk or Mario Bros or really anything.       I will say that I believe the version of CX52 I owned may have not been the original model. Mine had nice thick rubber around the sticks, which acted as a centering mechanism very well. 

 

However, I do remember my 2600 stick failing. Certain directions and the button started to wear out, but I probably used and abused those longer. And forget about the Colecovision and Intellivision sticks! I never got used to those and prefer good-condition 5200 sticks by far.  Basically all the systems after 2600 had somewhat disappointing controllers. It took Nintendo and SEGA to introduce easy-to-hold gamepads later on. 

 

I've probably responded to this type of discussion 20 times over the past 20 years.  I wasn't aware the sticks were so awful on 5200 until the 2000's internet told me, although I do concede that the sticks stop functioning quickly and need constant maintenance.   But in the 2 years in the 80's I had my 5200 hooked up, we never had a failed stick and never did any maintenance to them.   Eventually they did become problematic of course, but it took years.   And - when we went to the department stores, the hooked-up 5200 sticks were usually in worse shape than my own, but they did still work. 

 

 

Agree, never heard any complaints that I got the new better Atari, with crappy joysticks that dont work, it was more we got new Atari you can have the old one and all these games, they dont work on the new Atari.

 

The backwards compatibility was the major issue that atari messed up with,would of made it more expensive, surely but it was already expensive.  Atari was afraid if I had 2600 pac man I wouldn't get 5200 pacman, to a small degree maybe, but it was hugely popular and miles ahead in grafix and game was much closer to arcade so I'm sure it would of been bought. 

 

The problem was Atari launched in late 70s, but wasn't mainstream till 1979-1980, so most people had 2600 2 to 3yrsand now their was a replacement to a machine America liked enough, that when major competitors came out with machines that could run circles around 2600,most people just stuck with what they had.

 

Honestly till NES came out I didn't know but maybe 1 or 2 kids that had anything other than a 2600, then nes took over, and found a few friends with 7800,mainly because it played very old and cheap 2600 games.

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On 4/24/2021 at 6:00 AM, Pete5125 said:

The backwards compatibility was the major issue that atari messed up with,would of made it more expensive, surely but it was already expensive.  Atari was afraid if I had 2600 pac man I wouldn't get 5200 pacman, to a small degree maybe, but it was hugely popular and miles ahead in grafix and game was much closer to arcade so I'm sure it would of been bought. 

 

 

This issue always confused me. Neither the Intellivision (which the 5200 was meant to compete with) nor the Colecovision (which the 5200 ultimately competed with) was backwards compatible. If you cared about 2600 games (back then) you already owned a 2600. Yes the CV had an adapter you could spend money on to make it backwards compatible, but not long after its' release the 5200 was advertising an adapter of their own. Unless you were new to both systems, backwards compatibility wasn't a big deal if a deal at all.

 

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6 hours ago, jetset said:

This issue always confused me. Neither the Intellivision (which the 5200 was meant to compete with) nor the Colecovision (which the 5200 ultimately competed with) was backwards compatible. If you cared about 2600 games (back then) you already owned a 2600. Yes the CV had an adapter you could spend money on to make it backwards compatible, but not long after its' release the 5200 was advertising an adapter of their own. Unless you were new to both systems, backwards compatibility wasn't a big deal if a deal at all.

 

In 82, at the time of the 5200's release yeah, it was a big deal, 2600 came out in 77, but didn't really get in people's homes till early 80's when Asteroids made it the must have system, so it was just a 2 yr old system to most people, that they had waisted money on.

 

Also this is the infancy of gaming the expectation that every 5 yrs your going to have to go to the next system wasn't out yet.

 

2600 had a 12 or 13 year lifespan, it didnt drop  producing new games till 89/90.

 

Atari obviously agreed with me or they wouldn't of made the adapter in yr 2.

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On 4/30/2021 at 10:42 PM, jetset said:

This issue always confused me. Neither the Intellivision (which the 5200 was meant to compete with) nor the Colecovision (which the 5200 ultimately competed with) was backwards compatible. If you cared about 2600 games (back then) you already owned a 2600. Yes the CV had an adapter you could spend money on to make it backwards compatible, but not long after its' release the 5200 was advertising an adapter of their own. Unless you were new to both systems, backwards compatibility wasn't a big deal if a deal at all.

That's the thing, I don't think backwards compatibility was on anyone's radar.   To Atari,  the 2600 was a replacement to the early Pong consoles,   and the 5200 was a replacement for the 2600.   But when Coleco had the ability to play 2600 games and the 5200 didn't (yet), that was a major embarrassment for Atari so they reacted by announcing their own adaptor and that helped set them down the 7800 path

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On 4/8/2021 at 6:59 PM, ubersaurus said:

SNIP - nor did the computer price war making the Commodore 64, Vic-20 and TI-99 4/a all kinda competitive with the 5200.

Right there. That. My next console after the 2600 was a Vic-20, and then a C64. The 400 would have been next, but at $399 it was way more than the $129 that my parents reluctantly were willing to pay for the Vic when "you already have an Atari".

 

The 8-bit computer price war made consoles obsolete for a short time. The $299 5200 was not worth the price when a "real computer" could be had for less. I think I paid $249 for my C64 just a year or two later. I bought the 1541 disk drive when I had my Vic, so it was natural to upgrade to the 64 than go to an Atari at that point. But, Many did get the 400 instead of the 5200.

Too bad the 400 wasn't just the next console as planned for $299 or less. Too bad they didn't figure out the give 'em the printer and make money on the ink back then.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/1/2021 at 1:56 AM, Pete5125 said:

In 82, at the time of the 5200's release yeah, it was a big deal, 2600 came out in 77, but didn't really get in people's homes till early 80's when Asteroids made it the must have system, so it was just a 2 yr old system to most people, that they had waisted money on.

 

Also this is the infancy of gaming the expectation that every 5 yrs your going to have to go to the next system wasn't out yet.

 

2600 had a 12 or 13 year lifespan, it didnt drop  producing new games till 89/90.

 

Atari obviously agreed with me or they wouldn't of made the adapter in yr 2.

No offense, but this sounds like it was written by someone who wasn't around back then or didn't pay attention. The killer app was Space Invaders, not Asteroids. Asteroids wasn't a great port to the 2600 but we did all enjoy it. I also know of nobody who thought they wasted their money on the 2600. Every family that I knew that had one played the hell out of it and some of the more wealthy kids got every new cart as they came out. One Family bought every cart available when the 2600 came out. We all also kept all of our games when we did eventually upgrade. People who got Intellivisions or Colecovisions kept the 2600, and nobody I knew thought the adapter made any sense since that 2600 was still sitting right there next to the Colecovision in most homes, or went to the younger siblings as a hand-me-down. Two kids could play in two rooms this way. Game trade-ins and selling them really didn't become a thing until the Gasmestop/Babbages/Software Etc. trade-in programs came along in the very late 80's and those programs were clearing houses for the crappy NES and later Playstation games that sucked. I personally never thought it made any sense to get a couple of bucks off a new game by trading in something I paid $20-$40 for. Better for me to keep it. I did, however, complete my Dreamcast hardware peripherals collection very cheaply with these places...

Edited by Zonie

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2 hours ago, zzip said:

That's the thing, I don't think backwards compatibility was on anyone's radar.   To Atari,  the 2600 was a replacement to the early Pong consoles,   and the 5200 was a replacement for the 2600.   But when Coleco had the ability to play 2600 games and the 5200 didn't (yet), that was a major embarrassment for Atari so they reacted by announcing their own adaptor and that helped set them down the 7800 path

Yea the 5200 was always the red-headed stepchild of the family. So much potential wasted. I remember not caring about it not playing 2600 games because I had a 2600 already, but I did wind up buying the adapter because I thought it looked "cool" (in retrospect...it looked like something a chimpanzee designed, and sitting the coffee table with the adapter and the cartridge it blocked the tv) and I spent every penny I had on the few peripherals that came out (I still have my Masterplay adapter *with* the #2 fire button). Honestly, I only knew 2 ppl that had a CV, my cousin and another friend and they both had a 2600 already so they never got an adapter. It was all about the pack-in game. The price-tag for both systems for 1982 was crazy (and the 5200 cost $50 bucks more!) but CV owners got a pack in game and could enjoy it Xmas morning if their parents couldn't afford a cartridge AND the system. With the 5200 Super Breakout was fun for about ten minutes. Fortunately my older brother bought me Galaxian as a gift and I still remember my dad coming out yelling at 5am xmas morning to go the hell to bed already lol.

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On 5/3/2021 at 1:31 PM, Zonie said:

No offense, but this sounds like it was written by someone who wasn't around back then or didn't pay attention. The killer app was Space Invaders, not Asteroids. Asteroids wasn't a great port to the 2600 but we did all enjoy it. I also know of nobody who thought they wasted their money on the 2600. Every family that I knew that had one played the hell out of it and some of the more wealthy kids got every new cart as they came out. One Family bought every cart available when the 2600 came out. We all also kept all of our games when we did eventually upgrade. People who got Intellivisions or Colecovisions kept the 2600, and nobody I knew thought the adapter made any sense since that 2600 was still sitting right there next to the Colecovision in most homes, or went to the younger siblings as a hand-me-down. Two kids could play in two rooms this way. Game trade-ins and selling them really didn't become a thing until the Gasmestop/Babbages/Software Etc. trade-in programs came along in the very late 80's and those programs were clearing houses for the crappy NES and later Playstation games that sucked. I personally never thought it made any sense to get a couple of bucks off a new game by trading in something I paid $20-$40 for. Better for me to keep it. I did, however, complete my Dreamcast hardware peripherals collection very cheaply with these places...

I was around, didnt know anyone that had a game system other than 2600, remeber around time of crash babysiter selling old 2600, and 20 games in those 4 pack game holders  to my dad in 83, then nes coming out, in that time every flea mkt you could think of had old games for a buck or 2, then around 86 everyone had a nes, everyone stold old atari in basement if you'd visit your uncle and he'd give you all his old games stored in a cardboard box down stairs.

 

At this point only poor kids had atari, everyone else had nes and a few of balls had sega mastersystem then, I only had 1 friend w/7800 truely only reason parents got it was it could play old 2600 games,so he had very few 7800 games.

 

By the time genesis came out had a part time job so could get sega, sold old 2600 and shoebox of games for 10 bucks at a yard sale.

 

Bought a lynx, 1 of 4 people that had it but it was better than game boy.

 

Got a jaguar and have most games on the system.

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On 5/3/2021 at 1:26 PM, jetset said:

Yea the 5200 was always the red-headed stepchild of the family. So much potential wasted.

If the 5200 was the red-headed stepchild, I can't imagine what would describe the failure of the Atari Jaguar. lol 

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1 hour ago, phuzaxeman said:

If the 5200 was the red-headed stepchild, I can't imagine what would describe the failure of the Atari Jaguar. lol 

You're right I suppose, but I think the Jag got (slightly) more love. Like the red-headed step child wound up a drug addict living on the street, they adopted again and this time tried slightly harder.  :P

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, jetset said:

You're right I suppose, but I think the Jag got (slightly) more love. Like the red-headed step child wound up a drug addict living on the street, they adopted again and this time tried slightly harder.  :P

I don't think the Jag got more love.  There were a lot of bad reviews when I got the Jag in the 90s starting with games like the poor man's MK, Ultra Vortek.  Atari was selling the 64bit hype when there were a lot of 16bit SNES games that were better.  Jag only sold 250,000 units?

 

When the 5200 came out, it didn't last long but still sold about a million.  The games were all good and the reviews were solid.  Defender, Pac Man, Galaxian, and Centipede were top quality titles and no other console other than CV could top those in 82 (assuming A8 was in the computer dept). I remember reading about 5200 Jungle Hunt in Electronic Gaming Magazine that gave the game high ratings. 

 

Jag had a so many mediocre games outside of Tempest and AVP.  You have to remember the Jag competed with the SNES, PS1, Sega, and N64 and did really poorly.  I still remember buying Trevor McFur.  I was like what the heck did I purchase?   

Edited by phuzaxeman

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Just found this and figured it belongs in this thread.

https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-video-games

 

It basically backs up all of my points ;)  LOL...   However, this article thinks the first console war was Nintendo/Sega.  We all know that isn't true.

Long Live Intellivision!   Hahahaha..  I now have  2600,5200,7800,CV and of course Intellivision consoles from BITD.  I like some games on each of these systems.  

But my friends from back then..  We would certainly give each other crap about our console of choice. 

 

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3 hours ago, 1980gamer said:

Just found this and figured it belongs in this thread.

https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-video-games

 

It basically backs up all of my points ;)  LOL...   However, this article thinks the first console war was Nintendo/Sega.  We all know that isn't true.

Long Live Intellivision!   Hahahaha..  I now have  2600,5200,7800,CV and of course Intellivision consoles from BITD.  I like some games on each of these systems.  

 

 

In the early-90s long before I even became an Atari-only kinda guy (I currently own a 2600 Jr., 5200, 7800, an XEGS and a 65XE), back in the 90s I used to have the 2600, 5200, Intellivision II, ColecoVision, and an original NES. The 5200 I have had since 1983, when I got my first one for my 17th birthday (May 19), I acquired an Intellivision II back in 1985 as part of a collateral trade in which I loaned out a pair of Sony headphones (in which got broken during the loan) in exchange for letting me use his Intellivision II, than I moved from L.A. to Port Townsend in July 1987 and really ramped up my cartridge collection on both, my 5200 lineup thanks to a dealer I saw an ad for in Atarian magazine, the Intellivision thanks to Toys 'R' Us (RIP) with almost all the INTV issued games, and then in the early 1990s picked up a woody 4-switch 2600, and a ColecoVision (and eventually the NES) at the now-defunct Community Thrift Store here in PT.

 

Believe me I can tell you there were quite a few wars going on in the early-80s, in what Electronic Games Magazine dubbed the "Standard Programmable" (less than 4K) category you had the (then) Atari VCS/2600 going up against the Odyssey 2, meanwhile in the "Senior Programmable" (between 4K and 16K) category you had Intellivision I/II against the Bally Astrocade (in which the INTV won in a landslide), and then you had the "Third Wave Programmable" (more than 16K) department you had the 5200 going up against the ColecoVision..... and then the crash happened in 1984, i which (pretty much) ended to wars right there.

 

Is it now in this day and age a sin for us Atarians to won a rival competitor's console??? I have room for perhaps a couple of different systems, and if Albert would excuse me for doing this they would be a ColecoVision and an Intellivision II like I used to have, after all as I found out, not everything can be on ONE CONSOLE, as they all have both their best games and their own exclusive titles in which make/made them stand out BITD.
 

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12 hours ago, 1980gamer said:

 However, this article thinks the first console war was Nintendo/Sega.  We all know that isn't true.

Typical "not much important happened in videogames before Nintendo" bias in journalism.   There were definitely console wars before that.   Intellivision's early George Plimptom commercials were all "Look at how much better our games look than pathetic Atari VCS graphics!"

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5 hours ago, zzip said:

Typical "not much important happened in videogames before Nintendo" bias in journalism.   There were definitely console wars before that.   Intellivision's early George Plimptom commercials were all "Look at how much better our games look than pathetic Atari VCS graphics!"

.....and much the Atari 5200 vs. ColecoVision "third-wave" wars with both sides showing their strengths and the other's weaknesses, but comparison ads between the two show so much BS that has nothing to do with their own system.

 

For example, one Atari 5200 commercial tried to sell the idea what the 2600 original Pac-Man looked like on ColecoVision and then show their original 1982 8-bit/5200 port of Pac-Man.

 

 

Meanwhile Coleco tried to pull off the idea that you only needed ONE system for everything using their 2600 adapter as well as their ADAM computer attachment as leverage, but it did not show any comparisons in actual game graphics between the two much like Atari never bothered to pull off on their ads.

 

 

Neither side proved their case, as they did not even bother to compare apples-to-apples in their comparison ads, much the same like Intellivision tried to pull off comparing the INTV to the VCS/2600 back before that. Intellivision vs. the VCS/2600 comparison ads was more like apples-to-oranges IMO.

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13 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

For example, one Atari 5200 commercial tried to sell the idea what the 2600 original Pac-Man looked like on ColecoVision and then show their original 1982 8-bit/5200 port of Pac-Man.

Yeah this one cracks me up how they try to pin their 2600 Pac Man failure on Coleco.

 

14 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

Neither side proved their case, as they did not even bother to compare apples-to-apples in their comparison ads, much the same like Intellivision tried to pull off comparing the INTV to the VCS/2600 back before that. Intellivision vs. the VCS/2600 comparison ads was more like apples-to-oranges IMO.

well a big chunk of advertising is about confusing and fooling the casual buyers who don't follow this stuff day to day.  There might be some people who see the Pacman ad and make a mental note about how much better the 5200 visuals are and the idea sticks..  that's what the ad's creators were going for anyway.

 

I wonder how many people caught the subtext of the Coleco ad.   "We're not going to make you buy a new system like Atari does..   we're going to make you buy an endless stream of peripherals instead!"  That's an interesting one..  As a kid,  I would see that ad and think "cool, look at all those add-ons!"   As an adult, I think "where am I going to put all that crap?"

 

I do think the Intellivision ones were more honest, because they were selling the idea that sports games were better on the INTV--  and at the time they were!   It was only later that the Atari Realsports line and Mattel's own M-Network closed the gap.

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1 hour ago, BIGHMW said:

.....and much the Atari 5200 vs. ColecoVision "third-wave" wars with both sides showing their strengths and the other's weaknesses, but comparison ads between the two show so much BS that has nothing to do with their own system.

 

For example, one Atari 5200 commercial tried to sell the idea what the 2600 original Pac-Man looked like on ColecoVision and then show their original 1982 8-bit/5200 port of Pac-Man.

The ad is very true in that it shows you Pac-Man on the 5200. And it shows you Pac-Man on the Colecovision. Can't detect any deception.

 

51 minutes ago, zzip said:

Yeah this one cracks me up how they try to pin their 2600 Pac Man failure on Coleco.

Allow me to disagree. I don't see pinning any failure here. Back then it was what it was.

 

51 minutes ago, zzip said:

I wonder how many people caught the subtext of the Coleco ad.   "We're not going to make you buy a new system like Atari does..   we're going to make you buy an endless stream of peripherals instead!"  That's an interesting one..  As a kid,  I would see that ad and think "cool, look at all those add-ons!"   As an adult, I think "where am I going to put all that crap?"

True enough. As I kid I liked the add-ons. At the same time I didn't and couldn't quite figure out why. Today we understand more, yes, annoyances, swapping, space for storage..

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2 hours ago, Keatah said:

True enough. As I kid I liked the add-ons. At the same time I didn't and couldn't quite figure out why. Today we understand more, yes, annoyances, swapping, space for storage..

 

This big drag on peripherals like that is there's no incentive to keep making software to support them if there isn't mass adoption.  Tautologically, all Colecovision owners own a Colecovision, but only X% own the Colecovision and the cassette drive.  So, when you're making your next Colecovision game, why leave money on the table by requiring the add-on?

 

There are exceptions, of course.  I remember the Sega CD pretty fondly despite it's poor reputation.  Granted, a lot of what was on it were either inferior versions of games that were on other platforms, or Genesis games with better audio and maybe some FMV added in.

 

I've always liked the idea of incrementally upgrading your existing system rather than having to start over from scratch.  Unfortunately, that only really works with PCs, and even then you can hit your ceiling relatively quickly.

 

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Posted (edited)

I suppose the incentive for developing for an add-on or expansion module is the added capability. Better game. More involved game. Or simply making something possible in the first place. Charge more money too. I suppose there's a balance there. Or some formula that gives the green light for an expanded game. Of course demographics and the current gaming landscape can and do change that formula.

 

IDK.. When a game is made and it's all about money I find the game to be less enjoyable with less replay value. When it's done for the love of the art, the value and longevity is so much more.

 

 

Edited by Keatah
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8 hours ago, Keatah said:

The ad is very true in that it shows you Pac-Man on the 5200. And it shows you Pac-Man on the Colecovision. Can't detect any deception.

HERE'S Pac-Man on ColecoVision, as created in 1983 by Atarisoft, Atari's little spinoff of its own titles for other systems, with games for C-V, Intellivision, Apple II, C64, and others. Looks pretty good to me, even though I stayed loyal to Big Sexy Herself.

 

 

Now let's see how Atari THEMSELVES would've responded to being EXPOSED for their deceptive advertising after ColecoVisionaires start to call them out for trying to pull off that shit, so much for Atari's "Here's Pac-Man on ColecoVision....", that while showing their own butchered 2600 version!!! The C-V version doesn't look bad at all, just maybe a little different compared to the one for 8-bit/5200. THAT would've been apples-to-apples as far as comparisons are concerned. How does Atari respond to that when they themselves created Pac-Man on ColecoVision in 1983 under their Atarisoft banner in the first place???

 

No wonder it was never released, because it would've sold more C-V units when word got out about this if it ever was, and this was well before the internet let alone social media and forums like ours. Social media would've murdered Atari for this if the two were competing against each other in 2020 as opposed to 1983.

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That version of Pacman was impressive, Atari programmers even managed to work around the colecovision four sprite limit and avoid flicker.

 

The fact is, it wasn't released and at the time, if you wanted to play Pacman on Colecovision, it was the 2600 cartridge.

 

Atari didn't release Colecovision Pacman and Coleco didn't make Donkey Kong for the 5200.  But it's another example of Atari wasting money and resources.

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16 hours ago, Keatah said:

The ad is very true in that it shows you Pac-Man on the 5200. And it shows you Pac-Man on the Colecovision. Can't detect any deception.

I don't know that deception is the right word for that ad..   It's ballsy in that it's basically admitting that 2600 Pac Man is crap, and if you buy Colecovision, that's the Pac Man you are going to get--  and somehow that's a flaw of Colecovision rather than Atari's own screw up.    If there's deception, it's in what they don't tell you  1) Pacman is not a native coleco game, it's our mess played through their 2600 adaptor 2) Coleco has its own collection of Arcade titles that don't exist on 5200 unless you play an inferior 2600 version though the adaptor,  like Donkey Kong

 

7 hours ago, BIGHMW said:

HERE'S Pac-Man on ColecoVision, as created in 1983 by Atarisoft, Atari's little spinoff of its own titles for other systems, with games for C-V, Intellivision, Apple II, C64, and others. Looks pretty good to me, even though I stayed loyal to Big Sexy Herself.

I'd even say it's slightly better than the 5200 version.

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12 hours ago, MrTrust said:

This big drag on peripherals like that is there's no incentive to keep making software to support them if there isn't mass adoption.  Tautologically, all Colecovision owners own a Colecovision, but only X% own the Colecovision and the cassette drive.  So, when you're making your next Colecovision game, why leave money on the table by requiring the add-on?

 

There are exceptions, of course.  I remember the Sega CD pretty fondly despite it's poor reputation.  Granted, a lot of what was on it were either inferior versions of games that were on other platforms, or Genesis games with better audio and maybe some FMV added in.

 

I've always liked the idea of incrementally upgrading your existing system rather than having to start over from scratch.  Unfortunately, that only really works with PCs, and even then you can hit your ceiling relatively quickly.

Yeah console peripherals don't have a great track record for support.   A lot of them get supported by only a handful of titles.

 

One peripheral that's impressed me with support is PSVR, it has well over 600 titles now, and quite a few "must-plays"

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31 minutes ago, zzip said:

One peripheral that's impressed me with support is PSVR, it has well over 600 titles now, and quite a few "must-plays"

 

Wow.  That's nuts.  Do you have to have the VR thing to play them?  I don't know jack about anything beyond PS3.  That's the most recent non-Nintendo console I played.  

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