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damanloox

Why was 7800 discontinued

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On 6/29/2021 at 10:49 AM, Leeroy ST said:

I've seen you have this viewpoint before where you were made about the 7800 turning out as it was in retrospect but completely forgetting that the 7800 was competitive at the time it was out, I also remember you pushing the Jack didn't try narrative despite historical scans, press interviews at the time, and various other threads across the net, including here, involving several people, including curt.

An you push the narrative that simply showing up to market with dated hardware and dated games and hiring a guy to run the games division (while underfunding him) = trying.   To me that's minimal effort, not "trying".   We all know that Jack was capable of playing hardball,  but he wasn't playing hardball in the games division, that's for certain. 

 

You complain about Nintendo's anti-competitive practices.   But when Jack bought Atari, Atari was the king of the home videogame market.   Atari could have pulled all those same practices to keep Nintendo out of the market, but didn't.   Nintendo walked right in and grabbed the market without much of a fight from Atari.   Even Leonard Tramiel admitted this-  they were "too busy with the ST in the early days to worry about a little company named Nintendo"

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On 7/6/2021 at 10:30 AM, zzip said:

An you push the narrative that simply showing up to market with dated hardware and dated games

You're personally mental problems have nothing to do with reality. The hardware was not "dated" it was stronger than the "dated" hardware of the NES which you are pretending for some reason was not dated, even though it's whole MMC strategy was based on the fact the hardware was "outdated" but the bias doessn't allow you to think critically.

 

If Nintendo didn't look off the Japanese developers, and computers weren't as far along maybe they would have had more games at launch but guess what, that's not relevant because people brought the console anyway, in fact Atari sold all they COULD produce, and somewhat the same for Sega but less so.

 

On 7/6/2021 at 10:30 AM, zzip said:

 To me that's minimal effort, not "trying".   We all know that Jack was capable of playing hardball,  but he wasn't playing hardball in the games division, that's for certain. 

You're delusions are delusions. As has been broken down on this very form by several people including Curt, you have no freaking clue what you're talking about. They did as much as possible as they could in the time frame they had. They also succeeded in that. The competition sealing competition from retailers and hogging shelfspace with stock wasn't forecastable. 

 

On 7/6/2021 at 10:30 AM, zzip said:

You complain about Nintendo's anti-competitive practices.   But when Jack bought Atari, Atari was the king of the home videogame market. 

And still was, until 87.

 

On 7/6/2021 at 10:30 AM, zzip said:

Atari could have pulled all those same practices to keep Nintendo out of the market, but didn't.  

So you're arguing that because Atari wasn't as immoral than Nintendo they failed? Is your brain functioning correctly? 

 

Not to mention Atari did have certain policies in place, the difference is that Atari had competition come in that were able to break that through other adv antage that enticed retailers and consumers, especially Coleco. The NES policies were made before any consoles was out, from the start, but a rich Japanese company that has by the time they decided to come over, more money than Atari, partnered with a premier toy company Worlds of Wonder who along with Nintendo's cash bribes also used their own status to help strong arm retailers. 

 

This is nothing more than you having no context and arguing like you're smart and have knowledge but you in reality have n9o context, no idea what was going on, and decided that what you WANT to believe, which is a manufactured false oversimplified version of the truth, is good enough because YOU WANT it to be good enough. 

 

On 7/6/2021 at 10:30 AM, zzip said:

Nintendo walked right in and grabbed the market without much of a fight from Atari.  

Again just more of you stating ignorance of fact without context and trying to find anything possible to push a false narrative. Sorry man y9ou just don't know what you're talking about and should stop. You really should. You've done this same song and dance before you continue to argue this revisionist nonsense because of personal grievances and trying very hard to make your feeling heard by trying to push out revisionist garbage. 

 

 

Relevant quotes:

 

Marty

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Just thought I'd address this commentary from another older thread, since I just got done with a lengthy phone interview with Michael Katz that answers some of these questions and statements. The interview was for our books, and for a 7800 Retroinspection appearing in a future issue of RetroGamer magazine.

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They started wooing each other because Katz was looking to move on from Epyx, and Jack was looking for Katz to bring back the 2600 (via the Jr.), and re-launch the 7800 and get timely games for it. They specifically wanted him for the job because they did not consider themselves knowledgeable in the video games market and wanted someone who was. The move to bring both to the market started with Jack, and these talks started in August/September - long before Nintendo even started a test market. As stated previously and now further corroborated by this, the 7800 deal with GCC was with Warner, not Atari. It did not come with the purchase. Jack spent summer of '84 in to fall of '85 going back and forth with Warner on who owed GCC for the MARIA development and 10 launch games. Jack finally capitulated to Warner's terms that in order to get the 7800 he'd need to pay GCC for the Maria development, and he paid for the MARIA chip that May. The next few months were spent negotiating for payment of the 10 launch titles, and by August/September he was looking at Katz to head up the re-entry.

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  On 5/27/2010 at 7:27 PM, DracIsBack said:

As originally intended, the 7800 seemed to attack both new consoles like the Colecovision but also cheap computers with peripherals like the keyboard.

 

The computer aspect was more of GCC's idea, and came from the origins in their computer project Spring. The idea with the 3600 was to correct a lot of the problems the guys at GCC saw in the 5200 while leveraging Atari's already existing computer peripherals (hence the SIO). The expansion port was their idea as well for adding and upgrading more computer resources/capabilities.

 

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One thing Atari Corp did a lot was license and release games across their consoles. While I think this created confusion in the market place (do I get the version for the 7800 or the version marked 'for the 2600 and 7800'?), it makes sense from a license perspective.

 

Didn't Atari also get a bunch of licenses for 8Bit games for dirt cheap in 1986-7?

 

 

All the inroads to 8bit licenses were from Michael. He was President of Epyx computer software from 1983-1985, when it was rising to a top tier computer software company and had the contacts to match.

 

As far as why they had to do the same games across consoles - remember the market was different. When the 2600 was at it's heyday, titles were licensed to mutliple console formats (such as Atari having Donkey Kong computer rights and Coleco having both console and handheld/tabletop electronic game rights). Likewise publishers made games across multiple consoles and platforms (i.e. Activision or Imagic making the same game for the 2600, Colecovision, and Intellivision). That all changed with Nintendo because during and after the crash a lot of the publication switched to Japan, and in the interim (during the Famicom) Nintendo locked them in with their exclusivity contracts. This was of course even greater expanded under the NES. There weren't multiple licenses spread around, and there weren't 3rd party publishers releasing games on multiple consoles. There was just Nintendo, and being locked in to Nintendo.

 

Sega was able to have a somewhat steady flow because their arcade division was just hitting it's stride (i.e. golden years) in the mid through late 80's, so they could go in house. Atari Inc.'s bread and butter towards the end there had been licenses and licensing properties from people, which is all Tramiel was left with by that time.

 

(In response to "no games" claim and silly "jack slid the console off his desk and said "we are computer company now" myth nonsense)

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As was already pointed out, Jerry was not there, he was recounting a story told to him which was just that - a story. Jerry's a friend of mine via rgvc, and I'm fully aware of what his work did or did not entail at Atari Inc. and very briefly at Corp. (Which apparently you're not). Likewise Curt and I exhaustively researched this, pouring over actual internal emails, documents, talking *directly* to people involved at Atari and GCC, and more. The cost reduced 2600 project started up immediately. Negotiations for various projects that had actually been under Warner and not Atari, which included the 7800 and Amiga, started in very early August '84. The Amiga contract was successfully negotiated over to Jack, the 7800 was not and there was haggling over who owed GCC for the MARIA and 10 launch titles. This is when Jack was approached by Saville, apparently not knowing what was going on, and pushing for Jack to release something he didn't have the rights for yet. Jack finally relented to Warner's position that he and not them were responsible if he wanted ownership, and paid GCC that May '85 for MARIA, that is *fact*. Both people on the GCC side (which Curt has directly talked to) and Atari Corp. side (I directly talked to Leonard Tramiel) have verified that. He then paid for the 10 launch titles that summer of '85 and began looking for someone to head a consumer entertainment division, that is *fact*. He approached Mike Katz, then heading Epyx, that August of '85 to begin wooing him over to run the division, which is *fact*. When I talked to Mike myself in an over hour long phone interview, he point blank stated that the 7800 was mentioned to him by Jack *from the beginning*. And in fact it was he who talked Jack in to doing more than just the cost reduced 2600 and 7800 and expanding in to other consumer enetertainment products before he'd come on board. There was nothing in response to Nintendo, they weren't even a blip on anyone's map. And in fact it was when he came on board in late October (officially announced in November) that he started looking at expanding the 7800 titles beyond the initial 10, and first came across Nintendo as a possible competitor (in Katz's word a minor competitor at that point) after hitting walls with all the exclusive arcade titles that had been locked up. That's when Katz reached in to his connections and started licensing formerly computer platform only titles to port over.

 

Now we're talking about actual documentation and actual people "WHO WERE THERE" and "DIRECTLY INVOLVED", and directly spoken with, not half diluted stories passed through the grapevine and regurgitated with nonsense claims of "debunking". Unless you can come back with the same level of research and resources, I don't see how you basing such claims about us on a single questionable story comes off as anything other than silly if not completely amateurish (and insulting to those who actually put in the time, effort, and money).

Also from Marty:

 

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According to this page that's Jess Ragan here at the AA forums. (Notice the snarky status update saying the same thing). You can read some of our previous interactions starting here. Just go through the rest of the pages of that thread, he's the one that was also accusing AA'ers of having a grudge against Nintendo. And nobody here was saying Tramiel didn't have his personal issues and didn't treat some people poorly or screw people over in business, like Jess is claiming we are with "Evidently now Tramiel's farts smell like roses." And his statement "Oh, you poor deluded Atari fans. Former employees acknowledged Tramiel was a game-hating jerk. You can't put that genie back in the bottle!" was already discredited both in that previous thread and in this one. The "Former employees" is the Brad Saville commment once again, whose source was already revealed as Curt via an interview he did with Brad and who already explained why a)It's taken with a grain of salt. b) It doesn't hold up to the actual internal emails, project notes and logs, and other direct interviews regarding that time period. Personally I'm surprised he's posting those now, after he was already shown incorrect in that thread an several others that popped in. But then anyone can rant on twitter pages, that's what they're for half the time. As Atarifever stated, and as Curt and I have stated over and over again, our material is based solely on "hours of interviews, checking company business and sales reports, and internal communications within Atari", internal engineering logs, and more. Calling it "revisionist" and saying those things just sounds silly and childish. Especially when it was the people who publicised the "older" material and viewpoint in books and on websites in the first place who turned out to be the revisionists - and Curt was one of them at the time as he has readily admitted, going by what was the available info back then. I just love though how people can put in days, months, and years of serious research and vetting efforts, representing an extreme amount of time, effort, and money, and someone can simply try and discredit it with a brush off as "revisionism". But then, that's typical of the current socio-political climate as well.

Strangely, you remind me of Jess with the regurgitating circular repeating debunked nonsense and personal emotional dislikes. 

 

Here is also Marty with direct quotes for your learning:

 

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"Both the home-computer and video-game marketplaces continue, in my view, to offer great opportunities." - Tramiel's public statement after the Atari purchase, that appeared in circulating AP News accounts.

 

With Atari 'we will be in the whole spectrum of the market,' from video games to home computers, says Tramiel. - Tramiel quoted in BusinessWeek, July '84.

 

"Tramiel told the money men Atari will still make videogames" - Forbes article on the takeover.

 

But rather than retreat from the video-game market, as some analysts had suggested, Copland said Atari will "very aggressively go after a larger share of the market". - Interview with James Copland, then Vice President of Marketing, published on Aug. 28th 1984. It also goes on to state their plans on broadening the home computer line to compliment, all on it's strategy to expand it's shrunken base and return to profitability by the end of the year.

 

There's also the 2600 and 5200's on display at the Winter CES (Jan. '85), and even when they severely downgraded the size of their CES booth for the Summer '85 CES they still included both consoles.

 

 

 

 

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 More quotes:

 

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I don't think you understand the financial situation he was in. He had no money when he took over. He had already invested his own money in to the company, did the majority of the Atari Consumer purchase under IOU's to Warner, and took on both the good and bad debt from Atari Inc. in the purchase. The good debt (money owed to Atari Inc.) was theoretically supposed be able to keep the new company afloat (which is why it was given to them) - only they couldn't collect it. In fact they had to get Warner to loan them money that September and by December were already talking to the press about the problems they had with collecting and stating they might use that fact to renegotiate their terms with Warner (since it was of course originally included as an asset in the valuation). That's precisely why they had to rely on the sizeable backstock of consoles and computers they inherited for incoming money during that time and started looking at getting the cost reduced 2600 out the door immediately that August. All this while trying to get their next gen computer out the door as well as make payroll, etc. It's simply amazing he was able to turn this all around to a profitable company and put it in the black (wiping out all debt) by '86/'87.

 

 

More:

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Once again going off on a tangent. Nintendo is to blame for most of the important titles being locked up for the first few years of the console's launch. Something they point blank felt was responsible for them not being able to get the foothold they needed to succeed. They are also completely to blame for the lockout of development studios who weren't allowed to be contracted for Atari's own title development or even to release their own third party titles because of Nintendo's stipulations. If you developed for the NES, you didn't develop for anywhere else. This was only lifted after the '89 lawsuit.

Just in time for the Genesis to pick up and start taking off when Sonic was ready.

 

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I don't recall it being the only reason, but it is the major portion of it. Once again, I'm going by the people who actually worked there as opposed to your tangential theorizing. Spending more on advertising when the system has games that don't appeal as much as those on the NES and SMS, and in a time period where it's obvious the system is becoming less and less relevant on the market, isn't going to help the matter. Especially when said money is more importantly needed in newer products and their marketing. Likewise they were complete aware of the coming market shift to 16-bit consoles - they were approached by Sega in '87-'88 to do the Genesis and were already working on their own 68000 based console as well in fact. The 7800 was a lost cause by that point, pumping more in to it would have just been bad business and a waste of money.

 

And here's something for your repeating frustration, revisionist jack hate games, no effort etc. On top of what was already quoted before

 

From Curt Vendel

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Further...

 

The quote from Brad Saville came DIRECTLY from ME... Jerry is also a friend and he reiterated what I'd posted. I have already stated (yet, seems I have to say this again...)

 

Brad was fired, and I wouldn't have blamed him if he had exaggerated the circumstances to me...

 

The FACTS are, Tom Brightmans project management scheduling notes from August 8, 1984 show the Atari 2100 (aka Atari 2600jr) was already continued to be worked on.)

 

The FACTS are, Steve Golson, one of the two LSI engineers who worked on the MARIA chip of the 7800 whom I still speak with to this day stated that GCC was left in a limbo during the sale of Atari because Warner and the Tramiels felt each was responsible for paying GCC for the MARIA chip work. They were left in limbo for nearly 9 months and once a (as Steve called it) Check to "pay and go away" was received, the MARIA chip and the 7800 finally belonged to the Tramiels. What followed next was they (GCC) were contacted then about games for the 7800 as the first 10 were already done and now the Tramiels worked out a deal to purchase them.

 

This AGAIN shows:

 

#1: The Tramiels were committed supporting and selling video games from day 1.

#2: That the deal and intent to move forward was always being negotiated until completed.

#3: The deal to have games for the 7800 were intended and negotiated until completed.

 

This all lead up to delays that held the 7800 up for full release until it finally came out in 1986.

 

This is DONE, in the CAN, SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED...

 

I'm not going into this any further because it is no longer an arguable subject, move on and get a life! 

 

Yes....

 

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The 7800 was discontinued because Jack Tramiel was actually a deep-cover agent working for Commodore.  His diabolical plan (hatched as he rubbed his hands together in cackling glee) to sabotage Atari from the top worked well - perhaps a little too well, as without his guidance Commodore also failed.

 

The defence intelligence community has actually used this as an example of effective infiltration in their training materials.

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You guys crack me up. I've never understood why people have metaphorically purple-faced arguments over not only electronic toys, but the HISTORY of electronic toys.

 

fail merry go round GIF

 

What if Atari actually bought the rights to the NES like it should have? Have we discussed that yet? :evil:

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Alternate timeline: Atari buys out Nintendo and we get the Atari Entertainment System.

Nintendo, realizing their mistake, tries to enter the market,  goes bankrupt, gets traded around for a few decades, winds up in France, crowdfunds a new console in 2018, gets delayed for reasons, limps into production a few years later, gets bashed by haters, and the Nintendobox becomes a hit with thousands of console sales.

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23 hours ago, Cebus Capucinis said:

You guys crack me up. I've never understood why people have metaphorically purple-faced arguments over not only electronic toys, but the HISTORY of electronic toys.

 

fail merry go round GIF

 

What if Atari actually bought the rights to the NES like it should have? Have we discussed that yet? :evil:

I am about 90% sure that Atari would have found a way to screw that up too.

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On 7/14/2021 at 8:25 AM, x=usr(1536) said:

The 7800 was discontinued because Jack Tramiel was actually a deep-cover agent working for Commodore.  His diabolical plan (hatched as he rubbed his hands together in cackling glee) to sabotage Atari from the top worked well - perhaps a little too well, as without his guidance Commodore also failed.

 

The defence intelligence community has actually used this as an example of effective infiltration in their training materials.

We don't have to take x=usr(1536) word's for it... ask Jack himself.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Classic Pac said:

The 16 bit era had begun, it just could not compete with the Genesis or SNES

Nope.  Sabotage.  From the very top.

 

 

This entire video is a coded message to Jack's control back at Commodore describing the state of Atari at the time and when to expect its imminent collapse.  However, as control was already in disarray by the time the video was completed, further bungling on their end caused it to be ignored.

 

Truly a pivotal moment in espionage.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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On 7/15/2021 at 8:58 AM, Geoff Oltmans said:

I am about 90% sure that Atari would have found a way to screw that up too.

They would've removed some features, hike up the price, make some low-quality old arcade ports for it, and give it some other name like the Atari Entertainment System

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On 7/14/2021 at 7:28 AM, Cebus Capucinis said:

What if Atari actually bought the rights to the NES like it should have? Have we discussed that yet? :evil:

On 7/15/2021 at 6:58 AM, Geoff Oltmans said:

I am about 90% sure that Atari would have found a way to screw that up too.

  It's worth noting that Mattel distributed the NES in Europe originally... and the NES didn't do that well when they did.  Nintendo later took over NES distribution, but do we have a working example of an American company trying to sell the NES...

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On 3/30/2021 at 2:42 AM, damanloox said:

Anybody has any idea why Atari discontinued 7800 in favour of XEGS? XEGS doesn't really seem to be technically superior (in fact Maria in 7800 seems to be superior to Antic). 

I get the point of 8-bit line compatibility but it doesn't seem "logical" to drop (seemingly) better architecture for... worse (when you're competing with Nintendo).

 

As a gamer back in the day, it was an unnecessary product in a rapidly evolving market. Applies to both machines even. Neither had compelling titles. Certainly nothing like Star Raiders which sold me on the Atari 400 instantly. Or A2-FS1 on the Apple II.

 

By the time the 7800 & XEGS were out, me and my buddies were even thinking beyond the 16-bit computing scene.

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10 hours ago, DavidD said:

  It's worth noting that Mattel distributed the NES in Europe originally... and the NES didn't do that well when they did.  Nintendo later took over NES distribution, but do we have a working example of an American company trying to sell the NES...

It depends on which country. In France it was a small company then Bandai then Nintendo France for instance.

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Don't get me wrong there are some great games on the 7800. I often say that co-op mode in Centipede is one of them. But the 7800 suffered from a lot of bad games and I won't go over which ones as we all know what they are. Scrapyard Dog which really isn't a terrible game in my opinion suffered from 2 issues, which Atari back in the day could have very easily solved. Like giving your character a sound when they jump. But also that sewer level, I never beat it until I saw something online that showed me where I could jump to. It really isn't that clear to some of us. It's a Sewer Level why so many chances of dying?

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I have zero reason to doubt Curt and Marty regarding Tramiel's commitment to supporting the 7800 from the get go. The XEGS was clearly an attempt to continue to leverage the 8-bit hardware and software lines that really didn't have much of an audience, but based on what I've read through in Computer Entertainer and newspapers from the time, Atari's bigger problem was the sizable gap between their initial run of GCC-developed games in 1986, and newer stuff. The company published like three games in 1987, none of which were particularly big deals at the time unless you like four-year-old computer ports. Meanwhile, Nintendo - and Sega! - had pretty full lineups of new software that year.

 

The 7800 did pretty well for itself - and was well-received - in 1986 when it essentially had the bulk of the US market to itself from its May launch until the Christmas season, but Jack's struggles to get the 7800 off the ground in the first place - and the subsequent need to lose their in-house software development division for a while - meant they never got the momentum they needed. By 1988 and 89, when they were starting to get more software out the door, the window had closed. The fact that they continued to support it with new software into 1991 is pretty remarkable.

 

The 2600 Junior was pretty successful though. That had pretty solid sales up through 1988 as a low-cost machine targeting the low end of the market.

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11 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

It depends on which country. In France it was a small company then Bandai then Nintendo France for instance.

As an example: Ireland never had official distribution of the NES until about 1989/90.  Mattel's attitude was that the market wasn't worth bothering with, and Nintendo only came in at the very tail end of the machine's life.  Even then, there was only one retailer in the entire country that carried it (the Virgin Megastore in Dublin), and it wasn't exactly tearing up the sales charts.

 

It makes me laugh when I see YouTubers in (particularly) the UK talking about how important the NES was and behaving as though it had the same impact there as it did in North America.  It simply didn't, and they're basically fabricating a past that never existed.

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On 3/30/2021 at 9:06 AM, slx said:

As they were both discontinued in 1992 (acc. Wikipedia), the XEGS wasn‘t as much a successor replacing the 7800 as a niche product recycling 8-bit computer technology, probably existing hardware inventory and the 8-bits’ huge software catalog. I‘d say MARIA and ANTIC/GTIA had overlapping strenghts. 

The 1st of Jan 1992 date gets quoted all over the place. Yet my 7800 was in for some work the other week and when I was sent photos of the work in progress I was amazed to see a board datecode of week 32 1993 and chips dated 1993 as well. That's over 18 months after all these sources claim the 7800 was discontinued.

DSC_2615.JPG

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22 minutes ago, chinnyhill10 said:

The 1st of Jan 1992 date gets quoted all over the place. Yet my 7800 was in for some work the other week and when I was sent photos of the work in progress I was amazed to see a board datecode of week 32 1993 and chips dated 1993 as well. That's over 18 months after all these sources claim the 7800 was discontinued.

For most of Europe and North America it was end of the line in '92. 

 

The UK division of Atari continued through the latter part of '93, and why we see the likes of Toki being developed for the 7800 that year.  Last of the PAL units in the UK ceased production August of '93.  You have one of those August units.

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1 hour ago, chinnyhill10 said:

The 1st of Jan 1992 date gets quoted all over the place. Yet my 7800 was in for some work the other week and when I was sent photos of the work in progress I was amazed to see a board datecode of week 32 1993 and chips dated 1993 as well. That's over 18 months after all these sources claim the 7800 was discontinued.

DSC_2615.JPG

I could have sworn that we had another post here recently in which there was a 7800 with ICs also showing a post-1992 datecode; it also appeared to be original.  WRT @Trebor's comments above, I don't recall if it was a PAL Model or not.

 

When are you going to feature it on the channel? ;)

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Found it.  It was in this post, and the owner confirmed that it was a PAL unit.  Note the 9322 date code on the 6502, with others in 1992.

 

7800-9322-CPU.thumb.jpg.fd20792ed3276f9eda89618ecc67753c.jpg

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3 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

...the owner confirmed that it was a PAL unit... 

The C300633-001 stamp on the motherboard by the lower right side is also a solid confirmation.  Those are PAL units only.

 

image.png.a159a8609a0c597b6713aa24d6e2c5c2.png

 

NTSC motherboards are either C025233-001 or C025233-002 and typically denoted on the underside.

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23 hours ago, Trebor said:

For most of Europe and North America it was end of the line in '92. 

 

The UK division of Atari continued through the latter part of '93, and why we see the likes of Toki being developed for the 7800 that year.  Last of the PAL units in the UK ceased production August of '93.  You have one of those August units.

Thanks. I'd correct Wikipedia but I don't want to get into another edit war. But amazing to think the 7800 was still rolling off a production line at the same time the Jaguar was just starting being produced!

 

I think Atari UK were probably doing good business selling the unit via catalogues to unsuspecting parents and grandparents in lower income areas. These catalogues usually allowed staggered payments allowing lower income families to purchase items and then spread the cost. However they also seemed to sell outdated hardware which they got on good deals from manufacturers. Atari were probably selling them at next to nothing!

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