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Why was 7800 discontinued

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1 hour ago, Jinks said:

I guess we are all in the minority. 

 

 

Nah, there's plenty of people who aren't a fan of it. Myself included. 

 

I never liked the difficulty/mechanics of it, or the overall cutesy graphics and music. It came along when I was already in my late teens, so cutesy cartoon mushrooms and bright Easter egg colored backgrounds and platforms weren't appealing to me. I was too busy listening to thrash metal and playing guitar and skateboarding. Nintendo's entire marketing blitz in 86/87 seemed directed solely at 7-9 year olds. 
 

I totally get it for people who were in that demographic though. It was bigger than cabbage patch kids or tickle me Elmo. 

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I missed the NES completely, it was inferior to what I was using at the time, but I am still not sure what any of this has to do with the 7800 being discontinued.  If you guys think Mario killed the 7800, I want to see proof, since I don't believe it.  Purely bad management killed the 7800, IMNSHO.

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I think in order for Mario to have killed the 7800 it would have needed to actually be competitive first. I was pretty young during this time and really the only thing good I remember about the 7800 was Food Fight and the ability to play 2600 games.

 

To me it seemed to just really lack games. It could have had more games and better games. Really if it wasn't for the homebrew scene the 7800 library wouldn't be that great. So I too would lean more towards them not doing something good with what they had and less on the NES.

 

I think it is easy to look at the NES like it was what killed the 7800 because it did do all the things it needed to do to be successful. 7800 didn't do that. 

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I didn't even notice the 7800 when it came out. In 1986, I was in my first year of college, and was chasing girls, making car payments, working, and hacking into the college's VAX to do my chemistry lab work on my C64 at home instead of those printer terminals with the green striped paper. Any gaming was on the 64 and driving across town to meetup with other users to copy games. I first played a NES in 1988 or so and was "Meh" more of that stupid Mario shit, and Duck Hunt? Really? I found the 7800 at a swap meet in 1993 and almost overlooked it as a 2600Jr, but then a "wait a minute, what's this?" Aha! moment and that was it. Hooked and also wondered how the hell did I miss this? Well having stopped watching saturday morning cartoons, never saw a single ad.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, CPUWIZ said:

I missed the NES completely, it was inferior to what I was using at the time, but I am still not sure what any of this has to do with the 7800 being discontinued.  If you guys think Mario killed the 7800, I want to see proof, since I don't believe it.  Purely bad management killed the 7800, IMNSHO.

It's both.  Bad management allowed Nintendo to gain a foothold in the west,  and Nintendo brought their anti-competitive developer practices and Super Mario, which was a must-play for that generation.  

 

Remember Nintendo was afraid of Atari, and wanted Atari to sell the NES for them.   But after the Atari sale to Jack, Nintendo saw their opportunity to enter and take over the western videogame markets.

Edited by zzip
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1 hour ago, zzip said:

It's both.  Bad management allowed Nintendo to gain a foothold in the west,  and Nintendo brought their anti-competitive developer practices and Super Mario, which was a must-play for that generation.  

 

Remember Nintendo was afraid of Atari, and wanted Atari to sell the NES for them.   But after the Atari sale to Jack, Nintendo saw their opportunity to enter and take over the western videogame markets.

Except that that only really happened in North America, not the West as a whole.  Nintendo was able to exploit the aftermath of the North American Video Game Crash to their benefit, but it would be close to a decade later before tastes in Europe for gaming shifted from home computers to consoles - and the console market there was one that Sega had largely managed to get a firm grasp on.

 

The console that eventually served as the catalyst to bring the European gaming scene more in line with the ones in North America was the PS1; up until that point, everyone was still scrabbling for their piece of a market that hadn't really solidified yet.

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On 4/9/2021 at 4:33 PM, MrTrust said:

 

Sure.  Wouldn't argue otherwise.  Although, every now and again the masses do end up getting it right, or at least not crazily wrong.  Fortunately, time has been a little kinder to the 7800 and SMS than the total cold shoulder they got back in the day (although the SMS was a little bit of a different story internationally), though they probably made the "right" call at the time.  Those old first-party Nintendo titles/franchises ended up withstanding the test of time better than many of their contemporaries.

 


Yep, and that seems to be the calculation Atari, Coleco, and others were making at the time.  In retrospect, it looks like 1) the technology to do that convincingly didn't really appear on the scene until affordable 16-bit machines were on the market, and 2) between '85-'89, the real money in video games was with pre-teens and little kids, or "family" entertainment.  There's a reason so many of the games from that era were based on cartoon and toy licenses and vice versa.  This is a demographic that would not have had as much familiarity with arcade games, and probably less likely to care.  When I was in school, nobody gave a shit about high scores; it was all about whether you could "solve" this or that "Nintendo tape", or else it was all about sports games.  In the 90s, once fighting games became all the rage, that changed, but in the NES era, I'm not even sure any of my friends were even aware Contra was an arcade game.

 

 

Oh, man, it boggled my mind the first time I saw Donkey Kong on that thing.  Everything looked so smooth and colorful, and all those sharp right angles and everything, like an 80s sports car, that thing might as well have been a spaceship.  We got the SMS and 7800 later, so maybe the effect was not as impressive.  Also, I couldn't read yet, so the SMS cartridges were a pain to look through and find the right one.  Early on, I didn't notice much difference, but once that second wave of titles came out it was more apparent that the SMS generally looked better.  Like, I remember being pretty blown away by Lord of the Sword.  Big sprites.  Parallax scrolling and all that.  Then the 3-D glasses were just amazing for the time.  Didn't really see those things on the NES.  Though, I did find the sound a lot more grating, and there was a real generic quality to a lot of the games.  Black Belt, My Hero, Astro Warrior, Quartet, stuff like that.  Not that they were worse than anything else, but SMS just felt like the generic store brand of video games.

 

At the end of the day, I find the 7800 the easiest to go back to of the three.  The graphics are still pretty solid for the most part, and yeah, bunch of tardy ports of old arcade games, but those hold up better now than a lot of the games from the other ones.  Centipede is evergreen; NES I have to be in a specific kind of mood to want to play, and even more so for the SMS.

 

 

Oh, man, the way they would nuclear blast kids' brains with advertising for these things back in the day was nuts.  Nickelodeon was just becoming a big thing, and you had kids being able to watch kids' TV at any time of day for the first time, and with more and more homes having more than one TV?  Forget about it; it was just a constant sensory bombardment.  Everything had some kid sitting in at a desk with his hat getting blown off his head by the sheer power of all these totally awesome video games, screeching electric guitar, and we would just go crazy over this stuff.  Parents didn't seem to give a shit that it was making us all feral consumer zombies, either.  You couldn't do that with kids prior to the mid 80s.

 

Nowadays, I have to wonder why they even bother.  Does this influence anyone's decision when they're buying a console anymore?  It's like commercials for McDonald's.  Who at this point is not aware of, and has already made their mind up about McDonald's?

You obviously haven't watched the youtube videos geared at kids, worst than anything of the 80s

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1 hour ago, Pete5125 said:

You obviously haven't watched the youtube videos geared at kids, worst than anything of the 80s

 

Why would anybody would watch anything geared at kids on YouTube?  Are you trying to napalm their brains, before they have a chance to figure out why YouTube even exists?

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When the 7800 came out I was not immediately aware of it. I learned about it through friends. Though they had not spoken excitedly of it. Not like the devastating beauty inherent in the ColecoVision or 400/800/5200. Just said the console was a slightly enhanced 2600. Not much else.

 

Said to myself maybe-so. Money and efforts should be put into computers, not baby games with cartridges.

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1 minute ago, Keatah said:

Said to myself maybe-so. Money and efforts should be put into computers, not baby games with cartridges.

 

I hate to say it, but I did the same exact thing.  I worked my ass off, to get a VIC-20 and then a C-64, got a 400 but it didn't gain traction in Germany and the keyboard already gave me murderous tendencies against hardware back then.

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I don't know if anyone's mentioned this,  but The NES felt like the hot new system to have, with a company that supported it (nevermind their monopolistic ways).  I vaguely remember seeing an Atari 7800 on a store shelf somewhere and (even as a big Atari fan generally), with no advertising presence, no knowledge of what it was...The whole thing just felt like an afterthought back then.   Like something that had been on the backburner way too long...Now,  don't get me wrong because I love it now,  as much for what it is, as for the potential it represents,  with homebrews and new games from the minds of people like PacMan Plus and many others, but at the time it looked like the company wouldn't be there to give it support. 

 

To clarify,  I don't think it sold well because it didn't look like the company cared enough even to advertise it or get some cool games made for it...And products that don't sell well... are often discontinued.

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On 5/30/2021 at 7:54 PM, GoldLeader said:

I don't know if anyone's mentioned this,  but The NES felt like the hot new system to have, with a company that supported it (nevermind their monopolistic ways).  I vaguely remember seeing an Atari 7800 on a store shelf somewhere and (even as a big Atari fan generally), with no advertising presence, no knowledge of what it was...The whole thing just felt like an afterthought back then.   Like something that had been on the backburner way too long...Now,  don't get me wrong because I love it now,  as much for what it is, as for the potential it represents,  with homebrews and new games from the minds of people like PacMan Plus and many others, but at the time it looked like the company wouldn't be there to give it support. 

 

To clarify,  I don't think it sold well because it didn't look like the company cared enough even to advertise it or get some cool games made for it...And products that don't sell well... are often discontinued.

My thought exactly! We were making jokes about Atari sucking balls by the time we noticed these other Atari systems in a 2600 pack in flyer.. 5200 7800... where would one even buy those? Would I have to move to California and say dude and tubular all the time to be worthy to acquire such a thing.. never had such consoles in Butt Fuck Egypt part of the world I lived in...

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Strangely we had the opposite! NES nowhere to be seen in my BFE neck of the woods but we had a 7800. I don't really remember ads for it or anything, but I distinctly recall 2600/7800 on shelves but no NES stuff for quite some time.

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1 hour ago, Cebus Capucinis said:

Strangely we had the opposite! NES nowhere to be seen in my BFE neck of the woods but we had a 7800. I don't really remember ads for it or anything, but I distinctly recall 2600/7800 on shelves but no NES stuff for quite some time.

I heard this story once before. You live in the alternate reality bro.

 

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The 7800 and NES were everywhere in my part of town. Even in the stupid-making state next door. But I already had my eye on computers more than ever and would soon be looking forward to workstations like the 80486! Baby games begone!

 

I was already burned on the 5200. So I wasn't too happy with Atari. The library was essentially a mirror of the 1979 8-bit rigs. And I felt sucked in. In my eyes there was nothing "super" about the SuperSystem other than its styling. The natural conclusion at the time was that Atari was turbulent inside and had no clue what to do.

 

But then again, the artform was still in its infancy, some 15 years old. And experimentation was still the name of the game. Just don't knowingly experiment on customers.

 

The best material came from the heart and desire to make cool stuff. Not the need to attract customers and make sales numbers and flashy rendered ads. Nope. Not for me.

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I never even knew about the 7800 here in the UK when it was released. Never saw one because I'd moved on from the 2600 to the Spectrum. I was barely aware of the NES. The Sega Master System was the only one that had any noticable impact. From the Spectrum/C64 era through to the end of the Amiga/ST era, computers were utterly dominant in the UK.

 

Consoles only really picked back up when the SNES and Megadrive came along. I put a lot of that being because PC's were starting to come into play on the computing side and the SNES and Megadrive were more of a continuation of the sort of games you got on the ST/Amiga, the PC going off in another directions (FPS and what have you).

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On 5/30/2021 at 9:54 PM, GoldLeader said:

I don't know if anyone's mentioned this,  but The NES felt like the hot new system to have, with a company that supported it (nevermind their monopolistic ways).  I vaguely remember seeing an Atari 7800 on a store shelf somewhere and (even as a big Atari fan generally), with no advertising presence, no knowledge of what it was...The whole thing just felt like an afterthought back then.   Like something that had been on the backburner way too long...Now,  don't get me wrong because I love it now,  as much for what it is, as for the potential it represents,  with homebrews and new games from the minds of people like PacMan Plus and many others, but at the time it looked like the company wouldn't be there to give it support. 

 

To clarify,  I don't think it sold well because it didn't look like the company cared enough even to advertise it or get some cool games made for it...And products that don't sell well... are often discontinued.

Their was advertising but very little of it, they did print ads in video game magazines, but again in the late 80s where Game Pro and EGM was reviewing all the systems, 7800 was definitely an after thought for game reviews.  Atari did not seem to care to have their foot on what was popular, they had a mix of games that were old arcade, something nintendo had moved on from by the time of 7800 release or weird exclusive (ninja golf, scrapyard dog).

 

The controller was awful, pack in game was not a game that appealed to the mass like super Mario bros.  Every choice was weird.

 

But, from a buisnessman point of view kept Ataris name out their, sold old stock of Atari games,spent nothing on it.  So it was a success.

 

It didn't really help or hurt their brand name as without it they would of been in same shoes, truely Nintendo took the mkt by storm, Sega had as good or better system and got the same or less of mkt share as Atari.

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On 6/1/2021 at 3:35 AM, juansolo said:

I never even knew about the 7800 here in the UK when it was released. Never saw one because I'd moved on from the 2600 to the Spectrum. I was barely aware of the NES. The Sega Master System was the only one that had any noticable impact. From the Spectrum/C64 era through to the end of the Amiga/ST era, computers were utterly dominant in the UK.

This matched what was happening in Ireland at the same time, though with Nintendo not even bothering with the Irish market until about two years before the SNES' release.  The only reason I was even aware of the 7800 was that the main Atari retailer (Peats) usually had one or two hanging around that they couldn't find buyers for.

On 6/1/2021 at 3:35 AM, juansolo said:

Consoles only really picked back up when the SNES and Megadrive came along. I put a lot of that being because PC's were starting to come into play on the computing side and the SNES and Megadrive were more of a continuation of the sort of games you got on the ST/Amiga, the PC going off in another directions (FPS and what have you).

Agreed - I went to University in the UK, and there were a fair number of students coming in with both the SNES and Megadrive.  Sega was also advertising heavily in Viz and mens' magazines at the time, but Nintendo always seemed to be lagging.  And yup, PC gaming was coming into its own at that time as well.

 

I've always said that the PS1 was about the point where console gaming in Europe began to match what was being seen elsewhere, with the console attached to the TV for dedicated gaming and a PC somewhere in the house for word processing, email, etc. duty (and the occasional game).  But the fight was very much Sony v. Sega with Nintendo in third place.

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2 hours ago, Pete5125 said:

Their was advertising but very little of it, they did print ads in video game magazines, but again in the late 80s where Game Pro and EGM was reviewing all the systems, 7800 was definitely an after thought for game reviews.  Atari did not seem to care to have their foot on what was popular, they had a mix of games that were old arcade, something nintendo had moved on from by the time of 7800 release or weird exclusive (ninja golf, scrapyard dog).

 

The controller was awful, pack in game was not a game that appealed to the mass like super Mario bros.  Every choice was weird.

 

But, from a buisnessman point of view kept Ataris name out their, sold old stock of Atari games,spent nothing on it.  So it was a success.

 

It didn't really help or hurt their brand name as without it they would of been in same shoes, truely Nintendo took the mkt by storm, Sega had as good or better system and got the same or less of mkt share as Atari.

It highlights the differences between Warner and Tramiel Atari.     Warner Atari made sure they had as many of the hottest games as they could get- they knew that was important.  Warner Atari ran lots of TV ads.  Tramiel's Atari was only really concerned about getting the ST out the door, and selling existing videogame stock was a way to keep the lights on.   The 7800 was a victim of the Tramiel takeover.    Jack only ever had one business strategy-  Price War.  sell everything at rock-bottom prices and undercut the competition.   That's exactly what he wanted to do with all the 7800's he inherited.  GCC said "NO, we want to get paid for our work",  so the 7800 got tied up for two years in that dispute.    When it finally released, it had all the same titles as it would have had if it had launched as planned in 84.   Again, Jack thought that selling the unit at half the price of the competition was enough to make it a success.

 

As for the controller--   the Warner Atari management claimed that it test-marketed better than any other controller out there..    well maybe that was true when it's competition was INTV, Coleco and 5200 controllers?

 

Eventually the Tramiel Atari got the message that videogames were still a viable product, and they started to invest some money into it,  but it was never enough, and they kept falling further and further behind Nintendo

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4 hours ago, zzip said:

 

 

As for the controller--   the Warner Atari management claimed that it test-marketed better than any other controller out there..    well maybe that was true when it's competition was INTV, Coleco and 5200 controllers?

 

 

Good guess I'd say, as it's the only way I could see it being true.

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1 hour ago, GoldenWheels said:

Good guess I'd say, as it's the only way I could see it being true.

Well, that was the reality in 1983 when Atari was deciding how to go forward in the home videogame console market. 

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17 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Well, that was the reality in 1983 when Atari was deciding how to go forward in the home videogame console market. 

 

Here's what Atari told Electronic Games Magazine in 1984..  they said it even tested better than the CX40, which I'm sure many would dispute!

 

Atari is particularly proud of the Pro
Line controllers. According to Joel
Oberman, "We were surprised when
they tested better than anything, even
the standard Atari joystick." The company
is determined not to draw flak
from gamers about the controllers for
its new system the way it got criticism
on the 5200 stick. The two-button unit
gives excellent response and, like the
original Atari joystick, is a versatile, allaround
model that should play most
games pretty well.

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3 hours ago, pacman000 said:

How long did they let consumers try the controllers?

About 45 seconds.. the controllers that people tested longer wrists hurt too much to write their response in the feedback form. 

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15 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

Well, that was the reality in 1983 when Atari was deciding how to go forward in the home videogame console market. 

Except they're not even better than the CX-40s! 😀 (edit, I agree with zzip obviously!)

 

At least Atari was never dumb enough to use number pads again! Wait.....

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