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Leeroy ST

Which post-2600 Atari console do you like best?

Which post-2600 Atari console do you prefer?  

76 members have voted

  1. 1. Which post-2600 Atari console do you prefer?

    • Atari 5200
      11
    • Atari 7800
      43
    • Atari XE game system (XEGS)
      5
    • Atari Lynx
      7
    • Atari Jaguar
      7
    • Atari VCS (2021)
      3


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9 minutes ago, Leeroy ST said:

How would you convince consumers to pay the premium to jump from 2600 to A400?

 

Assuming that's what you meant.

The same way they expected them to make the jump from the 2600 to the 5200 in 1982. Price of the 400 was $250 with a $55 rebate in December '82. So less expensive than the 5200 even. My point is by '82 and '83, prices were more or less comparable, hovering around $199. But you got the 'shaft' with the 5200's controllers.   :lol:

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

But I had another thought too...   maybe they release the 7800 as an enhanced 2600 model and keep the original "3600" name.  The difference is it would replace the 2600 and not the 5200.   That would excuse why it had horrible sound.   Then the market could decide if it liked the 3600 or 5200 better.   I don't really like the idea of having two incompatible consoles with similar power on the market at the same time, but it's better than abandoning one without warning after less than two years.

This couldn't work because they were losing money on the 5200 which is why they moved to replace it. 

 

By having another system, 3600 as you say, that adds additional risk of deeper bleeding. The 2600 was cheap to produce and hardware wise very profitable. The 3600 replacing it would cut that profit. So now you have two risks in your product pool.

 

I think the best route was just to either freeze the computers and release 7800 on schedule.

 

Or.. maybe...

 

Delay the 7800 until 85. Because you can come out the industries low point with a new higher prices product, and considering the only other new consoles that year were a lukewarm NES being tested and not even launched, and a $1000+ RDI Halcyon, that's a pretty safe bet. 

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I feel like my option of the 7800 has to come with a bit of a note, I understand the 5200 troubles others have mentioned, but at the time 5200 didn't exist to me because I'm British. I knew about the lynx but me and neighbour had game gear and I think we quite liked the games and feel of it so probably never even thought about the lynx. The jaguar I've only recently had the pleasure of trying out, owning and enjoying recently, while I've been playing 7800 games a lot longer. Although I feel the 7800 has the bonus of being backward compatible as well, I didn't factor that in this poll, it's an extra bonus but I think in terms of its games they are fair in their own right, regardless of what ifs that could have been. 

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3 minutes ago, save2600 said:

The same way they expected them to make the jump from the 2600 to the 5200 in 1982. Price of the 400 was $250 with a $55 rebate in December '82. So less expensive than the 5200 even. My point is by '82 and '83, prices were more or less comparable, hovering around $199. But you got the 'shaft' with the 5200's controllers.   :lol:

Casuals had hard times with computers then, even now, but harder back then.

 

You might get some to jump of course,  but the simple TV plug and play method of consoles requiring no extra work or floppy inserts was a major part of the appeal.

 

Also dont forget Atari never made money on the computer line.

 

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1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

Casuals had hard times with computers then, even now, but harder back then.

 

You might get some to jump of course,  but the simple TV plug and play method of consoles requiring no extra work or floppy inserts was a major part of the appeal.

 

Also dont forget Atari never made money on the computer line.

 

I hear what you're saying about "casuals" (more a term for today than yesteryear as there were fewer of them into this stuff BITD), but also think you may be underestimating the awareness or intelligence of the market at the time a bit. The O2 comes to mind... people weren't intimidated by that machine just because it came with a keyboard. If anything, it had originally helped to sell the system. Oops! ha  

 

Also, the Atari 400 was/is just as easy to hook to the tele as any system. Power supply and RF cable - standard stuff. And didn't require tapes or disks. While it was nice to have the option to add a tape or disk peripheral later, don't forget that games on cartridge were *the* standard and common for consoles and most of the popular computer systems back then. Even the C64 for a good while!  :)

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16 minutes ago, save2600 said:

I hear what you're saying about "casuals" (more a term for today than yesteryear as there were fewer of them into this stuff BITD), but also think you may be underestimating the awareness or intelligence of the market at the time a bit. The O2 comes to mind... people weren't intimidated by that machine just because it came with a keyboard. If anything, it had originally helped to sell the system. Oops! ha  

 

Also, the Atari 400 was/is just as easy to hook to the tele as any system. Power supply and RF cable - standard stuff. And didn't require tapes or disks. While it was nice to have the option to add a tape or disk peripheral later, don't forget that games on cartridge were *the* standard and common for most of the popular computer systems back then. Even the C64 for a good while!  :)

The issue is the intimidation factor.

 

Consumers didn't realize the relative ease of use, and generally looked at computers similar to each other. 

 

The C64 was the outlier I dont think the A400 could ever be. And even in your scenario it would still release.

 

I think the bigger issue with the 5200 is that they should have made the software interchangable. So you could just plop a A4/8 cart into the slot and it plays. Giving it an instant library, instead of having the 5200 play proprietary carts.

 

It wouldn't fix the controllers, but it would solve the complaints of slow software releases.

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14 hours ago, save2600 said:

I hear what you're saying about "casuals" (more a term for today than yesteryear as there were fewer of them into this stuff BITD), but also think you may be underestimating the awareness or intelligence of the market at the time a bit. The O2 comes to mind... people weren't intimidated by that machine just because it came with a keyboard. If anything, it had originally helped to sell the system. Oops! ha  

 

Also, the Atari 400 was/is just as easy to hook to the tele as any system. Power supply and RF cable - standard stuff. And didn't require tapes or disks. While it was nice to have the option to add a tape or disk peripheral later, don't forget that games on cartridge were *the* standard and common for consoles and most of the popular computer systems back then. Even the C64 for a good while!  :)

The 400 could be used as a purely cartridge based system so yeah it definitely wasn't harder than a games console.   And O2 is a good precedent.  Although you could argue that the system didn't sell well vs what the competition did.

 

But here's where I don't quite understand what Atari marketing was up to...   The 400/800 line was originally designed to be a successor to the 2600,  the 400 in particular was meant to be the "games model",  but I don't recall Atari ever positioning as a games console.   It was always a computer that happened to play games.   It didn't get the flashy ads that the 2600/5200 did that were aimed at kids,  the 400/800 ads were a bit more adult.   But yet...  Atari seems to have announced a keyboard peripheral for all their consoles that was suppose to turn them into computers. (not sure if these were ever delivered).   If they positioned the 400 as their 2600 successor instead of the 5200, I wonder if it really would have done worse?

 

I also have to wonder if game licensing was a factor.   We know one company could get the console or cart rights to an arcade game, and another could get computer or cassette/disk rights.   Donkey Kong was a good example of this.   If the line between console and computer gets blurred than that starts to create legal problems for games licensed this way.   Maybe this is why Atari felt the need to make a console based on the same tech, yet not cartridge-compatible with the 400?

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On 9/9/2021 at 8:26 PM, zzip said:

Atari started working on the next generation right after they released the 2600.  The tech became the 400/800 computer line in 79, but it didn't show up in the 5200 until 1982. 

 

By contrast, the 7800 was conceived and designed outside of Atari in 83.   GCC, started out as a group of arcade machine hackers that Atari was originally going to sue, but ending up hiring them to write 2600 games instead because Atari was losing programmers.   GCC designed the 7800 and brought it to Atari.    Atari was also in negotiations with Nintendo around the same time about distributing the NES.

 

So when the 5200 was being conceived, the 7800 wasn't even on the drawing board at Atari so they couldn't have made a strategic decision to wait for the 7800.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for this, it's a really interesting piece of info, and yes it does blow my idea of the 7800 coming out instead of the 5200 out of the water. I'd assumed that given the '84 launch, the 7800 would have at least been a concept early enough for Atari to consider not launching the 5200 at all in 1982, and waiting for 7800. Thanks for the info that explains why that wasn't an option 👍🙂

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6 hours ago, zzip said:

The 400 could be used as a purely cartridge based system so yeah it definitely wasn't harder than a games console.   And O2 is a good precedent.  Although you could argue that the system didn't sell well vs what the competition did.

 

But here's where I don't quite understand what Atari marketing was up to...   The 400/800 line was originally designed to be a successor to the 2600,  the 400 in particular was meant to be the "games model",  but I don't recall Atari ever positioning as a games console.   It was always a computer that happened to play games.   It didn't get the flashy ads that the 2600/5200 did that were aimed at kids,  the 400/800 ads were a bit more adult.   But yet...  Atari seems to have announced a keyboard peripheral for all their consoles that was suppose to turn them into computers. (not sure if these were ever delivered).   If they positioned the 400 as their 2600 successor instead of the 5200, I wonder if it really would have done worse?

 

I also have to wonder if game licensing was a factor.   We know one company could get the console or cart rights to an arcade game, and another could get computer or cassette/disk rights.   Donkey Kong was a good example of this.   If the line between console and computer gets blurred than that starts to create legal problems for games licensed this way.   Maybe this is why Atari felt the need to make a console based on the same tech, yet not cartridge-compatible with the 400?

Atari was aiming the 2600 at kids in toy stores initially.

 

The 400 was aiming for a different demographic.

 

The key boards for the 2600 consoles were supposed to be something a parent would get to help the kids learn as they grew into computing.

 

As for the split between the games in computer and consoles like with DK. That made perfect sense. Arcade also had separate rights and licenses.

 

This was because all 3 were in completely different industries early on. The regulations were different. It was the Xbox that fully separated video games as it's own self regulated industry.

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As stated before, none of these consoles really hit their potential, because of some really inept ownership by Kassar and Tramiel. It's a little surprising how Atari became a billion-dollar company with such ownership! I'd like the 7800 or the XEGS best though. The other ones... The 5200 had really sucky controls, The Jaguar was too hard to program, the Lynx didn't have too much original games, and the VCS has been cancelled over and over again.

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8 hours ago, Atariperson23 said:

As stated before, none of these consoles really hit their potential, because of some really inept ownership by Kassar and Tramiel. It's a little surprising how Atari became a billion-dollar company with such ownership! I'd like the 7800 or the XEGS best though. The other ones... The 5200 had really sucky controls, The Jaguar was too hard to program, the Lynx didn't have too much original games, and the VCS has been cancelled over and over again.

Isn't the VCS out now though?

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On 9/9/2021 at 2:26 PM, zzip said:

Atari started working on the next generation right after they released the 2600.  The tech became the 400/800 computer line in 79, but it didn't show up in the 5200 until 1982. 

 

By contrast, the 7800 was conceived and designed outside of Atari in 83.   GCC, started out as a group of arcade machine hackers that Atari was originally going to sue, but ending up hiring them to write 2600 games instead because Atari was losing programmers.   GCC designed the 7800 and brought it to Atari.    Atari was also in negotiations with Nintendo around the same time about distributing the NES.

 

So when the 5200 was being conceived, the 7800 wasn't even on the drawing board at Atari so they couldn't have made a strategic decision to wait for the 7800.

 

But Atari's VCS was getting pushed around by Mattel in ads, and Coleco was launching an impressive console in 82 so I think Atari felt pressured go get a next gen product out to stay competitive.   Now in retrospect, it turned out that 82 wasn't the best time to launch a console, so they might have been better off if they waited.

 

But yeah assuming the 5200 was on the market, I think the best bet would be if Atari fixed the issues around it and not abandon the Atari loyalists who bought it early (that is a horrible PR move)  They could then come up with a true 5200 replacement a few years later that would blow the NES away (NES was 1983 tech, as was 7800, imagine what a console based on 1986 tech would be like)

 

But I had another thought too...   maybe they release the 7800 as an enhanced 2600 model and keep the original "3600" name.  The difference is it would replace the 2600 and not the 5200.   That would excuse why it had horrible sound.   Then the market could decide if it liked the 3600 or 5200 better.   I don't really like the idea of having two incompatible consoles with similar power on the market at the same time, but it's better than abandoning one without warning after less than two years.

 

 

A console based on 1986 tech is the PC Engine... released in 1987. The 16bit (graphics) generation was starting.

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3 hours ago, DragonGrafx-16 said:

A console based on 1986 tech is the PC Engine... released in 1987. The 16bit (graphics) generation was starting.

The bits thing didn't really mean much for consoles in NA until 89 however. Where on computers the increase in bits was actually more significant and notable. Also earlier.

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3 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

The bits thing didn't really mean much for consoles in NA until 89 however. Where on computers the increase in bits was actually more significant and notable. Also earlier.

Well yeah... console gamers didn't know anything other than 8-bit games at home.

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12 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

Isn't the VCS out now though?

Wow, it really is. It's been cancelled so much times I thought it would never actually get released.

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That was the style at the time. Colecovion is pretty big, too- bigger than it needs to be.

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2 hours ago, high voltage said:

But did they have to make the 5200 so huge anyway?

Considering how small the 600XL was released only about a year later,  I'd say no.   I believe a lot of the space in the 5200 was controller storage?

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38 minutes ago, toiletunes said:

That was the style at the time. Colecovion is pretty big, too- bigger than it needs to be.

Looking inside there doesn't seem to be too much wasted space in the CV. Especially compared to the 2600.

 

15 minutes ago, zzip said:

Considering how small the 600XL was released only about a year later,  I'd say no.   I believe a lot of the space in the 5200 was controller storage?

And the large ROM set up to take the double sized carts.

Edited by Leeroy ST

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

Considering how small the 600XL was released only about a year later,  I'd say no.   I believe a lot of the space in the 5200 was controller storage?

In UK, way back Russ Perry ask me if I can send him a Amstrad GX4000 cib, and he asked what I want in return.

I said sure I can send you a GX 4000, can you send me a Atari 5200, cib.

He said, sure can do....afterwards he was saying like......Man, the P&P for shipping the Atari 5200 to UK was killing me.

Sending the GX was cheap P&P in comparison.

 

 

ATARI 5200 Supersystem Console

Edited by high voltage
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Everytime someones call XEGS a game console, I feel like they do a disservice to it. In reality it's a computer, same like 400/800, XL and XE series. This means that the software library is much bigger than any console, and it goes beyond games. Also, the amount of available peripherals is much bigger than any console of that time. The storage is not limited to cartridges only, but it also includes tape and floppy drives. 

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