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Was the 5200 really that bad?

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On 5/29/2022 at 1:00 AM, Keatah said:

Yes. But if you had an Atari 400 you had an even better machine.

Kids in 1982 didn't have Atari computers, a majority of them had consoles when it came to gaming.  If you were strictly gaming on an 8bit, you were probably older.  A lot of that changed when the C64 and the XL came out later.  There were no atari 400's at Toy R US, Sears, Kmart, and Kay B Toy stores.  Atari 5200 was cooler and the better for kids because it was a console that competed with Colecovision. 

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3 hours ago, phuzaxeman said:

Kids in 1982 didn't have Atari computers, a majority of them had consoles when it came to gaming.  If you were strictly gaming on an 8bit, you were probably older.  A lot of that changed when the C64 and the XL came out later.  There were no atari 400's at Toy R US, Sears, Kmart, and Kay B Toy stores.  Atari 5200 was cooler and the better for kids because it was a console that competed with Colecovision. 

Not true at all - I had a 400 with b-key keyboard in late 82 when I was 7.  Had few games so I did a ton of programming in BASIC.  I got a disk drive in 84 and ooh boy did my collection of games explode.  That was another huge advantage of the computers over the consoles.  The rampant piracy made it crazy easy to have a bigger game collection than could ever be played.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Stephen said:

Not true at all - I had a 400 with b-key keyboard in late 82 when I was 7.  Had few games so I did a ton of programming in BASIC.  I got a disk drive in 84 and ooh boy did my collection of games explode.  That was another huge advantage of the computers over the consoles.  The rampant piracy made it crazy easy to have a bigger game collection than could ever be played.

None of my friends had Atari computers in 82.  Kids at school had Colecovison, Intellivision, 2600, or the 5200.  And if you had a computer in that time, it wasn't strictly for gaming like a 2600 or 5200.  I had never seen an Atari computer in person at a main stream store until the XL series was out.  

Edited by phuzaxeman

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1 minute ago, phuzaxeman said:

None of my friends had Atari computers in 82.  Kids at school had Colecovison, Intellivision, 2600, or the 5200.  And if you had a computer in that time, it wasn't strictly for gaming like a 2600 or 5200.  I had never seen an Atari computer in person at a main stream store until the XL series was out.  

That was my experience too. 

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4 hours ago, phuzaxeman said:

None of my friends had Atari computers in 82.  Kids at school had Colecovison, Intellivision, 2600, or the 5200.

Not ALL my friends had computers, but most did. May not have been top of the line Apple II, but nevertheless a bonafide computer with a disk drive were pretty prevalent here.

 

By the time the XL/XE were well-seasoned I was approaching the peak of Apple II gaming. Eyeing something in the 16-bit arena. A Mac, ST, Amiga, IIgs, something.

 

6 hours ago, Stephen said:

I got a disk drive in 84 and ooh boy did my collection of games explode.  That was another huge advantage of the computers over the consoles. The rampant piracy made it crazy easy to have a bigger game collection than could ever be played.

Yes sounds about right. I had the Apple II some months before I got a disk drive. And shortly after getting it my gaming library exponentially exploded. We feverishly accumulated everything and anything. The whole "operation" was a game in and of itself. There were times we didn't play anything all week - just plotting and making arrangements for getting the next game.

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8 hours ago, Keatah said:

Not ALL my friends had computers, but most did. May not have been top of the line Apple II, but nevertheless a bonafide computer with a disk drive were pretty prevalent here.

 

By the time the XL/XE were well-seasoned I was approaching the peak of Apple II gaming. Eyeing something in the 16-bit arena. A Mac, ST, Amiga, IIgs, something.

 

Yes sounds about right. I had the Apple II some months before I got a disk drive. And shortly after getting it my gaming library exponentially exploded. We feverishly accumulated everything and anything. The whole "operation" was a game in and of itself. There were times we didn't play anything all week - just plotting and making arrangements for getting the next game.

Most of my friends had computers by 1984 including our family. Apple, c64, and Atari was really starting to take over. We bought the 800xl from Sears 1984.  Prior to 84, I had never seen an 8bit in person. My trusty 800xl got me through college in the early 90s. But my 5200 gets more love in 2022. 

 

The 5200 is so much fun with the analog sticks and fast loading times.

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23 minutes ago, phuzaxeman said:

My trusty 800xl got me through college in the early 90s

Similar here, except late 80s, and 1200XL.  I must’ve got my 1200 XL in late 83 or possibly 84, can’t remember. The 800 XL hadn’t been released yet when we got the 1200 XL. Which is too bad because the 1200 XL was overpriced, my poor dad’s wallet.

 

I must’ve got my 5200 in summer of 83 then.  Several friends also had 5200 and we loved it, I was the only one with a computer for several years. I did not know anyone that had the original 400 or 800.

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5 hours ago, phuzaxeman said:

My trusty 800xl got me through college in the early 90s. But my 5200 gets more love in 2022. 

Seems the Atari 8-bit machines were popular in college dorms at the time.

 

5 hours ago, phuzaxeman said:

The 5200 is so much fun with the analog sticks and fast loading times.

Any genuine/real cartridge based system will load instantly. Minus those artificial bios delays forcing you to read the title and copyright date of course.

 

Pre-loaderz and readerz and other fake cartridges will take more than 1-2 seconds to start.

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15 minutes ago, Keatah said:

Seems the Atari 8-bit machines were popular in college dorms at the time.

 

I kind of wish I was of college age back in those days.  

Would have been cool seeing dorm room tournaments and general gameplay.  

During the 5200 era, I was kind of stuck playing my 2600 and just trading games with my elementary school friends, who truly weren't that hardcore.  I was a gaming enthusiast on an isolated desert island in some ways, lol.

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5 hours ago, Cafeman said:

Similar here, except late 80s, and 1200XL.  I must’ve got my 1200 XL in late 83 or possibly 84, can’t remember. The 800 XL hadn’t been released yet when we got the 1200 XL. Which is too bad because the 1200 XL was overpriced, my poor dad’s wallet.

 

I must’ve got my 5200 in summer of 83 then.  Several friends also had 5200 and we loved it, I was the only one with a computer for several years. I did not know anyone that had the original 400 or 800.

My neighbor also had a 1200xl late in 1983.  But she didn't know how to work it.

 

I had 3 friends that owned 5200's back in 1982-1983.  We actually had a lot of fun playing vs each other on Realsports games.  My friends and I borrowed each other's games.

 

When my family got the 800xl in 1984, I was introduced to pirated games around 86. lol.  So I had so many games.  I also attended some user Atari 8bit user groups in the late 80s.  Part of the reason I still used the 8bit in the early 90s was because I moved from Ohio to Houston and was part of HACE (Houston Atari Computer Enthusiasts).  I was heavily invested in the 8bit community.  It's just today, the 5200 appeals to me more.  Being able to upgrade my own analog sticks and using the keypad plus the trackball just seems more fun. The 5200 is a gem.  

 

People talk about how the 5200 is just a 400 computer.  Most people that say that had never owned a 5200 back in the day.  When people use their 8bit computers, they have it setup like a monitor and they type.  A 5200 hooks up to your "big" TV in your family room.  That alone changes the experience. Back in 1982, there was nothing like Atari's Centipede.  It was almost arcade perfect to a kids eye minus the screen length.  And Pac Man had intermissions (8bit not).  Star Wars and Star Raiders utilized the analog sticks like the Star Wars arcade.  Those were big things in 1983.

 

The issue with the 5200 comes down to games.  The 5200 had excellent games and I enjoyed them most.  The problem was that most of the games were the same titles as other consoles.  2600 owners didn't feel the need to spend extra for better graphics and sound.  Part of the success of Coleco was their 3rd party support.  It was different.  Intellivision did the same thing.  Their games were different.  In the end, they all crashed and the NES took over though. Atari never learned from their mistake and the lack of 3rd party support killed their last console, Jaguar.

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Buying a machine that others had (especially with computers) seemed a big deal. On one hand it meant a source for trading warez. On the other it meant he had the same as I did, and there was no difference, no other platform to explore, same old same old. In the end having the same machines proved better because moar gamez.

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7 minutes ago, phuzaxeman said:

People talk about how the 5200 is just a 400 computer.  Most people that say that had never owned a 5200 back in the day. 

Because it is just a 400 computer. And I had them both. The 5200 and 400 have the same performance/speed capabilities. With the 400 being more versatile with an SIO + keyboard.

 

7 minutes ago, phuzaxeman said:

When people use their 8bit computers, they have it setup like a monitor and they type.  A 5200 hooks up to your "big" TV in your family room.  That alone changes the experience.

I had my 400 hooked to the 25" Big-Screen Zenith we had at the time.

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2 minutes ago, Keatah said:

Because it is just a 400 computer. And I had them both. The 5200 and 400 have the same performance/speed capabilities. With the 400 being more versatile with an SIO + keyboard.

 

I had my 400 hooked to the 25" Big-Screen Zenith we had at the time.

 

It's not exactly the same though even though they share the same internals.  As a kid, you couldn't go to Kmart or Toys R US to buy cartridges for the 400 like you could a 5200.  I didn't know anyone with both an Atari computer and 5200 in 1982. 

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1 minute ago, phuzaxeman said:

It's not exactly the same though even though they share the same internals.

Same internals (to me) means the same machine essentially.

 

1 minute ago, phuzaxeman said:

As a kid, you couldn't go to Kmart or Toys R US to buy cartridges for the 400 like you could a 5200.

I remember our Toys'R'Us having both 400/800 and 5200 carts. But Venture and Minnesota Fats, Sears and Service Merchandise had more. K-Mart, too. Especially K-Mart! Our town was well covered and any console could be gotten anywhere within a 10 mile range.

 

1 minute ago, phuzaxeman said:

  I didn't know anyone with both an Atari computer and 5200 in 1982. 

Me neither. But since we all mingled and shared carts we might as well have. Same effect.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2022 at 12:01 PM, zzip said:

"Did Gremlins destroy the 5200?"  "Is there a curse of Spielberg movie tie-in games?"

 

For "Gremlins" on the 2600, no question... :D

 

But on the 5200? It's a lot more cohesive in its gameplay. Clever too, with weapons such as "camera flash cube". A friend had it in 1986 and it was surprisingly fun... had no clue until recently that the game was finished, sent to production, and at the same time Jack Tramiel buys Atari and orders the 5200 put down - all remaining stock to be put in a warehouse... all that produced stock languished in a warehouse for 2 years and when they were looking at stuff to clear out they found the games and sold them without fanfare. Impressive that there were sales for a game for a discontinued system where the joysticks stopped working after a handful of months... :D 

 

Edited by CommodoreDecker

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10 minutes ago, Keatah said:

Because it is just a 400 computer. And I had them both. The 5200 and 400 have the same performance/speed capabilities. With the 400 being more versatile with an SIO + keyboard.

 

I had my 400 hooked to the 25" Big-Screen Zenith we had at the time.

I would move my 400 between my bedroom with desk and 9" monitor for programming, and my basement rec room with it's large tv for gaming sessions.  I later purchased an Apple IIe which was more popular with the kids I knew and opened up the door for a large pirated game collection.  I took the Apple IIe to college in 85' for papers and spreadsheet stuff.

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2 minutes ago, Keatah said:

Same internals (to me) means the same machine essentially.

 

I remember our Toys'R'Us having both 400/800 and 5200 carts. But Venture and Minnesota Fats, Sears and Service Merchandise had more. K-Mart, too. Especially K-Mart! Our town was well covered and any console could be gotten anywhere within a 10 mile range.

 

Me neither. But since we all mingled and shared carts we might as well have. Same effect.

I saw Atari 8bit carts after the release of the 5200.  There were none in Kmart in 1982 when we shopped for our 5200.

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I owned the Apple II not long after it came out. So I had the chance to see it blossom. And participated in whatever was popular at the time (or phases) of its existence. All the way to sunsetting in the early/mid 1990's.

 

It was nice to see the various technologies that are so prevalent today having been developed back then. Both Apple and Atari were pretty good at that.

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  21 hours ago, phuzaxeman said:

None of my friends had Atari computers in 82.  Kids at school had Colecovison, Intellivision, 2600, or the 5200.  And if you had a computer in that time, it wasn't strictly for gaming like a 2600 or 5200.  I had never seen an Atari computer in person at a main stream store until the XL series was out.  

That was my experience too. 

 

 

And mine. A computer and a console were so different. You went over to people's houses and played consoles (like the 5200) in front of the tv. They may have had a computer, but it was often set up in their room and it wasn't treated like a gaming machine. I also didn't know anyone with an Atari computer. I had friends though with Vic-20s, Trs-80 CoCos, or C-64s. I thought they looked really robust and cool when I saw Atari computers, but they just weren't common in my experience.

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On 6/4/2022 at 6:35 PM, CommodoreDecker said:

But on the 5200? It's a lot more cohesive in its gameplay. Clever too, with weapons such as "camera flash cube". A friend had it in 1986 and it was surprisingly fun... had no clue until recently that the game was finished, sent to production, and at the same time Jack Tramiel buys Atari and orders the 5200 put down - all remaining stock to be put in a warehouse... all that produced stock languished in a warehouse for 2 years and when they were looking at stuff to clear out they found the games and sold them without fanfare. 

Tramiel didn't actually kill the 5200,   Warner Atari did a few months prior, once they announced the 7800 they announced they were discontinuing the 5200. 

 

Gremlins was supposed to be released in 84, it was even reviewed in magazines at the time.   Rescue on Fractalus and Ballblazer were also supposed to get released on 5200 in 84.

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On 6/4/2022 at 3:32 AM, Keatah said:

Not ALL my friends had computers, but most did. May not have been top of the line Apple II, but nevertheless a bonafide computer with a disk drive were pretty prevalent here.

Most of my friends did not have computers, only a few of us did.  And I didn't know anybody who had a computer prior to 83 when the price wars made them affordable.   Quite a few had consoles in the early 80s, but didn't replace them with anything or game much during the crash years of the mid-80s.    Then around 88 they all started getting NESes and gaming was 'cool' again.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know if gaming ever became 70's cool again. Interesting and desirable, sure. But not the family sitting around the TV playing Indy 500 or Miniature Golf, or even any arcade conversion to any home console. No more all-inclusive "Atari" nights. No more lengthy modem sessions. Anything 70's in the 90's still had that ratbaggish outdatedish stink about it. Cool in a retro way hadn't happened yet.

 

Gaming became interesting again for me with mid-90's PC stuff and improving fidelity of sims like FS 5.1 and X-Plane and others. It was a solitary experience since PC is not geared toward multi-player family stiff.

 

I guess we were just growing up and were at the age of not wanting to be associated with cutesy baby nintendo-ee mascots and fluffy stuff.

Edited by Keatah
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On 6/3/2022 at 6:14 PM, Stephen said:

I got a disk drive in 84 and ooh boy did my collection of games explode.  That was another huge advantage of the computers over the consoles.  The rampant piracy made it crazy easy to have a bigger game collection than could ever be played.

Great point! Computers meant an endless supply of free games. 

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On 6/6/2022 at 2:19 PM, Keatah said:

I don't know if gaming ever became 70's cool again. Interesting and desirable, sure. But not the family sitting around the TV playing Indy 500 or Miniature Golf, or even any arcade conversion to any home console. No more all-inclusive "Atari" nights. No more lengthy modem sessions. Anything 70's in the 90's still had that ratbaggish outdatedish stink about it. Cool in a retro way hadn't happened yet.

 

Gaming became interesting again for me with mid-90's PC stuff and improving fidelity of sims like FS 5.1 and X-Plane and others. It was a solitary experience since PC is not geared toward multi-player family stiff.

 

I guess we were just growing up and were at the age of not wanting to be associated with cutesy baby nintendo-ee mascots and fluffy stuff.

This pretty much describes my gaming childhood (except swap a Power Mac for the PC).


Def agreed about the cutesy baby Nintendo junk.  The constant "hoo hoo" and "yahh" sound effects made any gamer swear off that nonsense.

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