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Lord Helmet

5200 or Atari 8-bit

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Which do you prefer? Which do you collect for?

 

I have both, but the games are pretty much the same for both, with a couple of exceptions.

 

I like the 8-bit because you can use standard controllers without an interface. I like the 5200 carts cuz the labels look cooler. It also seems that the homebrews dont get ported to the 8-bit as often.

 

I guess I am having trouble deciding in which one to concentrate on. I will always have both, but I want to focus my colleciton on one of them.

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For me personally, and with no disrespect intended to 5200 fans, the Atari 8-bit is a better choice. It has a much larger library of software, and standard 2600-style controllers. And it's a pretty simple matter to hook it up to your PC (with a SIO2PC cable) and be able to instantly sample any 8-bit/5200 game of your choice.

 

As a collector, I can understand why some might prefer the 5200 (the labels, the more limited library of software, nostalgica), but as a gamer, the Atari 8-bit computer is my clear choice.

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I reluctantly must agree with sdamon. I've always been the biggest 5200 fan but now finally have an 800 with the sio2pc interface and literally have thousands of games to play anytime. That alone is huge.

Being one that never hated the 5200 controllers,its a non-issue to me for the most part. PacMan for example still feels better to me using the 5200 sticks. And honestly, games like Defender are a bitch on the 800 having to reach for the space bar for smart bombs, and other keys for hyperspace.

The 5200 definetly looks 100% better. It could even pass for a modern console. The 800 looks like a '79 relic.

Still, all in all the 800 rocks with having so many games available. ;)

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I have an XEGS...but its an ugly dude. Maybe I should sell it and get an 800xl...My 5200 currenly has 2 broken controllers, so I need to replace them too...

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Yea... the 800XL is THE MACHINE! :)

 

I like the 5200 for it's design and labels as well but the 800XL has a huge library and is more practical (I hate the 5200 controllers... then again who doesn't?)

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I'm starting to lean towards the focusing on the 8-bit, it's just got more games, and seems more practical. However, I will still get 5200 games if they are not available for the 8-bit.

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That's a good question. It's very similar to the "PC or Game Console?" question of modern times.

 

I choose the 5200 to collect for and the 8-Bit to play. The 5200 is a real console and fits in well between my 2600 and 7800 stuff. I have an entire 5200 collection new in the box X2, two MIB 5200 systems, an open 5200 in great shape that i play, and a 5200 Atari VSX. But that's my collection, that's not always what I like to play.

 

The 8-Bit line is really versitile. Theres alot more you can do with it than the 5200, just begining with the keyboard. However in my opinion the cartridges and packaging arent as beautiful as the 5200 line and are less fun to collect. Especially with the discs. Nothing more frusterating than boxes of dusty old floppies laying around as opposed to gorgeous cartridges with nice labels.

 

Thats my opinion anyway.

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Interesting thread!

 

I've never really been attracted to 2600 collecting. Seemingly infinite label variations with identical code are not for me.

 

I had a similar debate with myself when I was a kid. The 5200 was not an option in PAL-land, but there was definitely a decision to be made between a computer and a games console.

 

My introduction to video gaming was on Pong-type TV games. However, I really got into games at school, playing text-only games on a 110-baud modem (or "acoustic data coupler" as it was known).

 

Our school had a dumb terminal, with a phone-up account to a mainframe that ran a Unix-type OS.

 

There were only about 10 games on the system, so we had to write our own. No graphics, and the only sound was a "ctrl-g" beep.

 

The advent of personal computers (Sinclair ZX80, Compukit UK101, etc) was a revelation to us.

 

The contrast between buying very expensive preprogrammed cartridge games (many of which were hopeless) and writing your own stuff AND being able to buy much cheaper preprogrammed cassettes, disks and cartridges (many of which were also hopeless) resulted in a no-contest.

 

The 5200 is, and was, a nice console. But the advantages of the 8-bit computers were, and are, clear.

 

My involvement with the Atarimania project has shown me the vast range of stuff that is (more or less) available. We have discovered many games that none of us had heard of. Obviously, many such games are worthless, but there are also plenty of gems.

 

So, for me, it's a pretty clear answer.

 

I must say though, with the revelation that Bill Hogue plans to re-release both of the Bounty Bob games for the 5200, and other develpments, I am tempted to buy an AV-modded 5200.

 

I hate the controllers, though.

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(I hate the 5200 controllers... then again who doesn't?)

Me. I like them. Which is more than I can say for Atari-brand 2600 sticks.

 

 

I prefer the 5200.

Possibly because I have almost no stuff for my 800XL.

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With the 5200 controllers, I actually like the feel of the stick, and they work fine with pac-man and whatnot after you get used to them. The thing I don't like about the 5200 controllers is the fire buttons. After a game or 2 of defender, my hands cramp up badly.

 

that said, the 2600 sticks don't have enough play in the joystick, but the buttons are great. As far as 3rd party 2600 sticks go, I have not found one that I like other than the Gemini paddle / joystick all-in-one. I really like the joystick on that one.

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The 5200 all the way.  The pastel buttons on the XEGS clash with my color scheme. 8)

 

That's why I have been thinking of getting an 800xl and selling my XEGS...

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Between the two I'd go for the 8-bit every time. Just much more fun, and so much more you can do with it.

 

If I had to choose a console, the 5200 would win. Shame about the pads being unreliable.

 

Hi, from a 5200 in PAL land.

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I like both but playing games on the 800XL is more convenient for me. Maybe if I got my 5200 A/V modded....hmm.

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I like both but playing games on the 800XL is more convenient for me. Maybe if I got my 5200 A/V modded....hmm.

 

Atari 800 with AV out to Magnavox monitor .. is more convenient .. The 800 is what I owned back in 1981-1983. The 5200 only comes out to play a few exclusive homebrews. Maybe if I get Bounty Bob ... Hmmm.

 

Rob Mitchell, Atlanta, GA

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Well I run my 800XL on a Commodore 1702 monitor. It looks really rad that way. :D

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The pastel buttons on the XEGS clash with my color scheme.

 

Not mine. Miami Vice FOREVER!!!!!!

post-2656-1112543928_thumb.jpg

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My recurring odd thought on this subject.

 

What would be involved in creating a piece of A8 hardware that could accept 5200 cartridges and controllers as well as computer carts and controllers? Off the top of my head, I can see at least three big obstacles:

 

1. Physically different cart port Duh.

2. Physically different controller ports. Duh.

 

3. Both A8 and 5200 have the same basic chipset but the 5200's GTIA and POKEY registers occupy different places in the memory map. The PIA chip is missing entirely.

 

If it weren't for those registers being moved about, this could probably be accomplished by a fairly simple device that would interface through the parallel port on an XL or XE line machine. Just provide the 5200 ROM, Cart port, and controller ports through a snap on device. As it is, the logic board of the A8 would have to be modded in addition to the external "5200 dock". I suppose the $100 dollar question is if the mods would be so extensive that it would be easier to design a new PCB that incorporates both the A8 and 5200 physical hardware, ROMS, and the logic to switch modes.

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I suppose the $100 dollar question is if the mods would be so extensive that it would be easier to design a new PCB that incorporates both the A8 and 5200 physical hardware, ROMS, and the logic to switch modes.

836685[/snapback]

On the upside, the 5200 case has more than enough space for a combo.

...

But you'd taint it's lines if you used a integrated keyboard. Which is a sin.

So you'd have to use XEGS keyboards or risk going to hell.

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I suppose the $100 dollar question is if the mods would be so extensive that it would be easier to design a new PCB that incorporates both the A8 and 5200 physical hardware, ROMS, and the logic to switch modes.

836685[/snapback]

On the upside, the 5200 case has more than enough space for a combo.

...

But you'd taint it's lines if you used a integrated keyboard. Which is a sin.

So you'd have to use XEGS keyboards or risk going to hell.

836700[/snapback]

 

This is true. I talked about a putative A8 5200 add-on because it seemed like the easier case. To make an uber-8bit out of the 5200, the PIA, A8 cart port, A8 joystick ports, and additional RAM up to at least 64k would have to be added. Either route involves butchery to the modded logic board but adapting a 5200 to have at least 800XL capabilities would be much harder than the reverse. If we start talking 130XE capabilities then 64k more and FREDDIE have to be incorporated as well.

 

Since the 5200 case is so big, you could probably shoehorn a hacked 130XE board into it and make a few discrete cutouts for the extra ports the A8 brings to the party. I suppose that is what you meant. And yes, the keyboard would have to be detachable in that case. I think incorporating some sort of switch into the 5200 cartridge port would be the slickest way to switch modes. Although we wouldn't want to rule out interesting possibilities like disk loaded 5200 roms.......

 

Of course, if we start talking about an entirely new PCB then we can make it fit in the 5200 shell as nicely as we please. If we're going to fantasize here then we might as well do it in style.

 

The thing that makes this more blue sky than anything is that making the entire 5200 library runnable on the A8 "Glenn the 5200 Man" style is more practical even if you lose some of the "5200 experience". I like that idea even better if we meet the hardware mod halfway and whomp up decent centering analog sticks for the A8 and substitute either a Star Raiders keypad or the keyboard for the 5200 keypad. Slightly harder but still reasonably practical is a combo analog stick plus keypad that doesn't suck. Given that minimal amount of hardware help on the A8 side, it may even be possible to automate most of the ROM conversions rather than reverse engineering and rewriting each one.

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I suppose the $100 dollar question is if the mods would be so extensive that it would be easier to design a new PCB that incorporates both the A8 and 5200 physical hardware, ROMS, and the logic to switch modes.

836685[/snapback]

On the upside, the 5200 case has more than enough space for a combo.

...

But you'd taint it's lines if you used a integrated keyboard. Which is a sin.

So you'd have to use XEGS keyboards or risk going to hell.

836700[/snapback]

 

This is true. I talked about a putative A8 5200 add-on because it seemed like the easier case. To make an uber-8bit out of the 5200, the PIA, A8 cart port, A8 joystick ports, and additional RAM up to at least 64k would have to be added. Either route involves butchery to the modded logic board but adapting a 5200 to have at least 800XL capabilities would be much harder than the reverse. If we start talking 130XE capabilities then 64k more and FREDDIE have to be incorporated as well.

Yes. Messy.

 

Since the 5200 case is so big,  you could probably shoehorn a hacked 130XE board into it and make a few discrete cutouts for the extra ports the A8 brings to the party.  I suppose that is what you meant. 

Nah. I meant if you had to make a new board.

 

Of course, if we start talking about an entirely new PCB then we can make it fit in the 5200 shell as nicely as we please.  If we're going to fantasize here then we might as well do it in style.

Yes.

 

Or a PlayStation 2.

...

What? It's a nice case.

 

 

The thing that makes this more blue sky than anything is that making the entire 5200 library runnable on the A8 "Glenn the 5200 Man" style is more practical even if you lose some of the "5200 experience". 

Sadly, in many cases the 5200 experience is just a bit of play in the stick and a splash screen at boot..

17 buttons and Missile Command only has one turret... grumblegrumble.

I like that idea even better if we meet the hardware mod halfway and whomp up decent centering analog sticks for the A8 and substitute either a Star Raiders keypad or the keyboard for the 5200 keypad. 

Yah.

 

Yah. That makes the most sense.

Read the joysticks as paddles(isn't that what hte 5200 does, anyways?), steal the 3 leftover joystick switches for start/pause/reset.

 

If that's all you need, you can get 4 players on a 400/800(for all... 3 games? that support it). If you want full compatibility, use 2 ports for sticks, 2 for phonepads.

....

But 1-3 stick or 1-2 stick?

If you go 1-2, all the computers have multi-stick, but XL/XE aren't fully functional.

 

1-3 gets you full controller compatibility, but XL/XE can't do 2 sticks.

 

Slightly harder but still reasonably practical is a combo analog stick plus keypad that doesn't suck.  Given that minimal amount of hardware help on the A8 side, it may even be possible to automate most of the ROM conversions rather than reverse engineering and rewriting each one.

836730[/snapback]

Hmmm... use the 5 digital pins as a primitive input port, and the 2 pot pins for stick reading?

Would take... 4 reads to get all the switch states.

 

If you reliably can get 4 done in a frame, it'd work. But the custom stick starts to look like something from the NES or PlayStation.

Stupid serial interfaces.

WE WANT GIANT CONTROLLER PORTS WITH 50 PINS! ONE LINE, ONE SWITCH!

 

 

Meh. I'm just thinking. And ranting.

Edited by JB

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