Tempest - Atari 5200



Box Upgrade:  No        Yes (Add $15.00)      

The hit Atari coin-op finally comes home in this exciting and challenging 3-D game for your Atari 5200 System. You control the "Blaster", patrolling the rim of an electric "tube" playfield, in a constant battle with the myriad enemies that are making their way up the tube's rails.

Your enemies are fast, varied and devious. Each class of enemy has its own special attack. All you have are your wits, your Blaster and your devastating, but limited, SUPER ZAPPER. Destroy every enemy and you will warp through the liberated tube, on to an even more challenging one.

Tempest was Atari's first color vector arcade game, released to arcades in 1980. Known for its frantic, addictive gameplay, Tempest was one of Atari's most successful vector arcade games. Versions of Tempest were being developed for Atari's 5200 and 5200 game consoles, but they were never completed or released commercially. A box for the 5200 version of Tempest is actually visible in the 1984 movie Cloak & Dagger.

For 15 years, the existence of an Atari 5200 version of Tempest was thought to be only myth. No prototypes had ever surfaced. A crude 5200 version had come to light, along with a prototype box. Then, in 1999, an unfinished working 5200 prototype appeared on eBay. The game was eventually dumped and the binary freely distributed around the Internet. Another decade has gone by since the game's discovery, and the original Atari 5200 Tempest programmer, Keithen Hayenga, worked to complete Tempest so it could finally see the light of day in completed form!

You can read about the "unfinished" 5200 prototype on AtariProtos.com.

Additional Information

Tempest 5200 includes the game cartridge with glossy label, and twelve page, full-color, glossy manual.

Get a Tempest Box!

Tempest BoxTempest Box

If you'd like a boxed copy of Tempest, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding Tempest to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your Tempest cartridge in place. We want you to play our games, so we have not sealed or shrinkwrapped the boxes in any way, allowing you easy access to the game cartridge and manual.

These boxes are the same size as boxes Atari produced for their games "back in the day". They look great sitting on a shelf with your other boxed homebrew games, or alongside games from the classic Atari 2600 library. We only have a limited number of boxes for each game, and there is no guarantee they will become available again once our supplies are exhausted. Click on the images to the right to see larger photos of the box.

Number of Players 1
Controller Atari 5200 Joystick Controller or Atari 5200 Trak-Ball Controller
Cartridge Size 32K
Programming Keithen Hayenga
Additional Programming Ken Van Mersbergen, Dennis Debro
Graphics Michael Kosaka
Manual and Label Design George Reese, David Exton
Peter Schoonmaker on 12/20/2020 11:50am
If you own a 5200, you owe it to yourself to buy this game. If you also own a trakball, then why aren't you hitting the checkout right now? THIS is what retro gaming is all about. Fast action, early eighties arcade sounds, great graphics, tight control. This title has it all.
Jeremy Holloway on 05/19/2020 06:33pm
Why haven't I reviewed this already? If Tempest 2000 is the console-defining game to get for the Atari Jaguar, then Tempest is the game to get for your 5200. Keithen Hayenga knocked this sucker out of the park. It's sad that he didn't get to complete it back in 1984 but it's so awesome that he returned and finished it years later. And the game is simply fantastic on the CX53 Trak-Ball Controller. Hell, the game holds up to the arcade original and I can say that because I'm one of the few that's played it with the arcade spinner wired up to a CX53 courtesy of Dan Kramer himself at the last Davis Atari Party that was held. Get this game!
Edladdin on 09/30/2019 01:23am
Great port with the Trak-Ball. Love it!
Rob Adams on 09/21/2019 06:46pm
Just a quick update, since last review I acquired a tracball and what a amazing difference! Brings game to a whole new level, the way it should be played.
Rob Adams on 01/05/2019 09:09pm
Game is amazing! Love it, great work! Seems alot harder than I remember!
James Crowson on 12/25/2018 09:12pm
What a game, one of my favorites! This and Star Castle.
Robert Menes on 09/06/2018 09:31am
One of my favorite arcade games gets a spot-on, banging port for my favorite Atari console! Tempest looks great, plays great, and sounds great on the 5200, and it makes me wonder why Atari had to shelve what was an excellent port. if this came out back in the 80s, it would've been a killer game for the system!
River Raider on 01/16/2018 04:21pm
Man'o'man. . . do I remember poppin' a lot of quarters into this baby at the Dream Machine arcade in Lexingtion, KY; they had 3 of these machines there, and they were usually all occupied. How Atari never made this a priority for their arcade-library for the 5200 is beyond me.

Color and graphics are stellar; but I haven't played it much, basically because player-movement with the CX52 controller is incredibly twitchy. Other reviews indicate it's optimized for the CX53 track-ball; I have 2, but neither work presently. So I guess I'm going to be busy trying to fix those rascals. . . heh.

I suppose I would recommend that Tempest support both the CX52 and the CX53 amply, as was typical with standard titles like Centipede and Missile Command. The whole idea behind the CX52 was to rid oneself of a tangled mess of game-specific controllers.

Still, 5 well-deserved stars! Thank you!
Ron Lloyd on 08/21/2017 10:29am
This is a cherished gem in my 5200 collection, I got it boxed. Very interesting that this is the finished version started and completed by the original Atari programmer Keithen, along with newer help from some AA members.

I hope you have a Trak-ball controller if you get this, because its so cool trying this out, and we just don't get Trak-ball games anymore.

For control, I actually pefer the stock CX52. The Trak-ball is fun, but wears me out. :) I remember reading that the developers reworked the control logic to make it more accurate and auto-sync to each unique system setup/pokey calibration. Once they did that, the control became very good in this final version, but the analog can be sensitive until you adjust!

With the stick, you can crawl along slowly or fast once you acclimate to the sensitivity of it. Stop yanking it left and right just barely apply pressure in the direction.

I can't believe how faithful this game is to the coin-op original. It's difficult (just like Atari's original)!
VectorGamer on 08/17/2017 11:25am
This game looks and plays great - even with those crummy stock controllers.
Dave Cordes on 02/05/2015 03:49pm
Who could imagine that almost 30 years later, Tempest would finally get released for the Atari 5200? This game was always meant to played on the 5200 and with the Trak-Ball you get an exceptional and fast arcade experience. All the sounds from the original arcade Tempest are there too. My only criticism is that the vector lines are a bit jagged and not as solid as a true vector display but that was to be expected from the console port. The box artwork is astonishing! I bought 1 to leave sealed in the box and, of course, a loose cart to play! Every Atari 5200 owner needs this game in their collection!
Michael Allard on 04/15/2014 03:18am
The 5200 was about being an at home arcade machine. 30 years later and the system is still pushing the envelope with the release of Tempest. The overall package makes it much entertaining to look at as it is to play. Tempest is as close to the arcade hit one can get on the 5200. Solid controls, amazing game play, and awesome sound effects will please the senses. Challenging game play will keep you on the edge of your seat. The instruction manual has a few extras that are a nice touch. The 30 year wait is over. It's been worth it. Those that have be cautious if the 5200 is worth spending the money on rest assured Tempest is worth every penny. It's hard to put down.
D Boy on 06/20/2013 02:11pm
Great game! My only gripe is the cartridge shell is flimsy and the guts rattle around inside... easy fix though if your handy. :) The box it came in is so neat as is the instruction booklet. Very nostalgic!
Craig Tesnow on 04/13/2013 02:45pm
I was so thrilled when I saw tempest was finally completed. This is an arcade perfect translation of one of my favorite arcade games.
Fantastic control and sound effects. The graphics are excellent and the gameplay is very addicting. Highly recommend!
Gabriel on 03/21/2013 03:14pm
I honestly don't know what to say about Tempest for the 5200 beyond what the videos and pictures already tell. This game is every bit as good as it looks. In fact, it's better than that. The game plays beautifully. Control using the trackball makes the game feel amazingly like the arcade. This is arcade bliss. THIS is what the 5200 was made for. Tempest on the Super System is TRANCENDENT.

I know my comments may be seen as fanboyish and overly positive. But I've been playing this game since before the official release and I still love it. I can't think of anything to be critical about. This game is a crowning jewel of not just the 5200 but of gaming overall. I have nothing but the highest praise for it.
Joe Walsh on 03/03/2013 11:49am
In this excellent port of Tempest for the 5200, the only things missing are the sounds and smells of a busy 80s arcade around you. This game plays and sounds just like the arcade game, and the graphics are unbelievably good. Definitely one of the top 5 games ever released for this under appreciated console.
Mark Mervne on 03/03/2013 07:18am
Tempest for the 5200 does not disappoint. Since the sounds and game tables are the same as the arcade version, it is hard to imagine how it could get any better. Control with the 5200’s analog joystick is solid and, it also plays well with the Trak-ball. All of the arcade levels and features are present, including the ability to pick your starting level. There is really not much else that can be said other than it is nearly arcade perfect! It may have taken thirty years to be completed, but you should not wait another minute to get your copy!

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