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Thread: Atari 7800 question (1984 version)

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    Default Atari 7800 question (1984 version)

    I currently own my own Atari 7800 but it's one of the systems I'm far less knowledgeable about, so hopefully some of the smarter folks out there can help me out with a question. I searched this to death on the boards, so I apologize in advance if this has already been addressed or if it fit slightly better into a different forum....

    Back when I was a little kid my mom had an Atari 7800. As it got replaced by the NES and SNES it eventually got put away for good. Several years ago (before I got serious about collecting), my mom was in an eBay craze and sold it with a bunch of 2600 games for like $80 or so.

    Now... here's the thing. In a great book I've got (and everyone else should too) called "The Encyclopedia of Game Machines" they discuss every system including the 7800. In the 7800 section it mentions that Atari did a test release of the system in 1984 that "went by totally unnoticed amidst the market crash". After this, Time Warner sold Atari to Commodore founder Jack Tramiel, who had no interest in the bringing the 7800 back... until the boom created by the NES. So in 1986 the system was released mass-market, exactly the same as the 1984 version except missing the expansion slot. A blurb on the 1984 versions reads: "1984: A few thousand 7800 consoles were shipped in the US during the first marketing attempt. The rare original version had an expansion slot that should have connected to a Laser Disc player for instance, but was never used."

    So my first question is, is all this information accurate? It's from a reputable source, so I'm assuming it is. However, I had a strong feeling that she had the 7800 before 1986. I asked her about it and she was also sure that she did (she had a very good landmark-- I was her first-born child in 1985 and she was positive that she had it before my birth).

    Now, in the auction she sold it in she did not distinquish when the system was made. There was also no picture showing the expansion slot. So in both pictures and description it would have looked like just a regular common 7800. So... I've tried to search for 1984 7800s on eBay with no luck. The DP guide also makes no mention of it. So does anyone here now what the difference in value would have been? About how much do the limited release 1984 systems go for? Obviously it's long gone now, but I'd still be interested to know if this was a minor or major loss.

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    Not as hard as you think to find... I've got one for starters (modded for S-video). Can't say there's any real difference in performance. Not sure on value, the 84 games go for a lot more by comparison however (if you can find anything... Joust is almost always the one turning up with the old box).

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    Quote Originally Posted by stonic View Post
    This page details all the different versions - http://www.digitpress.com/eastereggs/78system.htm

    The original '84 version is the most desirable as it's compatible with more 2600 carts.
    You know I've heard that, but I've never had any problems with any 2600 games on my 7800, and it's one of the later issues(I think we got it in 87 or 88). This includes all the "problem" activision games.

    Honestly, I'm wondering if the compatibility thing is just some people having trouble with their machines and spreading the word on the net that it's something all systems have.
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    Robot Tank is a good compatibility tester game for the 7800. If your 7800 will play it, it should be more or less totally compatible with all 2600 games. If it can't, there is a small handful of 2600 games it will be unable to play.

    The expansion slot ones are not *rare*. They seem to be one in three of the 7800's I see.

    No doubt a lot of them spent 84 and 85 in a warehouse, and then were pushed out during the Nintendo led 8 bit rebirth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by omnedon View Post
    The expansion slot ones are not *rare*. They seem to be one in three of the 7800's I see.

    No doubt a lot of them spent 84 and 85 in a warehouse, and then were pushed out during the Nintendo led 8 bit rebirth.


    Alright, I'm officially an idiot. I just checked the two 7800s I own. One is the model with the hole in it where the expansion slot is supposed to be... and the other has an expansion slot. So you're probably right about them sitting in a warehouse.

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    That's what I've always read, that Atari had the '84 versions warehoused until 1986, when they tossed them into the marketplace and then manufactured new units without the expansion port.

    My original 7800 can play just about anything, other than Pitfall II. Robot Tank works fine, as does the Supercharger.

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