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Thread: atari 5200 could play 2600 games?!?

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    Default atari 5200 could play 2600 games?!?

    I had no idea that they released an adapter for the 5200 that would allow it to play 2600 games. If this was common knowledge, then insert facepalm.jpg right here.

    I didn't know until watching this youtube video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydf-e...eature=related

    The adapter isn't nearly large enough though.

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    I knew it, but I think those things are hard to find.

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    Atari did indeed release an adapter, but they did so way too late; Colecovision got there first and had their adapter ready to go not long after their system launch. Atari's 5200-to-2600 adapter was significantly later hitting the market, and that probably cost the 5200 a lot of market share.

    Keep in mind that one of the big selling points in blowing the $200+ to step up to a new machine was "Will all of my old games still work?"...especially for mom and dad, who were probably paying for the upgrade. That made the Colecovision very appealing, because Expansion Module #1 hit the stores not long after the console itself did; by the time the 5200 adapter was out there, it was way too late.

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    My recollection is different, but I can very easily believe I'm just remembering things inaccurately.

    My brother and I were given a 5200 for Chanukah, I think when I was 13 years old. Given to us WITH the system was the 2600 Adapter. (I think it was still called the VCS adapter at the time.)

    I'd have been 13 in '81, and 14 in '82. By the time I was 15, I had stopped paying any attention to home videogame systems. Assuming the above is accurate, the adapter would have been available for holiday shopping in either '81 or '82.

    I thought the 5200 was released (nationwide) in '82. (According to the 5200 FAQ, the unit 'premiered in 1982'.)

    If I received the system and the VCS adapter together in December '82, that doesn't jibe with a history of the adapter not coming out soon enough.

    It may be that the CV itself came out earlier than the 5200. Of that, I don't recall clearly.
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    Isn't the adapter only working (without mod) with 2-port 5200's? I've read that the 2-port came out in 1983.
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    Yeah, I believe it only worked wiht one model or the other - can't remember which.
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    Yes, barring hardware modification, the adapter only works with the 2-port model. Best Electronics of California used to sell a kit to do this for somewhere in the ballpark of $50. I don't know if it's still available or not.

    I got a hold of one of these VCS adapters last year. It's large because it's essentially a whole 2600 Jr board in a totally different casing. Unfortunately have no idea whether or not mine even works. I have two 5200's. One is an early production 4-port model, and the other has two ports...but on a 4-port board . It's a weirdo. I figure it was part of some sort of interim production run released before the proper 2-port model started rolling off the line. Either way my adapter doesn't function with either machine.

    Per the box label, Atari was aware of the compatibility issue. I'm not sure if they knew about it from the get-go or not. The fact that the caveat is printed on the box and not some sticker slapped on the package suggests they knew about it early on.

    On a side note, I got to meet Rob Zdybel (programmed the 5200 BIOS) at CGE one year, and when I asked him about the 5200's lack of backward compatibility with the 2600 he told me he was personally opposed to it, but I didn't get a chance to hear him expand on that. Perhaps this opposition was why the only way Atari was able to make a back-compatible adapter for the machine was to sell the customer another whole 2600 which is all the VCS adapter ultimately is.

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    the adaptor works with the 2 port model but not with the 4 port as stated earlier

    there were a number of 4 port model thats the adaptor will work with i beleive. you can tell if its a compatable model buy a * in the serial number. i have one of these 4 ports but no adaprtor to test if this is true.

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    atari 5200 could play 2600 games?!?
    Of course I could play them!
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    Default hmmm...

    On a side note...

    Someone mentioned the Colecovision had an adapter for 2600 games.

    Also, I believe the Intellivision had one as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuken View Post
    On a side note...

    Someone mentioned the Colecovision had an adapter for 2600 games.
    And again, it's basically an entire VCS in a different shell.
    Last edited by InsaneDavid; 10-06-2008 at 03:33 PM.

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    CV playing 2600 games...I loved that back in the day. Imagine if you could but a PS3 and adapter and play Xbox 260 games as well...or vice versa. That was what it was like back then...very cool.

    The 5200 adapter to play 2600 games is not hard at all to find...or at least it wasn't a few years ago when I was collecting. I think I had three of them, and actually had a hard time selling them off...seemed nobody wanted them back then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pantechnicon View Post
    On a side note, I got to meet Rob Zdybel (programmed the 5200 BIOS) at CGE one year, and when I asked him about the 5200's lack of backward compatibility with the 2600 he told me he was personally opposed to it, but I didn't get a chance to hear him expand on that. Perhaps this opposition was why the only way Atari was able to make a back-compatible adapter for the machine was to sell the customer another whole 2600 which is all the VCS adapter ultimately is.
    The 5200 started off as a good console and then Marketing jumped in. Backwards compatibility was fairly easy and originally considered in the design. We were told no way, no how, and don't even make it an add on. That's why the original 4 port console required a service center install a mod to jumper in composite video and audio from the cartridge port. A few weeks prior to launch some Marketing dude (Gary Blonfield I think) called over demanding backwards compatibility and the hack was thrown together.

    Ron Flint hacked the upgrade together in a day and George (last name??...it was 27 years ago) took one of the half dozen 2600 derivatives I was working on and made the adapter. We had to use what was quickly available hence the old style spring switches. This was a good year prior to the first 2600jr prototype.

    The lab staff proclaimed the new product the "piggyback parasite" or the "tower of power". We always called the sticks the "jokesticks" and went so far as to write a petition to management not to release those sticks. Zdybel's wrote his name in, as did Larry Kaplan back as Software V.P. and my name was #3 down on the list

    We all so hated that console, and marketing! To this day I cringe every time I pass a 5200 at the flea market. So much potential wasted.

    Jerry

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    zektor, you could play hacked ROM's of Coleco Vision on MSX2/2+ from Sony. It is even possible to dump the Sony MSX cartridges to play on the MSX from a SONY 3 1/2 floppy or a Philips cassette tape.

    The Spectravideo home microcomputer has a adapter to play Coleco cartridge and another to play MSX cartridge.

    In fact a lot of persons are 'converting' the Coleco games to play on MSX computers.There was some official conversion done by Konami and others, I think that the games that you need to press "1" or "2" to start play are from Coleco. The MSX2 original games (like Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake) use the function keys (F1-F5) plus the two buttons of the MSX joypad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjessop View Post
    The 5200 started off as a good console and then Marketing jumped in. Backwards compatibility was fairly easy and originally considered in the design. We were told no way, no how, and don't even make it an add on. That's why the original 4 port console required a service center install a mod to jumper in composite video and audio from the cartridge port. A few weeks prior to launch some Marketing dude (Gary Blonfield I think) called over demanding backwards compatibility and the hack was thrown together.

    Ron Flint hacked the upgrade together in a day and George (last name??...it was 27 years ago) took one of the half dozen 2600 derivatives I was working on and made the adapter. We had to use what was quickly available hence the old style spring switches. This was a good year prior to the first 2600jr prototype.

    The lab staff proclaimed the new product the "piggyback parasite" or the "tower of power". We always called the sticks the "jokesticks" and went so far as to write a petition to management not to release those sticks. Zdybel's wrote his name in, as did Larry Kaplan back as Software V.P. and my name was #3 down on the list

    We all so hated that console, and marketing! To this day I cringe every time I pass a 5200 at the flea market. So much potential wasted.

    Jerry
    Any idea why they had to make the 5200 so freakin BIG?

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatofcar View Post
    Any idea why they had to make the 5200 so freakin BIG?
    Yes......it's called "perceived value" and according to Marketing was that small equates to smaller value. The same reason the U.S. versions of the PCengine and NES were larger here.

    Instead of using the product codename "PAM" as "Personal Arcade Machine" we were lectured again by Marketing that Americans see model numbers as meaning quality, that's why BMW and Mercedes use them. People will have the impression the 5200 is a quality product like Mercedes.

    BTW: The name "PAM" was for employee Pam Araby a particularly lovely Lady we all liked.

    We should have beaten the Marketing guys up at that point.

    Jerry

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    Jerry, do you have any idea what the time difference was between the 5200 VCS adapter and Coleco's product along the same lines? It's always been my understanding that Coleco won that race by the better part of at least a year, though some of the responses here have me wondering if I'm remembering that incorrectly. Just curious.

    Surely it's a testament to the strengths of the system shining through the marketing-induced crap that so many folks here, myself included, are fond of the 5200!

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    Default Mr. Jessop's answer is better but...

    Quote Originally Posted by boatofcar View Post
    Any idea why they had to make the 5200 so freakin BIG?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phosphor Dot Fossils View Post
    Jerry, do you have any idea what the time difference was between the 5200 VCS adapter and Coleco's product along the same lines?
    I might have some dates in an old lab notebook but I think your correct. In fact I believe it was a Colecovision announcement that prompted Marketing to reverse their original decision.

    Some of the Atari exhibits in the court action against Coleco are still in my possession. I'll try and get some pictures up next time I come across them.

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by stonic View Post
    And here all I've heard up until now was that the 5200 was the one system that wasn't named after a female employee Thanks Jerry.
    .....That might have been "Stella" your thinking of, that was Joe Decuir's bike. And now that I think of it PAM may have been named for Pam McMinn <sp> and not Pam Araby

    Actually a few other items had codenames that did not belong to a female employee.

    Jerry

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