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Thread: Atari 7800 - What Did You Think?

  1. #41
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    I was a little kid then, but we didn't get an NES until 1988. We had a 2600, and occasionally I used to buy a game for that. In it, if it was an Atari game, I wound up with one of the catalogs that showcased the 7800 games. Like the 5200 games I would see in earlier 2600 game catalogs, as a kid, I really wasn't impressed with the "improved" graphics. Plus there was no way on earth I was going to erase the action figures on my Christmas list for a new Atari system. My impression then was that the 7800, like the 5200, had the same games the 2600 did, and so it was essentially a waste.

    When the NES caught fire around '88-89 big time, the 7800 and SMS had been taken off most store shelves. I was fully into the NES, and didn't care one iota for the other systems. All my friends had an NES, why would you buy a different system? You had to be a fool, that's what we thought. In the case of the 7800, we were right. You had to be crazy to like it over the NES or the SMS.

    So I really didn't get accustomed to the 7800 until the late 90's via emulators. And my impression was it was a moderately improved 2600. Several years ago, I got one, and collected about 3 dozen games. I do not like the Pro Stick, though the buttons are good, the stick is horrible. I find the console to be quite shabby. Games don't slide into the slot well at all, not like the 2600. The lack of composite output is another downer, although the music/sound is so terrible it really doesn't matter. The sound is just completely putrid, to have a 1970's sound system but for a few Pokey games. The choice and depth of games released was really lousy. Frankly the 5200 had a more diverse offering and it was out for 2 years only. Also, I do not have a light gun for it, but the games via emu are so cheesy I wouldn't want one.

    About the only reason I haven't sold it, is that I love many of the homebrew games that have come out recently, particularly from PacManPlus. But it's a system that I was excited to get and collect for, and the aftertaste is not really a good one for me.
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  2. #42
    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    Yeah I hated the sticks and the screen graphics. The games just didn't feel right.
    As I said, I did have a complete collection, but 80% I didn't even play.


    OK I didn't have a Tank Command, but ....f**k it, I did have it copied on disk.

  3. #43
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    I was hugely into videogames until around 1983 or 1984. Post-5200, I still paid attention to arcade games, but never had any interest in the SMS or NES and stopped paying attention to home systems for a long time. So I had no idea the 7800 even existed until seeing an index card on a bulletin board at college in 1989. I bought some guy's system, with 9 cartridges for it.

    Frankly, I found the 7800 to be a pretty boring system. I did enjoy Xevious on it though.
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    Well, I did buy an Atari 7800 back in 1988- mainly for Joust.

    I'd first heard of it back in the summer of 1984, in Electronic Games Magazine. The pictures of what it could do, and the overall report, was very interesting indeed. Xevious in particular was a new one for the home.

    BUT- as we all know, that same year the Tramiels (grrrr!) took over Atari. The 7800 was put on hold.

    Now, it has to be said that the stupid idea of dumping the 5200 cannot be blamed on them; that decision had been made before they took over. The Tramiels sort of inherited the 7800.

    This was a very confused era in videogaming. The 5200 had been abandoned by Atari after only about 1 1/2 years (an insanely stupid idea). Atarisoft games and prototypes like Galaxian, Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and (of course!) Joust, along with Moon Patrol, all showed that Atari was making superior versions of these games for the 5200's deadliest rival! Coleco, of course, blew it with the ADAM computer.

    Enter Nintendo.


    Of course, once the NES held 85%+ of the market the Tramiels decided to release the 7800 along with the batch of games meant for 1984. Most of which had already appeared on the 2600 and 5200.

    As a 7800 owner back in the day, it always amazed me how the Tramiels ruined every opportunity. Ever time opportunity knocked at their door, they'd call the police to report a trespasser. Every time it started to look like they might- just might- get something right, they'd ruin it. It was the late 1980s- where were the RPGs; even the CV had Lord of the Dungeon (albeit not released)? Where were the side-scroller/level/boss games? The one-on-one fighting games (Karateka didn't make it)? Who were they trying to reach?


    So- my views? The 7800 was a nice enough system with weak sound. It had plenty of potential, but so did the Jaguar, the Lynx, and who knows what else. In retrospect, I should have either stuck with the CV, or gotten an NES.
    Interesting stuff, here (COMPLETELY unbiased opinion, hehhehheh):

    http://griswaldterrastone.deviantart.com/

  5. #45
    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    The 7800 was NOT part of the Atari sale to Tramiels.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>There wasn't a transition, they were completely different companies. Jack Tramiel simply bought the Consumer Division of Atari Inc., not the entire company. He then folded that in to his company, Tramel Technology Ltd., which he then renamed Atari Corporation. Likewise, he bought the Consumer related IP, consumer related facilities (corporate offices and buildings related to Consumer, manufacturing and warehouses related to Consumer) and the distribution network. The people were not part of the deal. Hence they did interviews of all the Consumer Division related people to see who they wanted to keep (and did interviews of some of the people at Coin to try and get them to come to the new company as well). Most were related to daily operations (one of the advanced research that were on the 68000 console project at Atari Inc. was simply hired on to help run Atari Corp.'s mainframe for instance), and the rest chiefly towards retail operations (since he planned on having the company survive in the immediate term on the large backstock of product that came in the purchase) and computer design operations (for what became the ST). Almost everyone from the console development area was not hired over or went away on their own. The issue of why there was a lot of confusion amongst the Atari Inc. employees is because the buyout happened so suddenly and with no normal "transition period" for employees. They came back from the July 4th extended vacations to find out about the purcase. They thought they were working for Jack now and that Jack owned "Atari". Likewise they thought they were being interviewed to see if they'd be fired. They were not. They were being interviewed to see if they would be *hired* to Jack's company. Atari Inc. still existed at that point (in fact it existed on paper for another good year to deal with legal issues), but was being wound down as the coin-op operations were split to another company (Atari Games) and the rest sold off or simply closed down.

    When Jack finally settled with Warner and GCC over the 7800 development payment, he had to completely start up a new game division, which is where Mike Katz came in. He started up the 7800 again that October '85 and finally released the cost reduced 2600 (which was originally supposed to be the stopgap last model of the 2600 under Atari Inc.) He was against the XEGS being released when Jack pushed for it in '87, but not for any of the reasons you claim. It was because he didn't consider it to have any "hot" launch titles, which was true. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    .
    Last edited by tom; 05-02-2012 at 03:35 PM.

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    The 7800 existed before they took over. Everyone knows that "Atari" became "Home Atari" and "Atari Games."

    This was something the 7800 had to deal with that the 2600 and 5200 didn't: before, it was reasonable to assume that any Atari arcade game would appear on an Atari system, since it was all one big company. Tempest, for example (we could hope...). But after mid-1984, although they both had "Atari" in their names, they were independent, and Atari Games could thumb its nose at "Other Atari." Too bad, this arcade game goes to Nintendo. Neeyeh.

    But after the Tramiel take-over, we all wondered what was going to happen to that "ultra-cool 7800 with the Maria chip that lets it move anything in any numbers around." We knew, after a time, that either it was NEVER going to see the light of day and would either end up in a landfill somewhere or in a near-forgotten box with other prototypes and unreleased products, or the Tramiels would release it. That's exactly what happened; we did not know back then that Nintendo had approached Atari earlier with a deal for the NES.

    (Had it happened, the NES would likely have been a system that nobody here ever heard of...)

    Sure enough, the Tramiels had the 7800. If Atari had NOT created it and had instead stuck with the 5200, the Tramiels would not have created the 7800. They wanted some quick money, and the 7800 existed, so- they released it. Why do you think the instructions were so cheap, as were the boxes and cartridges at first? To save money. Compare the whole 5200 Centipede package to the 7800's...or even the 7800 vs. 2600 versions!


    Long ago I read up on why Tramiel did so well with Commodore, but completely blew it with Atari. It had something to do with the differences between the two companies in large part, and they could not handle Atari the way they did Commodore.

    I was there as the Tramiels ruined any chances with the 7800. I had to watch in awe as the system I bought with the once-great Atari name on it became a joke. I actually felt sorry for the thing!

    To all 7800 homebrewers- more power to you.
    Interesting stuff, here (COMPLETELY unbiased opinion, hehhehheh):

    http://griswaldterrastone.deviantart.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahsMyBro View Post
    I was hugely into videogames until around 1983 or 1984. Post-5200, I still paid attention to arcade games, but never had any interest in the SMS or NES and stopped paying attention to home systems for a long time. So I had no idea the 7800 even existed until seeing an index card on a bulletin board at college in 1989. I bought some guy's system, with 9 cartridges for it.

    Frankly, I found the 7800 to be a pretty boring system. I did enjoy Xevious on it though.
    Kind of close to my own experience. Other than occasional Atari A8 gaming, I quit home system gaming after 5200 was abandoned, and I missed the NES/Master System/7800. But I remember around 1986 or 1987 seeing 7800 in Kmart , and I'd kind of marvel that they were still selling Asteroids, yet the '3d' look of the asteroids was admittedly pretty awesome. But I didn't have time, money , or desire to buy one.

    But I didn't actually play 7800 or Master System until sometime in the past couple of years when I bought them used. I've since picked up what I could find and some Pac-Man Plus homebrews which really breathe life into 7800. I like Master System more to be honest, and I use 7800 for 2600games, homebrews, and Xevious & Food Fight. I do not like the 7800 controller; I greatly prefer the 5200 stick (sue me!). The 7800 has nice visuals, and I appreciate greatly the backwards compatibility of 2600 games, but I cannot accept the crappy 2600 sound of many games. Donkey Kong 7800 makes me cringe, especially after hearing Atari 8-bit computer Pokey Donkey Kong sounds which are fantastic. Why Atari, why didn't you just put a Pokey in that system??

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    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aswald View Post
    The 7800 existed before they took over. Everyone knows that "Atari" became "Home Atari" and "Atari Games."

    This was something the 7800 had to deal with that the 2600 and 5200 didn't: before, it was reasonable to assume that any Atari arcade game would appear on an Atari system, since it was all one big company. Tempest, for example (we could hope...). But after mid-1984, although they both had "Atari" in their names, they were independent, and Atari Games could thumb its nose at "Other Atari." Too bad, this arcade game goes to Nintendo. Neeyeh.

    But after the Tramiel take-over, we all wondered what was going to happen to that "ultra-cool 7800 with the Maria chip that lets it move anything in any numbers around." We knew, after a time, that either it was NEVER going to see the light of day and would either end up in a landfill somewhere or in a near-forgotten box with other prototypes and unreleased products, or the Tramiels would release it. That's exactly what happened; we did not know back then that Nintendo had approached Atari earlier with a deal for the NES.

    (Had it happened, the NES would likely have been a system that nobody here ever heard of...)

    Sure enough, the Tramiels had the 7800. If Atari had NOT created it and had instead stuck with the 5200, the Tramiels would not have created the 7800. They wanted some quick money, and the 7800 existed, so- they released it. Why do you think the instructions were so cheap, as were the boxes and cartridges at first? To save money. Compare the whole 5200 Centipede package to the 7800's...or even the 7800 vs. 2600 versions!


    Long ago I read up on why Tramiel did so well with Commodore, but completely blew it with Atari. It had something to do with the differences between the two companies in large part, and they could not handle Atari the way they did Commodore.

    I was there as the Tramiels ruined any chances with the 7800. I had to watch in awe as the system I bought with the once-great Atari name on it became a joke. I actually felt sorry for the thing!

    To all 7800 homebrewers- more power to you.

    Of course the 7800 existed already with Atari Inc (Neither Atari Inc.nor Atari Corp. created the 7800, that was GCC, man you gotta read up about your Atari history), BUT WHEN WARNER SOLD ATARI INC TO JACK TRAMIEL, THE 7800 WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE SALE.

    The 7800 packaging was cheap? Of course, Jack had to save money wherever he could. Maybe you have no idea how much money was owed.

    Jack Tamiel did very well with Atari Corp, considering the amount of monies owed. The Atari XE was a great success, so was the Atari ST.

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