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Desgined to compete with the Colecovision and Intellivision, the 5200 was a console version of the Atari 8-bit computer range that had the misfortune of being released just before the great videogames crash.

As the 5200 was based on Atari’s home computer line, the console wan’t compatible with the huge back-catalogue of Atari VCS games. Atari later released a special adaptor (although not until after Coleco released their VCS-compatible expansion unit for the Colecovision), but, by then the videogames crash was in full effect and the 5200 sunk with barely a ripple.

Although the 5200’s controllers were notoriously unreliable, they were truly revolutionary, featuring analogue control over a decade before the Nintendo 64. The controller also features a pause button – unique for the time – and a numeric keypad.

The Games

A mix of conversions of Atari 8-bit computer games, upgraded Atari VCS classics and ports of various arcade hits of the period.

Star Raiders
Doug Neubauer’s classic space combat game originated on the Atari 400/800, with later conversions to a variety of Atari consoles and computers.

People

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Major events

1982
North American launch

Emulators

Mac OS X

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iOS

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OUYA/Android

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Features

1.79MHz 6502 processor
Custom chips: Pokey (sound), Antic (video), GTIA (video)
Max. 64K RAM cartridges, 4K ROM
Max. resolution 320×192
256 colour palette, 16 on screen at once
4 channel sound