Atari 5200

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The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply the Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari Inc. as a higher end complimentary console for the popular Atari 2600. [1]The 5200 was created to compete with the Intellivision, but wound up more directly competing with the ColecoVision shortly after its release.

The 5200 was based on Atari Inc.'s existing 400/800 computers and the internal hardware was almost identical, although software was not directly compatible between the two systems. The 5200's controllers feature an analog joystick and a numeric keypad along with start, pause and reset buttons. The 360-degree non-centering joystick was touted as offering more control than the four-position joystick controller offered with the Atari 2600.

In August of 2009, video game website IGN placed the 5200 23rd out of the 25 greatest video game consoles of all time.[2]

Contents

Hardware

Much of the technology in the Atari 8-bit family of home computer systems were originally developed as a second-generation games console intended to replace the 2600. However, as the system was reaching completion, the personal computer revolution was starting with the release of machines like the Commodore PET, TRS-80 and Apple II. These machines were similar in technological terms to the 2600, but sold for much higher prices with associated higher profit margins. Atari's management decided to enter this market, and the new technology was repackaged into the Atari 400 and 800, hitting the market in 1979.

In the early 1980s a second wave of games consoles came to market, notably the Intellivision and numerous other announcements and releases. Being behind the technological curve was not entirely surprising; the chipset used in the 400 and 800 was designed because they were aware the 2600 would be obsolete by the 1980 time frame. What was surprising was the sudden entry into the market of new competition, whose machines quickly cut off the sales of the 2600. Atari decided to re-enter the games market with a design that closely matched their original 1978 specifications. In its prototype stage, the Atari 5200 was originally called the "Atari Video System X - Advanced Video Computer System", and was codenamed "Pam" after a female employee at Atari Inc. It is also rumored that PAM actually stood for "Personal Arcade Machine", as the majority of games for the system ended up being arcade conversions. Actual working Atari Video System X machines, whose hardware is 100% identical to the Atari 5200 do exist, but they are extremely rare.[3]

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