Robotron: 2084 (Atari 5200)

Robotron: 2084 (Atari 5200, 1983)

Robotron: 2084 was first developed as an arcade game in 1982. It was best known for its intense action and unique for the time control scheme. In Robotron you used two joysticks. One controlled movement and the other controlled the direction of fire. This control scheme would later be revived by Smash TV in 1990.

Beginning in 1983 Robotron was ported to a number of home systems including the Atari 5200 (box art above), Atari 7800, Apple IIe, Commodore 64 and TI-99/4A. The Atari 5200 was not the best graphically or in terms of supporting the most action on screen but it did have one thing that other early ports did not have: support for dual joystick control.

Most early ports used a more conventional control scheme and the game suffered for it. However, the Atari 5200 supported the use of two joysticks and came with an adapter to mount the joysticks in so that they were practical to use. Support of this dual joystick control scheme arguably makes the Atari 5200 version the best early home version even though systems like the Atari 7800 had much better graphics.

More recently, Robotron has been included in a number of compilations in emulated form (Midway Arcade Treasures, Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits, etc.) but in the early days if you wanted the unique control scheme that was part of what made Robotron special and you wanted to play at home, the Atari 5200 was your only option.