• Category Archives Atari 5200
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  • 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.

  • Atari 5200 Commercial

    The Atari 5200 SuperSystem


    In the above Atari 5200 commercial you can see the original four port Atari 5200 as well as the trackball (advertised as coming soon). It gives you some idea of how big the trackball unit actually is as you can see someone using it.

    Problems with getting affordable, reliable joysticks make the Atari 5200 undesirable to me despite my positive view of the system as a whole. It just seems like you are much better off getting an Atari 8-bit computer instead. Plentiful joysticks, pretty much all the same games, plus it’s a computer too.

    Since the Atari 5200 is more or less an Atari 400 computer internally, you can get an 800, 800XL, 130XE or 65XE and be better off capability wise. Or you can even get an XEGS but that may be harder to find (i.e. more expensive). Though I’ll admit, the oversize Atari 5200 cartridges are much cooler.

  • Atari 5200 VCS Converter

    Atari 5200 VCS Converter


    The VCS adapter for the Atari 5200 allowed you to play all your Atari 2600 / VCS games on your Atari 5200. The guts were essentially an entire Atari 2600 with the 5200 only being used for power and video and sound output. There were two controller ports on the unit to plug in Atari 2600 controllers and you could not use controllers connected directly to the 5200.

    This add-on came out relatively late in the Atari 5200’s short commercial life. It is only compatible with the later 2-port models though there is a way to modify the 4-port units to work with it. Interestingly, there was also a planned 7800 adapter for the 5200 that would have allowed you to play Atari 7800 games on your 5200. This one was never released. It seems like it would have made more sense to convert in the other direction…