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  • CBS Atari 5200 Games (1983)

    1983 Atari 5200 games


    This is a 1983 ad for five Atari 5200 games by CBS Electronics. The games advertised are GORF, Blue Print, Wizard of Wor, Mountain King and K-Razy Shoot-Out.

    GORF is a port of the arcade game of the same name and is a single screen shooter consisting of multiple stages. It’s kind of like a mash-up of Space Invaders, Galaxian, and others. The Atari 5200 port is a pretty good port. Versions were also available for the VIC-20, ColecoVision, Atari 2600 and Commodore 64.

    Blue Print is also an arcade port and is a maze game. Versions were also available for the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64.

    Wizard of Wor is another arcade port of a maze game. Versions were also available for the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Atari 2600 and Bally Astrocade (though it was retitled ‘The Incredible Wizard’ on the Astrocade).

    Mountain King is a platform game and the first on this list that wasn’t an arcade port. Versions were also available for the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64 and VIC-20.

    Finally, K-Razy Shoot-Out, while not a direct arcade port is a clone of Berzerk. It was first developed for the Atari 8-bit family with the Atari 5200 version following later.

  • Gremlins (Atari 5200)

    Gremlins (Atari 5200, 1986)


    There have been a number of games based on the Gremlins movie over the years. The first was for the Atari 2600. An Atari 5200 version was developed but it was a substantially different game. This version also appeared on the Commodore 64, Apple II and DOS based computers. All of these were released in 1984, the same year as the movie, except for the Atari 5200 version. At first this seems a bit surprising given that Atari was the one who developed the game, but…

    It turns out that Gremlins for the Atari 5200 was in fact finished in June 1984 and ready for production. However, Jack Tramiel was hired as CEO of Atari around the same time and put a freeze on all new video game related products to concentrate on computer products. By the time Atari decided to continue in the home video game market (largely because of the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System) it was 1986 and some old stock, including copies of Gremlins for the Atari 5200, was finally released. Because of the delay, Gremlins was the last official release for the Atari 5200. Incidentally, the Atari 7800 was also ready in 1984 but was delayed for the same reason.

    Screen shots are from atariage.com.

  • 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.