• Tag Archives 5200
  • Star Wars: The Arcade Game

    Star Wars: The Arcade Game was how most of the home ports of the Star Wars arcade game were titled. Seems a bit redundant but there’s marketing for you. The original arcade game was an impressive looking (even today I think it looks impressive) vector graphics based space flight combat game. You pilot an X-Wing on approach to the Death Star and then take part in the trench run to destroy the Death Star. The original arcade game was released in 1983 with a large number of home ports to follow later in 1983, 1984 and beyond.

    Initially, Star Wars was ported by Parker Brothers to the Atari 8-bit, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64 and ColecoVision. Later in 1987 and 1988 it was ported to the Amiga, Atari ST and DOS based PCs among others. In addition, it was ported again to the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit so there are multiple versions of this game out there for those platforms.

    Today, there’s not really any reason to track down these home versions. Quality varies among the different ports but the arcade original is much better. You’ll have to resort to emulation to play it though as there has been no official release of an arcade perfect home version as far as I know.

    The images above are from a commercial for the original 1983/84 home ports. The version of the game shown is the Atari 5200 version. Except for perhaps the game graphics I think this commercial probably would have been more likely to reduce sales than increase them.

    Star Wars (Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, ColecoVision)

  • Pac-Man (Atari 5200)

    Pac-Man (Atari 5200)


    When Pac-Man came out for the Atari 2600, it was somewhat of a disappointment. The gameplay was not terrible but the graphics were. More so than even that limited system justified. However, for those that had an Atari 5200, the situation was somewhat reversed. The graphics (and sound) were far better, the same as the Atari 8-bit computers since the Atari 5200 was essentially the same machine underneath. However, the gameplay was another story.

    The Atari 5200 was well known for its horrible controllers which are one of the reasons for the system’s failure commercially. The controllers were analog and did not self center. Analog controllers could be seen as a good thing but not for games that were originally designed with digital controllers in mind like nearly all games were at the time. These controllers make Pac-Man on the Atari 5200 harder and more frustrating to play then it should have been. You actually get a much better gaming experience today using an emulator and a keyboard. Given the choice, you would have been much better off getting this game for the Atari 400/800. It was essentially the same exact game but you could use a standard digital Atari joystick for a much better gaming experience.

    The small plain brown cartridges for the Atari computers is not nearly as satisfying to collect as the large black Atari 5200 cartridges with the colorful labels though. :)