The Atari 5200 is a video game system that is manufactured by Atari Inc., and was introduced in 1982. It was the successor to the Atari 2600, but did not do as well commercially, mainly from its incompatibility with the 2600’s library of games. In 1983, two port models were released along with an adapter to allow the 5200 to play all 2600 games. On May 21, 1984 Atari released the Atari 7800 and discontinued production of the 5200.
Atari released the 400/800 computers to compete with commodore and apple in 1979, but with the flood of other game consoles entering the market in the early 1980s, resulted in slowing sales for the 2600. Atari decided to reenter the game console market with the Atari 5200, code named “PAM” (Personal Arcade Machine).
The game console was based on Atari’s 400/800 computers hardware, but the software was not compatible between the systems. The controller for the 5200 was an analog 360 degree joystick, it had a numeric keypad, with start, pause, and reset buttons. The console had four controller ports, an automatic TV switch box that also was used as the power supply.
The 1983 version of the 5200 only had two controller ports; Atari changed the dual TV and power supply cable into two separate cables and used the same conventional RF switch as the 2600. The unit offered a 1.79 Mhz CPU and 16 KB RAM.
The games developed for the 5200 appeared to be updated versions of the 2600 game titles. Super Breakout was the packaged game that came with the unit. Officially, 69 games were released; Super Breakout, Galaxian, and Space Invaders were the launch titles. In 1986 the last game released was Gremlins.
Image Caption: The Atari 5200 with controller. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia