home
site news
atari news
atari glossary
atari history
atari video game systems
  > atari 2600
  > atari 5200
      > technical specs
      > pcb-layout
      > cartridge tech
      > hardware
      > software
      > collection
      > gallery
  > atari 7800
  > atari lynx
  > atari jaguar 64
  > atari jaguar CD
  > atari xegs
atari computers
atari coin-op
atari stand-alone-systems
atari library
atari theater
atari links
legal stuff/imprint
contact us

Computers without a keyboard? The Atari 5200!

In 1982 Atari released its most sophisticated video game system of that time: the Atari 5200 Super System. The system was announced as the 'Atari Video System X', but was renamed later.
The Atari engineers put the latest Atari home-computer-technology, taken from the 400/800 line of computers, into their powerful console and brought it to the market where it had to compete with the 'Intellivision' and the 'Colecovision' systems.
With the 5200, Atari invented some very 'progressive' controllers with an analogue steering, 360 degrees, speed sensitive (the harder you press/pull, the faster the sprites move) control! A great idea, but hard to handle when using them, because the controller wasn't self-centering. Atari had the idea of inventing a self-centering controller later, but it never made it to the market, because the 5200 was cancelled very early.
The best innovation they had with the 5200 controllers were the integrated 'Pause', 'Start' and 'Reset' buttons. A concept, they used again on the Jaguar controllers more than ten years later...
Technically, the 5200 was compatible to the 400/800 line of home-computers; that should supply the players with a huge amount of available software...you could think! But that was not true: due to rivalry between the video-games and the computer division they had to make some minor modifications, so that the 400/800 games wouldn't run on the 5200! For the same reason the planned computer-keyboard was cancelled...
Atari's compatibility-interface for the 5200, that allowed to play all Atari 2600 games, came too late and, by the way, Coleco offered an interface for 2600 games before Atari did...

Contents and pictures 1999 - 2018 by 'www.atarihistory.de' unless otherwise noticed