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The Atari 7800 is a criminally underrated system filled with fun games and hidden gems.

Krappadizzle

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Fantastic write up I Isleofsancroy . Never played a 7800, sounds like it was very capable. I spent a healthy amount of my childhood visiting my grandparents for many summers and playing the hell out of my Pop's old 2600.

I was definitely an NES kid and really, everything outside of the NES didn't even exist for me at the time. As I grew older I switched to a Genesis and then the passion was sealed for me. Loved your write-up and I learned a bunch about the 7800 I frankly had no clue about.
 

Agent X

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5200 wasn't really a next gen system and had largely slightly better versions of the same games.

In pure hardware terms, the Atari 5200 and ColecoVision were much closer to the NES, SMS, and 7800 than they were to earlier systems like the 2600, Odyssey 2, and Intellivision.

From the software side, the 5200 and ColecoVision were still getting the same types of games as the older systems (arcade conversions and arcade-style action games) because those were the most popular types of games at that time. Even so, many 5200 games were significantly improved over their counterparts on the 2600. There was a clear generational leap in software quality.

If the video game industry crash hadn't occurred, and 5200 and Colecovision had survived that period with continuing software support, they likely would've started getting higher capacity cartridges, and eventually the same types of games that came to the NES, SMS, and 7800. Modern homebrew game developers have successfully ported Atari 8-bit computer games to the 5200, and MSX games to the ColecoVision. The systems were capable, but they just didn't survive long enough on the market to fully benefit from the changing trends in home video game software development.
 

Bigfroth

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I would stare at these pages for hours in the JCPenny and Sears Christmas books as a kid in the 80's
 

SF Kosmo

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In pure hardware terms, the Atari 5200 and ColecoVision were much closer to the NES, SMS, and 7800 than they were to earlier systems like the 2600, Odyssey 2, and Intellivision.
In terms of CPU power, perhaps, but the Colecovision, 5200, SG-1000, etc were missing the graphical hardware features that defined the third generation of gaming consoles. Namely hardware scrolling and the ability to toss around a large number of multi-colored sprites.

CPU power alone can be misleading in that context too because the CPUs in these systems had to work a lot harder than the NES and SMS did because of the inferior video hardware. It's like how the fifth generation was defined by 3D. It didn't matter how good your system did other shit, if it didn't support hardware accelerated 3D, it didn't get a seat at the table.

History has been pretty unkind to these sorts of half-steps. We've gotten better over the years at figuring out what denotes a new generation. It was less clear in the Atari days.

If the video game industry crash hadn't occurred, and 5200 and Colecovision had survived that period with continuing software support, they likely would've started getting higher capacity cartridges, and eventually the same types of games that came to the NES, SMS, and 7800.
I call bullshit on that. First, the crash occurred BECAUSE these new systems didn't offer the generational leaps needed to get consumers invested in new hardware. The crash was not a natural disaster that happened TO these consoles, it was the result OF these consoles. So your reasoning is entirely circular here.

But no, these systems were not capable of the same types of games as NES or SMS, they couldn't handle the smooth scrolling, the number of characters on screen, or the fidelity of the sprite detail. At all. No matter how big a cartridge you want to throw at it, it's not magically going to be able to handle those types of games.

I mean you can TRY and if you look at the life of MSX, certainly people did, but without smooth scrolling the results were pretty unconvincing.

Modern homebrew game developers have successfully ported Atari 8-bit computer games to the 5200, and MSX games to the ColecoVision. The systems were capable, but they just didn't survive long enough on the market to fully benefit from the changing trends in home video game software development.
These barely count as "ports." Colecovision has essentially identical hardware to the MSX1 and SG-1000 (other than sound I think?) and hack-ports between these platforms were common even at the time. And the 5200 is basically just an Atari 400 consolized.

You make it sound like these are ports from more impressive, later-gen systems, but they're not. Atari 400 and MSX couldn't hang with the NES either (MSX2 could, but that had new video hardware).
 
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dave_d

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These barely count as "ports." Colecovision has essentially identical hardware to the MSX1 and SG-1000 (other than sound I think?) and hack-ports between these platforms were common even at the time. And the 5200 is basically just an Atari 400 consolized.

You make it sound like these are ports from more impressive, later-gen systems, but they're not. Atari 400 and MSX couldn't hang with the NES either (MSX2 could, but that had new video hardware).
Pretty much I agree with this. What should be remembered is while development on the 5200 stopped in 83/84 development on the Atari 8-bit computers absolutely didn't. Even though a system like the 800xl(had this) had 64k of ram and disk drives(130k per side) so it could have larger games there's nothing that matches the graphics on later games on the NES. Admittedly you could get stuff that the NES would have had a tough time doing if it could do it at all like Alternate Reality the Dungeon but I never played anything on it that looked as good as Mario 3 or later Megaman games. (That AR was an 87 game and was one of the last ones I got since at that time development was winding down.)
 
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dave_d

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BTW if anybody wants to see what Gradius would have looked like go look up "Tail of Beta Lyrae". (Admittedly an 83 game but yeah, Gradius is a big improvement. BL was pretty good though.)
 

Agent X

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In terms of CPU power, perhaps, but the Colecovision, 5200, SG-1000, etc were missing the graphical hardware features that defined the third generation of gaming consoles. Namely hardware scrolling and the ability to toss around a large number of multi-colored sprites.

You make several valid points, but I would again contend that the 5200 and CV were much closer to the NES than they were to the 2600. Those systems (and the Vectrex) were considered a distinct generation from either the 2600 or the NES for a long time. A short generation, perhaps, but still a distinct one.

I'm not saying that the 5200 and CV would've been equal to the NES/SMS/7800 on all levels, but they were capable of many of the same games. That's what I was trying to get at when I mentioned the "ports" from MSX and Atari 8-bit computers...those games already existed on extremely similar hardware. No, they weren't quite up to NES or SMS standards, but they were clearly far above typical 2600 or Intellivision fare.

Also, to address what D dave_d posted above, many of the later NES cartridges like Super Mario Bros 3. and later Mega Man games had custom chips in them. Later 2600 cartrdiges had enhancements, too. Such enhancements weren't developed for the 5200 or CV, but if they had survived and gained popularity...maybe they would have come about.
 

Isleofsancroy

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the NES launched in 85 in the us, and 83 in Japan.
the NES had a soft launch in the US, 1986 was the formal, nation wide launch. but in 1985 it was already sold in some states and by some retailers.

It launched in 86 in the US, if the NES launched in 85 than the 7800 launched in 84, that logic doesn't work.

it is actually not 100% known when exactly (as in the exact day) the NES was starting to get sold in the US

We have release dates in articles of the time, I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. "coming soon"

also the 7800 would have never sold even close to half of NES numbers even if the supply was there to do it.

I mean despite what you want to believe, this is likely not the case. I understand why a lot of you are very passionate growing up with the NES as kids but with people who were old enough to actually know what was going on, people wanted a 7800 and it was constantly selling out. Sure game droughts would have still been an issue, and eventually their retail footprint was next to non-existent later on, but it was a big item for awhile using the pre-nes projections that were estimated, and I don't know how much the system would have actually sold if they had stock since Atari wasn't there to directly compete from the outset, which is something a lot of you passionate guys never factor into account, but let's stop spreading this nonsense myth that stock wasn't an issue. If we are talking about the start of a new wave of consoles (retrospectively since at the time they were all part of the same wave as the 5200 and CV) that all came out shortly next to one another, you can't dismiss supply as a major factor especially when the NES supply was much higher than the other two combined 5x over.

remembered because, let's be real, it barely has any noteworthy games and NES games of the era were just SO MUCH better, so the NES, in the general public, basically IS THE 3RD GEN ERA, not just part of it, but the personification of it.

Or it could be that the NES was basically all that was being sold, considering that the 7800 is remembered for some great games and has had a more dedicated homebrew scene and tournament scene it's clear the some 2 million people who brought it or the people who purchases it post-life like the machine. What's better is subjective, some people actually do like the 7800 more I'm not saying that's me, but the amount of people who don't know what it is, or even the Master System from Sega, should be taken into account, There seems to be this strange behavior where people who grew with the NES just can't accept that someone would like one of the other two systems which always seemed nuts to me. Like they just want to try and push any narrative even if it's false to try and downplay anything else.

I'm not judging the 7800, I'm just reasoning why it is seen the way it is. almost every system has its fans and has them for a reason, because (almost) every system can fill a niche for a specific type or game or style of graphics or even style of game design that a specific group of peiple people will find compelling.

You're actually projecting bias, the 7800 has a lot of fans, it's not seen as anything but a great machine for those who care about the machine, and almost to everyone else it either does not exist, or it's received based on previously false myths by fanboys on the internet for years. You basically just said that the 7800 didn't have a niche or have any fans or at least came close to implying it yet it does have fans, it's sought after by collectors, and the homebrew scene is big.
 

Isleofsancroy

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Lots to catch up on.

In pure hardware terms, the Atari 5200 and ColecoVision were much closer to the NES, SMS, and 7800 than they were to earlier systems like the 2600, Odyssey 2, and Intellivision.

From the software side, the 5200 and ColecoVision were still getting the same types of games as the older systems (arcade conversions and arcade-style action games) because those were the most popular types of games at that time. Even so, many 5200 games were significantly improved over their counterparts on the 2600. There was a clear generational leap in software quality.

If the video game industry crash hadn't occurred, and 5200 and Colecovision had survived that period with continuing software support, they likely would've started getting higher capacity cartridges, and eventually the same types of games that came to the NES, SMS, and 7800. Modern homebrew game developers have successfully ported Atari 8-bit computer games to the 5200, and MSX games to the ColecoVision. The systems were capable, but they just didn't survive long enough on the market to fully benefit from the changing trends in home video game software development.

The Colecovision did survive they lasted until early summer 1985 and not because of CV but because they couldn't save the Adam computer, and that's a thread on its own, people don't realize how big of the bomb the Adam actually was, and anyone thinking the CV and the 5200 were far behind NES are silly or don't understand how most of the later NES games came to be, the base NES was horrible for games outside some basic arcade titles. People complain about tearing and slowdown and crashes, and flickering, and other issues with the NES trying to push games but those were later titles, the base console was worse. A base NES would run basic CV games with a group of sprites with cut audio and flickering all over the screen and not just with the sprites. It makes plenty of sense in hindsight why Atari wasn't originally interested in accepting Nintendos license for the machine. It couldn't even handle a lot of basic computer titles, it was designed after basic Japanese arcade games with the intention of improving the capabilities over time because Nintendo knew their machine was lacking out the box.

The Sg-1000, also considered a 3rd generation system in retrospect, was honestly as close to a CV clone as you can be but even it was weaker than the CV. The lack of a real graphical jump is why computers got so far away from consoles for so long.

As for CV, it was already having it's longer action and adventure type games later in its life because they changed focus in part to computer designed games due to the Adam investment, and you started seeing more games outside of arcade staples appear including cross-ports that would release on both. If they decided to stick around that likely would have continued.


Fantastic write up I Isleofsancroy . Never played a 7800, sounds like it was very capable. I spent a healthy amount of my childhood visiting my grandparents for many summers and playing the hell out of my Pop's old 2600.

I was definitely an NES kid and really, everything outside of the NES didn't even exist for me at the time. As I grew older I switched to a Genesis and then the passion was sealed for me. Loved your write-up and I learned a bunch about the 7800 I frankly had no clue about.

Thanks a lot!


In terms of CPU power, perhaps, but the Colecovision, 5200, SG-1000, etc were missing the graphical hardware features that defined the third generation of gaming consoles. Namely hardware scrolling and the ability to toss around a large number of multi-colored sprites.
5200 had hardware scrolling. Also the NES could barely even toss around a large number of single-colored sprites most of the time, so this is a strange thing to mention.

I call bullshit on that. First, the crash occurred BECAUSE these new systems didn't offer the generational leaps needed to get consumers invested in new hardware. The crash was not a natural disaster that happened TO these consoles, it was the result OF these consoles. So your reasoning is entirely circular here.

No disrespect but were do you get your history from? The crash was due to prices, the computer war had impacted the game consoles and gaming software so no one was making money, that's why the industry crashed. The difference between the CV and the 2600 is much bigger than the CV and the NES. People were buying consoles in droves even during the crash, Atari sold 1 million consoles in 1985 which was when the industry was considered dead so clearly people still wanted to spend money on consoles. Not to mention the 2600 jr was considered more viable in the marketplace than the SMS and the 7800. People are extremely confused with the circumstances of what happened due to bad information, people still cite Pacman and ET as causes yet that was never the case back in the day and both of those games sold bucket loads just one of them Atari overshipped and the other one people brought for years to the detriment of the 5200 version which was actually like the arcade and did even worse than the 2600 version even if you launch align them.

But no, these systems were not capable of the same types of games as NES or SMS, they couldn't handle the smooth scrolling, the number of characters on screen, or the fidelity of the sprite detail. At all. No matter how big a cartridge you want to throw at it, it's not magically going to be able to handle those types of games.

You have this wrong, the NES couldn't handle much of the popular games at the time those consoles could run, their only claim to fame was multi-colored sprites but many NES games could be replicated through software for multi-colored sprites, it wasn't until more hardware was added to the cartridges the NES was clearly able to handle better tile-graphics than the competition and even it could still barely push a lot of sprites on screen with those enhancements. Smash TV was the best it could do and it still flickers and half the enemies barely animate. The NES may be able to do SMB3 and the CV couldn't, but almost anything hectic the CV had the NES couldn't play even with only two multi-colored sprites on screen and single colored sprites being the rest of what was on the screen. The first two gifs I showed in the OP was way beyond the capabilities of the NES or any previous console machine as is shown, but even the CV could do a choppy version of it that at a 3rd of the frame rate with flat distorted polys where the NES still wouldn't be able to do even that. Elites about the best the system could do.

Being 100% honest all 3 consoles in 1986 were incredibly weak and we should have been further along but let's not pretend the NES was some sort of powerhouse. (also 5200 had smooth scrolling and the CV could simulate it up to a point)

Pretty much I agree with this. What should be remembered is while development on the 5200 stopped in 83/84 development on the Atari 8-bit computers absolutely didn't. Even though a system like the 800xl(had this) had 64k of ram and disk drives(130k per side) so it could have larger games there's nothing that matches the graphics on later games on the NES. Admittedly you could get stuff that the NES would have had a tough time doing if it could do it at all like Alternate Reality the Dungeon but I never played anything on it that looked as good as Mario 3 or later Megaman games. (That AR was an 87 game and was one of the last ones I got since at that time development was winding down.)

The NES couldn't handle those games without hardware enhancements, most Atari 8bit games were based off the standard hardware so that's not really a fair comparison, but the Atari 8bit could hold its own:



These definitely don't look like 2600 or Mattel games.

Also keep in mind that the Atari 8-bit computers were 70's hardware which makes it even more impressive imo, and I'll be touching on that with a XE game system thread soon.

Those systems (and the Vectrex) were considered a distinct generation from either the 2600 or the NES for a long time. A short generation, perhaps, but still a distinct one.
They were all third generation but things got messed up and now for some reason third generation systems are now 2nd generation even though the Sg-1000 gets a pass despite being a weaker CV.

. I don't agree with ST though, but with an STE console it would close the 2D gap more with consoles and would have suitable performing 3D which Amiga was worse at btw. It also would have kept the cost low.
If Atari Corp. had released a console version of the 1040 STe in 1989, that would have been very good.

The regular ST was more than capable to compete in the console space:



The thing is that the Panther ended up being a major improvement over the ST and the original idea was to release the Panther, and then the second console Jaguar, would succeed it at a certain time, but the Jaguar ended up coming through early so Atari focused on that. It's hard to really get people to see this but Atari was on top of the hardware game in the entire industry. What they should have done was release the Jaguar in 1993 no latter than winter but as early as possibly spring(preferably), and instead of trying to balance their budget across all sectors, they should have focused on games first and then tried to figure out what to do with the rest of the budget, because that would have at least gave it a strong year before the competition arrived, and it would have been the cheapest machine on the market. Yeah the 3DO came out at the end of 1993 but it took about 3 or 4 months for the big hitters to come Atari could have had the next gen hype all to itself instead of being upstaged by a $700 machine.

The biggest benefit would be giving developers time to learn the hardware. Also guys like Midway wouldn't cancel deals that were originally contracted like when they pulled Mortal Kombat 3. Otherwise I think an ST console should have come out and then the Jaguar would succeed it because then there wouldn't have been a 5 year gap with no Atari console as it ended up being.
 
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SF Kosmo

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5200 had hardware scrolling. Also the NES could barely even toss around a large number of single-colored sprites most of the time, so this is a strange thing to mention.
NES mostly featured 2-bit sprites, 3-4 colors, where on Coleco and MSX you would usually see most sprites dropped to 1-bit monochrome.

Atari 5200 did not have hardware scrolling. This does not mean it was incapable of scrolling, and vertical scrolling I particular is a pretty easy trick (even 2600 had games like Rive Raid) but it couldn't do it well and it took a lot of resources.


No disrespect but were do you get your history from?
Literally used to be my full time job.

The crash was due to prices, the computer war had impacted the game consoles and gaming software so no one was making money, that's why the industry crashed.
Prices are a response to market factors not a cause. I also don't think that computers were quite the factor in the US that they were in Europe. In Europe they had already displaced consoles by the time the third generation had rolled a round and while a lot of companies were placing big bets in that to happen in the US, it really didn't.

There were a lot of factors driving down prices. Fragmentation if the market due to computers might have been a small part, but a big part of it was lawsuits opening up third party development on Atari leading to a saturated market, a failure by the industry leader to deliver a compelling successor at the right time, and a glut of competitor systems that failed to offer a true next gen experience.

I'm leaning on that last one, because in the end that's the one that mattered most; when the NES released and offered something definitively next gen, something that did more than the simple mostly single screen arcade games of the previous gen, then the market immediately righted itself. That was the thing that mattered most in the end.


The difference between the CV and the 2600 is much bigger than the CV and the NES. People were buying consoles in droves even during the crash, Atari sold 1 million consoles in 1985 which was when the industry was considered dead so clearly people still wanted to spend money on consoles. Not to mention the 2600 jr was considered more viable in the marketplace than the SMS and the 7800. People are extremely confused with the circumstances of what happened due to bad information, people still cite Pacman and ET as causes yet that was never the case back in the day and both of those games sold bucket loads just one of them Atari overshipped and the other one people brought for years to the detriment of the 5200 version which was actually like the arcade and did even worse than the 2600 version even if you launch align them.
That's all true, people often misframe the gaming crash as people giving up on gaming, when the reality was it was more a devaluing of gaming and a massive fragmentation of competing standards, none of which were super compelling. But I disagree that computers were the prime mover there.
 
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Hawk269

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It is a great system. I currently own 2 of them. One has been modded with A/V outputs. I have about 25 games CIB and about another 20 loose games for it. It is great that it also plays Atari 2600 games as well.
 

Agent X

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Prices are a response to market factors not a cause. I also don't think that computers were quite the factor in the US that they were in Europe. In Europe they had already displaced consoles by the time the third generation had rolled a round and while a lot of companies were placing big bets in that to happen in the US, it really didn't.

The rise of home computers was definitely a factor in the US. Companies like Commodore, Texas Instruments, and even Atari themselves were promoting the home computers as being "more than just a toy", while also serving as powerful gaming machines in their own right.

The Commodore 64 in particular was the big disruptor. It was introduced for around $600 in 1982, but dropped below $200 by late 1983. I distinctly remember it selling for $188 in the Montgomery Ward Christmas 1983 catalog. That's about the same price the ColecoVision and Atari 5200 were selling for at the time. Most of the same games that were on the CV and 5200 were also released on the C64 in equal or superior form. Virtually no one wanted a CV or 5200 at that point, since you could spend the same amount of money on a C64 and have access to a bigger and better library of games...oh yeah, and when you were done playing, you could use it as a "real" computer, too. Even if you disregarded the whole "home computer" aspect of the C64 and used it strictly for cartridge games, it was swiftly recognized as the best "video game console" in town.
 

SF Kosmo

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The rise of home computers was definitely a factor in the US.
I'm not saying it wasn't a factor but it wasn't the main factor, and if it was, the NES wouldn't have taken off as fast as it did.
 
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Havoc2049

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I have an Atari 7800 with about 15 CIB games and about 10 more loose carts. I should have bought more games back in the day when they were dirt cheap. I wouldn't mind owning and playing Motor Psycho, Fatal Run, Planet Smashers or Ninja Golf, but the price these days isn't worth it. I have a CIB copy of Midnight Mutants and I just checked ebay and there is only one NTSC copy on there and it's new and shrink wrapped for $249. 🤪

Backwards compatibility with the 2600 makes the 7800 a nice retro gaming console and I own about 75 or so 2600 games and love the Activision and Atari silver label games from the 2600 library.

The 7800 ports of Centipede and Asteroids are the best home ports out there and co-op multi-player makes them really fun.

My XE Game System with an XF-551 disk drive gets the majority of my retro 8-bit Atari time, as that has a massive library of great carts, along with tons of great computer games from the era.
 
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Agent X

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Backwards compatibility with the 2600 makes the 7800 a nice retro gaming console and I own about 75 or so 2600 games and love the Activision and Atari silver label games from the 2600 library.

The 7800 ports of Centipede and Asteroids are the best home ports out there and co-op multi-player makes them really fun.

The out-of-the-box backward compatibility with the 2600 was a great feature. It especially helped early on, when the 7800 library was slim, and there were frequent dry spells in the game release schedule.

I also feel that the 7800 versions of Centipede and Asteroids were excellent. The two player simultaneous modes (cooperative and also competitive) are great additions. They're still worth obtaining and playing now, even if you already have other versions of these games.
 

dave_d

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The out-of-the-box backward compatibility with the 2600 was a great feature. It especially helped early on, when the 7800 library was slim, and there were frequent dry spells in the game release schedule.

I also feel that the 7800 versions of Centipede and Asteroids were excellent. The two player simultaneous modes (cooperative and also competitive) are great additions. They're still worth obtaining and playing now, even if you already have other versions of these games.
Come to think of it the only game I had problems with on 7800 was Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not sure if it was just me or if everybody ran into that. I'm trying to remember what was good besides Food Fight. Actually I think Desert Falcon was decent. (But it's been so long and I don't have my 7800 anymore.)
 

UnNamed

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IIRC, Colecovision was a Master System with a different bios. SEGA (or Coleco) also planned an adaptor for the MS. Some Coleco games are recentely ported to MS. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 
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nkarafo

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IIRC, Colecovision was a Master System with a different bios. SEGA (or Coleco) also planned an adaptor for the MS. Some Coleco games are recentely ported to MS. Correct me if I'm wrong.
No way this is right. The Colecovision was a far weaker machine. The Master System could do smooth side scrolling with more colors and sprites.

The Colecovision is closer to something like the SG1000.

The adaptor doesn't indicate same overall hardware. There was a Master System adaptor for the Genesis/Mega Drive, for instance. This usually indicates the host system shares some of the chips the guest system had. In this case it's always the Z80 CPU. Both the Coleco and Master System have the same CPU but the MS has a much more advanced video hardware. The Mega Drive also had a Z80 as a secondary CPU, which allowed to play MS games using the adaptor.
 
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SF Kosmo

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IIRC, Colecovision was a Master System with a different bios. SEGA (or Coleco) also planned an adaptor for the MS. Some Coleco games are recentely ported to MS. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The Colecovision was virtually identical to the Sega SG-1000 (not the SMS), other than maybe some differences to the memory configuration. But same basic CPU, graphics chip, and sound chip. MSX1 also uses the same CPU and graphics chip.

The Japanese version of the SMS (the Mark III) is backward compatible with the SG-1000, so yes, some hack-ports of Coleco and MSX games exist and run in this backward compatibility mode.

But while the SMS retained the same Z80 CPU as those older systems, it had a lot of major upgrades. Namely, a custom graphics chip with greatly expanded capabilities, and a custom 4-voice PSG sound chip. More memory as well.

No way this is right. The Colecovision was a far weaker machine. The Master System could do smooth side scrolling with more colors and sprites.

The Colecovision is closer to something like the SG1000.
Yeah, you nailed it, it runs Coleco stuff in backward compatibility with SG-1000 code.

In Korea in particular there are actually a good number of SG-1000 and MSX-based bootleg releases for SMS that run in this mode. Like an "SMS" version of Gulkave (one of Compile's first shooters). But it still looks like an SG-1000 game, it's pure backcompat.
 
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cartman414

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The Amiga console did work but Commodore launched it too late and didn't have enough money to make more. It didn't tank, Commodore imploded. It was literally the last product they put out after hesitating because it was there last chance to survive. In hindsight I'm still not sure why they released it at all at that point, I guess they wanted to take a chance on if software would make enough money.

One issue with the CD32 was lack of out of the box compatibility with Commodore computers. The ST console was supposed to be fully compatible, and it was setup so you could put ST games on console game retail space. I don't agree with ST though, but with an STE console it would close the 2D gap more with consoles and would have suitable performing 3D which Amiga was worse at btw. It also would have kept the cost low.

The C64GS flopped because of bad marketing, poor build, and lack of game identity. The CDTV failed because it was $999 because it wasn't trying to be just an Amiga console but a multimedia box top. Commodores bad track record continues to make me believe the C64 was a fluke.

An STE (not ST) console wouldn't be for ST users, it would be for console gamers and maybe some computer gamers due to ease of use. That's why the base ST was considered in the first place. However, I think an STE console would have been more marketable.


The Jaguar was fine it just needed to have more games ready for launch, they spend too much time trying to balance everything when they had limited capital.

But agree on a consolized STE. Base ST would have problems keeping up with the pc engine and it's 4fps 3D would be a short lived novelty. STE would solve both issues.

Amiga managed to be another early pre-emptive casualty thanks to Jack Tramiel, even as he ironically jumped from Commodore to Atari, the latter vying for the Amiga chipset. He cut practically everything non-XE in the computer department and went off shelf for the ST.

Commodore's new management screwed the pooch by firing the OG Amiga engineering team.
 

rnlval

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What you likely didn't know however, was how early this policy was in place. Believe it or not it was in place not only before the NES actually released in the US proper in 1986, but even before it was market tested in 1985. Michael Katz, hired to be in charge of Atari's games and consoles division with the title Executive Vice President, was supposed to gather software titles for the 7800 as it was being readied for launch. It turned out that a lot of western developers were not interested in developing games for the 7800 because it, along with every other competing manufacturer during that time were underspecced. In 1985, the Atari Corp's own Atari ST, and the Commodore Amiga were out among other sophisticated 16-bit and later 32-bit computers. This honestly was not too surprising overall, but what was a surprise though is that when Katz had tried to broker deals with Japanese software developers most of them were locked up or required high payouts. Atari Corp was a new company and wouldn't have the cash to invest in payouts until late 1986 at the earliest, and had to spend a large amount of money repairing relationships with retailers, marketing the 7800 and the ST computer, while also investing in software for both.

....

Assuming you bothered to read the wall of text at the start of the thread, the 7800 is a great system to collect for with fun games, just a victim of unfortunate circumstance and unforeseen market conditions. If Nintendo hadn't already had a console out in japan giving it such a major advantage when they came to the US, or if Sega was the only competitor maybe things would have been different, but you still got long-term support, you still got great software, you still had Atari selling software and hardware at a profit, so distant from the NES or not it did it's job and helped revive the brand along with the XE system and the ST, depending on your country. Strangely, the ST line would end up helping destroy the brand as the ST line evolved years later ironically.

To bad that ST console never came out, but technology was advancing so fast they went from that to the Panther then rapidly to the Jaguar in a 3 year period so can't really blame them, but having easy access to all those games the ST and Amiga shared and ST exclusives would have been awesome. Commodore did release a console though, in fact they released two, and they were not very well executed...

But back to Atari, I recommend people take a look at the 7800 and recommend buying one to play its stellar lineup of games, especially since they're cheap and you no longer have to worry about waiting in game droughts for releases like an N64, unlike back in the day. :messenger_grinning::messenger_grinning::messenger_grinning:
Atari 7800's race the scan beam feature was further evolved in the Amiga's CPU independent DMA Copper hardware. Atari ST 's race the beam function is driven by the CPU via the Timer B path.

Amiga CD32 game console was gimped by self-inflicted management problems with production (e.g. moving the factory from HK to the Philippines) and Pennsylvania EPA.

For Amiga's major European market, SNES was released in 1992 which is also A1200's release year. Commodore lost about a year when they move the assembly plant from HK to the Philippines and AGA chipset was ready around Feb 1991.

PC gaming doomed the Amiga when games such as Doom were released.


From https://webcache.googleusercontent....12-23-fi-4940-story.html+&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk"
The year 1993, 486 at 33Mhz PC price in California, USA
Article date: DEC. 23, 1993

"A year ago, a San Francisco-area PC clone dealer known for its low prices was advertising a fully equipped 33 Mhz 486 PC for $1,388. Today, that same machine costs about $1,000"



Amiga 500's October 1987 introductory price is $699 USD. Note that $1000 USD 486 33Mhz based PC in December 1993 is approaching A500's October 1987 introductory price range.

The year 1993 marks the major rise in gaming PC.


No 3rd party Amiga CPU accelerator will match Commodore's economics of scale. For 1993, the uncompetitive nature with 68K can also stem from Motorola not just from Commodore. Commodore is just of many 68K platform vendors who jumped ship away from 68K e.g. PA-RISC 7150 based Amiga Hombre.

None of the 68 K-based PC vendors was able to make 68040 in 68000 and 68020's higher unit numbers.



68000 based A500's $699 USD October 1987 introductory price is about USD $1,600 in 2020 equivalent.

--

From USA's Amiga World Magazine (November 1993), page 58 of 100,
Price listed in USD in November 1993

Amiga 1200/020, 2MB, price $379
Amiga 3000/030 at 25Mhz, 5MB, 105HD, price $899
Amiga 3000T/030 at 25Mhz, 5MB, 200MB HDD, price $1199
Amiga 3000T/040 at 25Mhz, 5MB, 200MB HDD, price $1599
Amiga 3000s are missing the AGA chipset.



Cost estimate for 68040 CPU card, $1599 - $1199, cost for 040 card = $400

A1200's $379 + 040 card's $400 = $779.


Commodore could have out-of-the-box configured A1200 with 68040 at 25Mhz for slightly above $779 (i.e. add 4MB fast ram, small HDD) which could compete against $1000 out-of-the-box 486 33Mhz based PC.

Amiga ECS upgrade is like the near-useless Commodore 128 upgrade i.e. both products focus on low color display high resolution with aging gaming hardware.

68040 at 25Mhz software Blitter speed is fast enough for brute-forcing arcade-quality Super Street Fighter Turbo-like games and Amiga AGA chipset and video memory bandwidth can be used as a fast enough dumb framebuffer.

MC68040 CPU is an Intel 80486DX class CPU.

-----
In 1993, Intel released Pentium 60 Mhz and 66 Mhz. Motorola doomed 68K platform vendors (e.g. Commodore Amiga, Atari ST/TT/Falcon, Sharp 68K, Sega MD, HP/Sun Unix 68K workstations, Apple Mac 68K) since the Pentium class MC68060 at 50 Mhz was late and expensive.

Amiga 1200 with MC68060 at 75Mhz is capable of playing Quake at 320x256 resolution at about 30 fps via the AGA chipset.

Motorola wasn't able to replicate 68000's unit sales success with 68040 and 68060 CPUs.
 
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MvCSpiderman

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No way this is right. The Colecovision was a far weaker machine. The Master System could do smooth side scrolling with more colors and sprites.

The Colecovision is closer to something like the SG1000.

The adaptor doesn't indicate same overall hardware. There was a Master System adaptor for the Genesis/Mega Drive, for instance. This usually indicates the host system shares some of the chips the guest system had. In this case it's always the Z80 CPU. Both the Coleco and Master System have the same CPU but the MS has a much more advanced video hardware. The Mega Drive also had a Z80 as a secondary CPU, which allowed to play MS games using the adaptor.
Neither the NES or SMS were good at multiple spirits on screen even compared to the CV but generally yes SMS had more raw power. In fact the SMS is similar to one of the early prototypes that Coleco was considering for it's successor.

However it was a bit stronger but then the price of such a thing in 84 and even 85 was not in Colecos interest. Sega got it's graphical engine through another method being in japan that was cheaper. A big improvement over sg-1000 but not big enough to get wow sales in japan. Then the Pc Engine came in and blew that up.

You are right about CV and sg-1000 the latter was a clone of the former yet all their official mutual released software looked and performed worse than the CV which I find strange. Other than Sega's redesign of Congo Bongo, I know why they did that.


I'm not saying it wasn't a factor but it wasn't the main factor, and if it was, the NES wouldn't have taken off as fast as it did.

It was the main factor because on consoles the war moved from hardware to software, so software studios were being undercut by decent clones or similar original games that were near as good or looked good in screens and they had to cut prices to compensate. This is directly the cause of the crash because this inflated demand which created a large glut in supply which imploded and made retailers freak out throwing games in bargain bins and companies couldn't endure long enough to lose money. Mattel and Atari also eventually cut hardware prices too when you could get a 800 for $79 bucks with free software.

The whole computer price war was unprecedented. It was foolish and dumb. In Atari's case media like IGN and others lie about the crash and in their case put the blame on the 2600, but the 2600 was never the problem. It was still profitable even then, most of ataris losses came from their 2600 software and the computer war and that's clear in the reports and the timeline if events.

The only way for Atari to survive was not to play or barely play only at the start, and that's how Coleco survived.

The rise of home computers was definitely a factor in the US. Companies like Commodore, Texas Instruments, and even Atari themselves were promoting the home computers as being "more than just a toy", while also serving as powerful gaming machines in their own right.

The Commodore 64 in particular was the big disruptor. It was introduced for around $600 in 1982, but dropped below $200 by late 1983. I distinctly remember it selling for $188 in the Montgomery Ward Christmas 1983 catalog. That's about the same price the ColecoVision and Atari 5200 were selling for at the time. Most of the same games that were on the CV and 5200 were also released on the C64 in equal or superior form. Virtually no one wanted a CV or 5200 at that point, since you could spend the same amount of money on a C64 and have access to a bigger and better library of games...oh yeah, and when you were done playing, you could use it as a "real" computer, too. Even if you disregarded the whole "home computer" aspect of the C64 and used it strictly for cartridge games, it was swiftly recognized as the best "video game console" in town.

Don't forget by this time Atari 800/400 was known as a gaming machine than a real computer in the US.
 
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MvCSpiderman

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Amiga managed to be another early pre-emptive casualty thanks to Jack Tramiel, even as he ironically jumped from Commodore to Atari, the latter vying for the Amiga chipset. He cut practically everything non-XE in the computer department and went off shelf for the ST.

Commodore's new management screwed the pooch by firing the OG Amiga engineering team.
Well he was kicked out for the price war and other decisions against consensus.

As for Commodore they got rid of key business people and lawyers. Yeah they weren't computer experts but they knew how to run commodore. Once those guys were cut after the Amiga staff they had nothing but idiots on board.

Dumb decisions messed up the 1200s chances, then they cancelled console plans for a $1000 media player which was clearly a stupid idea, no focus group or adviser oked it I guarantee you that, then went back to a console anyway in the end...AFTER a delay making the launch useless.
 
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Optimus Lime

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Great OP, and a great idea for a thread.

My favourite memory of the 7800 era was this amazing commercial from 1990. It blows my mind that they were still pushing the 7800 into the 90's. Are you a BAD ENOUGH DUDE to play Atari? Someone at Atari clearly decided that they should be countering the NES by modelling their advertising on 'Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo' and Michael Jackson's 'Bad' video.

 
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It certainly has some worth for being BC to the 2600 and having a decent homebrew scene. Standing on its own feet there are some cool arcade ports and curiosities like Ninja Golf, but in sheer size and quality, it gets annihilated by the NES and Master System library.

 
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Isleofsancroy

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Your history is wrong.

Atari 5200 did not have hardware scrolling.

It doesn't have dedicated hardware for it, but it had the ability to move backgrounds in hardware, objects have to be through software.
Prices are a response to market factors not a cause. I also don't think that computers were quite the factor in the US that they were in Europe. In Europe they had already displaced consoles by the time the third generation had rolled a round and while a lot of companies were placing big bets in that to happen in the US, it really didn't.

There were a lot of factors driving down prices. Fragmentation if the market due to computers might have been a small part, but a big part of it was lawsuits opening up third party development on Atari leading to a saturated market, a failure by the industry leader to deliver a compelling successor at the right time, and a glut of competitor systems that failed to offer a true next gen experience.

You're incorrect and there's really no debate to be had, Computers dropped in price so low that consoles had to drop in price too, the same with games and accessories, especially the medium and smaller studios that created decent software undercutting the big boys. Nearly no one was making money anywhere by the end of 1983, and in 1984, the year of the actual crash, it imploded. But despite the myths by fanboys people were still buying games, and it helped that all there favorite titles and game machines were then 60-80% off.

The industry leader not having a compelling successor is irrelevant, as the CV took it's place. Not to mention the successor sold well but due to bad moves and the price wars the amount of 5200's sold was not enough to cover whatever losses were created and was capped off. In fact, the CV actually was behind the 5200 when it hit that million units sold and it took some more months for the CV to pass that. The market back then wasn't black and white.

Also the 5200, CV, Vectrex (for vector), and I think one other I can't recall the name of where the only next generation systems out at the time and they were all a major bump from the 2600, Odyssey 2, intellivision and friends from before. What's more is some of them were actually not too far from computers at the time until the new wave of computers came in 1985. In comparison the jump from the CV tot he NES was basically nonexistent outside one game style, and the fact all 3 of the 86 consoles were incredibly weak, using your logic there should have been a second crash just because of how console hardware progress stalled until 1989.

True.

All you have to do is compare the ZX81 home computer and the Master System.





Same CPU.

Intellivision is 16-bit but you'd have to be a jacket nutcase to think any game on the Intv looks anything like a Genesis or Super Nintendo game.

It certainly has some worth for being BC to the 2600 and having a decent homebrew scene. Standing on its own feet there are some cool arcade ports and curiosities like Ninja Golf, but in sheer size and quality, it gets annihilated by the NES and Master System library.


It's interesting to see views now then back in the say, when most wanted a 7800 and not so much a SMS (barely), and people wanted the 2600 redesign more than both in the US. It really throws the "no one wanted old games" myth out the window. Which actually evolved from the previous myth of "no one wanted arcade games" despite SMB being an arcade game, and the best selling NES games being arcade games.

Considering the SMS had similarities to the NES library and would eventually have a bigger advertising push (which would fail to gain traction in the US) it really is more about the NES out distributing the other 2 5 times as much then it actually having better games, especially since a lot of the games people usually bring up didn't happen until 2 or 3 years in. The retail deals and software lock down really just made it impossible to compete. But both Atari and Sega producing less than 150k consoles in one year which was what was expected by analysts really put them in a bad position with Nintendos Japanese money and putting out 800k at the same time.

Despite the ifs and what's, there really wasn't away for Atari and Sega to catch Nintendo regardless if they had the best games ever released known to man. Only an ST console coming out a couple years after the ST computer could have the distribution and software library to compete, but then it would be about $100-$150 more than the NES so even that's a question mark. Circumstances were unexpected and no one saw it coming. Micheal Kats hired for the Atari game division before the NES was even test run had to deal with the software lockdowns caused by Nintendo and Nintendo wasn't even in the country yet. A smart business move? Perhaps, though it burned a lot of bridges.
 

SF Kosmo

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It doesn't have dedicated hardware for it, but it had the ability to move backgrounds in hardware, objects have to be through software.
Which goes to my point that you can't compare these games by looking at the CPU when those CPUs in these older systems had to work a lot harder for lack of dedicated graphics hardware speeding these things up.

The fact that the Atari 5200 couldn't handle the kind of scrolling graphics that defined the third gen of gaming is really not up for debate.

You're incorrect and there's really no debate to be had, Computers dropped in price so low that consoles had to drop in price too, the same with games and accessories, especially the medium and smaller studios that created decent software undercutting the big boys.
No, computer prices were not the thing that cratered console game prices. They were still much more expensive. Commodore 64 was like $600 at a time when Atari 5200 was like $250, it wasn't even close.

They WERE eating into the gaming market share and that was definitely a factor. I am not saying they had nothing to do with it, but Nintendo's eventual success proves beyond a doubt that the market just needed the right console.

Nearly no one was making money anywhere by the end of 1983, and in 1984, the year of the actual crash, it imploded.
None of them ever made much money on hardware, that wasn't the business model. The business model was software.

But in 1982 Atari v Activision was settled, opening the floodgates for third party software, and this sudden glut of software drove prices down, and it totally fucked Atari's business model because they weren't making any money on license fees anymore.

But despite the myths by fanboys people were still buying games, and it helped that all there favorite titles and game machines were then 60-80% off.
People were buying games in general, but there were more games on the market, which meant individual games were selling less. It meant stores had to dedicate more space, and it meant they needed to get rid of less popular games. It also meant games were a worse investment for retailers as they were no longer reliably able to sell those units for more than they paid for them.

THAT was what cause the crash and the prices bottoming out, because games became toxic to retail and they were just clearing stock and refusing to even carry a lot of games after a while.

Which actually evolved from the previous myth of "no one wanted arcade games" despite SMB being an arcade game, and the best selling NES games being arcade games.
It was never about "arcade," in fact consumers continued to see "arcade" as aspirational through the 16 bit era. Genesis advertising was full of claims of "arcade graphics."

But it was about games that were doing things you clearly couldn't do on the older hardware, and Super Mario Bros definitely felt like that.

In Japan, even before SMB, Xevious was a big one that sold the system. Being able to do quality scrolling graphics like that was a big deal.

Considering the SMS had similarities to the NES library and would eventually have a bigger advertising push (which would fail to gain traction in the US) it really is more about the NES out distributing the other 2 5 times as much then it actually having better games, especially since a lot of the games people usually bring up didn't happen until 2 or 3 years in.
Nintendo had a slight head start and really used their market position to bully a lot of people. Distro was definitely a huge issue for Sega. Eventually they partnered with Tonka, who were able to get the things into more toy stores but it was too late by then, and Nintendo demanded exclusivity deals with a lot of devs which limited what Sega could do.

This mattered a lot in the US and Japan, but in the more fractured global markets Sega came a lot closer to Nintendo, even beating them out in a few.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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The Atari 7800 is a highly underrated system that I strongly recommend, especially now that you can get one for a reasonable price in most of the countries it was available in, and it's awesome software library being a mixture of 80's arcade goodness, along with game design commonly found on computers. Overall it's a great representation of the gaming industry of the time.

Some history, the Atari 7800 was originally supposed to release proper in 1984, and was test launched earlier that year in California and Texas, Texas being invite only. But there was a problem during the sale of Atari assets to the new Atari Corporation, primarily GCC the creator of the 7800, was demanding royalties holding things up. Even though Atari engineers did work with them on the hardware GCC basically had ownership and so held all the cards. Eventually a deal was made and a lot of these assets were moved over to Atari Corp. The 7800 itself was a separate deal from all the other Atari assets acquired by Atari Corp, and CEO Jack T had to pay for the console separately from the 2600 and the 5200. Despite the myths of Jack not wanting to have anything to do with game consoles, he decided to go ahead and pay what was owed, and even payed GCC extra money to finish developing the contracted software they were originally supposed to release for the 7800 in 1984l, even going so far as to having banners for the 7800 at the 1985 CES along with the 2600 and 5200 on physical display, both of which Atari Corp decided to manufacture new cartridges for, and release new games that were not previously available pre-asset sale, including the popular Lucas Arts classic, Rescue on Fractulus for the 5200.

Everybody knows that Nintendo had some unpopular policies that repelled western developers and even in some cases, Japanese developers from releasing software on their console, the most infamous of which was the console lock-out, a policy that made it so that you could not release NES software on a competitors game machine for 2-3 years, and while a rumor it is said that in some specific cases, a deal was made so that for some software couldn't EVER release on other systems. While many people don't know this, most people that are likely to post on a gaming forum are likely privy to this information.

What you likely didn't know however, was how early this policy was in place. Believe it or not it was in place not only before the NES actually released in the US proper in 1986, but even before it was market tested in 1985. Michael Katz, hired to be in charge of Atari's games and consoles division with the title Executive Vice President, was supposed to gather software titles for the 7800 as it was being readied for launch. It turned out that a lot of western developers were not interested in developing games for the 7800 because it, along with every other competing manufacturer during that time were underspecced. In 1985, the Atari Corp's own Atari ST, and the Commodore Amiga were out among other sophisticated 16-bit and later 32-bit computers. This honestly was not too surprising overall, but what was a surprise though is that when Katz had tried to broker deals with Japanese software developers most of them were locked up or required high payouts. Atari Corp was a new company and wouldn't have the cash to invest in payouts until late 1986 at the earliest, and had to spend a large amount of money repairing relationships with retailers, marketing the 7800 and the ST computer, while also investing in software for both.

In the end, Katz had to resort to creating a 'short team' and a 'long-team' at Atari, the Long-team would have longer development cycles for games, while the short-team would have a shorter dev cycle, or license ip to bring to the 7800 from various software developers. For third-party, because western developers lacked interest in developing for weak hardware, and Nintendo had gobbled up nearly all the relevant Japanese developers, they could only broker deals with a handful of computer software houses that didn't mind developing software on console hardware. The strategy was to try and create a structure that would allow for games to be released as close together as possible to prevent game droughts, though in the end this would only work half the time.

Atari, as well as competitor Sega with their Mark III (Master System) console would have problems getting into retail stores also due to Nintendo, which had brokered contracts with several of them to take up most of the isles, or in certain cases be the only system sold. This is why many people had no clue either of these two consoles existed, if they did they were either reading the newspaper columns in the early years or they were keeping tabs on the industry through niche sources or magazines. While Atari would greatly improve their retail footprint, including buying out a retail company and creating branded stores (which would backfire and lose them tons of money on the computer end) they could never match Nintendo's much larger retail footprint, an advantage they had from the start and only grew with time.

One thing to remember is Nintendo had already dominated Japan and had come to the US already having a manufacturing network, which it added on to. This allowed Nintendo to produce a astronomical amount of consoles in comparison to Atari or Sega. The retailer contracts they brokered allowed them to stuff software and hardware on retailer shelves and this was done before launch. It didn't help they had more cash than either for advertising too.

In order to try and explain why Nintendo's stock volume and early high sales were such a shock to analysts in the industry, the industry had a crash that was already in recovery despite common myth. Coleco, the company behind the popular Colecovision console, had survived the crash and saw a slight uptick in Colecovision sales, however the profits were not considered significant, so when Coleco who had tried and failed to salvage their Adam computer, which bombed astronomically in the marketplace, lost an astronomical amount of money due to said Adam computer, but saw a massive surge in profits in the toy industry, they decided that they would drop out of electronics entirely missing the chance of having the gaming industry to itself. Despite this several companies were considering jumping in, one of which had released a machine that costed nearly $3000 thinking a computer laserdisc machine would be amazing enough to sell at that price. Software companies were slowly trickling back to the 2600 as the year went on. Later that year Atari Corp announced they had sold 1 million consoles in 1985, which led to Atari Corp to ponder whether they should refresh the aging 2600 platform, which they would eventually do..

Later industry analysts, including Atari's own research team, estimated that Atari could manufacture a set amount of 7800's and 2600 Jr's by the end of 1986. This would follow with sales between 1-2 million units by the end of 1987 and 3-5 million by the end of 1988, with the competition selling along these same estimates. By 1988 the industry was expected to see a rebound in profits, the only part the analysts got right.

Of course, things didn't work out that way, Nintendo already had a major manufacturing and distribution network from Japan, which they added on to after deciding to release their system in the USA and onward with plenty of cash to do so. Sega was the only competitor that sold within the framework that the analysts expected, but Nintendo's network and retail footprint had completely forced Atari to rethink about going for the number one title. Atari sold out every single console that they were able to manufacture in 1986, the problem was the amount of hardware that Atari sold in 1986, was only a bit over 100,000, plus what was purchased during the 1984 testing phase gave them a total estimated 130,000 to 140,000 units sold, while Sega sold 125,000 with a surplus on shelves. Meanwhile, Nintendo had sold over 800,000 units and the holiday season was only half way finished, they would ship over 1 million to retailers by the end of 1986 and sell through that shortly by January,

Reevaluating, Atari Corp decided that chasing from behind like what Sega and partner Tonka were considering was likely an expensive and pointless endeavor. Atari had already concluded that between their retailer disadvantages and their limited capability to restock software and hardware, that it was not possible to actually win the race against Nintendo, and instead decided to switch to a profit model. The 7800 was already cheaper than the competition and made money per sale, so they decided to go for a tiered system. Atari had positioned the 2600 jr. as an entry level system from the start and decided to go all in on that idea. Now, they needed a third-tier. The new refreshes (XE and XL) of the popular Atari 400 and 800 computers weren't doing so hot, so it was decided to take the excess parts and repackage the base 65XE computer into a console shell, creating the XE Game system. This was positioned as the expensive top tier console because of its unique and large computer library containing software not commonly seen on home consoles, and the ability to transform the console into a XE computer itself. Of course, the 7800 was in reality graphically stronger than the XE game system, but the XE held up on its own. It was a successful console commercially but I'll talk about that one in a different thread as there's a lot of details to go over.

At this point Atari had finalized their game plan, Entry-tier pricing: 2600 Jr, Mid-tier pricing: 7800, High-tier pricing: XE game system. The idea was to make the best games they can, throw jabs at the competition to grab as many dissenters as possible, while making the most of their existing software partnerships and retail presence with the goal of selling software and hardware at a profit all the way until all 3 products were eventually discontinued, and it worked. Not only was the 2600 jr still a big seller, selling more than the 7800 and Sega's machine in the US, but the XE game system sold out in stores, every unit that Atari could produce in time for the 1987 holiday season was sold, and it would continue to sell well in 1988, although it would be more popular in Europe, while the 7800 would have been more popular in the US comparatively.

Moving on to the games now.

The result of Atari's partnerships and advanced hardware capabilities created a library that contained a mixture of computer games, arcade games, and unique titles, making the Atari 7800 an underrated and unique console. While it was more powerful than the competition, the mindshare and retail domination of the NES had made tile-based scrolling action games, platformers being the most common, the titles that appealed to the general public. Most consumers that brought the NES were parents of children or were coming off of the 2600 and not so much the Colecovision, Intellivision, or home computers. So the general public were wowed by games that followed the tile-scrolling framework, and there were many many many games released with that framework on the NES.

In terms of hardware capabilities in general,

Atari 7800>Sega Master System>Nintendo Entertainment System>Atari XE Game System

In terms of tile-based scrolling games specifically,

Sega Master System>Nintendo Entertainment System>Atari 7800>Atari XE Game System

For tile-based scrolling games, the 7800 wasn't specifically build for them and the Atari 8-bit computer line, which the XE Game System was based on, did. However, due to raw power the 7800 can surpass the XE through software on tile-based scrolling games, and this also applies for the first couple of 'generations' of the NES, however with the NES's enhancements in later games, it would gain a major advantage for this specific style of software.




The 7800 had an amazing mixture of software from the 3 core industries of gaming, Console-Arcade-Computers. You got a taste of each without a heavy focus on just one style. Atari also released a bunch of cool originals, here are some of the games I would recommend as the library is filled with gems.

In no specific order

Arcade

  1. Xenophobe
  2. Xevious
  3. Robotron 2084
  4. Food Fight
  5. Ms.Pacman
  6. Pole Position II
  7. Mario Bros.
  8. KungFu Master
  9. Joust
  10. Galaga
  11. Ikari Warriors
  12. Donkey Kong
  13. Donkey Kong Jr.
  14. Commando
  15. Dig Dug
  16. Centipede
  17. Rampage
  18. Asteroids
  19. Crossbow
  20. Hat Trick
  21. Mat Mania Challenge

Computer

  1. F-18 Hornet (polygons!)
  2. Dark Chamber
  3. Tower Toppler/Nebulus
  4. Impossible Mission
  5. Ace of Aces
  6. Choplifter
  7. Fight Night
  8. Super Huey UH-IX
  9. Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter


Original

  1. Ninja Golf
  2. Alien Brigade
  3. Ballblazer
  4. Desert Falcon
  5. Scrapyard Dog
  6. Midnight Mutants
  7. Fatal Run
  8. Meltdown
  9. Motor Psycho
  10. Planet Smashers

Sport

  1. One-on-One basketball
  2. Mean 18 Ultimate Golf
  3. Basket Brawl
  4. Pete Rose Baseball
  5. Realsports Baseball
  6. Summer Games
  7. Super Skateboarding
  8. Touchdown Football
  9. Winter Games

and with over 100 prototypes and homebrews that you should also consider. The homebrew scene is very active and new games come out pretty much every year.

Assuming you bothered to read the wall of text at the start of the thread, the 7800 is a great system to collect for with fun games, just a victim of unfortunate circumstance and unforeseen market conditions. If Nintendo hadn't already had a console out in japan giving it such a major advantage when they came to the US, or if Sega was the only competitor maybe things would have been different, but you still got long-term support, you still got great software, you still had Atari selling software and hardware at a profit, so distant from the NES or not it did it's job and helped revive the brand along with the XE system and the ST, depending on your country. Strangely, the ST line would end up helping destroy the brand as the ST line evolved years later ironically.

To bad that ST console never came out, but technology was advancing so fast they went from that to the Panther then rapidly to the Jaguar in a 3 year period so can't really blame them, but having easy access to all those games the ST and Amiga shared and ST exclusives would have been awesome. Commodore did release a console though, in fact they released two, and they were not very well executed...

But back to Atari, I recommend people take a look at the 7800 and recommend buying one to play its stellar lineup of games, especially since they're cheap and you no longer have to worry about waiting in game droughts for releases like an N64, unlike back in the day. :messenger_grinning::messenger_grinning::messenger_grinning:

Didn't read any of that but wanted to drop a like for that massive wall of text. thicc_girls_are_teh_best thicc_girls_are_teh_best you got some serious competition.
 

MvCSpiderman

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7800 was first to launch so there's not much they could have done to make things better. Sega I believe was last, but they convinced the press they were the power console of the three true or not, but that never turned into an advantage the average consumer cared about.

Anyone who had a good network and funds could have taken Nintendo's place in NA, but sadly Atari and Sega were not these people. Nintendo basically strong armed there way in. Even after the SNES, Mega Drive, and Turbo were out for years we never saw even a B level American company join the industry. What ended up happening was Phillips had a system that could play games, which Sony helped make and was a manufacturer for which led to Sony pursuing a partnership with Nintendo, leading to Nintendo breaking the partnership causing Sony to create the PlayStation. This would eventually bring in Microsoft.

Outside of that most entrants had to be at least medium income to be successful. Fairchild was a big tech company, Atari sold to warner making it big enough to push Fairchild back. Magnavox was a big tech company, Mattel was a big toy company, Coleco was both.

After 85 you had Atari Corp which was practically a new startup, Sega, an Arcade operator who's peak in arcade and consoles wouldn't be for another some years, 3DO co. who had to license out hardware, and a dying Apple partnering with bandai for an ambitious machine they didn't have the support to handle. It's an interesting conundrum.

Things were different in Japan though, the NES had competition initially from Casio with the PV1, Tomy Puuta, and Epoch Super Vision.

Some of these actually did well but for varying reasons died off and Nintendo charged on. It wouldn't be until Hudson talked NEC into partnering up for the PC Engine that Nintendo was shook, but only for a short time. As much as people repeat the claim of PC Engine being big in japan, they were already in a bad spot during the 2nd year of the SNES. They couldn't find a way to keep the PC Engine relevant, and doubling down on CDs wasn't the answer, though a good idea. They only sold around 5 million consoles there.

But even after that at least NEC and Casio would come back to try again. Along with Pioneer and Fujitsu being newcomers in the mid-90's.

Commodore in 86 could have been the one to fill the void if they weren't mismanaged and went with the original console plans. Instead they gave us a late C64 console that was made out of cardboard for how reliable it was.

Funny enough, post ST Atari Corp, Commodore, and PC clones stopped the Japanese from taking the computer market.
 
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Agent X

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Has anyone mentioned Food Fight? Because that shit was awesome.

Yes, there were a couple of mentions of Food Fight in this thread, including from myself.

Food Fight was an awesome game, and one of the standout launch games for the 7800. At the time it came out, it was the only home version of Food Fight, and it also did a good job of showing off the system's ability to handle lots of multicolored sprites without flicker or slowdown (the 7800's main strength versus it's contemporaries). On top of all that, the game is simply great fun to play!

The original Food Fight arcade game was designed by GCC for Atari, who also designed Ms. Pac-Man for Midway. GCC developed many home games for Atari between 1982 and 1984, and also developed the 7800 console itself.
 
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Pol Pot

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Yes, there were a couple of mentions of Food Fight in this thread, including from myself.

Food Fight was an awesome game, and one of the standout launch games for the 7800. At the time it came out, it was the only home version of Food Fight, and it also did a good job of showing off the system's ability to handle lots of multicolored sprites without flicker or slowdown (the 7800's main strength versus it's contemporaries). On top of all that, the game is simply great fun to play!

The original Food Fight arcade game was designed by GCC for Atari, who also designed Ms. Pac-Man for Midway. GCC developed many home games for Atari between 1982 and 1984, and also developed the 7800 console itself.
Nice! I didn't know that last part. Thanks for the info!
 
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Isleofsancroy

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The fact that the Atari 5200 couldn't handle the kind of scrolling graphics that defined the third gen of gaming is really not up for debate.
The 5200 could handle scrolling graphics, and so could the more powerful 7800, the famicom had no major advantage in scrolling despite it being hardware dedicated until they started enhancing the cartridges, other than it being slightly less work. The main advantage of the standard famicom was multi-colored sprites which the 7800 could do using varying methods, but the famicom had them standard. However, you could create your own graphic engines with the 7800's flexibility, that's how you can have minimally textured 3D polygons in a 3D environment at a passable frame rate, where you couldn't pull anything like that on a Famicom, and that's with zero enhancements to the 7800 machine. As shown in gifs 1 and 2 in the OP.

No, computer prices were not the thing that cratered console game prices. They were still much more expensive. Commodore 64 was like $600 at a time when Atari 5200 was like $250, it wasn't even close.
You need to do minimum research instead of attempting to recall from poor memory,

The video game crash didn't actually happen until 1984, but even in 1983, the C64 was $300 and the 5200 was $250, the CV was more, and the Intellivision was still over $150. By the holidays the C64 was $199 in 1983.

The 5200 was $169.99 in June 1984, but was forced to drop to $129 to match the prices of computers as consumers saw better value in buying a computer, but that was immediately followed by another price cut to $84 because the C64 and the 800XL dropped even lower. Colecovision ended up at $99 and then another drop to $97. Other computers and consoles got price cuts too, including the 2600.

At the time the 5200 was $129 and the CV was $150, the 800 XL was $129 and the C64 was only a bit more than that. Not long after, the 800XL was $108 and the C64 was $129, forcing Atari to drop the 5200 to $84 and the 2600 to $59 then later $49, and Coleco to drop the Colecovision to $97. This was in a 2 month period. It didn't stop there either, some retailers had the C64 and the XL at $99 before the prices went back up.

I also mentioned that price war impacted software which you you skipped over, and that's where the glut of software came from, small, major, and every software house in between, even crowd favorites were cutting prices, and the price war went on for so long that many just couldn't see any sustainable way to keep the cuts going, so several games which were popular at previous prices were sitting on shelves, that's why you saw the types of games in the unearthed Atari landfill that people saw, because those were popular titles that were selling before and therefore had a crap ton of stock on shelves, but then stopped selling when the price war waged on, forcing retailers to put them in bins. The big sellers during the price war also got a glut of shipments too and if they didn't have longevity they also build up unsold inventory forcing retailers to put those in the bins too.

Between hardware and software if you could get a Atari 800XL for $108 and a Colecvision for $97 why wouldn't you take the XL? Or if the C64 or 800XL were cheaper than the 5200, why buy a 5200? The disc drive prices were involved in the price war as well, if you were there you would feel like you were robbing the companies because the prices were so cheap. This is also one of the reasons why Warner dropped the 5200 so fast.



This was in August, notice that it said the console was $169.99 in June, which itself was already a price reduction. It was in direct response to the rapidly dropping home computer prices.



There's a reason why Coleco were giving away Cabbage with every Colecovision for awhile, the Atari 800XL was only a small premium more than the Colecovision, which was the hottest and most powerful console at the time. Coleco would not go much lower and would raise the price gradually later.

However in the computer segment, Coleco's Adam never participated in the price war and was still over $400 for most of the year until the holidays where it was just under it, and I mean just. If the Adam had even a minimal amount of success instead of being a money losing failure, who knows where we would be right now.

It's not really a debate about what caused the video game crash, the computer war transferred over like a disease and it tanked hardware and software which created unsold inventory for any hardware or software not competing in price. It was freaking ridiculous.


As for SMB that's hilarious, the Atari XL already had side-scrollers and that was weaker than the 7800, you already had those games, there was no major advantage in scrolling until the enhancements came despite the NES having dedicated scrolling hardware. Xevious is even more laughable because that's a vertical scrolling and those were easier to do than the horizontal ones (not to mention an early 7800 game). SMB was also packaged with the NES. The statement that SMB did anything itself is all a part of revisionist history because it was there during the (failed some say) test run and the first year. If SMB was responsible for Nintendo being at such an advantage it would have caused an even bigger noise then it did, and would have sold all of Nintendo's test shipments which Nintendo barely managed to sell half of. Nintendo would still have had the near 1 million distribution of consoles in 1986 whether SMB was there or not, and would have still had those retailer contracts whether SMB was there or not. Nintendo already had the Japanese developers on lock before they even test marketed the NES, which at the time of the test was called something else.

There's no "Nintendo saved us from bad games and they came out of nowhere and sold 40 million consoles in 3 days after ET killed the industry" fantasy to what happened, Nintendo had money, they came in when Coleco dropped out, and no analyst was expecting them to have been able to produce as much as they did. Atari still sold out, Sega did well at the start, both within expectations, NES was an outlier neither could have foreseen. Both doing over 100,000 consoles in 1986 would actually be great if Nintendo didn't do like 800,000 in the same time frame and then ship over 1 million by years end.

The retail control really screwed up Atari and Sega too, they could have both maybe sold over 5 million consoles by 1989 or 1990 under the original estimates, but the NES had retailers cut them both from a large number of stores by that point. Neither could sell over 3 million whether they wanted to or not once their reach was shattered. Sega got around that with the new Genesis console though, but wouldn't become a real contender until Sonic.

Nintendo had a slight head start and really used their market position to bully a lot of people. Distro was definitely a huge issue for Sega. Eventually they partnered with Tonka, who were able to get the things into more toy stores but it was too late by then, and Nintendo demanded exclusivity deals with a lot of devs which limited what Sega could do.

This mattered a lot in the US and Japan, but in the more fractured global markets Sega came a lot closer to Nintendo, even beating them out in a few.

Slightly inaccurate other than Tonka. But the thing is Tonka was actually involved pretty early in the SMS life it wasn't really late, the one thing you aren't getting is that these exclusivity deals were already a thing before the SMS came out. SMS being the last to release didn't help matters, sure. However, the dev deals were a thing before NES was even tested in NA, as already said in the OP and other posts, Katz of Atari had to try and beg computer devs to port games over because nearly all the Japanese devs were locked in 1985. For Japan, Sega refused to take third parties seriously at first until the Mark III when it was too late. So Sega was screwed on both ends.

The goal was Japan and the US, and Sega failed in both during the 80's. Atari never really cared about Japan, they were focused on Europe and the US. I do wonder though if things would be different if they swapped Japan for Europe, but I guess they would have a problem competing with NEC in computers, they wouldn't be able to get the prices as low being from overseas, and that's a large part why NEC dominated domestically.
 

Isleofsancroy

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You're welcome!

Here's a link to the Wikipedia article about General Computer Corporation (GCC), who developed the Atari 7800 and many of its early games:


Some of those games were already done, but Warner freezing progress with the 7800 really put GCC in a spot. I don't blame them for trying to get what was owed.

They did pretty good ports of Joust and Dig Dug, but it was Robotron and Desert Falcon that impressed me the most. I think they did Pole Position II as well if not mistaken, the pack-in.

But man, they did a great port of Robotron.
 

SF Kosmo

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The 5200 could handle scrolling graphics, and so could the more powerful 7800, the famicom had no major advantage in scrolling despite it being hardware dedicated until they started enhancing the cartridges, other than it being slightly less work.
You're playing dumb at this point, man. It's like saying the SNES could do 3D because of Race Drivin' or Star Fox or whatever, so the PlayStation had no major advantage over SNES. It's a really bad argument. Let's put this to bed with a simple side-by-side:


I mean it's night and day, dude, these systems are clearly not on the same level when it comes to this kind of game. Atari 5200 could do scrolling graphics but it really struggled to do it well. The 5200 is gruelingly slow and un-fun.

The main advantage of the standard famicom was multi-colored sprites which the 7800 could do using varying methods, but the famicom had them standard.

7800 was much more competitive with the NES in terms of hardware, but it still had some notable disadvantages in terms of graphics hardware and ran in lower resolution AND it came out later (alongside the even more powerful SMS, no less), so it wasn't really enough. Although it did have the cheaper price.

Again, I started out by saying if the 7800 came out in 1984 I think it would have done a lot better.

You need to do minimum research instead of attempting to recall from poor memory,

Except no, I said it was $600 in 1982 when the Atari 5200 launched, and it was. Here are a bunch of computer prices from 1982:



I also mentioned that price war impacted software which you you skipped over,

I didn't skip over that, dude, did you even read my whole post? Hardware costs were NOT the cause of the crash, it was the fragmentation of the software market. The sudden boom of third party Atari software, coupled with a flood of new formats were really bad for retail, and they just couldn't stock all this stuff and make money.

Yes, computer software was part of that to a much more limited extent, but when people talk about the retail bottoming out on video games, they're usually talking about toy stores.

Between hardware and software if you could get a Atari 800XL for $108 and a Colecvision for $97 why wouldn't you take the XL?

Which does nothing to explain why most people really didn't want either, but they DID want a $200 NES. And that's the elephant in the room that you refuse to address.

As for SMB that's hilarious, the Atari XL already had side-scrollers and that was weaker than the 7800, you already had those games, there was no major advantage in scrolling until the enhancements came despite the NES having dedicated scrolling hardware.

Dude, you're living in a fantasy. You're calling these equivalent in consumer's eyes?


Second you keep going back to the 7800 like that's part of my argument, and I don't think you're really reading what I'm writing.

The statement that SMB did anything itself is all a part of revisionist history because it was there during the (failed some say) test run and the first year. If SMB was responsible for Nintendo being at such an advantage it would have caused an even bigger noise then it did, and would have sold all of Nintendo's test shipments which Nintendo barely managed to sell half of. Nintendo would still have had the near 1 million distribution of consoles in 1986 whether SMB was there or not, and would have still had those retailer contracts whether SMB was there or not. Nintendo already had the Japanese developers on lock before they even test marketed the NES, which at the time of the test was called something else.
So it's revisionist history to say Super Mario Bros was a hugely popular game? Dude, come the fuck on.


There's no "Nintendo saved us from bad games and they came out of nowhere and sold 40 million consoles in 3 days after ET killed the industry" fantasy to what happened,
I KNOW, dude, I never said any of that. I just said that the NES was more successful than the Colecovision and 5200 in part because it was a better product in some important ways.

Like I have pushed back a lot on the Nintendo messiah story and the way some of the crash narrative has been overstated over the years, but you aren't offering a more nuanced explanation here, you're just going into weird denialism that Nintendo did anything at all.

Slightly inaccurate other than Tonka. But the thing is Tonka was actually involved pretty early in the SMS life it wasn't really late
It was late enough, man. Nintendo really achieved a tremendous amount of market dominance in that time. I know because I was a Master System kid and I got one fairly early around the time of the Tonka deal and advertising push and by then all my friends had NES. I even remember the guy at the store asking me "Are you sure, not many people are buying this one."

the one thing you aren't getting is that these exclusivity deals were already a thing before the SMS came out.
I didn't say they weren't but why does this matter?
 
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MvCSpiderman

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Thread has users nitpicking games now to make one side look better. Reminds me of gamespot.

Yes, there were a couple of mentions of Food Fight in this thread, including from myself.

Food Fight was an awesome game, and one of the standout launch games for the 7800. At the time it came out, it was the only home version of Food Fight, and it also did a good job of showing off the system's ability to handle lots of multicolored sprites without flicker or slowdown (the 7800's main strength versus it's contemporaries). On top of all that, the game is simply great fun to play!

The original Food Fight arcade game was designed by GCC for Atari, who also designed Ms. Pac-Man for Midway. GCC developed many home games for Atari between 1982 and 1984, and also developed the 7800 console itself.

GCC designed Ms.Pacman?
 

Agent X

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GCC designed Ms.Pacman?

They sure did! See the link to the Wikipedia article on GCC in post #88 above.

Apparently, GCC up until recently still owned some rights to portions of the programming code pertaining to their modifications. This caused some drama with Namco about a year ago when AtGames attempted to acquire the rights to that code. I believe that might have been resolved, but I don't remember what the outcome was.
 

Isleofsancroy

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You're playing dumb at this point, man. It's like saying the SNES could do 3D because of Race Drivin' or Star Fox or whatever, so the PlayStation had no major advantage over SNES. It's a really bad argument. Let's put this to bed with a simple side-by-side:
I never said that the 5200 was better than the NES, I said it could do smooth scrolling.

But here we have you not only misreading but comparing a NES game to a broken unfinished unreleased prototype of Xevious for the 5200. Come on man do your research instead of reacting.

In regards to scrolling and the 7800 on the otherhand, your harddrivin' example doesn't work here. No matter what you do with the SNES, the standard hardware cannot replicate Ridge Racer on the Playstation because the SNES is took weak. But the 7800 can handle pretty much every scrolling game on a standard NES without enhnacements despite not having dedicated hardware, with some games having color drop at worst, and that was the point I was making. You of course likely knew this but decided to make your crazy SNES vs. Playstation comparison anyway, after all you did use a video of a broken, unfinished, unreleased prototype Xevious game previously.

7800 was much more competitive with the NES in terms of hardware, but it still had some notable disadvantages in terms of graphics hardware and ran in lower resolution AND it came out later (alongside the even more powerful SMS, no less), so it wasn't really enough. Although it did have the cheaper price.

Actually it could run at a higher resolution, and some games did in full or in part. Also unless you're talking about the Famicoms original release date, in terms of NA the 7800 came out first. Generally, The SMS is not more powerful than the 7800, it's already long been established the 7800 has more raw power and mathimatical advantages which is why it can make an open world 3D environment in the first place. However, the SMS being more powerful than the standard Famicom at tile-based scrolling games does put it at the best possible advantage out-the-box for those kind of games, and unlike the NES, the 7800 would have problems replicating some of it's more demanding games. Using the original hardware of course.

As for the standard Famicom the only real main advantage over the 7800 was multi-colored sprites until enhancers were put in.

Except no, I said it was $600 in 1982 when the Atari 5200 launched, and it was. Here are a bunch of computer prices from 1982:

The subject was about the video game crash and the computer war tanking prices, not 1982. If you are not able to stay on topic that's a different issue.

Hardware costs were NOT the cause of the crash, it was the fragmentation of the software market.

You can keep saying this until you are blue to the face but you'll always be wrong and history documents it as the cause. The software "fragmentation" was caused by the computer crash impacting game consoles which transferred to software, impacting retailers, this has not only been explained multiple times but is incredibly simple to comprehend.


Which does nothing to explain why most people really didn't want either, but they DID want a $200 NES. And that's the elephant in the room that you refuse to address.
This is the type of stuff you post when you don't do minimal research. The NES only test launched in 1985, they weren't a $169 console competing with a $129 computer, or a $97 console competing with a $108 computer.

In 1985, by the time of the Test Launch of the NES, the C64 was higher in price around $170 or more depending on the retailer, plus the new C128. The 800XL stayed $100 or therebouts because Atari Corp was replacing it with the with new 8-bit computer models and wanted to get rid of remaining stock. Not to mention the ST and Amiga which also came out the same year.

Selling half your test stock isn't really an indication people "wanted" an NES anyway, but using your thought process, people wanted an Atari instead, because they sold 1 million of them with no marketing. Unless you're talking about 1986 which still had strong 2600 sales and for newer machines the NES was basically by itself at most retailers that carried it, and Nintendo produced 5 times the amount of consoles it's two competitors did combined. In this case the "want" would make more sense applied to the 2600, and the "No choice" label would go to the NES. Granted, this would change by 87.

Also the NES was $139.99 in late 1985, and was $99 in late 1986 or $79 on sale. I don't know where you are getting the $200 stuff from. I'm wondering if you're just making random statements hoping they stick. Even Sega was $129.99 in 1986, so not sure where you're getting your info. Unless you went to a store that ripped you off, in that case my condolences.

Dude, you're living in a fantasy. You're calling these equivalent in consumer's eyes?

I never made a comparative statement with the Atari 8 and the NES. You implied Scrolling was new and it was something that wasn't really done before despite consoles and computers having tons of scrolling games. The fact you also chose one of the worst representations of a shoot em up on the XL to make a comparison I never argued, makes me question if you actually want to have a conversation or are just an anti-Atari and pro-NES troll in disguise.

So it's revisionist history to say Super Mario Bros was a hugely popular game? Dude, come the fuck on.
I never said it wasn't, and it's obvious you know that.

I KNOW, dude, I never said any of that. I just said that the NES was more successful than the Colecovision and 5200 in part because it was a better product in some important ways.

Like I have pushed back a lot on the Nintendo messiah story and the way some of the crash narrative has been overstated over the years, but you aren't offering a more nuanced explanation here, you're just going into weird denialism that Nintendo did anything at all.
No actually your twisting history with revisions, and making strange retrospective claims without considering the time period being discussed. For example, yes the NES was more successful than the Colecovision and the 5200. But not because of what you want to believe.

The 5200 and CV had production halted due to the console side of price wars and the crash. That coupled with consumer complaints about RF and controllers had Warner pull the 5200 early, and while Coleco survived the crash, they lost a lot of retailer presence and still were only around from 82-85 which is still a short 2.5 year life span despite previously being the better and fastest selling console. They may have stuck around longer if the Adam bomb didn't happen but it did, so here we are.

The NES was successful LATER because they had software and retailer contracts and overproduced consoles, while it had nearly no competition, and any semblance of a fight by the competition that was there was limited since most retailers selling the NES didn't sell the other two, and that became worse over time. Nintendo had the money to do this, and the lack of strong pushback by the competition made it easier to side with them from a business perspective later on. By 1988 the game was long over.

Now if you want to ask me whether or not I think the NES would still win on an even playing field with the other 2 that's another discussion. But you can't just look at the NES success and apply personal bias to previous consoles without bringing up important events that impacted their success.

It was late enough, man. Nintendo really achieved a tremendous amount of market dominance in that time.

In 1987 they achieved Market dominance because they were practically the only machine on the market which means they were practically the only machine with mindshare. Under normal circumstances the Tonka deal wouldn't have been too late, but Nintendo already had a high production of consoles and retailer + software deals before the SMS released, which is something you continue to erase when bringing up this subject.
 

SF Kosmo

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I never said that the 5200 was better than the NES, I said it could do smooth scrolling.

What you said was that the NES had "no real advantage" when it came to scrolling, and that's frankly a lie. These older systems really struggle to do it and still maintain any kind of fast or fluid gameplay. Anyone can see that.

In regards to scrolling and the 7800 on the otherhand, your harddrivin' example doesn't work here

I don't know how to make this any more clear without being obnoxious, so here goes:

I AM NOT LUMPING 7800 IN WITH THESE EARLIER SYSTEMS.

I said in my FIRST POST on this thread that I think 7800 is, in fact, a true third gen system, and would have done a lot better if Atari had skipped the 5200 and released 7800 in 1984.

I pointed this out REPEATEDLY since then, including my last post, but you keep going back to it for some reason.


Actually it could run at a higher resolution, and some games did in full or in part. Also unless you're talking about the Famicoms original release date, in terms of NA the 7800 came out first.
NES was in most of the major markets by February, and 7800 was out in May. You can split hairs about what constitutes a "nationwide" release, but the point is, it could have had two holiday seasons' head start and blew it.


Generally, The SMS is not more powerful than the 7800, it's already long been established the 7800 has more raw power and mathimatical advantages which is why it can make an open world 3D environment in the first place.
I mean the 7800 might be better equipped to run Rescue on Fractulus or whatever, but when it came to most of the popular games of the day, the SMS is going to have a lot more available CPU power because the graphics chip is doing a lot more of the work.


You can keep saying this until you are blue to the face but you'll always be wrong and history documents it as the cause. The software "fragmentation" was caused by the computer crash impacting game consoles which transferred to software, impacting retailers, this has not only been explained multiple times but is incredibly simple to comprehend.

Computers contributed to format fragmentation but less so to the fallout at retail toy stores, because toy stores for the most part didn't sell computers.

But consider this, even ignoring the wave of new consoles.

Atari 2600 games released by year (I just counted these off a master list, if I'm off by one or two please don't write 19 paragraphs about it)
1980: 17 games
1981: 20 games
1982: 142 games
1983: 202 games

Can you really not see how a 700+% explosion of software might also devalue that software unless it came in response to a similar increase in demand? You're telling me that had NOTHING to do with why stores were afraid to stock these games or why individual game sales went down?

COME THE FUCK ON. And that's not even factoring in the fact that Atari was supporting TWO formats starting in 1982 and competing with new ones like Coleco. Of course that cratered prices, how could it not? You keep pointing out that games still sold during the crash, and that's true, but game demand remaining steady while game inventory goes up tenfold in two years is still a recipe for disaster.



You implied Scrolling was new and it was something that wasn't really done before

I DID NOT say that. I said it was the defining feature of the third generation in the way that 3D was for the fifth generation. 3D existed in some form going back to like, Spasim on PLATO but but in the 32/64-bit era systems started to be able to do it really well and it became the main style of gaming. The same is true of scrolling, it exists in console games going back to like River Raid or whatever, but these new systems do it really well compared to the old ones and then most games are scrolling after that.

No actually your twisting history with revisions, and making strange retrospective claims without considering the time period being discussed
You're literally refusing to acknowledge the fact that the NES hardware had advantages over earlier consoles or that a 700% year over year explosion of software contributed to devaluing game prices at retail.

I never denied that computers weren't also a factor but I am arguing that they were a secondary cause, not the primary. But you're trying to argue they're the ONLY cause and ignoring all common sense. You are not promoting a more nuanced history, you're just being a contrarian idiot.

I know computers were part of the crash but the fact is, computers continued and still continue to compete for console gaming dollars to this day, but the "crash" ended not when the computer market declined, but when the console market offered the right system.
 
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Isleofsancroy

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Calling people idiots now I see. Cursing galore.

What you said was that the NES had "no real advantage" when it came to scrolling, and that's frankly a lie. These older systems really struggle to do it and still maintain any kind of fast or fluid gameplay. Anyone can see that.

It's truth for the 7800. But 5200 can also hold its own for its hardware(and the A8XL more so), and can do better than an unreleased broken prototype of Xevious that you thought was a real official release because you didn't do the research.

I AM NOT LUMPING 7800 IN WITH THESE EARLIER SYSTEMS.

I didn't even say anything about that, that's not even the segment you quoted, you're argument is so irrational and overly convoluted you can't even keep up with it. You said that the 7800 vs. NES in terms of software vs. hardware advantage (in scrolling) was like comparing hard drivin' on the SNES to a 3D Playstation game, not only is that comparison just plain dumb, but the SNES base hardware cannot imitate a 3D game like RE or Ridge Racer.

However, the 7800 can imitate through hardware and software, most of what the NES can do with it's standard hardware with no enhancements, and in some areas better. Of course, this does not include color on sprites in most cases though it depends on the type of game and style.

NES was in most of the major markets by February, and 7800 was out in May. You can split hairs about what constitutes a "nationwide" release, but the point is, it could have had two holiday seasons' head start and blew it.

No it wasn't, otherwise there wouldn't be ads for release dates, sure some markets got the NES beforehand and guess what? Some got the 7800 beforehand to, but when we are talking about a full console launch the 7800 was out first. It's also hard for them to 'blow it' when the 7800 was disadvantaged before either console were released in any market, but of course this would require you to be less biased and more rational to understand that.

I mean the 7800 might be better equipped to run Rescue on Fractulus or whatever, but when it came to most of the popular games of the day, the SMS is going to have a lot more available CPU power because the graphics chip is doing a lot more of the work.
I like how you downplayed an impressive open world 3D polygonal Combat flight game by saying "rescue on fractulus or whatever." just shows the bias oozzing out the seams. Meanwhile, I already mentioned that for specific type of games the SMS was much more powerful than the NES, and the 7800 as a result would have a larger problem replicating those games, redundant.

But what you don't consider is why those tile-based scrollers were the popular games of the day on consoles.

Computers contributed to format fragmentation but less so to the fallout at retail toy stores, because toy stores for the most part didn't sell computers.
This shows how you keep devaluing your argument, you don't actually pay attention to what I write, you just throw random statements on a keyboard with authority thinking you're right without checking yourself. I never mentioned toy stores, not did I say toy stores were selling computers.

I said the computer price war transferred to console hardware, which then moved to console software as well, I've said this multiple times over and over and even with breakdowns a 2nd grader could follow, yet you still can't comprehend this. There wouldn't be a massive glut of software at retailers if:

A. There wasn't a price war causing many software houses to hesitate on cutting prices which left a lot of their previous best sellers sitting on shelves as the cheaper games were selling at faster rates.

B. The best selling games that did cut their price overestimating demand and over producing cartridges because they thought those lower prices would result in high sales long-term, which new entrants also believed which is why several of them jumped in at the lower prices that were selling, or existing companies rebranding or porting additional games.

There's a reason why most of the games that were on clearance were the same sets of games. Just like there's a reason when the Atari landfill was undug you saw multiple copies of the same sets of games.

Another thing you don't consider when talking about the quantity of games outside the above two points is that many software houses had released games on all 3 systems, or had recently decided to do so. This means points A and B were multiplied and that's where the implosion came from. None of this would have happened as it did, if the computer price war did not impact console hardware prices, which would also impact console software prices.

Also I mentioned this before in point B but just to hammer this home, don't forget all the rereleases, rebrands, and ports to capitalize on the bubble, mostly on the 2600. You never really considered this, but I feel you just looked at the number of 2600 game releases by year online, and then decided it was easier to immediately jump to random conclusions instead of doing research.

This has nothing to do with toy stores selling computers, which i never even brought up.

You're literally refusing to acknowledge the fact that the NES hardware had advantages over earlier consoles
Now you're just making things up.

I never denied that computers weren't also a factor but I am arguing that they were a secondary cause, not the primary. But you're trying to argue they're the ONLY cause and ignoring all common sense.
You're argument that they were a secondary cause is based on a poor argument and lack of common sense itself. Especially since they were the direct cause and the reactions to them in the console space is what led to the crash and gave the incentive to jump into a bubble.

I know computers were part of the crash but the fact is, computers continued and still continue to compete for console gaming dollars to this day, but the "crash" ended not when the computer market declined, but when the console market offered the right system.
The crash ended in 1985, were Nintendo couldn't sell their barely half their test stock and Atari sold 1 million consoles while the C64 was rising in price. Using your illogic the right system was the 2600. The NES didn't end the Crash, it recovered the industries value, right around late 1987 onward.

7800 is, in fact, a true third gen system, and would have done a lot better if Atari had skipped the 5200 and released 7800 in 1984.

This doesn't even make sense, the 5200 was pulled quick and short lived because of the computer war and having to cut the price for what was then new hardware. Not forgetting the customer complaints about it's RF and controllers. None of that would have changed if the 5200 didn't exist because the Atari computers still would have bleed Warner dry and the 7800 would have had to cut its introductory price to make it viable to consumers, which would have likely led to Warner pausing production anyway, and the sale to Atari Corp still would have occurred in the end This is what happens when you aren't paying attention to the circumstances of the time and just pretend everything is black and white.
 
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nkarafo

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However, the 7800 can imitate through hardware and software, most of what the NES can do with it's standard hardware with no enhancements, and in some areas better. Of course, this does not include color on sprites in most cases though it depends on the type of game and style.
I would love to see that.

Also, with no enhancements it would mean the Atari 7800 would sound like an Atari 2600. That's pretty depressing.
 

MvCSpiderman

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I would love to see that.

Also, with no enhancements it would mean the Atari 7800 would sound like an Atari 2600. That's pretty depressing.

The 7800 always sounds like a 2600 because the sound chip of the 2600 is built in. I think only three games had the other chip but you had to put it in a cartridge.

On the subject of platformers, it's clear developers could make platformers on the 7800 if they wanted to but for some reason they chose not to. Scrapyard dog looks better than pre-mega chip NES games, maybe even 1st generation mega chip games and that was done by two drunk guys in a basement. So its not like it was something that took too much effort. I have noticed however computers at the time didn't have many scrolling platformers either.

Maybe western developers just didn't care for scrolling platformers. I guess outside Apogee they weren't that big, and Apogee games were less than desirable. The original Duke Nukems are garbage and don't get me started on Commander Keen.
 

MvCSpiderman

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Is there a reliable list of mega-chip games for the NES?
I found this source with only a few errors supposedly:


Holy crap, skimming through it looks like most games used some form of mega chip. I thought it was a few dozen big games but I guess even the small titles used them.

It's good that Nintendo was able to make their use widespread. Makes the console more appealing.