THE ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM: A NOT-SO-SUPER 80S RETRO video game console!

My good friend from JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL had an ATARI 5200 in his room, and he was so proud of it.  He’d polish it, and he had all his games stored in a special cartridge brief case.  YES, THOSE WERE THE DAYS!  I had COLECO’S COLECOVISION, which was and still is a very cool video game system, but ATARI needed to compete with COLECO’S success in the home video game market.  This SECOND GENERATION video game console was actually created to compete with the INTELLIVISION video game system, but ended up competing with COLECOVISION instead!  The internal hardware was based on ATARI’S 400/800 computers, but the software was not compatible between the two systems.  I had to settle for the COLECOVISION because my parents could not afford buying me another video game console, and, to tell you the truth, I really didn’t need any other system at the time.  Besides, I was able to play with the ATARI 5200 at my friend’s house, so I didn’t really miss anything.  The 5200’s game controllers were criticized as not being very good, because they were “sloppy” non-centering analog controllers.  I personally preferred the COLECOVISION controller because it would center automatically, and I think it worked better overall, especially for games like FROGGER and Q-BERT.  This video game console failed miserably because it had too much competition from a lot of superior video game systems, such as the INTELLIVISION, the COLECOVISION and the old classic Atari 2600.  Well, I don’t need to tell you this, because you probably already know if you are knowledgeable about video game history.  The Atari 5200 wasn’t a very good video game system because it had a bunch of wires, the controllers sucked, and the original console was huge and heavy.  I never had the heart to tell my friend that his system sucked, but he was very proud of it.  I had the superior COLECOVISION game system, which my friend did not get to play.  He missed out on a better system with cool games and accessories, but I always kept my mouth shut.  I remember playing Atari’s Kangaroo 5200 video game, and I liked that game.  However, the ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM controller really did suck, and it was very difficult to move your character around with those bulky game controllers that looked like giant cell phones, with a numeric keypad and all.  I still had lots of fun, but I am sticking with COLECOVISION instead.  Later on, Atari took out another smaller version of the 5200 which was a little better, and then the superior 7800 came out.  Atari made a lot of mistakes when they designed the 5200, that’s for sure.  However, I did like playing KANGAROO, MISSILE COMMAND, and POPEYE on my friends old 5200.  He had lots of fun too, but I know I had the better game system.  I wouldn’t have traded my COLECOVISION for anything in the world!   

The ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM: A NOT-SO-SUPER 80S RETRO video game console!

Atari-5200-Console-Set.png

THE ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM IS A HUGE AND BULKY SECOND GENERATION VIDEO GAME CONSOLE WITH DIFFICULT TO CONTROL VIDEO GAME CONTROLLERS.  SOMETIMES, THEY WOULD NOT WORK, OR THEY WOULD STOP WORKING AFTER CONTINUOUS USE.  THE JOYSTICK WAS A PAIN IN THE BEHIND BECAUSE THEY WERE NON-CENTERING, SO YOU VIDEO GAME CHARACTER SOMETIMES WOULD NOT GO WHERE YOU WANTED IT TO GO.  IT WAS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAY GAMES LIKE PAC-MAN WITH THESE TYPES OF CONTROLLERS.  THIS UNNECESSARILY LARGE GAME MACHINE HAS A SPACIOUS AND CONCEALED STORAGE COMPARTMENT TO STORE THE BIG CONTROLLERS.  LARGE, BAD CONTROLLERS, A FEW GOOD GAMES, AND THE VIDEO GAME CRASH OF 84 SEALED ITS UNFORTUNATE DESTINY.  NOW, THIS SYSTEM GETS MENTIONED IN A POSTING LIKE THIS FROM TIME TO TIME.  ONLY HARDCORE VINTAGE VIDEO GAME CONSOLE COLLECTORS WOULD WANT ONE OF THESE IN THEIR COLLECTION.  YOU CAN SEARCH THE INTERNET FOR A FEW 5200 EMULATORS THAT EXIST OUT THERE.  MANY PEOPLE DON’T BOTHER BUYING THIS BEHEMOTH OF A SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE ALL THE USED SYSTEMS HAVE THE GAME CONTROLLERS BROKEN.  YOU’D HAVE TO INVEST IN THIRD PARTY CONTROLLERS SO YOU CAN PLAY THE FEW GOOD GAMES THIS SYSTEM HAS TO OFFER.  IMAGE SOURCE: TAP OR CLICK HERE!


THIS IS AN ATARI 5200 SUPERSYTEM GAME CONTROLLER, AND IT REALLY LOOKED IMPRESSIVE TO VIDEO GAMERS BACK IN THE 80S.  IT HAS AN ANALOG JOYSTICK THIS IS NOT SELF CENTERING.  AT THE BASE OF THE JOYSTICK IS A WEAK RUBBER BOOT RATHER THAN SPRINGS, AND IT IS THIS RUBBER BASE THAT WOULD CENTER THE JOYSTICK AND NOT SPRINGS LIKE THE REGULAR JOYSTICKS OF THE TIME.  TO BE FAIR, THE CONTROLLERS CAME WITH A FEW FEATURES THAT WERE AHEAD OF ITS TIME, LIKE PAUSE AND RESET BUTTONS, A NUMERIC KEYPAD, AND FOUR FIRING BUTTONS (TWO ON EACH SIDE OF THE CONTROLLER).  THE FIRE BUTTONS WERE MADE OF SOFT RUBBER, WHICH MANY PLAYERS FOUND VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.  ACCORDING TO IGN EDITOR CRAIG HARRIS, THE ATARI 5200 PRIMARY GAME CONTROLLER IS THE 10TH ALL TIME WORST GAME CONTROLLER IN HOME VIDEO GAME CONSOLE HISTORY (WIKIPEDIA).  MANY PEOPLE DECIDE TO PURCHASE NEW CONTROLLERS BY A COMPANY NAMED WICO, WHICH MADE A FEW GOOD GAME CONTROLLERS FOR THIS OLD ATARI SYSTEM.  I HAVEN’T PERSONALLY TRIED ANY OF THESE THIRD PARTY COMPANY CONTROLLERS FOR THE ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM, BUT THOSE WHO HAVE SAY THAT THESE CONTROLLERS DO THE JOB OF CORRECTING MANY OF THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ORIGINAL ONES.  IMAGE SOURCE: TAP OR CLICK HERE!


“I remember playing Atari’s Kangaroo 5200 video game, and I liked that game.  However, the ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM controller really did suck, and it was very difficult to move your character around with those bulky game controllers that looked like giant cell phones, with a numeric keypad and all.  I still had lots of fun, but I am sticking with COLECOVISION instead.”

— R. J. ALFARO, REPORTING FOR THE MIAMI ZOMBIE TIMES COMMUNITY 2014. 


ATARI 5200 SUPERSYTEM VIDEOS

Atari 5200 Commercial


Atari 5200: Popeye [Parker Brothers]


Classic Game Room MARIO BROS. review for Atari 5200

Atari 5200: Gremlins [Atari]



Classic Game Room HD – ATARI 5200 Console review



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