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Console Debate #11: Atari 7800


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How do you rate Atari 7800?  

37 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you rate Atari 7800?

    • 10/10 GOAT. Greatest console of all time.
    • 9/10 Bad@$$. One of the best.
    • 8/10 Exceptional. Everyone should play it.
      0
    • 7/10 Superior. More than a few games you like.
    • 6/10 Good. You might occasionally enjoy playing it.
      0
    • 5/10 Average. Smack dab in the middle.
    • 4/10 Mediocre. Not something you will go out of your way to play.
    • 3/10 Inferior. There are better alternatives to this.
    • 2/10 Poor. Barely worth turning on.
    • 1/10 Trash. No redeeming features.
    • Haven’t played, but interested.
    • No interest in it.

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  • Poll closed on 01/29/2021 at 04:00 PM

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Between a 2 and 3. I went 3 to leave room for the Hyperscans and Picos of the world. Literally the best asset of the entire system is that it plays 2600 games. It's the only reason I've ever had one hooked up. Like all the old crap I'm giving low scores, if your library is largely arcade ports and your controller sucks, you should be banished from this earth.

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5/10

I actually owned this back in the day. Parents bought it because of its backwards compatibility with the Atari 2600. Shitty audio that uses the same sound chip as the 2600. Uncomfortable controller. Stale arcade ports when there were so many exciting games on the NES. At the time it didn't seem like a big step up from 2600.

On the other hand, the backwards compatibility makes it well worth owning if you don't already have a 2600. It's more powerful than the NES in some ways, and some ports are better than the NES version. There's a thriving homebrew scene that shows the console's potential.

 

 

 

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As a kid, I thought any Atari, was just an Atari (other than the Jaguar, which I was well aware while it was active).  I was into Adulthood before I realized there were several different "numbered" Atari  consoles.  My experience with the 7800 is pretty limited and it's the only major Atari console that I've never owned.  But given what I know of it, it's hard to rate it highly compared to the rest of the competition during that generation.  

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4/10. Failed opportunity for Atari. Should have been on the US market a year before the NES but got delayed for 2 years due to the Tramiel takeover, and by then it was too late.

Some good games, a nice graphical step up from the 2600, but with bad audio (except those games that included a Pokey chip) and painful controllers (the European pad controllers aren't bad, though). Backwards compatibility (first console to have that [without an add-on]) is a bonus. Small original library but pretty good homebrew scene. I play mine occasionally.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, SilverspoonGaming said:

I have played a few games on it, and it really isnt any better than the 2600.  I literally have never found a game that I like enough to give more than 2 mins with.  Someone plz point out a good game for it!

Here's one of the better looking 7800 games from back in the day. It was also ported to the NES as Castelion. I've never been a fan of this game but it looks good.

 

Here's a modern homebrew called Rikki & Vikki.

 

This one has the Pokey chip on the cart for better audio. Nice graphics too.

 

 

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1 hour ago, SilverspoonGaming said:

I have played a few games on it, and it really isnt any better than the 2600.  I literally have never found a game that I like enough to give more than 2 mins with.  Someone plz point out a good game for it!

Joust?  Not sure what kind of games you're into.

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I’m surprised how many people tout the backwards compatibility over the native library. With a quick skim of the list I see a few that look interesting. Just comparing screenshots of games that were on both shows a big difference in graphics. Although I understand the sound is the same, which kind of sucks.

That said, I agree with JamesRobot all the way.

6 hours ago, JamesRobot said:

Never even seen one.  Luke warm interest.  I wouldn't go out of my way but if it happened to be in the room, I would hook it up and give it a whirl.

 

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Member · Posted

 I went with a 7.  Where to start..  I just bought my first 7800 about 2 weeks ago.  The first thing I noticed was how well it seemed to be built.  I've often referred to the NES as "bullet proof" as they have to be pretty severally mistreated to not work at all.  Consoles prior to the 3rd generation were much more delicately constructed for lack of a better phrase.  It's something that can be both seen and felt just by looking at and picking one up.  I could digress on this topic for a while but I won't.  Anyway, the 7800 struck me as "bulletproof" right off the bat.  

I only have 3 games for it so far: Dig Dug, Food Fight and Joust.  All three are great and everything else I've watched so far looked good as well.  Dig dug is functionally different from every other port I've played.  The timing and enemy behavior is noticeably different right off and for someone like myself that makes it very interesting and special.  Food fight was fun, kinda seems like an unofficial sequel to Burgertime/Diner, but also not something that everyone can appreciate.  I especially liked the way the kid eats the ice cream cone at the end of the level, which brings me to my next point.

I often think about how all this retro playing and collecting is akin to art collection/appreciation.  Not many people these days are serious buyers of old oil paintings but that's exactly what vintage gaming feels like to me; sort of a 21st century postmodern mass produced art collection/appreciation hobby.  That being the case I like to see old games and consoles for what they are (positive) rather than what they aren't, or weren't (negative.)  And sometimes I feel like that whole climate during the Nintendo / Sega wars never completely went away.  Everyone seemed to view the SNES and Genesis as more or less the same machine, but still had a very strong opinion of which was better.  I had a SNES but eventually did pick up a genesis down the road for a nice price just so I could play Eternal Champions.  I eventually realized that they are not even remotely the same and tend to have supplementary strengths and weaknesses.  Today I love the Genesis for it's Shmups and Run'n'Guns and focus on that rather than the stuff that has not aged so well.  

Back to 7800.  It was very well made, but came out later than the NES and lacked the ability for smooth scrolling which the NES and MS could handle.  It was capable of a rather impressive fake however which you can see in the bonus levels of the above posted game "Tower Toppler."  It runs at the same speed as the NES 1.79 MHz and was capable of producing 256 colors to the NES's 54 and MS's 64, although it could handle 25 on screen at a time just like the NES, albeit with as many as 12 per sprite to the NES's 4 and 100 on screen sprites to NES's 64.  I could yap on in this regard, but I won't.  Point: 7800 has it's own distinct look and feel.

Also worth noting, Tower Toppler includes the original bonus levels with the Submarine which the NES version did not.  Not saying its better or worse, just different and I like that.  I like Joust on 7800 better than on the NES, it just looks, sounds and feels amazing.  There's a long active homebrew community, the games of which I'm not very familiar with but the Rikki & Vikki game above looks and sounds really cool/fun.  As usual the controller ports are a standard 9-pin so you can plug in pretty much any style of controller you like and can get your hands on.

Sometimes consoles age well and actually become better than they were in their heyday.  In my book this is one such case.  (It may have failed financially in the mid-late 80's but I'm enjoying mine today.)  As proof of said reality I offer additional evidence:  32X was the biggest F.U. ever to Sega fans in its heyday.  Today, its easy to figure out how to hook up, fix and find out which games are worth playing and play them without spending too much = well aged and better than in the heyday.

Didn't mean to write a book here (well, kinda) but just wanted to jot down how I felt about this one.

Edited by PII
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2/10

I've actually been going through much of the 7800 library lately. Plenty of decent games, but nothing that really evolved beyond the simple arcade games that Atari was known for. I haven't found anything that I would say makes it really worth owning the console.

The fact that it was so primitive, yet competing directly with the NES and Master System made it pretty irrelevant at the time. The fact that most of the good games can be easily be found and played on other platforms (many of them being better versions) makes the console pretty irrelevant in the present as well.

Edited by cj_robot
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4 hours ago, SilverspoonGaming said:

Someone plz point out a good game for it!

2-player simultaneous Asteroids was the reason I kept my system around for so long, but, in the end, even that wasn't enough for me to eventually sell off my whole collection...

3/10

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