History, from www.atariage.com/7800/history.html:
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The Atari 7800 is Atari’s most overlooked and under-appreciated console. The console was announced on May 21st, 1984, and was to carry a price tag of $140. The new custom CPU that would power the system was capable of moving 100 objects on-screen at the same and time and displaying a 256 color palette. The system would also be 100% compatible with the huge existing 2600 library. Twelve 7800 titles were announced for launch, as well as a special High-Score cartridge that would allow console gamers to save their high scores for the first time ever. The public was excited, and the 7800 was poised to take over the gaming world. But it didn’t quite happen that way.
In July of 1984, the home videogame division of Atari was purchased by Jack Tramiel. Although the Atari 7800 was ready to go, licensing negotiations had to begin again because the Tramiels did not agree with some of the existing arrangements negotiated by Ray Kassar. It was around this time that the videogame market crashed, and retailers cut orders for videogames across the board. By the end of 1984, the industry was left with only Atari, Coleco, and Mattel turning out new product for their old systems, with no new console on the horizon. Atari spent the next two years working out the details, and the 7800 was finally ready to go in 1986.
1986 is also the year Nintendo decided to bring their successful Famicom console over to the United States, even though the videogame market is shaky. It’s a smash hit. The NES sells like hotcakes wherever it is available, and Atari takes notice. Tramiel and Atari continue with the release of the 7800, but it was a very sloppy effort. Only three games were initially released with the console, and it received very poor distribution. Retailers were wary of Atari making announcements and not following through. True to form, Atari announced a number of additional titles that never made it to stores. The Atari 7800 was barely a blip on the videogame market.
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My 7800, the cartridges, and the TV showing the most awesome game produced, "BallBlazer" by Lucasfilms + Atari. Background removed because you really don’t want to see the mess behind it. Dust, uh, not removed, so it’s apparent that I have not played Atari lately… so I’ll do it now. 🙂
Tagged: , atari , 7800 , 2600 , ProSystem , cartridges