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Atari 7800
Atari 7800
The Atari 7800 and its joystick controller.
Developer(s) Atari Inc.
General Computer Corporation
Release Date(s) June, 1984[1]
Re-release
January 1, 1986[2]
Price(s) $140 USD
Colors Black
Units Shipped 3.77 million (North America)[3]

The Atari 7800, initially titled Atari 7800 ProSystem, is a video game console released by Atari in 1984.[1] The console was released again in 1986 under the Atari Corporation rather than the initial Atari, Inc.[2] The system was released in 1984, but was quickly taken of shelves during the video game crash of 1984.

The Atari 7800 was nearly entirely compatible with many of the Atari 2600's catalogue of games, giving it an up on the competition of Sega's Master System and the Nintendo Entertainment System.

History Edit

Designed by the General Computer Corporation, the Atari 7800 was the first of Atari's consoles to be developed outside the actual company. Development of the console began in late 1983, and the system was set to be launched in the summer of 1984. However, the project was cancelled due to the issues revolving the video game crash. Despite the crash, however, few copies of the console were released throughout southern California for the initial release of the console.

The Atari 7800 was unveiled by Atari Inc. on May 21, 1984 in a Summer Consumer Electronics Show presentation. In addition to the presentation, Atari tried to push the Atari 7800's release, and tried to showcase the console everywhere they could, including the Summer Olympics of 1984.

As with most consoles, the Atari 7800 reached its initial decline due to a lack of third-party support. Because of market changes within the past few years of the Atari 7800's release, the system's repertoire of games was slowly dwindling down, losing even support for first-party games needed to find ways to bypass their flaws. Due to licensing issues, Atari developers were able to make several conversions and clones of various games such as Mario Bros., Xenophobe, and Commando. However, with time, the Atari 7800 nearly completely lost spot on the market, controlling merely 12% compared to Nintendo alone with nearly 80% of it.[4]

Technical specifications Edit

  • CPU: Atari SALLY 6502 ("6502C")
    • Speed: 1.79 MHz, drops to 1.19 MHz when the TIA Television Interface Adaptor or RIOT (6532 RAM-I/O-Timer) chips are accessed
    • (note: Unlike a standard 6502, SALLY can be halted to allow other devices to control the bus)
  • RAM: 4 KB (2 6116 2Kx8 RAM ICs)
  • ROM: built in 4 KB BIOS ROM, 48 KB Cartridge ROM space without bankswitching
  • Graphics: MARIA custom graphics controller
    • 160×240 (160×288 PAL) resolution or 320×240/288 resolution
    • 25 color palette out of 256 colors (16 hues * 16 luma), different graphics modes restricted the number of usable colors and the number of colors per sprite
    • Direct Memory Access (DMA)
    • Graphics clock: 7.16 MHz
  • Input/Output: Joystick and console switch IO handled byte 6532 RIOT and TIA
  • Ports: 2 joystick ports, 1 cartridge port, 1 expansion connector, power in, RF output
  • Sound: TIA video and sound chip, same as the 2600. Only the sound is used in 7800 games. Both video and sound are used in 2600 games.
    • Optional POKEY sound chip on cartridge for improved sounds.

References Edit

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