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Retromaster
March 9th, 2007, 07:52 PM
OK, im planning on getting an 800 soon, and I need to know more details.(also because im a n00b)

1) what operating sytem can it run? (if it can..)

2)how fast is its processor?

3) how much memory can it hold?

4) what are some good games for it?

5)can you hook up 2600 joysticks to it?

6)can it play 2600 games? (prolly not)

7)how much do they cost regularily on ebay?

thankyou.

NathanAllan
March 10th, 2007, 01:15 AM
this should answer all of your questions:

http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/computers.html

Ataris are SOOO adictive, aren't they?

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 01:46 AM
FIANALLY someone answers this.

ive yet to experience one.

are its graphics any good?

EDIT: nathan allen-
http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u120/Retromaster93/console%20hacking%20and%20electronics/1153831002884.jpg

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 05:08 AM
wow...I looked on ebay, and they have a boxed 800, eveything, and it is only $20.


.....ONLY ON EBAY.....

NathanAllan
March 10th, 2007, 08:30 AM
I don't have an 800, but an 800XL and haven't even hooked it up yet. Waiting on parts. Looking forward to playing, though!

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 08:42 AM
I found this computer at atari museum.

http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/pccomputers/n386sx.html

I crave it now...

GIVES ME THE PRECIOUS....

carlsson
March 10th, 2007, 01:35 PM
Even if it is the much more common 800XL, I think $20 for a boxed one is a really sweet deal. If that was a BuyItNow price, in my opinion you should grab it. If it was a starting bid for an ongoing auction, still decent although you can't be certain what it would end at.

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 01:44 PM
Actually, that deal is gone now. Someone bet 80$ right there and got it. plus, I do not have an Ebay account.

carlsson
March 10th, 2007, 01:52 PM
Ah. That sounds more like the going rate, perhaps a bit on the high side?

I found it very simple to open an eBay account, although I haven't bought or sold a single item yet. I even have a PayPal account (which may not be required in combination with eBay, but seems to help) that I've used sporadically, gritting my teeth every time.

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 01:55 PM
should be easy to makle an account.

the 800 had 10 bids when it was done.

can I register under other people's screenanmes?(rhetorical question)

mbbrutman
March 10th, 2007, 02:03 PM
Don't pose rhetorical questions like that here. If you need an eBay account go get one, but that is a private matter and not for discussion here.

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 02:11 PM
can you get one if you are under 18?

....im not saying I am though....

NathanAllan
March 10th, 2007, 02:33 PM
Getting away from eBay...

You can get an 800 somethingorother from vintagecomputer.com, they have some in boxes, not sure if they're new or not, for less than $80. 40-something I think. The thing is you have to call them on the phone and send thema money order or something. Since i have one already it's not for me (unless mine tests bad). But you may be interested since you're kind of restrained as far as online buying.

PM somebody about working on ebay, or just go over and read the terms of service and the rules. He's right, that kind of question can be found out on your own. Not to be mean or anything.

Nathan

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 02:43 PM
Ok ill try that out.

Now, I noticed there were few 800s for sale.

What's with that?

Terry Yager
March 10th, 2007, 02:49 PM
You can come here to learn more about vintage computers, but you'd do better in learning about eBay by visiting thier site.

--T

Retromaster
March 10th, 2007, 02:52 PM
yeah, one can say im a n00b.

all I really know is old gamesystems. I'm gonna get started with the 800. take it apart, check it out, the whole 9 yards...

I see that you can hook up 2600 joysticks to it?
in atarimuseum.

carlsson
March 11th, 2007, 12:01 PM
Yes, joysticks are compatible - it is often referred to as Atari standard and fits most, but not all home computers and some early video games from that era. Paddles, trackballs, drawing boards and other more advanced items may not be as cross compatible between different systems.

Retromaster
March 11th, 2007, 12:34 PM
The only downside is that it does not play 2600 games? Because my 2600 has a bad RF box, so I just cut it up and wired it to a screen.

carlsson
March 11th, 2007, 02:40 PM
No, the Atari 2600 and the computer line are not compatible. I believe the 5200 is software semi-compatible, in the meaning a programmer could easily port a game written for the computer to the video game. On the other hand, the 5200 is not 2600 compatible, which was solved with the 7800 if I understood correctly.

Retromaster
March 11th, 2007, 06:24 PM
how do its graphics look? do they look like the 2600? or better? screenshots would be nice.

EDIT: Never mind, googled it. Looks like the 2600, you'd think it'd be better.

carlsson
March 11th, 2007, 11:20 PM
Err.. Atari 8-bit computer graphics in general should be more detailed than Atari 2600 graphics. The resolution and colour depth may be more or less identical, but due to memory limitations on the 2600, you can't always display very detailed graphics. But indeed, compared to e.g. NES, the Atari 800 graphics tend to look a bit outdated.

Retromaster
March 12th, 2007, 10:29 AM
did any of you see benjamin heckendorns atari 800 laptop?

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u120/Retromaster93/console%20hacking%20and%20electronics/3060000000053950.jpg

80sFreak
March 12th, 2007, 11:40 AM
how do its graphics look? do they look like the 2600? or better? screenshots would be nice.

EDIT: Never mind, googled it. Looks like the 2600, you'd think it'd be better.

Where were you looking?! At MobyGames, there are screenshots from the Atari 8-bit and 2600 of Centipede (http://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-8-bit/centipede_). The Atari 8-bit graphics are definitely superior...


Cheers,

80sFreak

Bill_Loguidice
March 12th, 2007, 12:42 PM
I'm not even sure this person is serious. In any case, one only has to look to one of the great 8-bit programming achievements, Alternate Reality: The City, on the Atari 8-bit, to see what the potential of the platform was: http://www.eobet.com/alternate-reality/screens/index.html

http://www.mobygames.com/game/alternate-reality-the-city/screenshots

Retromaster
March 12th, 2007, 05:27 PM
Where were you looking?! At MobyGames, there are screenshots from the Atari 8-bit and 2600 of Centipede (http://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-8-bit/centipede_). The Atari 8-bit graphics are definitely superior...


Cheers,

80sFreak

I just typed in 'atari 800 screenshots' in images on google.

NathanAllan
March 12th, 2007, 09:51 PM
If you compare screenshots side by side of different games you can see the improvements from the 2600 to the 800. Look for things like color depth and how the blocks look, as far as size. And colors, too. You can see the difference between, say, a 2600 and a 7800 when you look at Pole Position and Pole Position II. So if you look at Centipede from the 7800 and 800 side by side you can see obvious graphics differences.

You can actually scale down the graphics on the 800 to look like the 2600's, but they are better. Do som more googling and compare and contrast. Be picky.

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 10:19 AM
I noticed that it does in fact look better than the 2600.

if it was made in '78, then I expected it to look just like it.

hopefully it has better games than pong. but pong was good.....


what is the best game for it?

carlsson
March 13th, 2007, 10:30 AM
Try this link for what other users have voted as a top 100:
http://www.atarimania.com/top100.php?TYPE_CODE=G&TYPE_TOP=V&MENU=8&OK=OK&btn_sauver=Search

Here is another link to Alternate Reality - The Dungeon, with better screenshots:
http://www.atarimania.com/detail_soft.php?MENU=8&TYPE_CODE=G&SOFT_ID=241

Don't tell me that it looks like an Atari 2600, even with a memory expansion. :-)

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 10:36 AM
I noticed that it does in fact look better than the 2600.

if it was made in '78, then I expected it to look just like it.

hopefully it has better games than pong. but pong was good.....


what is the best game for it?

The Atari 800 and 400 were actually released in 1979. Not too long after, an improved graphics chip was released that introduced additional resolutions. Otherwise, the line was more or less compatible across system releases from 1979 to the early 90's, when the last systems rolled off the production line. There was the 800 (48K), 400 (16K), 1200XL (64K), 600XL (64K), 800XL (64K), 65XE (64K), 130XE (128K) and XEGS (64K).

Game quality in terms of visuals and sounds varied wildly, with some very poor translations (like the Ultima games) and others very similar or better than their counterparts on the Apple II or even C-64. Part of that has to do with the fact that Atari was hesitant to release some of the more advanced programming details/techniques until several years after the original introduction, keeping the best information for themselves. Overall, of the 8-bit computers, the Atari 8-bit was generally a close second in most ways in game quality to the C-64, and in some select cases could perform better. In any case, if you're familiar with the C-64, you have a rough idea of what the Atari 8-bit was capable of. It didn't have quite the same depth of quality, but it was certainly respectable in regards to quantity.

carlsson
March 13th, 2007, 10:43 AM
Err.. the 600XL has 16K, but is possible to upgrade to 64K.

I would categorize the main differences between Atari 8-bit and C64 as follows:

Atari: large palette (128 colours?), only a few (4+1) sprites, copper based programming similar to much later Amiga
C64: standard palette (16 colours), eight sprites, more traditional (?) programming method

I don't know if the GTIA et. al. have support for hardware scrolling, or exactly which resolutions and colour depths they have, ability to mix two modes at the screen at the same time and so on.

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 10:52 AM
so atari is better? of course.

are its graphics like the early macs? I thought it looked a little like that.
well. off to ebay I go.
what is the biggest memory cartridge it can take? 16k?

was there ever a memory upgrade cartridge?

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 10:57 AM
Err.. the 600XL has 16K, but is possible to upgrade to 64K.

Of course. I should have been more careful.



I would categorize the main differences between Atari 8-bit and C64 as follows:

Atari: large palette (128 colours?), only a few (4+1) sprites, copper based programming similar to much later Amiga
C64: standard palette (16 colours), eight sprites, more traditional (?) programming method

I don't know if the GTIA et. al. have support for hardware scrolling, or exactly which resolutions and colour depths they have, ability to mix two modes at the screen at the same time and so on.

The Atari could definitely push more colors, but you're right, it wasn't always easy to utilize them all, and in some cases games actually used less colors. Also, just because the Atari systems had four channels of sound versus the C-64 with three channels of sound, it doesn't always mean that the sound was better either. The SID chip in the C-64 was flexible like an instrument. Nevertheless, sometimes the extra sound channel was to the Atari's advantage. Both the Atari and C-64 were great game machines in their own way, better overall than any other equivalent computer systems of the day up to the mid-80's or so.

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 10:59 AM
so atari is better? of course.

are its graphics like the early macs? I thought it looked a little like that.
well. off to ebay I go.
what is the biggest memory cartridge it can take? 16k?

was there ever a memory upgrade cartridge?

If you want the best early games computer, overall, you have to go with a C-64. The most games goes to the Apple, but it obviously had the worst sound and graphics. The Atari line is a good choice, as either that or the C-64 have robust modern support and interact well with modern PC's.

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 11:26 AM
I was also going to get an 800 to make a laptop, similar to the one I displayed.

how much voltage does it suck up?

what was, in your opinion, the best game.

were there any games similar to contra?

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 11:31 AM
I was also going to get an 800 to make a laptop, similar to the one I displayed.

how much voltage does it suck up?

what was, in your opinion, the best game.

were there any games similar to contra?

I don't think an 800 would be a good choice, as it's too big to scale down. To get the memory to 48K, you need to plug cards into the expansion slots. You'll probably want a 65XE or 130XE due to size considerations. An XEGS might be an even better choice, as it has a detachable keyboard.

Best game? That's always a tough call, but certainly the one I mentioned is right up there, Alternate Reality: The City. It pushed the system harder than just about any other game on all levels. It was of course on disk. There were plenty of Contra-like shooters and arcade-style games. Check out some of the sites previously mentioned and you can take your pick.

By the way, if you want to make a portable C-64, it's probably much easier, since you can convert a "Commodore 64 30-in-1" TV game to function very much like a real system.

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 11:36 AM
Actually, the laptop I posted was actually an XEGS.

So I should get an XEGS? Ok.
did you like the XEGS or the 800 better?

I really liked contra. It was a good game.

I have seen the expansion slot.

there must be some way to cut the motherboard down.


do you know how much voltage the 800 and XEGS take?

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 11:46 AM
I have all the North American Atari models, except for the 1200XL (working on getting one), 800XL, 600XL and 65XE. If you look at an 800 with the expansion cover off, you'll notice how impossible it would be to cut it down. The ROM and RAM were all on expansion cards that filled the slots. All models after the 400 and 800 were self contained and could likely be cut down. The XEGS was the Atari computer released as a type of game system, so it's the most versatile in regards to configuration and even has Missile Command built-in. However, it's more or less functionally identical to the 800XL and 65XE. Definitely go with an XE model, as those were the last models produced and no doubt already have reduced chipsets over their older models.

As for voltage, I don't know. There's plenty of info on the Web though.

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 11:56 AM
ok.

how about this one:
http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u120/Retromaster93/console%20hacking%20and%20electronics/N386SX.jpg

is that one any good?

TFT display?

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 12:10 PM
That's not an Atari 8-bit, that's a PC clone. Atari never made a portable 8-bit, only a portable ST and I guess portable PC clone (I don't recall that one being produced, but the photo must be from something).

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 12:21 PM
yeah...wouldn't think it'd be 8 bit, since it was made in '97.

do you own this? what is it capable of?

Bill_Loguidice
March 13th, 2007, 12:27 PM
yeah...wouldn't think it'd be 8 bit, since it was made in '97.

do you own this? what is it capable of?

According to the photo's name, it's a 386SX-based system, good for running DOS and Windows 3.x (or alternate OS' like PC GEOS). There's no chance of it being made in 1997. Probably the early 90's at best, probably topping out at 92 or 93. If it is indeed a 386SX PC, it was probably a black and white screen. The photo you got was likely from here: http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/pccomputers/ataripcs.html

I'll defer to others for a while on any additional questions you might have...

Retromaster
March 13th, 2007, 12:35 PM
that is exactly where I got the photo from.

I always wanted to try out DOS.

is it like an early windows? (correct me if im wrong, because i'm a n00b)

carlsson
March 13th, 2007, 02:56 PM
DOS is a command line interface, only text. There were some graphical shell extentions for MS-DOS simultaneously to the first Windows versions, but I don't know what that Atari PC supports. Not that it makes much of a difference anyway, if we're still talking about you getting an Atari 8-bit computer. You may want to start a new thread if you want to speak about DOS and its extentions and semi-graphical shells.

Did the Apple really have the largest catalog of games software? It has never struck me that so many games appeared for the 8-bit Apples, but perhaps it was really big in the USA.

Terry Yager
March 13th, 2007, 03:21 PM
One of the graphical shells for MS-DOS was the GEM Desktop, from Digital Reserch, which was also selected as the GUI in the 16-bit Atari ST.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_Environment_Manager

--T

Bill_Loguidice
March 14th, 2007, 04:59 AM
Did the Apple really have the largest catalog of games software? It has never struck me that so many games appeared for the 8-bit Apples, but perhaps it was really big in the USA.

It's certainly a tough call. In the US, you had the Apple II and C-64 as the reigning games computers, with the Atari 8-bit a distant, but still competitive third. Everything else was an also-ran. Obviously the Apple II line began in 1977, with the famous Disk II released in 1978, so it had a tremendous headstart over the C-64, which didn't get going until 1982. If you really look at the Apple II catalog, it's amazing the developers who got their start on that platform and the amazing number of series that began first on the Apple. Thanks to the Apple's popularity with developers, we got a lot of crap ports to the C-64 and Atari. Apple II games were being made into the early 90's. It's kind of picking at straws, but both the Apple II and C-64 received tens of thousands of games. Perhaps with the greater European popularity of the C-64 it eventually edged the Apple II, but it's still close. In terms of importance though, it's very hard to overstate the impact of the Apple II on gaming, even with its relatively weak audio-visual performance.

There's no doubt that the reason why the Apple II never caught on much outside North America is the simple fact that it was too expensive. Europe was also more price sensitive, hence the popularity of cassette software over there long after the US standardized on disks (particularly true on the C-64). It probably explains why the Sinclair line was considerably more popular over there and never had a proper unveiling here in the US. It's my understanding that not even Atari had much impact outside of the US until the release of the ST. Territories varied wildly until PC Windows dominated everything by the mid 90's.

carlsson
March 14th, 2007, 03:36 PM
It is true that Atari was playing second fiddle over here, much due to its price. While in the US, an Atari 800XL and a Commodore 64 may have cost almost as much, for some reason the Swedish (and perhaps other European) distributors were not able to get good deals on Atari. In combination with an accelerating dollar rate in c:a 1984, at one time you could get almost two C64 for the price of one 800XL! If that doesn't kill sales, nothing does.

Regarding cassette vs disks, I have a strong feeling it mainly was in the UK that disk drives on home computers remained R4RE until the early 1990's. I know that in Germany, Sweden and other markets disk drives became much more common - and perhaps relatively cheaper - than they ever appeared to be in the UK. Perhaps it is a cultural phenomenon - some of the domestic brands such as Sinclair but also Oric, Amstrad didn't push the 5.25" floppy much, but instead waited for 3" and 3.5" disks. It could also be some protectionist toll rates towards US imported stuff?

dongfeng
March 14th, 2007, 04:19 PM
I wouldn't say that disk drives were rare, it was just that the "PC" type of computers that used them were not so commonplace.

If you were looking for a family computer, you either had a Spectrum, Commodore or Amstrad. They were cheap, and had VERY good software support!

PC's were really only used in office environments. They were very expensive and did not have the "home" software available.

Somewhere in the middle was the BBC/Acorn Archimedes series. More expensive, yet a lot cheaper than a PC. They were the systems used in schools, so had very good educational software support.

It was the Amiga that ruled the home computing market from the late '80s to the mid '90s. I remember the shops had whole walls of Amiga software.

The Atari 2600 was also a popular system. The first computer software I ever bought was Laser Blast for the 2600 :)

NathanAllan
March 14th, 2007, 09:13 PM
The 2600 was my first videogame, too, and looking back it would have been nice if there was a keyboard for it, like this one:

http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/consoles/2600/compumat.html

'Cause shortly after that I started writing in BASIC at school. Hooked for life.

Retromaster
March 15th, 2007, 05:58 PM
Can't imagine what kind of software for the 2600 would need a keyboard...

It's possible to put an 800 motherboard in a 2600's casing. That would be pretty cool.

someone did that only with a pc on grand ideas studio.

http://www.grandideastudio.com/portfolio/index.php?id=1&prod=27

Bill_Loguidice
March 16th, 2007, 07:38 AM
The 2600 was my first videogame, too, and looking back it would have been nice if there was a keyboard for it, like this one:

http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/consoles/2600/compumat.html

'Cause shortly after that I started writing in BASIC at school. Hooked for life.

I have an NTSC version of that now. It was released in very limited quantities back in the VCS' prime. It's actually kind of neat, as it's a real computer, albeit one with rather limited capabilities. It's much better obviously than Atari's own BASIC programming with miniscule program size, keypad entry and no ability to save (the Compumate let's you save to tape).

Of course there was a similar option to Atari BASIC for the Odyssey2 that was much more robust and made use of that console's built in keyboard, however that couldn't save either. While the keypad on the Bally Astrocade was a pain, at least the two versions of BASIC for it allowed you to save and make some decent programs. In the category of "full" computer expansions like the Spectravideo Compumate, the Intellivision's two computer add-ons were quite nice, though the first version was considerably more powerful, and of course the Coleco Adam expansion was a very powerful 8-bit and available as a stand alone computer. Even though they're not really practical, I'm very happy to own all those as part of my collection (as well as a Sega SC-3000 computer and Family BASIC add-on for the Famicom), as I think it's the neatest thing to turn a console into a computer--it makes the hardware take on a whole new depth of experience.

Of course the very first console to be expanded into a full-blown computer system was APF's M1000/MP1000, which with the computer add-on became the APF Imagination Machine. I have the console part, but the computer expansion is quite rare and expensive to acquire (in the $400+ range for even partially complete setups)...