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Encyclopedia > Atari 7800
Atari 7800
Atari 7800 System
Manufacturer Atari
Type Video game console
Generation Third generation (8-bit era)
First available Flag of the United States June 1984 (test market)
Flag of the United States June 1986
Flag of Europe 1987
Discontinued January 1, 1992
CPU Custom 6502C
Media Cartridge
Units sold 1 million
Top-selling game Pole Position II
Backward compatibility Atari 2600
Predecessor Atari 5200
Successor Atari Jaguar

The Atari 7800 is a video game console released by Atari in June 1986 (a test market release occurred two years earlier). The 7800 was designed to replace the unsuccessful Atari 5200, and re-establish Atari's market supremacy against Nintendo and Sega. With this system, Atari addressed all the shortcomings of the Atari 5200: it had simple digital joysticks; it was almost fully backward-compatible with the Atari 2600; and it was affordable (it was originally priced at US$140). Image File history File linksMetadata Atari_7800_pro_system. ... A console manufacturer is a company that manufactures and distributes video game consoles. ... This article is about the corporate game company. ... Game console redirects here. ... Video games were introduced as a commercial entertainment medium in 1971, becoming the basis for an important entertainment industry in the late 1970s/early 1980s in the United States, Japan, and Europe. ... In the history of video games, the 8-bit era was the third generation of video game consoles, but the first after the video game crash of 1983 and considered by some to be the first modern era of console gaming. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... 1984 1984 in games 1983 in video gaming 1985 in video gaming Notable events of 1984 in video gaming. ... A test market, in the field of business and marketing, is a geographic region or demographic group used to gauge the viability of a product or service in the mass market prior to a wide scale roll-out. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... 1986 1986 in games 1985 in video gaming 1987 in video gaming Notable events of 1986 in computer and video games. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... CPU redirects here. ... The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology in 1975. ... Cartridge for the VIC 20 homecomputer In various types of electronic equipment, a cartridge can refer one method of adding different functionality or content (e. ... This is a list of video game console and handheld game console sales. ... This is a list of video games that have sold one million copies or more. ... Pole Position II is an arcade game that was released by Namco in 1983. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released in November 1993 to rival the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a powerful next generation platform. ... Game console redirects here. ... This article is about the corporate game company. ... A test market, in the field of business and marketing, is a geographic region or demographic group used to gauge the viability of a product or service in the mass market prior to a wide scale roll-out. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... Nintendo Company, Limited (任天堂 or ニンテンドー Nintendō; NASDAQ: NTDOY, TYO: 7974 usually referred to as simply Nintendo, or Big N ) is a multinational corporation founded on September 23, 1889[1] in Kyoto, Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards. ... This article is about the video game company. ... For other uses, see Joystick (disambiguation). ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... USD redirects here. ...

Contents

Summary

The 7800 was the first game system from Atari designed by an outside company (General Computer Corporation; future consoles designed outside the company included the Atari Lynx and the Atari Jaguar). The system was designed to be upgraded to a full-fledged home computer — a keyboard was developed, and the keyboard had an expansion port (which was the SIO port from Atari's 8-bit computer line) for the addition of peripherals like disk drives and printers (this should not be taken to imply that this computer expansion would have allowed the 7800 to run programs designed for Atari's computers, as the two architectures were entirely different). GCC had also designed a 'high score cartridge,' a battery-backed RAM cart designed for storing game scores. Atari manufactured none of these accessories, and after the initial production run they also eliminated the expansion port (allegedly for connection to a LaserDisc player). In 1987, the Atari XEGS was released and it came with a light gun, called the XG-1. The XG-1 was fully compatible with the 7800 and the 2600, and Atari released four games on the 7800 that utilized this peripheral. The General Computer Corporation was an early video game company. ... The Lynx was a handheld game console released by Atari in 1989. ... The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released in November 1993 to rival the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a powerful next generation platform. ... A 104-key PC US English QWERTY keyboard layout The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout A standard Hebrew keyboard showing both Hebrew and QWERTY. A computer keyboard is a peripheral partially modelled after the typewriter keyboard. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... Disk storage is a general category of a computer storage mechanisms, in which data is recorded on planar, round and rotating surfaces (disks, discs, or platters). ... A computer printer, or more commonly a printer, produces a hard copy (permanent human-readable text and/or graphics) of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper transparencies. ... Symbols representing a single Cell (top) and Battery (bottom), used in circuit diagrams. ... RAM redirects here. ... A laserdisc video game is an arcade video game that uses pre-recorded video (either live-action or animation) played from a laserdisc, either as the entirety of the graphics, or as part of the graphics. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The Atari XG-1 Light Gun Released in 1987, the XG-1 is the light gun that came bundled with the Atari XEGS. The XEGS, which stands for XE Game System, was an Atari 65XE computer reworked cosmetically to give the appearance of a game console. ...


The 7800 was test-marketed in southern California in June 1984. One month later, Warner Communications sold Atari to Jack Tramiel, who did not want to release a new video game console under his newly formed Atari Corporation. He pulled the plug on all projects related to video games and decided to focus on Atari's existing computer line in order to begin development of the new 16-bit computer line (which appeared as the Atari ST). The 7800 was re-introduced at the end of 1986 after the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System proved that the video game market was still viable. Unfortunately, by the time the 7800 made it to market, the NES had 90% of the American market cornered and the rival Sega Master System had most of what was left. This article is about the region of Southern California. ... Time Warner Inc. ... Jack Tramiel (born 1928) is a businessman, famous for founding Commodore International, manufacturer of the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga home computers, and later President and CEO of Atari Corp. ... The Atari ST is a home/personal computer that was commercially popular from 1985 to the early 1990s. ... “NES” redirects here. ... Computer and video games redirects here. ... The Sega Master System ) or SMS for short (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. ...


The 7800's technical superiority is still debated today. According to a 2003 interview with Leonard Tramiel, the Atari 7800 was essentially "a 2600 with some things put into hardware that were done in software on the 2600". [1] Although this view is held by many, the truth is the 7800 shares little architecturally with the 2600. (In fact, Tramiel's statement is more applicable to the Atari 5200, where the ANTIC drives the GTIA to produce graphics like a 2600 game's kernel drives the 2600 TIA.) Compatibility with the Atari 2600 is handled in the same way the Sega Genesis provides compatibility with the Sega Master System - by including the same chips used in the Atari 2600. When in 7800 mode, the 2600 chips are used for sound (a cost cutting measure) and the switch and controller interfaces; 7800 graphics are completely generated by the MARIA GPU. The designers allowed games (notably ports from the Atari 400/800 computer line) to include a POKEY audio chip in the cartridge. Only two originally released games, Ballblazer and Commando, used the POKEY chip. The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... AntiC (or JLint) is a programming tool for finding programming errors in source code. ... Georges Television Interface Adapter is the successor to the CTIA chip used in the Atari 8-bit Computers. ... The Television Interface Adapter (TIA) is the custom chip that is the heart of the Atari 2600 games console and was created by Jay Miner of Amiga fame. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... The Mega Drive/Genesis was a 16-bit video game console released by Sega in Japan (1988), Europe (1990) and most of the rest of the world as the Mega Drive. ... The Sega Master System ) or SMS for short (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... Atari POKEY (C012294) pin-out The Atari POKEY is a digital I/O chip found in the Atari 8-bit family of home computers and many arcade games in the 1980s. ... Screenshot Ballblazer on the Atari 5200 Ballblazer is a 1985 computer game created by Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts Entertainment). ... Commando (戦場の狼/Senjou no Ookami [Battlefield Wolf]) is a vertically-scrolling shoot em up released in 1985. ...


The MARIA GPU is very different from other second and third generation consoles, which made it more difficult for game programmers to make the transition. Instead of a limited number of hardware sprites, the MARIA allows for a much larger number of sprites described in a list of display lists. Each display list contains sprite entries with pointers to graphics data, color information, and horizontal positioning. The same display list is used for multiple rasters with the pointers being automatically adjusted. However, managing and displaying a large number of sprites required much more CPU time (both directly and indirectly since the MARIA would halt the CPU when drawing sprites) than consoles with hardware sprites and backgrounds.


The NTSC 7800 BIOS included code which would generate a digital signature of the cartridge ROM and compare it to the signature stored on the cartridge. This had two benefits. First, it would allow the 7800 to determine whether the cartridge was for the 7800 or the 2600 so the console could be locked into the correct mode. Second, it meant all 7800 games had to be digitally signed by Atari, preventing developers from creating unauthorized games. This digital signature code is not present in PAL 7800s, which use various heuristics to detect 2600 cartridges, due to export restrictions. However, the digital signature long prevented homebrew games from being developed until the original encryption generating software was discovered. Homebrew is a term frequently applied only to video games that are produced by consumers on proprietary game platforms; in other words, game platforms that are not typically user-programmable, or use proprietary hardware for storage. ...


Aftermath

The 7800 faced the severe software drought that would become the mark of all Atari Corp. consoles sold after the video game crash. Relatively few titles were released by Atari, many of them unpolished and lacking in features, or even games that already were in previous Atari systems. And there was virtually no effort by Atari to recruit third party developers, aside from a few titles from Absolute, Activision, and Froggo. In addition, many third party developers were locked into exclusive contracts with Nintendo that specifically forbade development on other consoles. Many of the same practices that gave Atari a huge market share pre-crash came back to haunt them during Atari's late attempt to re-enter the console market with the 7800. These problems caused the 7800 to place a distant third in the market of the time, behind the Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System. On January 1, 1992, Atari formally announced abandonment of the Atari 7800, in addition to the Atari 2600 and the Atari 8-bit computer line, and Atari XE Game System. This article is about the corporate game company. ... ET for the Atari 2600 is considered by many to be emblematic of the crash along with the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. ... A video game developer is a software developer (a business or an individual) that creates video games. ... Absolute Entertainment was a video game developer and publisher that produced titles for the Amiga, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game consoles, as well as for the PC. It also released games for... Activision, Inc. ... The Sega Master System ) or SMS for short (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. ... “NES” redirects here. ... is the 1st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1992 1992 in games 1991 in video gaming 1993 in video gaming Notable events of 1992 in video gaming. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ... An Atari 800XL, one of the most popular machines in the series. ...


Technical specifications

  • CPU: Custom 6502C
    • Speed: 1.79 MHz, drops to 1.19 MHz when the TIA or RIOT chips are accessed
    • (note: This is Atari's custom 6502 known as SALLY which 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
    • 160x240 (160x288 PAL) resolution or 320x240/288 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
  • I/O: 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.

The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology in 1975. ... The PAL region is a video game publication territory which covers Australasia and the majority of Eurasia. ... Atari POKEY (C012294) pin-out The Atari POKEY is a digital I/O chip found in the Atari 8-bit family of home computers and many arcade games in the 1980s. ...

System revisions

Prototypes:

  • Atari 3600 - original model number
  • Atari CX-9000 Video Computer System

Production:

  • Atari CX7800 - Two joystick ports on lower front panel. Side expansion port for upgrades and add-ons. Bundled accessories included two CX24 Pro-Line joysticks, AC adapter, switchbox, RCA connecting cable, and Pole Position II cartridge.
  • Atari CX7800 - Second revision. Slightly revised motherboard, added an additional timing circuit. Expansion port connector removed from motherboard but is still etched. Shell has indentation of where expansion port was to be.
  • Atari CX7800 - Third revision. Same as above but with only a small blemish on the shell where the expansion port was.

Pole Position II is an arcade game that was released by Namco in 1983. ...

See also

v  d  e
Selected home game consoles
First generation
Magnavox OdysseyPhilips OdysseyPongColeco Telstar
Second generation
Fairchild Channel FAtari 2600Interton VC 4000Odyssey²IntellivisionArcadia 2001Atari 5200ColecoVisionVectrex • SG-1000
Third generation
NESMaster SystemAtari 7800
Fourth Generation
TurboGrafx-16Genesis/Mega Drive • CD-i • Neo GeoSNES
Fifth generation
3DOAmiga CD32JaguarSaturnPlayStation • NEC PC-FX • Nintendo 64
Sixth generation
DreamcastPlayStation 2XboxGameCube
Seventh generation
PlayStation 3WiiXbox 360

This is a list of video game consoles by the era they appeared in. ... The first generation of video game consoles lasted from 1972 until 1977. ... The Magnavox Odyssey was the worlds first commercially sold video game console. ... Philips Videopac G7000 shown playing Pickaxe Pete The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, and also by many other names, was a video game console released in 1978. ... For other uses, see Pong (disambiguation). ... The Telstar is a video game console produced by Coleco which first went on sale in 1976. ... The second generation of video game consoles lasted from 1976 until 1984. ... The Fairchild Channel F is the worlds second cartridge-based video game console, after the Magnavox Odyssey. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... The VC 4000 is an early 8-bit cartridge-based game console released in Germany in 1978 by Interton. ... Magnavox Odyssey² video game console The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey² and the Philips Odyssey², and also by many other names, is a video game console released in 1978. ... The Intellivision is a video game console released by Mattel in 1979. ... Emerson Arcadia 2001, intended as a portable game console, the Arcadia 2001 was released by Emerson Radio Corp in mid-1982. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Vectrex is an 8-bit video game console developed by General Consumer Electric (GCE) and later bought by Milton Bradley Company. ... The SG-1000, which stands for Sega Game 1000, is a cartridge-based video game console manufactured by Sega. ... In the history of video games, the 8-bit era was the third generation of video game consoles, but the first after the video game crash of 1983 and considered by some to be the first modern era of console gaming. ... “NES” redirects here. ... The Sega Master System ) or SMS for short (1986 - 2000), is an 8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega. ... In the history of video games, the 16-bit era was the fourth generation of video game consoles. ... For information on the Japanese version of this console, see PC Engine The TurboGrafx 16 is a video game console released by NEC in 1989, for the North American market. ... The Sega Mega Drive ) is a video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989, and the PAL region in 1990. ... CD-i or Compact Disc Interactive is the name of an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Royal Philips Electronics N.V. CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard utilized by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was co-developed by... Neo-Geo is the name of a cartridge-based arcade and home video game system released in 1990 by Japanese game company SNK. The system offered comparatively colorful 2D graphics and high-quality sound. ... The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNES and Super Nintendo) was a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia, and Brazil between 1990 and 1993. ... In the history of computer and video games, the 32-bit / 64-bit /3D era was the fifth generation of video game consoles. ... 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (most commonly referred to as the 3DO) is a line of video game consoles which were released in 1993 and 1994 by Panasonic, Sanyo and Goldstar, among other companies. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Atari Jaguar is a video game console that was released in November 1993 to rival the Mega Drive/Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a powerful next generation platform. ... The Sega Saturn ) is a 32-bit video game console, first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America and July 8, 1995 in Europe. ... The Sony PlayStation ) is a video game console of the 32/64-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s. ... The PC-FX is a video game console released in Japan on 23 December 1994 by NEC Corporation. ... The Nintendo 64 ), often abbreviated as N64, is Nintendos third home video game console for the international market. ... The sixth-generation era (sometimes referred to as the 128-bit era; see Number of bits below) refers to the computer and video games, video game consoles, and video game handhelds available at the turn of the 21st century. ... The Dreamcast , code-named White Belt, Black Belt, Dural, Dricas, Vortex, Katana, Shark and Guppy during development) is Segas last video game console and the successor to the Sega Saturn. ... PS2 redirects here. ... The Xbox is a sixth generation era video game console produced by Microsoft Corporation. ... The Nintendo GameCube (GCN) is Nintendos fourth home video game console, belonging to the sixth generation era. ... In the history of computer and video games, the seventh generation began on November 21, 2004 with the United States release of the Nintendo DS, followed by the PlayStation Portable on March 24, 2005. ... The PlayStation 3 , trademarked PLAYSTATION®3,[3] commonly abbreviated PS3) is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment; successor to the PlayStation 2. ... The Wii (pronounced as the pronoun we, IPA: ) is the fifth home video game console released by Nintendo. ... It has been suggested that Xbox 360 Elite be merged into this article or section. ... This is a list of all officially released games for the Atari 7800, organized alphabetically by name. ... This is a list of games for the Atari 2600 computer system, organised alphabetically by name. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... The Atari XG-1 Light Gun Released in 1987, the XG-1 is the light gun that came bundled with the Atari XEGS. The XEGS, which stands for XE Game System, was an Atari 65XE computer reworked cosmetically to give the appearance of a game console. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Atari 7800 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (865 words)
The 7800 was the first game system from Atari which was designed by an outside company (by the General Computer Corporation, future consoles designed outside the company were the Atari Lynx and the Atari Jaguar).
In 1987, the Atari XEGS was released and it came with a light gun, called the XG-1.
The 7800 was test-marketed in southern California in June 1984.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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