Atari 8-bit family
The Atari 8-bit family is a series of 8-bit home computers introduced by Atari, Inc. in 1979 and manufactured until 1992. All of the machines in the family are technically similar and differ in packaging, they are based on the MOS Technology 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz, were the first home computers designed with custom co-processor chips. This architecture enabled graphics and sound capabilities that were more advanced than contemporary machines at the time of release, gaming on the platform was a major draw. Star Raiders is considered the platform's killer app; the original Atari 400 and 800 models launched with a series of plug-n-play peripherals that used the Atari SIO serial bus system, an early analog of the modern USB. To meet stringent FCC requirements, the early machines were enclosed in a cast aluminum block, which made them physically robust but expensive to produce. Over the following decade, the 400 and 800 were replaced by the XL series the XE; the XL and XE are much lighter in construction and less expensive to build, while having Atari BASIC built-in and reducing the number of joystick ports from 4 to 2.
The 130XE, released in 1985, increased the memory to 128K of bank-switched RAM. The Atari 8-bit computer line sold two million units during its major production run between late 1979 and mid-1985, they were not only sold through dedicated computer retailers, but department stores such as Sears, using an in-store demo to attract customers. The primary competition in the worldwide market came several years when the Commodore 64 was introduced in 1982; this was the first computer to offer similar graphics performance, went on to be the best selling computer of the 8-bit era. Atari found a strong market in Eastern Europe and had something of a renaissance in the early 1990s as these countries joined a uniting Europe. In 1992, Atari Corp. dropped all remaining support of the 8-bit line. Some time in 1975, Steve Jobs called his former boss at Atari, Al Alcorn, Vice President of Engineering. Jobs was sourcing components for the soon-to-released Apple II, asked Alcorn if he knew of a good switched mode power supply.
Such devices were commercially available. Alcorn instead suggested. Holt worked in Atari's consumer division and had become a leading expert on power supplies, at that time was between projects. Instead, Jobs hired Holt away from Atari, offering him "a ton of stock". Jobs began hiring many Atari engineers and refused to stop this behaviour when asked. In response, Joe Keenan, one of Atari's co-founders, began a project to make an Apple II clone machine, which Atari could produce for much less than Apple, they began design work. It was not long after that news of this project reached Jobs, two weeks he agreed to stop poaching Atari staff; the project was cancelled, ending Atari's first attempt at a personal computer. Design of the 8-bit series of machines started at Atari as soon as the Atari 2600 games console was released in late 1977. While designing the 2600 in 1976, the engineering team from Atari Grass Valley Research Center felt that the 2600 would have about a three-year lifespan before becoming obsolete.
They started blue sky designs for a new console that would be ready to replace it around 1979. What they ended up with was a updated version of the 2600, fixing its more obvious limitations but sharing a similar overall design philosophy; the newer design would be faster than the 2600, have better graphics, would include much better sound hardware. Work on the chips for the new system continued throughout 1978 and focused on much-improved video hardware known as the CTIA. During the early development period, the home computer era began in earnest in the form of the TRS-80, Commodore PET, Apple II family—what Byte Magazine would dub the "1977 Trinity". Nolan Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications for $28 million in 1976 in order to raise funds for the launch of the 2600. Warner had sent Ray Kassar to act as the CEO of the company. Kassar felt. In order to adapt the machine to this role, it would need to support character graphics, include some form of expansion for peripherals, run the then-universal BASIC programming language.
The 2600 had no bitmap graphics support or a character generator, all on-screen graphics were created using Player-Missile graphics and a simple background using fixed patterns. The CTIA was designed on the same model, mainly used sprites for drawing. Instead of expanding the CTIA to handle these tasks, the designers introduced an new chip for this purpose, the Alphanumeric Television Interface Controller, or ANTIC; the CTIA and ANTIC worked together to produce a complete display, with the CTIA in charge of sprites and producing color video output, the ANTIC in charge of bitmap and character graphics. Management identified two sweet spots for the new computers: a low-end version known as "Candy", a higher-end machine known as "Colleen"; the primary difference between the two models was marketing. Colleen included user-accessible expansion slots for RAM and ROM, two 8 KB ROM cartridge slots, RF and monitor output and a full keyboard. Candy was designed as a games console, lacking a keyboard and input/output ports, although an external keyboard was planned tha
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit home video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer platform in Japan known as the Famicom for short, which launched on July 15, 1983; the NES was launched through test markets in New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, before being given a wide release in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by SK Hynix, known as Hyundai Electronics; the best-selling gaming console of its time, the NES helped revitalize the US video game industry following the North American video game crash of 1983. With the NES, Nintendo introduced a now-standard business model of licensing third-party developers, authorizing them to produce and distribute titles for Nintendo's platform.
It was succeeded by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Following a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to create a cartridge-based console called the Famicom, short for Family Computer. Masayuki Uemura designed the system. Original plans called for an advanced 16-bit system which would function as a full-fledged computer with a keyboard and floppy disk drive, but Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi rejected this and instead decided to go for a cheaper, more conventional cartridge-based game console as he believed that features such as keyboards and disks were intimidating to non-technophiles. A test model was constructed in October 1982 to verify the functionality of the hardware, after which work began on programming tools; because 65xx CPUs had not been manufactured or sold in Japan up to that time, no cross-development software was available and it had to be produced from scratch. Early Famicom games were written on a system that ran on an NEC PC-8001 computer and LEDs on a grid were used with a digitizer to design graphics as no software design tools for this purpose existed at that time.
The code name for the project was "GameCom", but Masayuki Uemura's wife proposed the name "Famicom", arguing that "In Japan,'pasokon' is used to mean a personal computer, but it is neither a home or personal computer. We could say it is a family computer." Meanwhile, Hiroshi Yamauchi decided that the console should use a red and white theme after seeing a billboard for DX Antenna which used those colors. During the creation of the Famicom, the ColecoVision, a video game console made by Coleco to compete against Atari's Atari 2600 Game system in The United States, was a huge influence. Takao Sawano, chief manager of the project, brought a ColecoVision home to his family, who were impressed by the system's capability to produce smooth graphics at the time, which contrasted with the flickering and slowdown seen on Atari 2600 games. Uemura, head of Famicom development, stated that the ColecoVision set the bar that influenced how he would approach the creation of the Famicom. Original plans called for the Famicom's cartridges to be the size of a cassette tape, but they ended up being twice as big.
Careful design attention was paid to the cartridge connectors since loose and faulty connections plagued arcade machines. As it necessitated taking 60 connection lines for the memory and expansion, Nintendo decided to produce their own connectors in-house rather than use ones from an outside supplier; the controllers were hard-wired to the console with no connectors for cost reasons. The game pad controllers were more-or-less copied directly from the Game & Watch machines, although the Famicom design team wanted to use arcade-style joysticks taking apart ones from American game consoles to see how they worked. There were concerns regarding the durability of the joystick design and that children might step on joysticks left on the floor. Katsuyah Nakawaka attached a Game & Watch D-pad to the Famicom prototype and found that it was easy to use and caused no discomfort. Though, they installed a 15-pin expansion port on the front of the console so that an optional arcade-style joystick could be used.
Uemura added an eject lever to the cartridge slot, not necessary, but he believed that children could be entertained by pressing it. He added a microphone to the second controller with the idea that it could be used to make players' voices sound through the TV speaker; the console was released on July 15, 1983 as the Family Computer for ¥14,800 alongside three ports of Nintendo's successful arcade games Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Popeye. The Famicom was slow to gather momentum. Following a product recall and a reissue with a new motherboard, the Famicom's popularity soared, becoming the best-selling game console in Japan by the end of 1984. Encouraged by this success, Nintendo turned its attention to the North American market, entering into negotiations with Atari to release the Famicom under Atari's name as the Nintendo Advanced Video Gaming System; the deal was set to be finalized and signed at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in June 1983. However, Atari discovered at that show that its competitor Coleco was illegally demonstrating its Coleco Adam computer with Nintendo's Donkey Kong game.
This violation of Atari's exclusive license with Nintendo to publish the game for its own computer systems delayed the implementation of Nintendo's game console marketing contract with Atari. Atari's CEO Ray Kassar was fired the next month, so the deal went nowhere, Nintendo decided to market its sys
WMS Industries, Inc. is an American electronic gaming and amusement manufacturer in Enterprise, Nevada. WMS traces its roots to the Williams Manufacturing Company, founded by Harry E. Williams. However, the company that became WMS Industries was formally founded in 1974 as Williams Electronics, Inc. Williams was a manufacturer of pinball machines. In 1964, Williams was acquired by jukebox manufacturer Seeburg Corp. and reorganized as Williams Electronics Manufacturing Division. In 1973, the company branched out into the coin-operated arcade video game market with its Pong clone Paddle Ball creating a number of video game classics, including Defender and Robotron: 2084. In 1974, Williams Electronics, Inc. was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Seeburg. Williams Electronics was sold as an independent company during the bankruptcy of Seeburg in 1980. In 1987, Williams changed its parent name to Inc. when it made its public offering. WMS is a shortening of Williams, which it selected for its NYSE ticker symbol.
In 1988, it acquired competitor Bally/Midway, which it spun off in 1998, together with its video game business. WMS entered the reel-spinning slot machine market in 1994, it closed its pinball division in 1999. In 2013, WMS became a wholly owned subsidiary of Scientific Games. In 2016, WMS was reorganized and merged into Scientific Games. Today, WMS is a brand of Scientific Games, along with Bally and Shuffle Master. In 1943, Harry Williams founded Williams Manufacturing Company at 161 West Huron Street in Chicago, Illinois; the first seven products were a fortune-telling machine called Selector Scope, two electro-mechanical games and Liberator, a novelty called Zingo, a pinball conversion called Flat-Top, another EM arcade game, Circus Romance and a second pinball conversion called Laura. The two pinball conversions were built by purchasing older pinball machines made by other companies and changing artwork and other elements on the playfield; the lack of raw materials during World War II made the manufacture of new machines difficult and expensive.
A Stanford engineering graduate, Williams devised the “tilt” mechanism for pinball machines. The first all original amusement device made by Williams was a flipperless pinball machine called Suspense. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Williams continued to make pinball machines and the occasional bat-and-ball game. In 1950, Williams produced Lucky Inning, their first pinball machine to have its bottom flippers facing inward in the modern manner. In late 1958, Williams Manufacturing became known as Williams Electronic Manufacturing Company. In 1960, Harry Williams designed his last pinball machine for Williams, the horse racing-themed Nags; the last game he designed for Williams was one of the last electromechanical games, Rancho. In 1962, 3 Coin became the best selling williams machine with 1,100 units sold. One year Skill Pool sold 2,250 units. In 1964 Williams was purchased by the Seeburg Corporation, its 1966 pinball machine A-Go-Go, with its avant-garde 60s theme, sold a record 5,100 units.
Early Williams pinball machines included innovative features and pinball firsts, such as mechanical reel scoring and the "add-a-ball" feature for locations that didn't allow game replays. By 1967, pinball was in the middle of its so-called "golden age", the number of pinball units that sold began to increase dramatically. Popular Williams pinballs included Shangri-La, Beat Time, Smart Set, Gold Rush, Space Mission. Taking note of Atari's success with Pong in 1972, Williams decided to enter the fledgling coin-operated arcade videogame industry. After preliminary negotiations with Magnavox, it subcontracted the Magnetic Corporation of America to create its first arcade videogame Paddle-Ball. In 1974, Williams Electronics, Inc. was formed to acquire the company. In 1980, Seeburg sold Williams to Louis Nicastro, with his son Neil, would take the company public and run it for over two decades. Williams developed its own breakthrough hit with the release of 1980's Defender, whose gameplay, horizontal scrolling, dynamic color influenced many subsequent games.
It was followed by a sequel in 1981, a group of popular and influential titles: Joust, Robotron: 2084, the licensed Moon Patrol. With the exception of Sinistar, these were ported to home systems by external developers and publishers including Atari, Inc. After Dragon's Lair popularized LaserDisc video games in 1983, Williams created the LaserDisc/computer graphics hybrid racing game Star Rider, which lost or contributed to a loss of 50 million US dollars for the company. Williams' first solid-state machines produced in 1976 were prototype runs based on electromechanical games. Williams continued to release new electromechanical pinball machines through October 1977, when they released their last, Wild Card. From November 1977, Williams released solid-state pinball games beginning with their first solid state production model Hot Tip, which sold 4,903 units. From the late 1970s through the 1980s, Williams released numerous innovative pinball games, such as Gorgar, Black Knight, Jungle Lord, Space Shuttle, High Speed, Pin*Bot, F-14 Tomcat and Taxi.
During the "Golden Age" of pinball, Williams was one of the three major manufacturers
North America is a continent within the Northern Hemisphere and all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers, about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, the fourth by population after Asia and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands are included. North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge 40,000 to 17,000 years ago; the so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The Classic stage spans the 6th to 13th centuries.
The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants. Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, their culture reflects Western traditions; the Americas are accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann. Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a different landmass unknown by Europeans. In 1507, Waldseemüller produced a world map, in which he placed the word "America" on the continent of South America, in the middle of what is today Brazil, he explained the rationale for the name in the accompanying book Cosmographiae Introductio:... ab Americo inventore... quasi Americi terram sive Americam.
For Waldseemüller, no one should object to the naming of the land after its discoverer. He used the Latinized version of Vespucci's name, but in its feminine form "America", following the examples of "Europa", "Asia" and "Africa". Other mapmakers extended the name America to the northern continent, In 1538, Gerard Mercator used America on his map of the world for all the Western Hemisphere; some argue that because the convention is to use the surname for naming discoveries, the derivation from "Amerigo Vespucci" could be put in question. In 1874, Thomas Belt proposed a derivation from the Amerrique mountains of Central America. Marcou corresponded with Augustus Le Plongeon, who wrote: "The name AMERICA or AMERRIQUE in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and... the can mean... a spirit that breathes, life itself." The United Nations formally recognizes "North America" as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, The Caribbean.
This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division. The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with context. In Canadian English, North America refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, Canada, although it is ambiguous which other countries are included, is defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the US, sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico, as well as offshore islands. In France, Portugal, Romania and the countries of Latin America, the cognates of North America designate a subcontinent of the Americas comprising Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda. North America has been referred to by other names. Spanish North America was referred to as Northern America, this was the first official name given to Mexico. Geographically the North American continent has many subregions; these include cultural and geographic regions. Economic regions included those formed by trade blocs, such as the North American Trade Agreement bloc and Central American Trade Agreement.
Linguistically and culturally, the continent could be divided into Latin America. Anglo-America includes most of Northern America and Caribbean islands with English-speaking populations; the southern North American continent is composed of two regions. These are the Caribbean; the north of the continent maintains recognized regions as well. In contrast to the common definition of "North America", which encompasses the whole continent, the term "North America" is sometimes used to refer only to Mexico, the United States, Greenland; the term Northern America refers to the northern-most countries and territories of North America: the United States, Bermuda, St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland. Although the term does not refer to a unifie
Atari SA is a French corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972 by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA. The original Atari, Inc. founded in Sunnyvale, California in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, home computers. The company's products, such as Pong and the Atari 2600, helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. In 1984, as a result of the video game crash of 1983, the original Atari Inc. was split, the arcade division was turned into Atari Games Inc. Atari Games received the rights to use the logo and brand name with appended text "Games" on arcade games, as well as rights to the original 1972–1984 arcade hardware properties; the Atari Consumer Electronics Division properties were in turn sold to Jack Tramiel's Tramiel Technology Ltd. which renamed itself to Atari Corporation. In 1996, Atari Corporation reverse-merged with disk-drive manufacturer JT Storage, becoming a division within the company.
In 1998, Hasbro Interactive acquired all Atari Corporation related properties from JTS, creating a new subsidiary, Atari Interactive. Infogrames Entertainment bought Hasbro Interactive in 2001 and renamed it Infogrames Interactive, which intermittently published Atari branded titles. In 2003, it renamed the division Atari Interactive. Another IESA division, Infogrames Inc. changed its name to Atari Inc. the same year, licensing the Atari name and logo from its fellow subsidiary. In 2008, IESA completed its acquisition of Atari, Inc.'s outstanding stock, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. IESA renamed itself Atari, SA in 2009, it sought bankruptcy protection under French law in January 2013. In 1971, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded a small engineering company, Syzygy Engineering, that designed and built Computer Space, the world's first commercially available arcade video game, for Nutting Associates. On June 27, 1972, the two incorporated Atari, Inc. and soon hired Al Alcorn as their first design engineer.
Bushnell asked Alcorn to produce an arcade version of the Magnavox Odyssey's Tennis game, which would be named Pong. While Bushnell incorporated Atari in June 1972, Syzygy Company was never formally incorporated. Before Atari's incorporation, Bushnell considered various terms from the game Go choosing atari, referencing a position in the game when a group of stones is imminently in danger of being taken by one's opponent. Atari was incorporated in the state of California on June 27, 1972. In 1973, Atari secretly spawned a competitor called Kee Games, headed by Nolan's next door neighbor Joe Keenan, to circumvent pinball distributors' insistence on exclusive distribution deals. Joe Keenan's management of the subsidiary led to him being promoted president of Atari that same year. In 1976, through Grass Valley, CA firm Cyan Engineering, started development of a flexible console, capable of playing the four existing Atari games; the result was the Atari Video Computer System, or AVCS. The introductory price of $199 included a console, two joysticks, a pair of paddles, the Combat game cartridge.
Bushnell knew he had another potential hit on his hands but bringing the machine to market would be expensive. Looking for outside investors, Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications in 1976 for an estimated $28–32 million, using part of the money to buy the Folgers Mansion. Nolan continued to have disagreements with Warner Management over the direction of the company, the discontinuation of the pinball division, most the notion of discontinuing the 2600. In 1978, Kee Games was disbanded. In December of that year, Nolan Bushnell was fired following an argument with Manny Gerard. "e started fighting like dogs. And the wheels came off that fall. Warner claimed they fired me," recalled Bushnell. "I say I quit. It was a mutual separation."Development of a successor to the 2600 started as soon as it shipped. The original team estimated. Mid-way into their effort the home computer revolution took off, leading to the addition of a keyboard and features to produce the Atari 800 and its smaller sibling, the 400.
The new machines had some success when they became available in quantity in 1980. From this platform Atari released their next-generation game console in 1982, the Atari 5200, it was unsuccessful due to incompatibility with the 2600 game library, a small quantity of dedicated games, notoriously unreliable controllers. Under Warner and Atari's chairman and CEO, Raymond Kassar, the company achieved its greatest success, selling millions of 2600s and computers. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income and was the fastest growing company in US history at the time. However, it ran into problems in the early 1980s as interference from the New York-based Warner management affected daily operations, its home computer, video game console, arcade divisions operated independently and cooperated. Faced with fierce competition and price wars in the game console and home computer markets, Atari was never able to duplicate the success of the 2600; these problems were followed by the video game crash of 1983, with losses that totaled more than $500 million.
Warner's stock price slid from $60 to $20, the company began searching for a buyer for its troubled division. In 1983, Ray Kassar had res
The Atari 5200 SuperSystem known as the Atari 5200, is a home video game console, introduced in 1982 by Atari Inc. as a higher-end complementary console for the popular Atari 2600. The 5200 was created to compete with the Intellivision, but wound up more directly competing with the ColecoVision shortly after its release; the 5200's internal hardware is identical to that of Atari's 8-bit computers, although software is not directly compatible between the two systems. The 5200's controllers have an analog joystick and a numeric keypad along with start and reset buttons; the 360-degree non-centering joystick was touted as offering more control than the eight-way joystick controller offered with the Atari 2600. On May 21, 1984, during a press conference at which the Atari 7800 was introduced, company executives revealed that the 5200 had been discontinued after just two years on the market. Total sales of the 5200 were in excess of 1 million units. Much of the technology in the Atari 8-bit family of home computer systems was developed as a second-generation games console intended to replace the 2600.
However, as the system was reaching completion, the personal computer revolution was starting with the release of machines like the Commodore PET, TRS-80 and Apple II. These machines had less advanced hardware than the new Atari technology, but sold for much higher prices with associated higher profit margins. Atari's management decided to enter this market, the technology was repackaged into the Atari 400 and 800; the chipset used in these machines was created with the mindset that the 2600 would be obsolete by the 1980 time frame. Atari decided to re-enter the games market with a design that matched their original 1978 specifications. In its prototype stage, the Atari 5200 was called the "Atari Video System X – Advanced Video Computer System", was codenamed "Pam" after a female employee at Atari, Inc, it is rumored that PAM stood for "Personal Arcade Machine", as the majority of games for the system ended up being arcade conversions. Actual working Atari Video System X machines, whose hardware is 100% identical to the Atari 5200 do exist, but are rare.
The initial 1982 release of the system featured four controller ports, where nearly all other systems of the day had only one or two ports. The 5200 featured a new style of controller with an analog joystick, numeric keypad, two fire buttons on each side of the controller and game function keys for Start and Reset; the 5200 featured the innovation of the first automatic TV switchbox, allowing it to automatically switch from regular TV viewing to the game system signal when the system was activated. Previous RF adapters required the user to slide a switch on the adapter by hand; the RF box was where the power supply connected in a unique dual power/television signal setup similar to the RCA Studio II's. A single cable coming out of the 5200 plugged into the switch box and was used for both electricity and the television signal; the 1983 revision of the Atari 5200 has two controller ports instead of four, a change back to the more conventional separate power supply and standard non-autoswitching RF switch.
It has changes in the cartridge port address lines to allow for the Atari 2600 adapter released that year. While the adapter was only made to work on the two-port version, modifications can be made to the four-port to make it line-compatible. In fact, towards the end of the four-port model's production run, there were a limited number of consoles produced which included these modifications; these consoles can be identified by an asterisk in their serial numbers. The controller prototypes used in the electrical development lab employed a yoke and gimbal mechanism that came from an RC airplane controller kit; the design of the analog joystick, which used a weak rubber boot rather than springs to provide centering, proved to be ungainly and unreliable. They became the Achilles' heel of the system because of their combination of an overly complex mechanical design with a low-cost internal flex circuit system. Another major flaw of the controllers was that the design did not translate into a linear acceleration from the center through the arc of the stick travel.
The controllers did, include a pause button, a unique feature at the time. Various third-party replacement joysticks were released, including those made by Wico. Atari Inc. released the Pro-Line Trak-Ball controller for the system, used for gaming titles such as Centipede and Missile Command. A paddle controller and an updated self-centering version of the original controller were in development, but never made it to market. Games were shipped with plastic card overlays; the card would indicate which game functions, such as changing the view or vehicle speed, were assigned to each key. The primary controller was ranked the 10th worst video game controller by IGN editor Craig Harris. An editor for Next Generation said that their non-centering joysticks "rendered many games nearly unplayable". David H. Ahl in 1983 described the Atari 5200 as "a 400 computer in disguise", its internal design was extensively based on that of the Atari 8-bit family, including ANTIC, POKEY, GTIA. Software designed for one does not run on the other, but porting the source code is not difficult as long as it does not use computer-specific features.
Antic magazine reported in 1984 that "the similarities grossly outweigh the differences, so that a 5200 program can be developed and entirely debugged before testing on a 5200". John J. Anderson of Creative Computing alluded to the incompatibility being intentional, caused by rivalries between Atari's comp
Atari Corporation was an American manufacturer of computers and video game consoles from 1984 to 1996. Atari Corp. was founded in July 1984 when Warner Communications sold the home computing and game console divisions of Atari, Inc. to Jack Tramiel. Its chief products were the Atari ST, Atari XE, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx, Atari Jaguar; the company reverse-merged with JTS Inc. in 1996, becoming a small division, which itself closed after JTS sold its intellectual property to Hasbro Interactive in 1998. The company was founded by Commodore International's founder Jack Tramiel soon after his resignation from Commodore in January 1984. Named Tramel Technology, Ltd. the company's goal was to design and sell a next-generation home computer. On July 1, 1984, TTL bought the Consumer Division assets of Atari, Inc. from its owner Warner Communications, TTL was renamed Atari Corporation. Warner sold the division for $240 million in stocks under the new company. In order to halt the massive losses Atari, Inc. had been yielding under Warner's ownership, Tramiel shut down nearly all of their 80 domestic branches, laying off the staff and liquidating the inventory.
Under Tramiel's ownership, Atari Corp. used the remaining stock of game console inventory to keep the company afloat while they finished development of their 16-bit computer system, the Atari ST. In 1985, they released their update to the 8-bit computer line—the Atari XE series—as well as the 16-bit Atari ST line. In 1986, Atari Corp. launched two consoles designed under the Warner Atari: Atari 2600 Jr and Atari 7800. Atari Corp. rebounded, producing a $25 million profit for 1986. The Atari ST line proved successful selling more than 5 million units, its built-in MIDI ports made it popular among musicians. Still, its closest competitor in the marketplace, the Commodore Amiga, outsold it 3 to 2. Atari released a line of inexpensive IBM PC compatibles as well as an MS-DOS compatible palm computer called the Atari Portfolio. Atari under Tramiel had a poor reputation in the marketplace. In 1986 a columnist for Atari magazine ANALOG Computing warned that company executives seemed to emulate Tramiel's "'penny-pinching' hard-nosed bargaining, sometimes at the risk of everything else", resulting in poor customer service and documentation, product release dates that were "perhaps not the entire truth...
Pretty soon, you don't believe anything they say". He concluded, "I think Atari Corp. had better start considering how they're perceived by the non-Atari-using public". The company, was much more open to the press than its predecessor Atari Inc. which had refused to let Antic preview forthcoming announcements and opposed the magazine printing the word "Atari" on its issues. On August 23, 1987, Atari agreed to purchase the Federated Group for $67.3 million. October 4, 1987, Atari gained full control of its own retail stores. In the final quarter of 1987, Federated lost $6.4 million in day-to-day operations. A post-acquisition audit ended on February 15, 1988, identified $43 million in adjustments to Federated's balance sheet, far more than Atari anticipated; the net worth of its acquisition was reduced by $33 million. Atari's CFO claimed that they would never have done the deal had they known at the time. Federated's operational losses increased, reaching $67 million for its first full year under Atari in 1988.
The FBI began an investigation of Atari in May of that same year for an ongoing scheme involving the profitable import and resale of Japanese DRAM chips in the US, "in violation of U. S. import laws and contrary to import agreements". In March 1989, Atari announced that it would treat Federated as a discontinued operation and took an additional one-time charge of $57 million. Federated was sold to Silo in 1989. In 1988 Stewart Alsop II said that Atari was among several companies that "have been knocked out" of the GUI market by Apple, IBM/Microsoft, others, but Atari Corporation's sales hit their peak that year, at $452 million. In 1989, Atari Corp. released the Atari Lynx—a handheld console with color graphics—to critical acclaim. However, a shortage of parts kept the system from being released nationwide for the 1989 Christmas season; the Lynx lost market share to Nintendo's Game Boy, which had only a monochrome display, but a much better battery life, was available. In 1989, Atari Corp. lost a $250 million lawsuit alleging that Nintendo had an illegal monopoly.
As the fortunes of Atari Corporation's ST and PC compatible computers faded and software again became the company's main focus. In 1993, Atari Corp. released the Atari Jaguar. The Jaguar was one of the first fifth generation gaming consoles, but due to a games library, low in both quantity and quality, it was unable to compete against the incumbent fourth generation consoles. Atari Corp. sustained a net loss of $49.6 million for 1995, with $27.7 million in losses during the last quarter of the year alone. Attempting to hedge their bets, in January 1996 Atari Corp. announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Atari Interactive, which would be devoted to publishing games for PC. However, Atari Corp. would relinquish its interest in both the Jaguar and PC software within a few months. By 1996, a series of successful lawsuits followed by profitable investments had left Atari with millions of dollars in the bank, but without any products to sell because of the failure of the Lynx and Jaguar. In addition and his family wanted out.
The result was a rapid succession of changes in ownership. In July 1996, Atari merged with JTS Inc. a short-lived maker of hard disk drives, to form JTS Corp