Atari 7800

Nickname: Atari 7800 ProSystem
Manufacturer: Atari
Predecessor: Atari 5200
Release Date: 30/4/1986
Discontinued Date: 31/12/1991
Additional Sizes: -
Display Palette: 256 Colors
Initial Price: US $140 (equivalent to $320 in 2018)
Supported Game Media:

The Atari 7800 ProSystem console replaced, in 1984, the Atari 5200, which at the time was not even two years old without commercial success. However, due to the sale of the company that undertook the construction of the Atari 7800, the gaming machine was produced in small numbers in the summer of 1984 and relaunched much later, in January 1986.

The 7800 completely replaced the 5200, for which Atari pursued the wrong marketing policy in a complementary role to the classic Atari 2600VCS, with the result that there was no direct compatibility and at the same time cut off sales. In contrast, the Atari 7800 is designed from the ground up to maintain backward compatibility, even using VCS circuits for this purpose. When the player used an old gaming cartridge, the 7800 turned to 2600 mode to fully support it, while slowing down the CPU and graphics circuit.

In 1986, when the regular launch took place, the Atari 7800 found the Nintendo NES and Sega Master System, both consoles of similar performance, but with a more established position in the market. The delay due to the problems in the production line, led to the cancellation of many peripherals that could stimulate sales, while the list of games remained quite poor. As a result, the 7800 was left with the character of a modernized 2600VCS, rather than the reputation of a new gaming console.