Last updated ... November 20, 2003
The Preface ...
Many people have realized that they are quite nostalgic about the Classic Gaming years, and love the Atari 2600 and all its many games. Although I really loved my 2600 in its day, especially Activision's River Raid, Enduro, H.E.R.O, Kaboom, and others, I must admit that my favorite system was always the Atari 5200 Supersystem.
Although the 5200's game library is far smaller than
the 2600's, the 5200 had several advantages. It produced far better visuals
and sounds and mostly supported 16K games, which was pretty much 4 times
the size of your average 4K 2600 game. Thus, although 2600 gamers ended up
with arcade ports that barely resembled their beloved coin-op faves, 5200
gamers were getting the goods! Even back then, new games averaged $30
The Controllers ...
The 5200's controllers have long been its biggest
weakness. Many people felt that the 5200 had the worst controller of any
system in existence so far! Although the sticks cause control problems due
to that floppy dead-fish, non-centering joystick, I must admit that few games
are truly ruined by it. On the other side of the coin, the 5200 offered 2
different firing buttons, which was a big deal when you were used to the
2600's single button stick, which rendered multi-button ports like 2600
Defender into a completely different game. Also, the 5200 had a numerical
keypad with 12 buttons available. Although few games use these during gameplay,
there are a few that do, such as the 5200 Defender game, and especially 5200
Star Raiders. Also, if you compare the controllers from the 2600,
Colecovision and Intellivision with the 5200 -- frankly, they all have their
own problems. But the biggest problem with the 5200 controllers
is that they break and wear out quickly, and finding replacements is rare and
The 5200's sticks had very short chords -- you need
to have the System sitting by your feet if you played the games from your
couch! Also, the 5200 is the largest console I've ever seen, mainly because
it has a compartment in the back where you can actually store your 2
controllers! The 5200's Trak-ball controller is the best home roller
controller I've ever used, and it transforms Centipede and Missile Command
into even more exciting experiences!
The Games ...
Click on each game's box or picture to see my review and
thoughts of each game. I wrote these thoughts starting from the year 2001, so they
reflect my thoughts now, not those 15 years ago. Note that the following features
contain comments from the developer: Defender; Centipede.