Atari 5200 – worth buying?

January 20, 2020 0 By nate

Atari 5200 – worth buying?
This is a new series of videos where I look at video game consoles and computers not just through the lens of nostalgia, but also modern considerations like current prices, long-term durability, and just how much fun they still are. Spoiler alert: not all old games are still fun!

Is the Atari 5200 worth buying and owning in 2017? This system had a short lifespan, released in 1982 and discontinued in 1984. Its library is small, its controllers about as durable as a wet noodle. Is this something you want to pay good money for and keep in your house?

One thing I didn’t mention in this first video is emulation – the quality and ease of available emulators I think can weigh on the value of owning the real system. In the 5200’s case, there is a great emulator called Altirra that plays pretty much all 5200 (and 8 bit Atari computer) games very faithfully, and it runs really well. That said, this doesn’t change my overall opinion given how cheap the 5200 and its games typically are, and just how cool they are to look at and touch. Even just putting a cartridge in it has a satisfying “clunk!”

Interested in a 5200? Here’s an Ebay link:

I’ve also done a separate video about repairing two common problems with 5200 controllers:

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