Atari 7800 ProSystem
Type Console Developer Atari
Release Date 1986-Jan Region(s) North America, Europe
Initial Price $149 USD Games Released 59
     by Dark Watcher
The Atari 7800 Pro System was originally designed in1983 but saw a very limited release the following year due to the Videogame Crash of 1983.  In 1985 Nintendo had revitalized the videogame industry with its release of the NES.  This prompted then Atari CEO Jack Tramiel to try again with this fully developed console in 1986.
The Atari 7800 was brought out of storage to compete against Nintendo's NES.  By the time the system was ready for sale, Sega had released the Sega Master System and had made the marketplace even more hostile for Atari.  So what happened?

If it were released back in 1984 the system may have done amazingly well, but now its specs were clearly dated compared to its competitors.  The Atari 7800 played classic 2600 games and revamped versions of older arcade classics, but gamers wanted new original games.  Atari had almost no 3rd party support mostly because of disinterest or Nintendo's restrictions, so they had to try and support the 7800 alone (Froggo, Activision, and Absolute were a few third party supporters).  By the time original games came out it was too little too late and it was time to put the system out of its misery in 1989.

FACT:  The Atari 7800 was originally developed in 1984 as the Atari 3600. It was actually designed by a company called General Computer Corporation (GCC).  As part of a lawsuit settlement GCC had been sued for releasing an unlicensed speedup chipset for Atari's arcade version of Missile Command.

     Officially licensed releases
The Atari 7800 had three major revisions.  The initial release featured an expansion port (which was never utilized), which was removed from the 2nd revision.  The third, the Atari 7800 Peritel, was the PAL version and provided SCART output.
Atari 7800 ProSystem
Atari 7800 ProSystem - Courtesy of
Atari 7800
Atari 7800 Rev. 2 - Courtesy of
Atari 7800 Peritel
Atari 7800 Peritel - Courtesy of

Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series
Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series (eBay auction) Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series (eBay auction) Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series (eBay auction)
Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series (eBay auction) Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series (eBay auction) Atari 7800 Nolan Bushnell Signature Series (eBay auction)
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.
Console Design 07 I happen to like the compact design of the 7800.  Backwards compatibility with the Atari 2600 is a huge plus.
Console Durability 08 Even with heavy use, I have not had any issues with my console.  Due to its light mass, care should be utilized to avoid pulling the console off of the table in a heated gaming session.
Controllers 04 The small joystick is extremely rigid almost to the point that you may think that it is unmovable.  The keypad featured in the 5200 has thankfully been removed, but the oblong design is cumbersome and difficult to navigate.
Graphics 04 Being basically a glorified Atari 2600, this system falls well short in times of graphical output when compared to its primary competitors, the NES and Sega Master System. 
Audio 02 Probably the worst aspect of the 7800, the sound chip actually took a step backwards from its predecessor the 5200 (2 channel vs. 4 channel) to enable backwards compatibility with the Atari 2600.
Media 04 Identical is size and shape to the Atari 2600 carts, the lack of differentiation makes finding titles difficult.
Gamer Value 04 With a library comprised of mostly rehashed titles, the 7800 offers very little to the gamer with the exception of its backwards compatibility.
Collector Value 04 Lacking any true innovations, the Atari 7800 is not the most desirable system for the collector.  Acquiring one of these systems is not an issue, nor is the price in any way prohibitive.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Atari 7800 was distributed on ROM cartridges.  First party games were packaged in the classic silver cardboard boxes that were also utilized with the Atari 5200, and to some degree the 2600.

Eight titles were released that featured the moniker "Super Game Cartridge" on the front of the box.  These titles were advertised by Atari as containing additional storage capacity which resulted in larger, more complex game offerings.  In truth, though they varied from the standard 16KB / 32KB ROM format of most games, there is nothing especially unique about these offerings.  In fact, most of these games were pretty awful to be honest.

The overall library is rather small (59 commercial releases) with most titles easily obtainable.  The Atari 7800 is also compatible with Atari 2600 games, boosting its overall value as a console for those looking to save some room and/or money.
applemctom's Games that Defined Compiliation

Atari 7800 Game Boxes

     Captured in-game images
Ace of Aces
Alien Brigade
Dark Chambers
Desert Falcon
Dig Dug
Donkey Kong Jr.
Double Dragon
Fatal Run
Fight Night
Food Fight
Hat Trick
Ikari Warriors
Impossible Mission
Kung Fu Master
Mario Bros.
Mean 18 Golf
Midnight Mutants
Motor Psycho
Ms. Pac-Man
Ninja Golf
Pete Rose Baseball
Pole Position II
Realsports Baseball
Rescue on Fractalus
Robotron: 2084
Super Huey
Title Match Pro Wrestling
Tomcat F-14
Touchdown Football

     First and third party system emulators

MESS (Multi-Emulator Super System) is a DOS based emulator capable of running many
 systems including this one.  It has a Windows based GUI and is extremely user friendly.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Atari SALLY (8-bit custom 6502c) 1.79 MHz Atari MARIA GPU @ 7.16 MHz 4 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
320 x 240 256 (16 on-screen) N\A TIA chip (2 channel)
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge 16 KB to 144 KB (max) 59 Compatible with Atari 2600 games
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
4 KB ROM (BIOS) None Joystick, 2 button Light Gun and various
1st \ 3rd party controllers
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Two (2) None Expansion port (1st model only) RF, SCART (Peritel model)
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 120V, 60Hz, 15W
Output: DC 9V, 1a
None The expansion port was never utilized. 
No peripherals were ever released for it.
Atari 7800 Pro System Owners Manual (PDF) - 3.18 MB
Atari 7800 Video Game System Owners Manual (EU - PDF) Rev A - 0.94 MB
Atari 7800 Peritel Owners Manual (PDF) - 0.54 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Atari 7800 Television Commercials

Atari 7800 Print Advertisements
Atari 7800 Print Advert Atari 7800 Print Advert - Courtesy of Atari 7800 Print Advert
     Visitor insights and feedback
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