Atari XE Game System (XEGS)
Type Console Developer Atari
Release Date 1987-Nov Region(s) North America
Initial Price $199 USD Games Released 32 (unique packaging)
     by Dark Watcher
It was the 1980s and the Atari 7800 release fails to attract attention in a market dominated by the Nintendo Entertainment System.  So the folks at Atari came to a decision to market another system.  Oddly enough it was a step back in time.

Atari introduced the XE Game System in 1987.  The XEGS was merely a console remake of their 8-bit Atari 65XE computer.  For $199 you got the console, a standard joystick, a light gun and a pack in game called Bug Hunt (light gun game).
Even though it looks like a console, the XEGS is a true 8-bit Atari computer system.  It offered the convenience of a detachable keyboard, compatibility with any standard Atari 8-bit computer peripherals, while offering 64K RAM.  When no cartridge was inserted it would also start up with a built-in version of Missile Command.  The marketing strategy was to take advantage of the back stock of Atari computer cartridges (10 years worth).  Some Atari 5200 games were also remade since the architecture was quite similar.  Of course the XEGS could not compete with the likes of newer systems and Atari pulled it from production after a short time.

FACT:  The XEGS was basically an Atari 5200 with computer capabilities.  The internal architecture is nearly identical.  However the XEGS had a lot more RAM and oddly enough the Atari 5200 carts were not compatible.

     Officially licensed releases
The Atari XE Game System (XEGS) was packaged in two varieties. Both included the CX-40 joystick, but the deluxe model also included the keyboard, light gun and two additional games (Flight Simulator II and Bug Hunt). The consoles themselves were identical

     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 04 The chassis itself is not completely horrible, but the pastel colored buttons on the XEGS are truly puzzling.  Controller ports are situated underneath the side of the console, which makes it difficult to properly seat the joystick or keyboard.
Console Durability 07 Like their XE line of personal computers, the XEGS is solidly constructed.  Games firmly seat in the cartridge port, but at times I have had issues not recognizing the inserted game.
Controllers 04 A restyled Atari 2600 joystick controller, a light gun and keyboard accompany the system.  The joystick is extremely fragile (same as the 2600).  The light gun is surprisingly accurate.  The matching keyboard is functional, yet the cord is extremely short requiring you to basically sit on top of the console when playing games that utilize this peripheral.
Graphics 06 Overall the graphics are crisp and displayed in vibrant colors.  Slow down is minimal, even when the system is being taxed during high activity.
Audio 08 The XEGS pumps out some awesome audio effects including voice synthesis. 
Media 06 Though I like the compact design of the cartridges, I have noticed that the game has to be set in just so for the system to recognize it.  I am not sure if this is a hardware related item or not.
Gamer Value 07 With a library of over 80 compatible games, the XEGS offers great value for those looking to enjoy some excellent 8-bit gaming.
Collector Value 04 These consoles are fairly common and relatively cheap to acquire.  Since this system is basically a XE computer jammed into a console chassis, there is nothing innovative about the XEGS.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Atari XE Game System (XEGS) was distributed on ROM cartridges that were identical in size to those utilized on their existing line of XE computers.  The light grey cartridges featured a dark royal blue background with the XEGS logo and title graphic.

Though only 32 titles were released in distinctive XE Game System packaging (pictured below), the standalone XEGS is fully compatible with all XE cartridge based software.  The keyboard interface provides access to BASIC which enables the use of XE compatible peripherals.  One of these optional devices, the 1050 Disk Drive, provides full access to the Atari 8-bit library released on 5 1/4 floppy disks.

Due to the unique packaging, software for the XEGS is pricey compared to standard XE titles.  It is difficult to justify spending the extra coin for these when the actual game is exactly the same.  That being said, a complete XEGS library does look rather impressive in anyone's Room of Doom.
applemctom's Games that Defined Compiliation

Atari XE Game System (XEGS) Game Boxes

     Captured in-game images
Ace of Aces
Barnyard Blaster
Blue Max
Bug Hunt
Crime Buster
Crystal Castles
Dark Chambers
David's Midnight Magic
Desert Falcon
Donkey Kong
Eastern Front 1941
Fight Night
Flight Simulator II
Food Fight
Into the Eagles Nest
Lode Runner
Mario Bros.
Missile Command
Rescue on Fractalus
Star Raiders 2
Summer Games

     First and third party system emulators

Multi-platform Atari 8-bit emulator.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Atari 6502c (8 bit custom design) 1.79 MHz Pokey (sound chip), Antic (graphics), GTIA (video), Freddy (Memory Management) 64 Kb \ 16 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
320 x 192 256 (16 on-screen) 8 Sprites 4 channels. 3.5 octaves
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge  8 KB 32 (uniquely packaged) Atari 8-bit
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
None None (optional tape drive sold separately) Joystick, Keyboard, Light Gun
(all included)
Tape Drive, Printer, etc.
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Two (2) None SCIO peripheral port
(tape, disk, printer, modem)
RF, Composite
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: 120V, 60 Hz
Output: DC 5V, 17W, 1A
None The game Missile Command was built into the system along with BASIC.
Bug Hunt and Flight Simulator II came packaged with the system.
Atari XE Game System Owners Manual (PDF) - 5.12 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Atari XE Game System (XEGS) Television Commercials

     Visitor insights and feedback
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