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Developed externally by General Computer Corporation for Atari, the Atari 3600 was originally intended to be released in June of 1984, putting it on the market a year ahead of the looming Nintendo Entertainment System. These plans were cancelled when Atari was sold to Tramiel Technology Ltd on July 2nd of 1984. Due to Tramiel's typical idiocy when it came to paying people for their work, the launch of the project, now dubbed the Atari 7800 ProSystem, was delayed for nationwide release until May of 1986.

TECH
Atari 7800 ProSystem
Manufacturer: Atari
Model: CX-7800
Type: TV game console


Processor: SALLY 6502C @ 1.19 MHz/1.79 MHz
Memory: 4 kB RAM, 4 kB BIOS ROM, 48 kB cart ROM
Dimensions: 292.1mm x 215.9mm x 82.55



The two year shelving of the system allowed Nintendo to gain the lion's share of retail floor and shelf space, which relegated the 7800 to follow in Nintendo's footsteps, and to later be walked over by Sega with the Sega Master System. The lack of innovative, or even available games made the system for many, a fancy way of playing their Atari 2600 library with the system's complete backwards compatibility, a function sorely lacking in the Atari 5200 Super System.

SPEC
Display: 160x240, 320x240
Variable simultaneous color display per screen mode from a palette of 256
Sprites: >100

Audio: 4 voice (square wave) monophonic sound



The combined lack of 7800 games, with Atari's release of a compact and budget-priced refresh of the Atari 2600, meant that Atari was shooting itself directly in the foot, if not the head. Those who were unsure of buying a 7800 with the NES already ruling the roost, could pay the price of one game for the 2600 refresh, and continue to play their 2600 library, or even pick up games from the secondhand market.

Despite the many foibles in its development and marketing, the Atari 7800 remained a profitable venture for Atari both in the United States, as well as in European nations. Atari officially terminated production of the 2600, 7800, XEGS, and their 8 bit computer lines on January 1st, 1991, with stock of at least Atari 7800 games appearing in many close-out stores such as Big Lots, being liquidated for as little as one dollar.





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