Atari 5200 FAQ
Version 3.3
April 09, 2001
Maintained by Keita Iida
ssisted by John Hardie
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Copyright (c) 1996-2001 by Keita Iida, Atari Gaming Headquarters 
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The data contained herein is provided for information purposes only.
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Bob Ayik
Dan Boris
Kevan Hearn
Leonard Herman
Brian Holscher
Kevin Horton
Jerry Jessop
Mike Kahler
Sean Kelly
Bo Krogsgaard
Scot Leibacher
John Vivian Matthews
Russ Perry, Jr.
Scottie Prince
Pete Schmek
Joe Scoleri
Jay Tilton
Game Raters:
Ralph Barbagallo        (RB)
Edward A. Brunner       (EB)
Clint Dyer              (CD)
Kevan Hearn             (KHe)
Kevin Horton            (KH)
Keita Iida              (KI)
Jeffry Johnston         (JJ)
Todd Lawrence           (TL)
John Vivian Matthews    (JVM)
Daniel A. Mazurowski    (DAM)
Dan Mowczan             (DM)
Daniel Edward Reinholtz (DER)
Tony Salvaro            (TS)
Mike St.Clair           (MSC)
Jay Tilton              (JT)
Casey Wales             (CW)
Bert Whetstone          (BW)
by Sean Kelly
1.0)  General Information
      1.1 -- What is the Atari 5200 SuperSystem?
      1.2 -- Did you know?
2.0)  Cartridge Information
      2.1 -- Atari 5200 game list
      2.2 -- Label/game/box variations
      2.3 -- Games believed not to exist
      2.4 -- The best and worst 5200 games
      2.5 -- General software info, tidbits, cheats and easter eggs
      2.6 -- What's the REAL story behind Cloak and Dagger?
      2.7 -- What games are compatible with the Trak-ball controller?
      2.8 -- What is the 5200 Multicart and how can I get one?
3.0)  Hardware Information
      3.1 -- Hardware known to exist
      3.2 -- Hardware believed not to exist
      3.3 -- General hardware tidbits
      3.4 -- What was the top-secret "Puffer Project"?
4.0)  Technical Info and Hardware Specifications
      4.1 -- Hardware specifications
      4.2 -- Hardware overview
      4.3 -- Memory map
      4.4 -- BIOS
      4.5 -- 5200 controller pinout
      4.6 -- Cartridge slot pinout
      4.7 -- Expansion port pinout
      4.8 -- What are the differences between the 2-port and 4-port
      4.9 -- How can the 4-port model be modified to work with the
                  VCS cartridge adapter?
      4.10 - 2-port production modifications
      4.11 - Logic board IC chip functions
      4.12 - Differences between the 5200 and Atari 8-bit computers
      4.13 - Chroma/Luma (composite video) and audio output
      4.14 - How do I build a switchbox for the 4-port 5200?
5.0)  Maintenance, Replacement and Repair Tips
      5.1 -- 5200 console
      5.2 -- 5200 controllers
             5.21 -- Cleaning and maintenance
             5.22 -- Replacing and repairing 5200 controllers
6.0)  Alternatives to the Standard Controllers
      6.1 -- Third party joystick controllers
      6.2 -- Masterplay Interface
      6.3 -- Build your own 2600 joystick adapter
      6.4 -- PC analog joystick to 5200 adapter
      6.5 -- Converting a standard 5200 joystick to a paddle
      6.6 -- Where can I purchase replacement 5200 controllers?  
                  Where can I get my 5200 controllers fixed?
7.0)  Atari 5200 Emulators
8.0)  Other Resources
      8.1 -- Internet Resources
             8.11 -- World Wide Web Pages
             8.12 -- USENET Newsgroups
             8.13 -- Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
             8.14 -- FTP Sites
9.0)  Atari 5200 Dealers
I don't know that I would call myself anything of an expert on the
Atari 5200, but I have played virtually every game for the system and
actually like many of them whereas I'm not a real big fan of the
The one thing that comes to most people's minds when the subject of
the 5200 is brought up is its God-forsaken controllers, and
rightfully so - they're undoubtedly one of the worst controllers made
for any system in my opinion.  However, the problem that I'd like to
address for a few here is the fact that its lousy controllers have
overshadowed the system overall which is NOT cool.  Intellivision
fans have dealt with what most people consider awful controllers, but
they still enjoy many of the good games Mattel put out for the system
so it doesn't make much sense why the 5200's faults can't be
overlooked in the controller department - or does it.
Atari launched the 5200 on the heels of what was (and still is) one
of the most popular videogame systems of all time - the 2600.  A
system that set a standard for controllers to be followed for
decades.  Mattel went in its own direction from day one and pretty
much went after people looking for a little more out of their video-
games.  Not necessarily "more" overall, but in terms of involvement.
While the 2600 has several different types of controllers available
for it, the system's basic capabilities just didn't offer the
programmer much of a chance to get too far into their games no matter
what controller they programmed it for.
So as game systems advanced and Atari began to realize that there was
only so much that programmers were going to be able to get out of the
2600, they came up with what was called the "Video System X" in its
early stages of development.  The system was to have a keypad like
Intellivision and Colecovision, probably an excellent idea on Atari's
part as it allows for a much wider array of gameplay options, but
then they apparently felt they had to revolutionize the controller
industry once again and decided to attach an analog joystick to that
The 2600's controllers are what's called "digital," meaning you are
either pressing a button or you're not.  The joystick itself is
simply a set of four buttons under the stick that you unknowingly
press when you move the joystick in a direction.  An analog signal
measures HOW FAR you're moving the joystick which, here again I have
to admit, does make for some interesting gameplay options, but since
the 5200's sticks do not spring back to the center position when you
let go of the stick it's difficult to get used to.
Who's gonna complain about the keypad they came out with though?
Start, pause and reset right on the controller?  Gotta like that a
Now the games made for the 5200 are a completely different story and
pretty much the whole point of my writing here.  Most of the games on
the system are fantastic!  If you look at the games released for the
Atari 400/800, which uses standard digital joysticks, they were
excellent in many cases.  The computer didn't have the controller
problems the 5200 had and the games and computer were very well
received.  Since the 5200 is nothing more than an Atari 8-bit 400/800
with a few minor modifications, like games, for the most part, are
quite similar, if not exactly carbon copies!  Of course, the 5200 had
many games that were not available on its 8-bit computer counterpart
(and quite a few games that were available for both systems were
superior on the 5200), so it's definitely worth getting into if you
haven't already.  Some of the classic ports are excellent and still
not found on any other system.  Space Dungeon immediately springs to
Some of the third-party controllers you will find described here
overcome the problems of Atari's controller and could practically be
called life-savers for the system.  Check into a Competition Pro or
Wico joystick if you absolutely cannot stand the Atari sticks.
Better still is the Masterplay Interface if you can get your hands
on one - they're pretty hard to come by.
Judging the system by its controllers sucks in my opinion.  Try and
work around them if you can't deal with them and you'll be treated to
a library of some of the very best games ever made!
The Atari 5200 SuperSystem premiered in 1982, and was the successor
to the venerable VCS (2600) which dominated the first wave of
cartridge-based home videogame systems.  The 5200 offered improved
graphics and several features not found on any other system during
its time.
When the 5200 was first unveiled, Atari had solid reasons for
optimism.  After all, beneath the sleek, uncluttered exterior of the
unit lurked the throbbing power of a 16K computer designed
specifically to play high-quality games.  The heart of the Super 
System was, in essence, an Atari 400/800 computer, the most powerful
8-bit home computer system of its era, and thus games could
theoretically be easily (and rapidly) ported between the two
The controllers have a small calculator-sized numeric keypad and two
fire buttons are located at each side.  The controller was a gallant
attempt at cross-breeding the trak-ball and conventional joystick.  It
uses an analog control mechanism, offering a full 360 degrees of
mobility instead of the usual 4 or 8 positions.  There is a speed
control built-in, which, on specific cartridges, allows the player to
speed up the action.  The harder the stick is pushed to any given
direction, the faster the on-screen moving object will zip across the
playfield.  Also found on the controller is a "pause" button which 
enables the player to put any game on hold for as long as he likes.
This now-standard feature on modern systems was first pioneered on
the 5200.  Atari's attempt at revolutionizing the joystick, however,
turned out to be a mixed bag.  The controllers do not self-center,
making games like Pole Position and Star Raiders a joy to play. On
the other hand, games that demand precise, 4-way input from the
player (like Pac-Man) can be an exercise in frustration for many
gamers.  In addition, the joysticks are infamous for being among the
most unreliable controllers ever made.
In addition to the then-futuristic but flakey controllers, the
SuperSystem offered several other advancements in hardware design.
4-port 5200 systems utilized a special switch box where the power 
supply plugs directly into the switch box and not the system itself.  
Furthermore, the switch box was automatic, meaning the user was no
longer required to walk to the back of the television and select
between "TV" or "Game" each time to select the mode he or she
desired (later 2-port systems reverted back to the standard RF
switchbox found in just about ever other game console.)  In 
addition, a special feature only found in the 5200 put the screen
on silent black when you change cartridges (no more raspy white
Although the 5200 enjoyed moderate success during its heyday, the
gaming public never completely warmed to the SuperSystem, and the
"Great Videogame Crash of 1983" helped to seal its fate along with
the rest of the home videogame consoles.  It should be noted, 
however, that the 5200 was outselling the Colecovision when Atari
decided to pull the plug on its advanced video game system in 1984.
The software selection at launch consisted mostly of proven but tired
classics that failed to utilize the 5200's audio/visual talents.
Titles such as Super Breakout, Galaxian and Space Invaders were
unsuccessful in generating excitement among gamers who were looking
for the "next wave" in console gaming.  Once the system passed
through its introductory period, however, Atari began to liberally
salt the 5200 library with glittering new gems like Qix, Vanguard,
Robotron:2084, Space Dungeon, Pengo, Joust and Ms. Pac-Man.  Atari
also had first call on games marketed by its coin-op arm, which
brought arcade hits such as Dig Dug, Pole Position and Centipede
home.  By the time the 5200 was settled in with a respectable library
of quality titles, however, it was too late.  The Great Crash of 1983
was well under way, and the 5200 joined the likes of Colecovision,
Vectrex, Intellivision and others as the home console market came
crumbling down.  As a result, there is an inordinately high number of
prototypes which exist for the 5200.
Upon hindsight, the reasons as to why the 5200 never became the sales
success that Atari had hoped are quite apparent.  Despite being a
large company for its time, not even a behemoth like Atari had the
means to support four product lines with quality games for each
(2600, 5200, 400/800 and coin-op).  Resources which should have been
allocated for 5200 game development went instead to the 2600, a
system which was on its last legs and already saturated with software
from Atari and its third party publishers.  In addition, the fact
that the 5200 was not compatible with the 2600 put off many 2600
owners who had accumulated a substantial library of games for the
system (a VCS adapter which allowed 2600 games to be played on the
5200 was later released).  Furthermore, although the 5200 was a
quantum leap beyond the 2600 in terms of technology, the SuperSystem
was not that much better than Colecovision and Vectrex.  But perhaps
the main factor that led to the doom of the 5200 -- and, for that
matter, the entire home gaming industry -- was the result of the
rapid price drop of affordable game-oriented computers like the Atari
800XL and Commodore 64, both of which were sub-$300 gaming machines
that also doubled as computing and productivity devices.
Today, the Atari 5200 is a favorite among retrogamers, nostalgists
and collectors.  While many of the coin-op translations have
subsequently been improved upon by modern systems, there are
an abundance of compelling games that no gamer should be without.
Space Dungeon, Rescue on Fractalus, Qix, Beamrider, Gremlins, Bounty
Bob Strikes Back (the spectacular sequel to Miner 2049er), Pengo,
Wizard of Wor, Berzerk, Missile Command and Centipede are some of the
shining stars among the impressive repertoire of 5200 cartridges.  
The latter two are especially enjoyable when played with the optional
Trak-ball controller.  For those who are more gamer than collector
and have $125 to burn, he or she can purchase a 5200 multicart from
Sean Kelly.  Not only does the multicart contain every released game
in the 5200 library, but virtually every prototype game known to
exist is included as well!  And that's a good thing when you consider
that the SuperSystem has an outrageously large amount of prototypes,
some of which are fantastic. (Jr. Pac-Man, Xari Arena, Meebzork,
Millipede and Track and Field come to mind).
Despite its relative small library of games and being a lukewarm
seller in the early 1980s (compared to the 2600), the Atari 5200
has a significant following of die-hard enthusiasts and collectors
who recognize its excellence as a gaming machine.  And that, folks,
speaks volumes about a home videogame system that rode off into the
sunset over a decade ago!
1.2 -- DID YOU KNOW?
The 5200 was originally conceived as Atari's answer to Mattel's
Intellivision, NOT the Colecovision as many people think.  As an
example, the 5200's analog joystick was a response to Mattel touting
its unit having 16 positions of movement compared to the 2600's
eight.  Atari's plan was to upstage the Intellivision in this area by
creating an analog controller with 360 degrees of full motion
The 5200 was created at a time when poor marketing and questionable
company policy ran rampant within Atari.  The 5200 controller was
developed by an individual who had NEVER even played a single video
game in his life!  Response to the controllers from focus groups and
clinics were poor, but the marketing arm stubbornly insisted on
releasing the system with the "groundbreaking" elements intact.  In
addition, the controller was partially influenced by corporate policy
where hardware designers and engineers were offered bonuses for
creating designs that received patents.  Not surprisingly, many
engineers and designers developed hardware that were innovative
for the sake of being "original", with complete disregard for 
The engineers were so adamant in their disapproval of the 5200's
controllers that they sent a petition to the director of engineering
in hopes that the non-centering joystick would not be released in its
finished form.
The wedge-shape design of the 5200 was influenced mainly by the 2700
(aka. "RC Stella"), a prototype remote-controlled 2600.  Other 2700
design features, such as the side-mounted fire buttons and the non-
self-centering joystick mechanism, carried over to the 5200 design as
The Atari 3600 (aka. "Silvia") was originally planned as the
successor to the 2600.  Silvia's bizarre 10-bit chip set (similar to
the Intellivision) was designed in 1978-79.  One must remember that
the shelf life of typical home videogame systems during this period
was generally two years at most, and Atari did not, in its wildest
dreams, foresee the 2600 becoming the awesome videogaming force that
it eventually became.  The 3600 was killed by the game programmers
who complained that it was too difficult to program games for the
machine (as if 2600 game development was any cakewalk).
Code names had always been popular at Warner Atari.  The VCS was
internally referred to as "Stella," the 400 computer was "Candy," the
800 was "Coleen" and the 5200 was nicknamed "Pam."  All of the
aforementioned machines were named after well-endowed female 
employees who were working at Atari.  The 5200 was unique in that 
Atari strongly considered using Pam as the actual name of the unit 
before changing it to "Video System X" and eventually deciding on 
5200.  Why?  Because it would have been the abbreviation for 
"Personal Arcade Machine."
2.1 -- ATARI 5200 GAME LIST
Rarity Ratings are as follows:
C-, C, C+ ---- Common
U-, U, U+ ---- Uncommon
R-, R, R+ ---- Rare
ER-, ER, ER+ - Extremely Rare
UR ----------- Unbelievably Rare
PROTO -------- Prototype only
NR ----------- Not believed to exist, even as a prototype
For example, an ER cart would be slightly more common than an ER+
and harder to find than an ER- game.
Title                   Publisher        Product #    Rarity   lay?
-----                   ---------        ---------    ------   -----
A.E.                    Atari                         PROTO    NO
ASTEROIDS               Atari            CX 5201      PROTO    NO
ASTRO CHASE             Parker Brothers  9560         R+       NO
BALLBLAZER              Atari/Lucasfilm  CX 5255      R        NO
BAR ROOM BASEBALL       Atari                         PROTO    NO
BATTLEZONE              Atari            CX 5239      PROTO    NO
BEAMRIDER               Activision       FZ-009       ER-      NO
BEHIND JAGGI LINES      Atari/Lucasfilm  CX 5254      PROTO    NO
BERZERK                 Atari            CX 5221      U        NO
BLACK BELT              Atari            CX 5231      PROTO    NO
BLUE PRINT              CBS Electronics  80033        R-       YES
BOOGIE DEMO CART        Atari                         PROTO    NO
BOUNTY BOB STRIKES BACK Big Five Soft.                ER       NO
BUCK ROGERS: PLANET     Sega             005-02       R-       NO
             OF ZOOM
CENTIPEDE               Atari            CX 5215      C        YES
CHOPLIFTER              Atari            CX 5253      R        NO
CONGO BONGO             Sega             006-02       R-       NO
COUNTERMEASURE          Atari            CX 5210      C        YES
CRAM CARTRIDGE          Atari                         ?        NO
DECATHLON               Activision       FZ-008       U        NO
DEFENDER                Atari            CX 5218      C        YES
DIAGNOSTIC CARTRIDGE    Atari            FD100144     ER       NO
DIG DUG                 Atari            CX 5211      C+       NO
DREADNAUGHT FACTOR, THE Activision       FZ-005       R-       NO
FAIL SAFE               Atari            CX 5210      PROTO    NO
FINAL LEGACY            Atari            CX 5256      PROTO    NO
FOOTBALL                Atari            CX 5207      C        YES
FRISKY TOM              Atari                         PROTO    NO
FROGGER                 Parker Brothers  9530         C+       YES
FROGGER II: THREEEDEEP! Parker Brothers  9090         ER       NO
GALAXIAN                Atari            CX 5206      C        YES
GORF                    CBS Electronics  80013        R-       YES
GREMLINS                Atari            CX 5257      ER-      NO
GYRUSS                  Parker Brothers  9080         R        NO
H.E.R.O.                Activision       FZ-007       R        NO
JAMES BOND 007          Parker Brothers  9100         ER       NO
JOUST                   Atari            CX 5240      U-       NO
JR. PAC-MAN             Atari            CX 5251      PROTO    NO
JUNGLE HUNT             Atari            CX 5222      U-       NO
JUNGLE RIVER CRUISE     Atari                         PROTO    NO
K-RAZY SHOOTOUT         CBS Electronics  80503        ER+      NO
KABOOM!                 Activision       FZ-001       U        YES
KANGAROO                Atari            CX 5229      C+       NO
KEYSTONE KAPERS         Activision       FZ-006       U        NO
LAST STARFIGHTER, THE   Atari            CX 5260      PROTO    NO
LOONEY TUNES HOTEL      Atari                         PROTO    NO
MARIO BROTHERS          Atari            CX 5247      U+       NO
MEEBZORK                Atari                         PROTO    NO
MEGAMANIA               Activision       FZ-003       U        NO
METEORITES              Electra Concepts              UR       NO
MICRO-GAMMON SB         Atari                         PROTO    NO
MILLIPEDE               Atari            CX 5248      PROTO    NO
MINIATURE GOLF          Atari            CX 5230      PROTO    NO
MINER 2049ER            Big Five Soft.   BF1912       R+       NO
MISSILE COMMAND         Atari            CX 5202      C+       YES
MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE     Parker Brothers  9460         R+       NO
MOON PATROL             Atari            CX 5241      U        NO
MOUNTAIN KING           CBS Electronics  80083        R        YES
MR. DO'S CASTLE         Parker Brothers  9420         ER-      NO
MS. PAC-MAN             Atari            CX 5243      U-       NO
PAC-MAN                 Atari            CX 5208      C-       YES
PENGO                   Atari            CX 5236      R-       NO
PETE'S TEST CARTRIDGE   Atari                         PROTO    NO
PITFALL!                Activision       FZ-004       U        NO
PITFALL II              Activision       FZ-011       U+       NO
POLE POSITION           Atari            CX 5217      C+       NO
POPEYE                  Parker Brothers  9510         C+       NO
Q*BERT                  Parker Brothers  9500         C+       NO
QIX                     Atari            CX 5121      U-       YES
QUEST FOR QUINTANA ROO  Sunrise Software #1603        ER-      NO
REALSPORTS BASEBALL     Atari            CX 5209      U        YES
REALSPORTS BASKETBALL   Atari            CX 5219      PROTO    NO
REALSPORTS FOOTBALL     Atari            CX 5207      C        YES
REALSPORTS SOCCER       Atari            CX 5213      C+       YES
REALSPORTS TENNIS       Atari            CX 5214      U+       YES
RESCUE ON FRACTALUS!    Atari/Lucasfilm  CX 5254      ER-      NO
RIVER RAID              Activision       FZ-002       U        YES
ROAD RUNNER             Atari            CX 5242      PROTO    NO
ROBOTRON: 2084          Atari            CX 5225      U+       NO
SOCCER                  Atari            CX 5213      C        YES
SPACE DUNGEON           Atari            CX 5232      U        NO
SPACE INVADERS          Atari            CX 5204      C        YES
SPACE SHUTTLE           Activision       FZ-012       U+       YES
SPITFIRE                Atari                         PROTO    NO
SPORT GOOFY             Atari            CX 5237      PROTO    NO
STARGATE                Atari            CX 5252      PROTO    NO
STAR RAIDERS            Atari            CX 5205      C+       YES
STAR TREK               Sega             004-02       R        NO
STAR WARS ROTJ: DEATH   Parker Brothers  9060         ER+      NO
          STAR BATTLE
STAR WARS: THE ARCADE   Parker Brothers  9040         R+       NO
SUPER BREAKOUT          Atari            CX 5203      C-       YES
SUPER COBRA             Parker Brothers  9550         R        NO
SUPER PAC-MAN           Atari                         PROTO    NO
TEMPEST                 Atari            CX 5220      PROTO    NO
TICKER TAPE DEMO        Atari                         PROTO    NO
TRACK 'N FIELD          Atari            CX 5258      PROTO    NO
TUMBLEWEEDS             Atari                         PROTO    NO
VANGUARD                Atari            CX 5216      U-       NO
WIZARD OF WOR           CBS Electronics  80003        R-       YES
XARI ARENA              Atari                         PROTO    NO
XEVIOUS                 Atari            CX 5246      PROTO    NO
YELLOW SUBMARINE DEMO   Atari                         PROTO    NO
ZAXXON                  Sega             008-02       ER+      NO
ZENJI                   Activision       FZ-010       ER       NO
ZONE RANGER             Activision       FZ-101       R+       NO
As far as Atari releases are concerned, there are four main cart
label variations.  All Atari-released 5200 carts are similar in that
there is only a front label, and no side or end labels.
1) Games with a copyright of 1982 have a large "ATARI" logo with the
   5200 logo beside it.  In addition, the trademark information and
   copyright dates are on the bottom edge of the front label, 
   underneath the illustration.
2) Games with a copyright of 1983/84 are similar to the 1982 labels,
   with a few exceptions.  The "Atari" logo (with the 5200 on the
   side) is smaller and is shifted to the top right side of the
   label.  To the left of the logo, it reads "VIDEO GAME CARTRIDGE"
   and "ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM," both with rather small fonts.  The
   trademark and copyright information is on the left side of the
3) The labels on the 1986 Atari Corporation releases are exactly like
   the 1983/84 Atari Inc. carts, but with one MAJOR difference--
   the title of the game is not mentioned anywhere on the cart!  The
   illustration on the label is the only hint of what game the cart
   actually is.  Of course, the game titles are typed on the front of
   the box and on the instruction manual.  All Ballblazer and Rescue
   on Fractalus carts have this label, and the following titles are
   known to have this variation as well (along with the standard 1982
   or 1983/84 label):
   Space Invaders
4) Another minor variation found on Atari-released 5200 carts are
   the grayish labels (as opposed to the normal silver color) in
   some of the Atari Corp. releases.  The label is dull-gray in
   appearance like the ones found in late release 2600 and 7800
   A few other Atari-released label oddities exist.  For example,
   there is a 1986 release of Dig Dug which has the title on the
   cart, which is unlike almost any other 1986 release or re-release.
5) Football was later renamed Realsports Football.  The title for
   Soccer was also later changed to Realsports Soccer.  Differences 
   in titles and slight alterations in the cart/box art work 
   notwithstanding, the gameplay for both titles is the same.
Both Bounty Bob Strikes Back and Miner 2049er by Big Five Software
   both have two different labels.  The more common of the two
   variations features a picture label on a red case.  A precious few
   have a silver foil label with plain text, which is much more
   difficult to find than the picture label carts.
Zone Ranger by Activision comes in two flavors.  The earlier release
   has a regular illustrated label, the type used in all other
   Activision games.  The later, and more common version (mostly seen
   being sold by Telegames) has a silver foil label with black text.
Masterplay Interface by Electra Concepts has two different boxes.
   The Masterplay was originally packaged in a small black box with
   red pinstripes and no illustration.  Later (and more common) units
   had larger boxes with pictures and illustrations.
Several late Activision releases for the 5200 have unusual box and
manual variations.  Whether it was a result of a cost-cutting
initiative or merely a foul-up on their part, we may never know.
Quite a few of the late releases come in 2600 boxes!  Although they
supposedly shipped that way from the factory as brand-new 5200 carts,
the box clearly states "for Atari 2600" and in some cases states
"for Colecovision."  Some of these boxes have "for Atari 5200"
stickers pasted on the box over where it originally stated a
different system.
That's not all.  Some of the manuals included with the game were
nothing more than photocopies with shrunken down text.  Some of the
manuals were also made with instructions for more than one version of
that particular game (i.e., Pitfall for the 2600, Colecovision and
Atari 5200).  Finally, quite a few of the Activision releases had
either manuals for the wrong system or had NO manuals packaged with
the game!
Title                       Publisher             Product #
-----                       ---------             ---------
ADVENTURE                   Atari
ARABIAN                     Atari
ASTEROIDS DELUXE            Atari
  (Same as Asteroids?)
ASTRO GROVER                Atari                 CX 5233
BIG BIRD HIDE 'N SEEK       Atari                 CX 5235
BLACK WIDOW                 Atari
   (Joystick connector)
BRISTLES                    First Star Soft.
BUMP 'N JUMP                Sega
CAMPAIGN '84                Sunrise Software
CHESS                       Parker Brothers
CLOAK AND DAGGER            Atari
   (Joystick Connector)
CRYSTAL CASTLES             Atari                 CX 5223
DOMINO MAN                  CBS Electronics       80133
DONALD DUCK                 Atari                 CX 5244
DRAGONSTOMPER               Starpath
DUKES OF HAZZARD            Atari
ELEVATOR ACTION             Atari                 CX 5250
ESCAPE FROM THE             Starpath
ESPIAL                      Tigervision
FALL GUY, THE               20th Century Fox
FATHOM                      Imagic
FLIP & FLOP                 First Star Soft.
FOOD FIGHT                  Atari                 CX 5245
FOOTBALL                    Atari
   (For Video System X)
GALAGA                      Atari                 CX 5228
GRAVITAR                    Atari                 CX 5224
HIGHWAY                     Atari                 CX 5227
JAWBREAKER                  Sierra On-Line
KRULL                       Atari
LASER GATES                 Imagic
LEGACY, THE                 Atari
   (Renamed Final Legacy)
LOCO-MOTION                 Atari                 CX 5226
LODE RUNNER                 Broderbund
MADDEN FOOTBALL             CBS Electronics       80123
MAD PLANETS                 Parker Brothers
MAJOR HAVOC                 Atari
MARTIAL ARTS                Atari                 CX 5231
MOONSWEEPER                 Imagic
MS. PAC-MAN                 Atari
   ("Puffer" Edition)
MUPPET GO-ROUND             Atari                 CX 5234
OMEGA RACE                  CBS                   80093
ORBITER                     Atari                 CX 5250
   (Last Starfighter?)
PARTY MIX                   Starpath
POLARIS                     Tigervision           700752
POLE POSITION               Atari
   ("Puffer" Edition)
PURSUIT OF THE PINK         Probe 2000 (Odyssey)
QUANTUM                     Atari
QUICK STEP                  Imagic
RABBIT TRANSIT              Starpath
RISK                        Parker Brothers
RIVER PATROL                Tigervision           700452
SATAN'S HOLLOW              CBS                   80143
SCRAPER CAPER               Big Five Soft.
SERPENTINE                  Broderbund
SINISTAR                    Atari                 CX 5249
SKIING                      Atari
SOLAR FOX                   CBS Electronics
SPACE DUEL                  Atari
SPRINGER                    Tigervision           700652
SPY HUNTER                  Sega
STAR TREK: THE MOTION       Milton Bradley
STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE       Parker Brothers
SUBTERFUGE                  Atari                 CX 5238
SUPERMAN III                Atari                 CX 5222
SURVIVAL ISLAND             Starpath
SWEAT: THE DECATHLON        Starpath
TAC-SCAN                    Sega
TANK                        Atari                 CX 5210
TANK BATTLE                 Atari
TAPPER                      Sega
TOY BIZARRE                 Activision
TUNNEL RUNNER               CBS Electronics
TUTANKHAM                   Parker Brothers       9540
UP 'N DOWN                  Sega
WARP WARS                   Activision
WINGS                       CBS Electronics
WING WAR                    Imagic
WRATH OF QUINTANA ROO       Sunrise Software
5200 gamers were asked to rate each game that they played, in both
graphics and gameplay, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being best).  Below
are the results (ranked in order of their average gameplay scores).
In an attempt to eliminate skew, the high and low scores are dropped 
when a game receives enough ratings from contributors.
Only games that have been rated by at least three voters will be
included in the poll.  Otherwise, the sampling error would simply be
too large for reliable scores.
If you would like to contribute as a game rater, by all means drop me
a line!
                                Gameplay    Graphics    # Raters
                                --------    --------    --------
1.  Montezuma's Revenge         4.71        4.43        (7)
2.  Rescue on Fractalus!        4.6         4.2         (5)
3.  Space Dungeon               4.5         4.08        (12)
4.  Zaxxon                      4.43        4.57        (7)
5.  Pitfall II                  4.33        4.33        (12)
6.  Star Raiders                4.27        3.8         (15)
    Qix                         4.27        3.73        (11)
8.  Ballblazer                  4.25        4.5         (8)
9.  Wizard of Wor               4.22        4           (9)
10. Defender                    4.15        4           (13)
11. Gyruss                      4.14        3.29        (7)
12. Centipede                   4.13        3.6         (15)
13. Moon Patrol                 4.1         3.9         (10)
    Robotron: 2084              4.1         3.7         (10)
15. Jr. Pac-Man (Proto)         4           3.75        (4)
    Millipede                   4           3.5         (4)
    Gremlins                    4           3.8         (5)
    Choplifter!                 4           3.14        (7)
    Miner 2049er                4           3.36        (11)
    Frogger II: Threeedeep!     4           4           (7)
    Mountain King               4           2.89        (9)
    Pengo                       4           3.89        (8)
23. Pitfall!                    3.9         3.6         (10)
24. Joust                       3.87        3.87        (15)
25. Ms. Pac-Man                 3.83        4.08        (12)
    Beamrider                   3.83        3.5         (6)
27. Kaboom!                     3.82        3.27        (11)
28. Bounty Bob Strikes Back     3.8         3.8         (5)
    Zone Ranger                 3.8         3.8         (10)
30. River Raid                  3.79        3.64        (14)
31. H.E.R.O.                    3.75        3.75        (4)
32. Mario Bros.                 3.73        3.55        (11)
33. Dig Dug                     3.71        3.71        (14)
    Missile Command             3.71        3.36        (14)
35. Megamania                   3.7         3.6         (10)
36. Xari Arena (Proto)          3.67        3.33        (3)
    Xevious (Proto)             3.67        3           (3)
    Star Trek                   3.67        3.56        (9)
39. Pac-Man                     3.6         3.73        (15)
40. Keystone Kapers             3.56        3.78        (9)
41. Berzerk                     3.54        3.08        (13)
42. Jungle Hunt                 3.5         3.83        (12)
    Vanguard                    3.5         3.58        (12)
    Dreadnaught Factor, The     3.5         4           (8)
    Pole Position               3.5         3.43        (14)
46. RealSports Baseball         3.44        3.44        (9)
47. Q*Bert                      3.38        3.46        (13)
48. Last Starfighter (Proto)    3.33        3.33        (3)
49. Galaxian                    3.31        3.38        (16)
50. Buck Rogers                 3.3         3.3         (10)
51. Frogger                     3.25        3.83        (12)
    Gorf                        3.25        3.38        (8)
53. Kangaroo                    3.2         2.87        (15)
54. Blue Print                  3.08        3.5         (12)
55. RealSports Tennis           3           3.33        (6)
    Mr. Do's Castle             3           2.86        (7)
    Super Cobra                 3           3.33        (6)
    Super Breakout              3           2.71        (17)
59. Popeye                      2.92        3.15        (13)
60. Star Wars: The Arcade Game  2.89        3.11        (9)
61. RealSports Soccer           2.88        2.62        (8)
62. Countermeasure              2.79        2.93        (14)
63. Astro Chase                 2.75        3.62        (8)
    Meteorites                  2.75        2.25        (4)
    Star Wars ROTJ: Death Star  2.75        2.75        (4)
66. RealSports Football         2.73        2.64        (11)
67. Space Invaders              2.69        2.62        (13)
68. Road Runner (Proto)         2.67        2.67        (3)
    Zenji                       2.67        2.67        (3)
70. Decathlon                   2.6         3           (5)
71. Battlezone (Proto)          2.5         2           (4)
72. Space Shuttle               2.43        3.43        (7)
73. James Bond 007              2.29        2.57        (7)
74. Congo Bongo                 2.27        2.27        (11)
75. Miniature Golf (Proto)      2           2           (3)
76. Quest for Quintana Roo      1.2         2.4         (5)
PROVISIONALLY RATED (not enough responses for these games yet)
Super Pac-Man (Proto)           5           5           (2)
Centipede ("Killer")            5           3           (1)
Tempest (Proto)                 4           5           (2)
Final Legacy                    3.5         3.5         (2)
Track and Field (Proto)         3.5         3.5         (2)
K-Razy Shootout                 3.5         2           (2)
Black Belt (Proto)              2.5         3.5         (2)
Sport Goofy (Proto)             2           2           (2)
Looney Tunes Hotel (Proto)      2           1.5         (2)
Micro-gammon SB (Proto)         2.5         3           (2)
Spitfire (Proto)                2           3           (2)
Asteroids (Proto)               1.5         2           (2)
RealSports Basketball (Proto)   1.5         1.5         (2)
Comments from the Gamers
The ratings after each comment are the scores given by that
particular individual.
A "5/4" would stand for Gameplay=4 Graphics=5.
     (KI) - It's no wonder Atari canned the game.  Sloppy isn't 
            a brutal enough description of the controls. (1/2)
Astro Chase
     (TL) - I don't understand it.  What's the point?  Graphics are
            good though. (score not given)
     (BW) - One of my all time favorites on any platform! (4/5)
     (KI) - Split screen, first person perspective and two player
            simultaneous gameplay.  Who could ask for anything more?
Battlezone (Prototype)
     (DM) - How did they manage to make this game so bad?  Redefined
            character sets made the tanks and obstacles unscalable,
            and just made the whole thing look like a bad game you
            typed-in on your own 8-bit from Antic magazine or
            something. (3/1)
     (KI) - No wonder this game was never released. (2/2)
     (TL) - This cool game taught me how to fight like a robot
            instead of chicken. (4/4)
     (EB) - Best home version of this game.  Speech is cool! (4/4)
Black Belt
     (KI) - A very early and unfinished fighting game.  Shows 
            promise but the lack of collision detection makes it 
            hard to judge the game.  (2/3)
Bounty Bob Strikes Back
     (KHe)- All I can say is "WOW!"  I thought Miner 2049er was great
            (and it still is), but Bounty Bob is king!  This game is
            incredibly fun AND challenging.  It takes the best
            elements of Miner, then expands on them.  There is so
            I like about this game: Lots-o-levels, tons of strategy,
            humor, warps, and a special configuration page to boot.
            Even the high score entry and display pages are great.
            This game is a definite 5/5 for graphics/playability.
            Thank you Bill Hogue! (5/5)
     (DER)- Game play is really different.  Takes all the fun of
            Miner 2049er out, sometimes it's hard to tell the
            difference between the two except for the different
            colors.  It's really difficult to jump from one level to
            another.  I'll say it again; game play is really
            difficult. (1/2)
Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom
     (DER)- A game I like except I wish they would have taken it
            further and made the graphics a bit better a la
            Ballblazer.  A distant predecessor to games like 1942.
     (DM) - My 5/5 rating is really based on the fact that this is a
            port, it's just a plain good 5200 version.  Smooth moving
            enemies, fantastic sound, and the trak-ball makes this
            probably one of my favorite 5200 titles. (5/5)
     (KHe)- Gameplay improves when using trak-ball.
     (EB) - Different from (and better than) the Atari 8-bit Computer
            version. (4/3)
     (JJ) - Beats Atari Computer version by a mile. (5/5)
Congo Bongo
     (JT) - Hate this damn game.  Cheezy 3-D perspective doesn't work
            at all. (1/2)
     (DER)- It's an OK game.  I liked playing it in the arcade, but
            the 5200 version is kinda lame.  The opening level seems
            like a big splotch of yellow with some brown added to it.
     (EB) - Awful, just awful. (1/2)
     (TL) - The 5200's version of Combat. (4/2)
     (KI) - If you want to kill your joystick by playing this game,
            be my guest.  Don't say that I didn't warn you, though.
            Decent enough game for those who don't mind the risk of
            thrashing their controllers. (2/4)
     (DER)- I consider this game the "feel-good" game of the Atari
            series.  It seems no matter how bad you are playing, you
            can always rack up a high score.  I like Defender a lot,
            it's one of my all-time faves. (5/3)
     (TL) - Not a big fan of the game but the graphics are
            outstanding! (3/5)
     (KI) - Smooth gameplay coupled with the absence of flicker
            (unlike the 2600 version) combine to make this one of
            the most faithful ports of Defender on any classic
            system. (4/4)
Dig Dug
     (DER)- I've seen better ports of this than the 5200 version, but
            there's something about Dig Dug I like that I can't put a
            finger on.  An entertaining game. (3/3)
Final Legacy
     (KI) - None of the sub-games is good enough to stand on its own, 
            but judged as a whole it's slightly more enjoyable than 
            Countermeasure. (3/4)
     (JT) - Friggin' retarded control scheme. (2/5)
     (TL) - What a sissy concept for a game. (2/3)
     (KHe)- Looks good, but button/joystick combo that you have to
            use to control Frogger's movement is a pain.  Keypad
            controlling is even worse. (2/4)
     (KI) - Play this game with the Masterplay and you'll change your
            mind, guys :) (4/4)
Frogger II: Threeedeep!
     (DER)- I like this game a lot.  One of the last games I got
            before they became impossible to get.  As a matter of
            fact, this game IS impossible to get.  I like the
            graphics and it's a big improvement over the first one.
     (KI) - Great sequel, but this game is bound to frustrate even
            the best gamers with its absurd difficulty. (4/4)
     (BW) - Looks and plays like Galaxian, but just lacks something.
     (DER)- This game is haunted by the fact that the game play and
            screens never change. (See also Space Invaders).  I like
            this better than Space Invaders, however. (3/3)
     (TL) - I can't give it a 5/5 because they forgot the Galaxian
            level.  Otherwise it is awesome! (4/5)
     (JT) - Fantastic music. (4/5)
     (KI) - Along with Ballblazer, Pengo and Moon Patrol, this game
            is a showcase title of the 5200's remarkable audio
            capabilities. (4/3)
James Bond 007
     (KI) - An insanely difficult game, and an awful one to boot. 
     (KI) - A faithful home port of the Williams coin-op. (4/4)
Jungle Hunt
     (KHe)- Is it just me or is the final scene much more difficult
            than in the original coin-op? (3/4)
     (KI) - Most people either love this game or despise it.  I'm
            somewhere in between, however. (3/4)
K-Razy Shootout
     (KI) - A decent ripoff of Berzerk on a system that already has
            an (almost) pixel perfect port of the real thing. (3/2)
     (DM) - Although many people believe playing Kaboom! without a
            paddle is some kind of sacrilege, I love this version of
            the game.  With the 5200 joystick, you're simply
            controlling the same potentiometer in the controller, but
            with a knob on the 2600 and a stick on the 5200.  Output
            is analog either way.  Plus, the 1812 Overture really
            gets me pumped up! (5/4)
     (KI) - The option of allowing a second player to play as the Mad
            Bomber is a cool feature not found in any other version
            of Kaboom! (4/3)
     (TL) - This game is downright stupid.  The graphics are even
            worse.  I bet they had Commodore shaking in their boots
            at the time. (1/1)
     (KI) - Controlling Mama-roo is tricky with the standard 5200
            joystick, but this game truly shines for those lucky
            enough to have a third-party controller. (4/4)
Mario Bros.
     (KHe)- Great port.  Fun, especially with two players. (5/4)
     (TL) - Cool graphics, but redundant as #@$%. (3/4)
     (DM) - I love this game.  Apart from the fact that this game
            just feels a little different from the 2600 version that
            we're all used to, this game is terrific in every way.
            And aside from the game, the label and box art are quite
            superior to its 2600 counterpart.  If this one had come
            out first, they would have laughed the 2600 version out
            the door. (5/5)
     (KI) - A pretty decent Asteroids clone.  Speaking of which,
            whatever happened to Asteroids??? (4/3)
Micro-gammon SB (Prototype)
     (DM) - I'm glad they used the highest resolution possible for at
            least one game.  The computer may not be a very good
            backgammon player, but they really had a great idea here
            and I'm sorry it wasn't released. (3/5)
Millipede (Prototype)
     (KI) - Absolutely phenomenal.  The trak-ball option puts this
            version above the technically superior NES edition. (5/4)
Miner 2049er
     (DER)- This game is everything that BBSB isn't.  Easy to play,
            not too difficult, OK graphics, just a lot of fun. (4/2)
     (KHe)- Great game!  Was my favorite as a kid. (5/5)
Missile Command
     (TL) - This game has it all!  Easily my favorite 5200 game and
            among my favorites of all time.  Anyone have a trak-ball
            for sale? (5/5)
     (DM) - With two buttons and a keypad available, having only one
            missile base is inexcusable.  They even fit two bases
            into the Atari ST version, using each button on the
            mouse.  Why couldn't Atari port their own game worth a
            "bleep"? (2/3)
Mountain King
     (KHe)- Fun; are the higher levels winnable? (5/3)
Mr. Do's Castle
     (DM) - After seeing the Colecovision version, this is just plain
            sad.  The 5200 could certainly have moved the Do-meister
            and the Chameleon Unicorns around better than it did.
Ms. Pac-Man
     (DER)- The successor to Pac-Man is more challenging than the
            original, and gameplay is better. (4/3)
     (TL) - The screen is just too wide.  And what happened to the
            great sound effects that were included in the 2600
            version? (3/2)
     (KHe)- Fun!  I liked the arcade game, but wasn't too good at it.
            Played this version a lot!  Great port (5/3)
     (KI) - A pixel perfect port of the coin-op cult classic. (4/5)
     (BW) - I actually like 2600 Pitfall better! (3/3)
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
     (KI) - For an additional challenge, try the secret Adventurer's
            world! (5/4)
Pole Position
     (BW) - Made me want a 5200 back in the day (4/4)
     (TL) - Graphics leave a bit to be desired. (3/2)
     (KI) - Never cared for Nintendo's coin-op version, so the 5200
            one doesn't do much for me. (3/3)
     (JT) - Retarded controls (like Frogger). (2/4)
     (KHe)- Not one of my favorite games, but seems to be a good
            port.  Of course, it's missing the "thwack" of the 
            original when Q*bert or Coily jumps off the side of the
            pyramid. (3/3)
     (TL) - A true classic.  Decent graphics.  Great concept!  One of
            the best ever! (5/5)
RealSports Baseball
     (DER)- This game is fun!  I like playing the higher levels,
            because the easy level is too easy.  On the easy level,
            you can bunt for home runs.  The voice in the game is
            cool, but can get old after a long time of playing. (4/4)
RealSports Basketball (Prototype)
     (DER)- I played this game for two weeks as part of an Atari
            survey my Dad got in '83 in the Northwest suburbs of
            Chicago.  The graphics were terrible and the gameplay
            wasn't too much better.  I suppose it would have been
            better if I had really good joysticks, or that I should
            have played it on the two-port version. (2/2)
RealSports Football
     (DER)- This game is just above average.  The playbooks are cool,
            but I can run the same play over and over again and
            demolish the computer.  I don't understand how a player
            can run around the screen and end up on the other side.
RealSports Soccer
     (DER)- I'm a big fan of Soccer, and this game is an OK version.
            It seems that most of the time the other players are out
            just wandering around. (3/2)
Rescue on Fractalus
     (KI) - The system of fractile geometry which was used to
            generate the planetary landscape was a gaming first. 
River Raid
     (BW) - I don't like the jagged river edges, and the stick ruins
            it for me. (4/3)
Space Dungeon
     (TL) - Berzerk in outer space with a little more meat in it.
     (JJ) - Simply put, this game rules! (5/5)
     (KI) - Robotron meets Berzerk meets Zelda.  A closet classic
            that begs to be played by everyone. (5/5)
Space Invaders
     (DER)- I know it's an older game, but Galaxian and Megamania
            picked up where this one left off.  Gameplay is OK and
            graphics are weak, but that's what it's like to be an
            original. (2/2)
     (KHe)- Not really like the original but kind of fun.  The mother
            ship comes out constantly! (3/3)
Star Raiders
     (BW) - Great, even with the 5200 stick! (5/5)
     (DER)- Predecessor to X-Wing and Wing Commander.  Really
            involved for a 5200 game.  It had one of the largest
            manuals for any game, 40-some pages. (5/3)
     (KHe)- I guess this is considered to be a "classic," but I just
            can't get into this game.  Yuck! (1/1)
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
     (EB) - Boring translation of a game that has no good home ports
            (vector to raster). (2/3)
Star Wars: The Arcade Game
     (DM) - After this guy got fired from Atari for Battlezone, he
            must have went to Parker Brothers.  Same crappy blocky
            Battlezone graphics ruined this one too. (3/2)
     (KI) - It (sort of) looks like the arcade version, and it sure
            sounds like it, too.  But it plays nothing like its
            color vector parent. (2/3)
Super Breakout
     (KHo)- The 2600 version blows this one out of the water! (1/1)
     (BW) - How do you rate graphics on Breakout?  Of course they're
            blocky. (3/4)
Super Pac-Man
     (KI) - Absolutely superb.  The graphics are sharp and colorful, 
            and everything that was found in the coin-op original is 
            featured in the SuperSystem adaptation. (5/5)
     (KI) - Incomplete, but what's there shows tremendous promise.
            Control is spot-on, and the sound effects seem to have 
            been taken straight out of the arcade version. (4/5)
     (TL) - I liked the 2600 version better but credit is due for a
            great game like Vanguard. (3/5)
     (KHe)- Captures the spirit of the original.  Sadly, the four
            fire button arrangement of the coin-op couldn't be
            duplicated.  I hate how the ship doesn't move easily
            while firing. (3/3)
Wizard of Wor
     (TL) - Cool game.  Decent graphics. (4/4)
Xari Arena (Prototype)
     (DM) - Good marks just based on originality.  What a nifty game
            this was. (5/4)
     (KI) - If you liked Warlords, you'll absolutely love this
            prototype game. (4/3)
     (KHo)- Blows away the Colecovision and C-64 versions by a mile!
Zone Ranger
     (TL) - Playability is awesome. (4/4)
     A box for this game was shown in a flyer for the "Video 
     System X."
     An unreleased prototype that is similar to the Atari computer
     version, one was recently auctioned off by Best Electronics.
     Only a precious few are known to exist.
     Recently discovered!  The first Atari 5200 catalog 
     (Part #CO18270 Rev.1) shows a picture of the box as well as a 
     game description and screenshot.  This game supports up to 4 
     players in head-to-head or cooperative play. After attempting 
     to play it, you realize what we’ve all suspected for some time: 
     The game is unplayable with the standard 5200 controller.  Some 
     interesting notes - This cart was found with an actual 
     production label and a prototype 5200 Asteroids controller.  
     Only one is known to exist, and was demonstrated for the first 
     time at the World of Atari '98 show in Las Vegas.  For more 
     info on this game - including screenshots - check out 
     Atari Gaming Headquarters (
     Licensed from First Star Software. Designed by Fernando 
     Herrera, founder of First Star Software. An interesting note 
     on the origin of this company - Atari had a program called the 
     Atari Program Exchange (APX) which published user-written 
     software for their 8-bit line of computers. The submission that 
     was judged best by Atari each year was awarded the Atari Star 
     award. Fernando Herrera wrote a program called "My First 
     Alphabet" which was selected as the first-ever winner of the 
     Atari Star Award; hence the name: First Star Software. 
     Designed and programmed by David Levine, Peter Langston, David 
     Riordan, and Garry Hare. Contributions and support by Charlie 
     Kellner, Gary Winnick, and David Fox. According to sources at 
     Atari, the working title for this game was "Topsy Turvy". One 
     of only two Atari released games that came in a white box 
     (Rescue on  Fractalus was the other) instead of the standard 
     issue grey and blue box. This game is also one of the few Atari 
     titles that has no name on the cartridge label. Also one of the 
     first games musically scored by a recognized musician, Pat 
Bar Room Baseball
     This version of RealSports Baseball has been modified and was 
     intended for use in an arcade cabinet. The inclusion of a 
     timer limited gameplay to 3 minutes per credit. Arcade cabinets 
     with 5200 systems inside were sold in Mexico and other Latin 
     American countries. 
     This version resorted to colorful backgrounds instead of the 
     arcade vector graphics.  Has a 2 joystick option and most 
     likely would have been packaged with a controller holder like 
     Robotron and Space Dungeon.
     Designed by Dave Rolfe. 5200 adaptation by Action Graphics. 
     Reaching sector 14 with 40,000 points or more got you a 
     Beamriders patch if you sent Activision picture proof and $1. 
     This and several other 5200 titles from Activision were later 
     packaged in 2600 boxes with stickers on them.
Behind Jaggi Lines
     Working title for Rescue on Fractalus, Behind Jaggi Lines was 
     recently discovered and demonstrated for the first time at 
     World of Atari '98 in Las Vegas.  An exact duplicate of Rescue 
     except for the different title on the title screen.
     The first console game that had built-in voice synthesis without
     the need of additional hardware, 5200 Berzerk is a marvelous 
     translation of the coin-op original.  Highly recommended, 
     particularly if you like to be taunted by Evil Otto with phrases 
     like "Chicken, fight like a robot!"
     An interesting glitch exists that allows a player to make Evil
     Otto (that's the official name of "Mr. Happy") go the opposite
     direction from where you are on the screen, but this works only
     on the left exit.  Position your character until he's just about
     to exit the maze (that is, the next joystick movement to the
     left will make him leave the maze).  Evil Otto will start to
     bounce towards the right instead of coming after you.  If you
     stand at the exit long enough, Evil Otto will wrap around to the
     left side of the screen.  Whether he kills you when he touches
     you is uncertain; the wrap-around scenario has not been tested
     as of yet.  This glitch is extremely useful, especially when you
     want to finish off the robots and Evil Otto comes in sooner than
     you anticipate.  It takes practice to precisely position your
     character to make Evil Otto go the other way, but you'll get it
     right with practice.
     Another tip that can help in mastering the game has to do with
     your character's neck.  Or should I say lack thereof?  The open
     space below his head can be useful when facing robots straight
     to your left or right.  If you position the character just
     right, the robot's lasers will go right through without killing
     him  It's very tough to master, especially on higher levels when
     the lasers are traveling at the same speed that yours do.
     And last but not least, it's easier to avoid Evil Otto by going
     to the left or right exits than using the top or bottom ones.
     This is due to how Evil Otto bounces when he chances you.  Of
     course, there will be times that the top or bottom exits will be
     your best retreat.
Black Belt
     Similar to Karateka, Black Belt was to be Atari’s entry into 
     the karate genre. Impressive graphics, with several different 
     rooms. No collision detection and slow movement/gameplay keep 
     this one from being complete.  This title probably evolved from 
     a title in the rumor mill called "Martial Arts".
     For more info on this game - including screenshots - check out 
     Atari Gaming Headquarters (
Boogie Demo Cart
     It's difficult to tell if this one is anything more than 
     someone at Atari "screwing around" or if there was an eventual 
     purpose to this title. Not really a game, this music demo plays 
     a repeating “Boogie” tune.  Only a precious few are known to 
Bounty Bob Strikes Back
     Designed and programmed by Bill Hogue, founder of Big 5 
     Software. Graphics designed by Curtis Mikolyski. A sequel 
     that's better than the original? You bet! A follow-up to Miner 
     2049'er that could be the most enjoyable game ever made. The 
     box for this game is extremely hard to come by, as is the full 
     color poster that was packed in.
     To transport to another screen, grab the item mentioned below,
     then press and hold the number (also stated below) then press
     start.  You will warp to the level mentioned.
1.   Bob's Morning      Flower pot / 1 / start = level 4
2.   Utility Hoist      Aliens / paint roller / 3 / start = level 22
3.   The Suction Tubes  Goblet / 4 / start = level 15
5.   Jumping 101        Coffee Pot / 8 / start = level 18
10.  The Gravity Lift   Pitch Fork / 5 / start = level 14
16.  Adv. Suction Tubes Tube 1 to left/ pie / 9 / start = level 19
26.  The End......
     "Congratulations, you are an expert!  For getting this far, you
     may start the game at any level you desire by setting special
     codes 1-25 in the Game Adjustment Screen and then pressing
     At the game adjustment screen, enter one of the following
     special codes and press * for a few secret messages:
     5  6  49  69  100  213  666  782  818  2049  6861
Centipede (released version)
     Atari 5200 version designed by Frank Hausman and Sean W. 
     Hennessy. One of the many games that is trak-ball compatible. 
     Named the best game (covering all systems), best 5200 game and
     best graphics in a 5200 game in the first annual Videogame
     Illustrated "Vista Awards."
Centipede, ("Killer hard version")
     Recently discovered, this particular prototype is similar to the
     released version of the same game, with the exception being that
     it's HARD! (as if the released version was a walk in the park to
     begin with).  The Centipedes slide down the screen at a frantic
     pace, and the spiders have even better AI along with faster
     movement.  Definitely an in-house "pet" project and never
     intended for release.
     Based on the Broderbund computer game designed by Dan Gorlin. 
     The copyright on the back of the box has a printing error - 
     ©1982 Dan Gorling. I'm sure Mr. Gorlin was thrilled. One of 
     the last games released for the 5200.
Cloak and Dagger
     Announced by Atari but never released.  In the movie of the same
     name, the kid from ET can be seen holding a 5200 Cloak & Dagger
     cartridge (most likely just a mock-up).  For further details
     surrounding the Cloak and Dagger mystery, see Section 2.6 of
     this FAQ.
Congo Bongo
     Based on the Sega coin-op. The manual incorrectly claims that 
     after selecting 1 or 2 players, the game will ask you whether 
     or not you're using a joystick. Needless to say, no controller 
     choices are given, although we're at a loss as to what choices 
     they had in mind. As with most other versions of this game, 
     only 2 of the 4 arcade version screens are present.
     An early prototype of this game has the name “Failsafe” 
     although the game appears to be identical. One of a few games 
     that never appeared on any other Atari system. Note the Atari 
     symbol on the soldier's cap on the game box/cart picture. The 
     failsafe code was a combination of the following letters: L, E, 
     O. You have to wonder what the programmer's name or sign was...
     Here's an interesting easter egg... When the skull and 
     crossbones appears, after you fail to enter the correct code, 
     take a look at one of the bones.  You'll see the initials "RM," 
     which is initials of the programmer.
Cram Cartridge
     Cram is a nickname for the in-house version of the Atari 5200 
     Diagnostic Cartridge. Basically, it is a diagnostic cart that 
     has pin #18 shorted to Ground, which forces the 5200 to turn 
     on automatically when the cart is inserted. These carts were 
     used for assembly line testing where employees would “CRAM” the 
     cart into the machine to make sure they powered up and were 
     functioning. Actually, any cartridge can be made into a Cram 
     cart by shorting pin #18 as mentioned above. 
     Designed by David Crane. 5200 adaptation by Paul Willson. 
     Scoring over 8,600 points could get you a "Bronze" patch, 
     over 9,000 a "Silver" patch, and over 10,000 a "Gold" patch 
     by sending proof to Activision along with $1.
     Programmed by Steve Baker. One of the many games that is 
     trak-ball compatible. Note the Atari symbol in the building's 
     window at the top-left of the game box/instructions/cart 
     Second runner-up in the best 5200 game category in the first
     annual Videogaming Illustrated "Vista Awards."
Diagnostic Cartridge
     Used by factory authorized service personnel to diagnose 
     malfunctioning systems. Selections included tests for RAM, 
     ROM, Video, Sound, Joystick Ports, Joysticks, along with the 
     ability to examine memory locations. Several revisions exist.
Dig Dug
     The 1986 Atari Corp. release has a label variation. The "5200" 
     at the top of the cart is printed in an elongated font. The 
     "vegetable"? for rounds 16 & 17 is a Galaxian.
Dreadnaught Factor, The
     Designed by Tom Loughry. 5200 adaptation by Eric Nickell. 
     Defeating the entire fleet of Dreadnaughts on level 4 or higher 
     could net you a Dreadnaught Destroyer patch if you sent 
     Activision a picture of your TV screen (you didn’t have to 
     include $1 for this one).
Fail Safe
     This was one of the working names for Countermeasure. The game 
     is identical except for the name. 
Final Legacy
     Recently discovered and demonstrated for the first time at 
     World of Atari '98 in Las Vegas.  Nearly identical to the 
     Atari computer version.
     There were two versions of this game for the Atari 8-bit 
     computers. One had text for in-game selections while the other 
     used icons. This version uses text, probably since the 5200 
     wasn’t exactly an “international” success.  Seems complete.
     For more info on this game - including screenshots - check out 
     Atari Gaming Headquarters (
     Designed and implemented by Jim Huether, who years later also 
     designed the Sega Genesis game "Joe Montana's Sportstalk 
     Football". One of the many games that is trak-ball compatible. 
     Originally just called "Football", Atari changed the name to 
     fit their RealSports line-up.
     Score 199 points or more without allowing the other team to
     score more than 3 during a practice game in regulation time.
     You must also score the last touchdown with no time left.
     Instead of seeing the usual "Game Over" message you will see
     "DESIGNED BY THE WARLORD" on your screen.
Football (for Video System X)
     Photos of this game, along with the Video System X (working
     title of the 5200) were shown at trade shows and in magazines
     before the 5200 was eventually released.  The cart had a
     completely different label from 5200 Football, and it is not
     known whether this game is any different from the 5200 version
     (or if it was just a cart shell mockup, for that matter).
Frisky Tom
     An unreleased game based on the coin-op by Nichibutsu, this 
     game seems complete and is very playable. It even has the girl 
     in the bath-tub. Frisky Tom pretty much popped out of nowhere. 
     It was never mentioned in any magazines or literature and 
     until it was found with several other protos, no-one even knew 
     it existed. Only a precious few are known to exist. 
     Players have the option of using the keypad buttons to control
     the direction of Frogger's movement.  Press button #2 to hop
     Frogger forward, #8 to hop back, #4 to go left and #6 to go
Frogger II: Threeedeep!
     Three distinctly different screens take Frogger on another
     homeward-bound journey, but this time it's underwater, over
     water, and through the air.  As in Frogger, the player can
     choose to use the keypad buttons to control Frogger.
     The manual mentions that after wave 10, the Galaxian fleet 
     may surprise you with some special screen graphics.  The only 
     thing we've ever seen is sometimes when you destroy a Galaxian, 
     an Atari symbol will flash briefly in the explosion. 
     Programmed by Roklan Corp.
     Designed and programmed by John Seghers. Animation by Courtney 
     Granner. Sound by Robert Vieira. This game is completely 
     different from the 2600 version.
     Licensed from Konami. The game music is Johann Sebastian 
     Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor".
     Designed by John Van Ryzin. 5200 adaptation by The Softworks. 
     H.E.R.O. stands for Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation. 
     Scoring over 70,000 points got you an "Order of the H.E.R.O." 
     patch by sending proof to Activision along with $1.
James Bond 007
     Contains 4 movie scenarios: Diamonds Are Forever, The Spy Who 
     Loved Me, Moonraker, and For Your Eyes Only.
Jr. Pac-Man
     The game appears complete, but it was not released commercially.
     An absolutely phenomenal conversion of the coin-op.  Smooth
     scrolling and crisp sounds make this the best of the three Pac's
     in the 5200 library.
Jungle River Cruise
     Designed for Atari's unreleased "Puffer" exercise bicycle, a
     prototype version of this game has recently been discovered.
     Formerly titled 'Riverboat' and 'River Rescue'.     
     Designed by Larry Kaplan. 5200 adaptation by Paul Willson.
     The SuperSystem version is similar to the 2600 edition, but the
     former has an added feature of allowing two players to take
     turns playing the Mad Bomber (dropping the bombs), and catching
     the bombs with the buckets.  By Paul Wilson.
     By scoring 1800 or more points in 1 player mode and sending in a
     picture of the score, players were awarded the Bucket Brigade
     Patch from Activision.
Keystone Kapers
     Designed by Garry Kitchen. 5200 adaptation by Alex DeMeo.
     Announced but never released.  Only a prototype box of this game
     is known to exist.  Furthermore, this box shares the same color 
     scheme as the 2600 version of the same name, and even the "CX" 
     number on the box is identical to the regular 2600 box 
     (CX 2682).
Last Starfighter, The
     Programmed by Gary Stark. This title went through a name change 
     and became Star Raiders 2; only seeing release for the Atari 
     8-bit line of computers. Apparently, Atari purchased the rights 
     but decided a sequel to Star Raiders would be better embraced 
     by the masses.  Also, it is possible that this title began its 
     life as a game called "Orbiter". The game seems complete except 
     for the lack of shields.
     Mattel had at least the Intellivision rights to this game, but
     a prototype box of this game from Atari exists.  No word on
     whether a prototype cart exists at all.
Looney Tunes Hotel
     Utilizing the Warner Bros. cartoon licenses, this game 
     featured Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Devil 
     (Tasmanian, we assume). The game seems to be in the early to 
     middle stages of development. You control Bugs as he tries to 
     get the carrots while avoiding the bombs, etc.
     An adventure game for the 5200 with 6 stages of fun. This proto 
     still has a few bugs that cause screen freezes and blackouts. 
     Also, the game requires some precise movements which is almost 
     impossible with the standard 5200 stick. Graphics aren't bad 
     and include a nice 3-D effect on the Phoenix stage. 
     Designed by Steve Cartwright. 5200 adaptation by Glyn Anderson.  
     Activision would send you an official MegaManiacs emblem if you 
     sent them proof that you scored 45,000 points or more.
     Now here's an interesting tidbit.  The working title of this
     Asteroids clone during its development stage was 'Disasteroids'!
     However, when Atari learned of the name upon visiting Electra
     Concepts' booth at the 1983 Summer Consumer Electronics Show,
     they quickly threatened to sue unless Electra changed the game
     title.  Both Meteorites and the Masterplay Interface are 
     sometimes listed as being made by a company called Intellicon. 
     In actuality, Intellicon was nothing more than a mail-order 
     company that bought and sold off the remaining inventory from 
     Electra Concepts.
Micro-gammon SB
     Programmed by Steve Baker. A nice backgammon game for the 
     5200. This game uses the keypad and fire buttons only; no 
     joystick. The SB stands for Super Brain (not Steve Baker) and 
     is one of the IQ settings for the computer opponent The game 
     seems essentially complete. 
     Complete.  Exceptional port of the coin-op hit.  Especially fun
     when played with the trak-ball.
Miner 2049er
     Programmed by Bill Hogue. Graphics and Audio Visual Displays 
     designed by Curtis Mikolyski and Bill Hogue with Jeff Konyu and 
     Kelly Bakst. Circuitry designed by Bill Hogue. Package Artwork 
     by Scott Ross.
     Start a zone.  Jump onto the first platform and position Bounty
     Bob so that no creatures will touch him (do NOT pause game).
     Hold the UPPER red fire button down while entering Big Five's
     phone number (2137826861) on the keypad.  You will know you did
     it right because it will immediately restart the zone again when
     you enter the last digit of the phone number.
     Congratulations, you now have a way to "warp" to any zone or
     station in the game!
     Push the reset button on the joystick and select 1-0 on the
     keypad for the zone you want to play.
     (1=zone 1, 2=zone 2, ... 0=zone 10).
     Now, hold the upper red button down while pressing 1-0 on the
     keypad.  This will allow you to select which station to play.
     You will immediately warp to the selected station!  The warping
     ability will work at *ANY* time during the game!  This is
     extremely useful for getting "unlimited" lives. (HINT: If you
     die on a level and IMMEDIATELY warp Bounty Bob, the game will
     keep track of your score, but won't take away a life!)
     NOTES: Miner is great fun at the difficult levels.  Some levels
     are NOT clearable.  After lots of playing, the following levels
     have been found to be possible to clear.
     ----    -------
     1-8     ALL
     9       1-9
     10      1-4, 8, 9
     Zone 8/station 10 is the hardest, but IS possible.
     Zone 10/station 4 requires a lot of thinking/strategy to clear.
     Try it, it's fun!
     For some reason on Zone 10, Bounty Bob walks very fast and jumps
     a LOOONG way.  This makes certain levels difficult and others
     impossible.  However, on Zone 10/station 10, the creatures just
     move too fast to make it possible to clear.  It's a shame, we
     will always be left wondering what would happen if it had been
Miniature Golf
     Programmed by Steve Baker.  Looks to be complete.  So-so 
     graphics, with 18 holes and varying layouts.  What's there is 
     quite impressive.
Mountain King
     Designed by E.F. Dryer.
     When first starting Mountain King, let it go through the
     "opening demonstration" where the MK guy jumps/dances to the
     music and eventually jumps to the top of the hill where the
     flame is.  Once the "show" ends, maneuver the guy to the very
     bottom where the spider's "cave" is.  Stand on top of where the
     spider comes out.  Make the MK guy (does he have a name?) stand
     on the far right of the cave so that he is mostly balancing in
     mid-air with only his left foot barely touching the top of the
     cave. (See diagram 1... hopefully it will look right when viewed
     on your computer.)
     (1)                          (2)
               0  <-- mk guy ->_                                  _
     __________________________      _____________________________
     Ok, once you have him in position, pull down briefly/slightly
     (like you were going to make him squat) on the joystick once or
     twice and the guy should walk PART WAY DOWN the side of the cave
     and "hang" there.  If he goes all the way to the floor, then try
     it again. (See diagram 2.)
     Now walk to the left.  He should fall through/into the cave.
     Keep going left... you might have to jump to the left to get him
     to fall THROUGH the bottom of the screen.  As you are falling,
     you should see a special message that tells who programmed the
     NOTES: When you do this, there is no way back out.  Actually, I
     think you can catch on fire and die. :)  This doesn't work right
     if you don't let the game do the demonstration/music sequence at
     the beginning.
Ms. Pac-Man ("Puffer" Edition)
     Designed for Atari's unreleased "Puffer" exercise bicycle, this
     game was never planned for release.  It was only developed for
     internal testing purposes as an example of a type of game that 
     was not well-suited for the Puffer.
     This version includes the arcade intermissions. The Galaxian 
     bonus item in the arcade version has been replaced with an Atari 
     logo. Pac-man later replaced Super Breakout as the pack-in game 
     for the 5200.
     On the Cherry screen, take off to the right and head straight up
     and into the right-hand tunnel.  As you go off-screen, you'll
     hear a chomp.  Pause the game and examine the dots to the left
     of the starting point.  You'll find a missing dot.
     On the fifth key round, the ghosts start flashing immediately
     after Pac eats a power pellet, and they don't stop.  Unless Pac
     eats them, they stay in a vulnerable state for the entire round.
     It doesn't happen in the sixth key round (after the
     intermission), but does for the seventh key and beyond.  You
     have to be pretty stupid to die accidentally from there on.
     Named first runner up in the best 5200 game category and best
     arcade adaptation (all systems) in the first annual Videogaming
     Illustrated "Vista" awards.
     Programmed by Sean W. Hennessy.
Pete's Test Cartridge
     Recently discovered, this system utility essentially tests for 
     defects in key areas. Using a standard 5200 controller to select 
     various options, you can test for brightness (or dimness), color 
     balance, color contrast and joystick calibration, among other 
     things.  And no, we have no idea who Pete is.
     For more info on this demo - including screenshots - check out 
     Atari Gaming Headquarters (
     Designed by David Crane. 5200 adaptation by Beck-Tech.  Scoring 
     over 20,000 points could get you an "Explorer's Club" patch by 
     sending proof to Activision.
Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
     Designed by David Crane. 5200 Adventurer's Edition by Mike 
     Lorenzen. What makes this version “The Adventurer's Edition”? 
     The fact that once you completed the game, you could play a 
     second, even more difficult mission, with a completely 
     different maze (Write us for a layout).  Scoring over 99,000 
     points could get you a "Cliff Hangers" patch by sending proof 
     to Activision along with $1.
     This game came with a scratch-off "Spinach Can Game" card which 
     gave you a chance to win a full size Popeye Arcade game or a 
     Popeye T-shirt.
     Missing the Sea Hag found in level 3 of the coin-op.
Pole Position ("Puffer" Edition)
     Designed for Atari's unreleased "Puffer" exercise bicycle.  
     Unlike Jungle River Cruise and Tumbleweeds, however, a prototype
     version of this game has not (yet) been uncovered.
Pursuit of the Pink Panther.
     Originally slated for an early 1984 release, the lack of
     adequate supplies of ROM chips was blamed by Probe 2000 as the
     reason for the cancellation of the game.  2600 and Colecovision
     editions were also announced but they too never saw the light of
     Invisible Pyramid -- On the first screen, hop down four squares
     and onto the disc.  As soon as the disc turns yellow, press
     PAUSE and then the START key to start the game over. Keep
     pressing the HOP button the whole time you are doing this.  When
     the game starts again, jump down 2 squares to the right, then
     back one square.  Jump onto the middle square and then change
     the colors of the squares opposite the one on the right.  Now
     hop up to the top square and off to the left onto the invisible
Quest for Quintana Roo
     "Help Yucatan Sam explore the dozens of terror-filled chambers
     that create the mystical temple of Mayan god Quintana Roo.  You
     must use your supplies as well as your cat-like reactions to
     avoid the sleeping snakes, overcome the mummy's curse, and
     eliminate the other adversaries while attempting to solve the
     mystery that will deliver this hidden treasure to you and
     Yucatan Sam.  Do you dare to get involved?"
          Level 2 -- 1830       Level 3 -- 8817
RealSports Baseball
     Designed and programmed by James Andreasen and Keithen. One 
     of two Atari releases to feature voice synthesis (Berzerk being 
     the other.)  The 0 key toggles the voice on and off.
RealSports Basketball
     Programmed by Patrick Bass. This game was in the early stages 
     of development and needs some polishing. The game is playable, 
     however, the real beauty of this proto lies in the easter eggs. 
     As a side note, we've seen 2 versions of R.S. Basketball, one 
     dated 13 Oct. 83 and the other 31 Oct. 83. The easter eggs 
     listed below only work on the later version.
     Start the Demo and press the number 5 key for a secret message:
     "When Running Into the Tropical Entropy Nightly, By Yourself,
     Project And Try Reaching Into Circles Killed Because All Seems
     The first letter of each word in the sentence spells out....
     "Written by Patrick Bass."
     Also during the demo, the "*" key toggles the word RealSports
     on or off.
     The tones generated by the keypad are actual telephone dialing
     tones.  Try it!
RealSports Football
     See Football.
RealSports Soccer
     See Soccer
RealSports Tennis
     Designed by Sean W. Hennessy. One of the many games that is 
     trak-ball compatible.
Rescue on Fractalus
     Designed and programmed by David Fox, Loren Carpenter, Charlie 
     Kellner, and Peter Langston. Contributions and support by Gary 
     Winnick and David Levine.  One of only two Atari released games 
     that came in a white box (Ballblazer was the other) instead of 
     the standard issue grey and blue box. This game is also one of 
     the few Atari titles that has no name on the cartridge label.  
     Working titles were "Behind Jaggi Lines", "Rescue Mission" and 
     Star Mission."
River Raid
     Designed by Carol Shaw.  Scoring 40,000 points or more entitled 
     you to a River Raiders patch if you sent a picture of your TV 
     screen to Activision.
Road Runner
     If you're thinking of the arcade game, forget it. This game 
     resembles a sliding piece puzzle.  We're not sure if the 
     object of the game is to help the coyote to catch the Road 
     Runner or to keep the two from colliding while eating all the 
     birdseed, etc. There are 2 versions of this prototype around. 
     One has sound (although minimal) and different colors on the 
     opening screen while the other has no sound at all. Still 
     some work to be done on this one.
Robotron: 2084
     Not as good as the 7800 version, but is actually more enjoyable
     because of the joystick connector that allows you dual-joystick
     action like in the coin-op.  Packaged with the joystick
     The box for this game was shown in a flyer for the "Video 
     System X."
     Designed by John Seghers. One of the many games that is 
     trak-ball compatible. Originally just called "Soccer", Atari 
     changed the name to fit their RealSports line-up.
     On par with NASL Soccer for Intellivision.  Particularly
     enjoyable when played with the trak-ball controller.
Space Dungeon
     The only home console port of Taito's little-known gem of a
     coin-op.  Packaged with a joystick connector which enables dual 
     joystick control a-la Robotron: 2084.
Space Invaders
     One of the many games that is trak-ball compatible. The game 
     screen on the back of the box, and in the instruction manual 
     is not an actual screen shot. In trying to re-work this 
     classic, Atari dropped the ball. The saucers appear one right 
     after the other and their max value is 60 points. Your shields 
     don't reset after each wave. After every 7th wave, the mother 
     ship comes out and flies off with your cannon. The game then 
     resets the shields and the invaders start back at the top of 
     the screen. The 1986 release of this game is one of the few 
     Atari titles that has no name on the cartridge label. It's 
     harder to find than the standard label version.
Space Shuttle
     Designed by Steve Kitchen. 5200 adaptation by Bob Henderson. 
     Steve Kitchen apparently consulted with NASA to make this game 
     as accurate as possible. Like many other Activision titles, 
     this game was later released in a 2600 box w/ photocopied 
     instructions.   Dock your shuttle 5 times and land with at 
     least 4500 units of fuel and you were entitled to a “Space 
     Shuttle Pilot” patch.  Dock 6 times and land with at least 
     7500 units of fuel and you earned a “Space Shuttle Commander” 
     patch.  Just send the usual TV picture proof to Activision.
     This seems to be a Zaxxon style game, but with full 360 degree 
     movement and “Crystal Castles” style structures. Obviously in 
     the very early stages of development.
Sport Goofy
     In it's current form, this game consists of two separate 
     "events". One is a platform Sky Diver type game where you 
     guide Goofy to the top of a structure and then when he jumps 
     off, you guide him into a waiting raft below.  The other game 
     is a Q*bert type game where you try to pop the overhead 
     balloons as you hop between squares.
     Programmed by Steve Baker. The sequel to Defender suffers 
     from screen flicker and poor control. Let's hope it was still 
     in the early stages as we would hate to think this was almost 
     ready for release.
Star Raiders
     Originally a smash hit on the Atari 400/800 computers, Star
     Raiders is enshrined in the Electronic Games Magazine Videogame
     Hall of Fame.
Super Breakout
     One of the few games that supports 4 players on the older 
     4-port models. Also one of the many games that is trak-ball 
     compatible. This game was initially packaged with the Atari 
     5200 console, but was later replaced by Pac-Man.
Superman III
     A box for this game exists, but an actual prototype game of 
     Superman III has not yet been recovered.  A prototype version 
     for the Atari home computers does exist, however.
Super Pac-Man
     Recently discovered!  Was demonstrated for the first time at 
     World of Atari '98 in Las Vegas.  An absolutely fantastic 
     translation -- nothing from the coin-op is missing in this one.
     For more info on this game - including screenshots - check out 
     Atari Gaming Headquarters (
     The original (tentative) name of Countermeasure before its
     release.  Who knows, perhaps a prototype of this version exists
Tank Battle
     The box art of this game was shown in a flyer for the "Video 
     System X."
     It's been found!  Demonstrated for the first time at World of 
     Atari '98 in Las Vegas, the only prototype cartridge known to 
     exist is 90% complete, with only the Superzapper, several 
     enemies and collision detection missing.  For more info on 
     this game - including screenshots - check out Atari Gaming 
     Headquarters (
Ticker Tape Demo
     Recently discovered and shown for the first time at World of 
     Atari '98 in Las Vegas.  Basically just a generic 5200 title 
     screen, except that after seeing Rubio's copyright info, the 
     phrase "Again Rubio Scores!" replaces the top line and begins 
     to scroll and move side-to-side, banging on the left and right 
     edges. Each time the phrase hits the outer edge of the screen, 
     one of the letters on the outside disappears. This continues 
     to occur until the word "Rubio" is left.  This custom scrolling 
     demo was done internally for Dan Kramer and DK Enterprises.  
     Only one is know to exist.  For more info on this demo, check 
     out Atari Gaming Headquarters   
Toy Bizarre
     Made it to the C64, but not 5200.
Track 'N Field
     Licensed from Konami. This one was probably ready for 
     production. Seems very complete with no noticeable bugs or 
     Designed for Atari's unreleased "Puffer" exercise bicycle, a
     prototype version of this game has recently been discovered.
     This game would have been perfect for 2 joystick control a-la 
     Space Dungeon and Robotron. The 1986 release of this game is 
     one of the few Atari titles that has no name on the cartridge 
     label. It's harder to find than the standard label version.
Warp Wars
     Warp Wars was the working title for the game Zone Ranger.
Wizard of Wor
     Programmed by Roklan Corp.
Xari Arena
     Programmed by David Seghers. This game seems to be an updated 
     Breakout type of game. What are those flying things in the 
     middle of the screen? Haven’t figured out how to play it yet 
     but it looks good.
     Programmed by Jim Huether. This very nice conversion of the 
     coin-op utilizes both fire buttons. No noticeable bugs or 
Yellow Submarine Demo
     Not really a game, but rather a graphics demo where you 
     control a submarine on the screen with your joystick.  Only a 
     precious few are known to exist.
Zone Ranger
     Warp Wars was its working title.
Many die-hard collectors and 5200 fans are aware that a Cloak and
Dagger (and, for that matter, Tempest) cartridge was shown in the 
move of the same name as sort of a tantalizing preview of the game.
What nobody knew, however, was whether Cloak and Dagger existed as
a prototype, or if the game code even existed in any form.
Alex Rosenberg gave us the definitive answer in 1994 when he posted 
to  Here are some snippets from his 
newsgroup article.
From: (Alex Rosenberg)
Re: 5200 Cloak and Dagger cartridge
Date: Mon Sep 12 1994
I can give the definitive answer here. I used to work with the author 
of the 5200 version of Cloak and Dagger. I've previously asked him 
about it, and he had sent me the
following message:
--- CUT HERE ---
Yes, I can answer your question about the Atari 5200 version of Cloak 
& Dagger.
When Warner Communications sold the consumer side of Atari to Jack 
Tramiel (who founded Commodore) in mid-1984, I was working on the 
Atari 400/800/1200 version of Cloak & Dagger. Since the Atari 5200 
was basically just an Atari 400 with a different controller, when I 
completed the home computer version, I was supposed to modify the 
game to use the "360-degree" 5200 controller (as opposed to the 
9-position home computer joystick).
By the way here's a little known fact about Cloak & Dagger: someone 
at Atari actually explored doing an Atari 2600 version of Cloak & 
Dagger, but very quickly decided that it couldn't be done, even with 
major simplifications...
If you've ever seen the Cloak & Dagger movie, you'll know that the 
cartridge shown in the movie was a 5200 cartridge. Actually, the 5200 
cartridge didn't even exist: it was a 5200 cartridge of another game 
with a "Cloak & Dagger" label slapped on it. Also, in the game store 
scenes, there were Atari 5200 Cloak & Dagger boxes shown. Those were
also just mockups made for the movie.
But wait a second! Wasn't the Atari 5200 Cloak & Dagger game actually 
PLAYED in the movie (and didn't it look damn good)? Hollywood movie 
magic! They took the output of the coin-operated game, converted the 
signal, and piped it to a TV set. So if you thought it looked a lot 
like the coin-op game, you were right. Another interesting fact: 
Henry Thomas wasn't really playing the game; instead, Atari sent down 
the game's software developer, Rusty Dawe, to play the coin-op game 
for the movie! So they showed Henry Thomas furiously working the 5200 
controller, cut to the television showing Rusty's progress in the 
game (sometimes even with Henry's reflection in the screen), and back 
again. Rusty -- er, make that Russell B. Dawe -- got his own full-
screen credit at the end of the movie for the game design.
Although the rest of the game shown in the movie was taken from the 
real coin-op game, the spectacular 3D "secret plans" finale of the 
game was pure Holywood animation: the real game ends somewhat anti-
climactically with one of several static, crudely-drawn blueprints. I 
don't recall whether Rusty ran short of ROM space or time, but the 
secret plans weren't up to the quality of the rest of the game, much 
less the movie game's ending.
Oh, and another piece of trivia: the original name of the Cloak & 
Dagger coin-operated game was actually...Agent X (hence the name of 
the protagonist in the game and the off-hand comment by Dabney 
Coleman in the movie that he "used to be known as Agent X"). The game 
had been under development at Atari as "Agent X" for quite a while, 
and was nearly completed. The movie studio (can't remember which one 
off-hand, but I have the Laserdisc) had the movie under development 
as Cloak & Dagger. The game cartridge that was in the original 
screenplay was...Donkey Kong (at the time, the most popular home 
videogame)! Someone at either the movie studio or Atari found out 
about the other, "the secret agent recovers secret plans from bad 
guys" plots sounded like they were made for each other, the deal was 
signed, and the Agent X game was renamed Cloak & Dagger.
Anyway, back to the layoff. My half of Atari (the half that just 
released the Jaguar videogame system; it's still known as "Atari, 
Inc.") got sold, and they laid off almost all the game developers who 
didn't have experience writing operating systems, myself included. 
When the layoffs happened, I was close to halfway done with the game. 
The basic structure of all the levels was done (conveyor belts, 
boxes, bubbling acid pits, box manufacturers, minefields) and you 
could move Agent X around, pick up boxes, and die from touching red 
boxes, being crushed by the box manufacturing thingies (what the hell
were they called?), stepping in an acid pit, or touching a landmine 
(although the death animation wasn't in yet, so you just turned pitch 
But none of the enemies were done, you couldn't shoot yet (although, 
without enemies, you would only be able to shoot the boxes anyway), 
and the bomb in the center didn't explode (the animation of the bomb 
exploding in the coin-op game is fast, but it's actually pretty 
crude). No elevator scenes yet, either, although since the cartridge 
was supposed to be the first Atari home computer cartridge to reach a 
whopping 32K (all previous cartridges had been 16K or less!), there 
was enough room for many -- if not all -- of the elevator animations. 
(If you look closely, you'll notice that very little of Agent X
actually moves in the elevator scenes: an arm, a facial expression, 
smoke, an arm and a yo-yo, etc.)
In 1983, at one of Atari's periodic auctions of prototype and no 
longer needed coin-operated machines (including games like DigDug and 
Berzerk whose translations to Atari home computers and/or videogame 
systems had already been completed), I bought one of the original 25 
(I believe) Agent X machines. These prototypes, which had been sent 
to arcades for test-marketing, had stereo sound (Atari went with mono 
sound for the final hardware) and the pre-Cloak & Dagger faceplates. 
The ROMs were upgraded to reflect the name change, however, so, on 
the inside, my machine is a real Cloak & Dagger!
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the history and stories. I'd always wanted 
to finish the home computer version of Cloak & Dagger, but over the 
years, my free time has almost completed vanished. The Atari 5200 
version of Cloak & Dagger, as well as versions of many other classic 
Atari games -- Crystal Castles (which was nearly finished when the
layoff happened), Major Havoc (one of my favorite coin-op games, but 
the home computer conversion was barely started at the time of the 
layoffs), and Jr. Pac-Man (completed, but not released), to name just 
a few -- were all casualties of the sale of Atari's consumer business 
to Tramiel and the resulting layoffs. Everyone who was left 
immediately switched from developing games (new as well as 
conversions of coin-operated games) to working on the operating 
system for the Atari 520ST and 1040ST.
Sorry to dash your hopes about the Atari 5200 Cloak & Dagger...
-- Dave Comstock
* -- Plays best when used with the trak-ball
# -- Some gamers prefer to play it with the trak-ball, others don't.
X -- Works with the trak-ball but is not recommended.
*  Centipede
#  Football/RealSports Football
X  Galaxian
#  Kaboom!
X  K-Razy Shootout
*  Millipede
*  Missile Command
X  Pole Position
X  RealSports Baseball
#  Soccer/RealSports Soccer
X  Space Invaders
#  Super Breakout
The Atari 5200 multi-cart is a single cartridge with virtually
the entire Atari 5200 game library on it -- even prototypes.  It
comes packaged in a regular 5200 cartridge casing.  Very basically,
it can be looked at as a comparatively inexpensive way to be able to
play all the 5200 games in one handy cart.  Titles such as
Meteorites, Star Wars: Death Star Battle, and others are going to
cost you and arm and a leg if you are able to locate someone with a
copy of them, but they are all included on the multi-cart, in their
entirely mind you, for one flat-fee.
As far as collectibility goes, the multi-cart is still being made and
will continue to be for the foreseeable future so it's worth exactly
what you pay for it - no more.
If you are interested in purchasing one or would like additional
information about it, you can e-mail Sean Kelly at or
pay a visit to his web page at where he
has information about the multi-cart and all other multi-carts he
Name                             Company          Product #    Rarity
-----                            -------          ---------    ------
ASTEROIDS CONTROLLER             Atari                         PROTO
ATARI 5100 GAME SYSTEM           Atari            CX 5100      PROTO
   (aka. 5200Jr.)
ATARI 5200 CARRYING CASE         Atari
ATARI 5200 HOTEL UNIT            Spectravision                 UR
ATARI 5200 JOYSTICK              Atari            CX 52
ATARI 5200 JOYSTICK              Atari                         PROTO
ATARI 5200 JOYSTICK COUPLER      Atari            C021811
ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM (2-Port)  Atari            CX 5200
ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM (4-Port)  Atari            CX 5200
ATARI VCS CARTRIDGE ADAPTER      Atari            CX 55        R
ATARI VIDEO SYSTEM X             Atari                         PROTO
COMPETITION PRO JOYSTICK         Coin Controls                 ER
CONTROL GUIDE                    Entert. Systems               UR
DUST COVER                       Classic Covers   20027
FIRE COMMAND JOYSTICK            GIM Electronics               UR
KID'S CONTROLLER                 Atari                         PROTO
MASTERPLAY INTERFACE             Electra Concepts              UR
PADDLE CONTROLLER                Atari                         PROTO
TRAK-BALL CONTROLLER             Atari            CX 53        R
TRAK-BALL CONTR. (Transparent)   Atari                         PROTO
TV/GAME SWITCHBOX (4-Port)       Atari            CX 522
WICO COMMAND CONTROL JOYSTICK    Wico                          R+
WICO COMMAND CONTROL NUMERIC     Wico                          ER-
Name                             Company
-----                            -------
COMPUTER MODULE                  Atari
FROB, THE                        FrobCo
LASER DISC PLAYER                Atari
TRIGA ELITE JOYSTICK             Electra Concepts
VOICE COMMANDER MODULE           Atari/Milton Bradley
5200 Hotel Unit
     A console made by Spectravision (not to be mistaken for the
     third party publisher of 2600 games, that's a different
     Spectravision) that was used in hotels and motels.  This unit
     had a selection switch for television, movies and games.  Game
     boards were able to be added by placing them into a 4-game
     internal cartridge board rack.
Asteroids Controller
     Recently discovered, this device was planned to compliment 
     5200 Asteroids.  The control layout is identical to the 
     coin-op.  Only one of these items is known to exist.
Atari 5100
     A prototype system that is completely compatible with the
     (4-port) 5200.  It was a trimmed down version of the 5200, much
     like how the 2600jr. was a low-cost redesign of the woodgrain
Atari 5200 Carrying Case
     Made of durable hard plastic and shaped like a suitcase, it can
     store the console, power supply and two joysticks.  Similar to
     the cases found in Blockbuster video for systems that it rents
     out to its customers.
Atari 7800 Cartridge Adapter
     Announced but never released.  This adapter would have allowed
     5200 owners to play 7800 games without buying the 7800 system
     separately (although the savings would probably have been
Atari 5200 Joystick Coupler
     Allowed dual-joystick action for Robotron: 2084 and Space
     Dungeon by snapping two 5200 joysticks into place using this
     connector.  Packaged with both Robotron: 2084 and Space Dungeon,
     and was not sold separately.
Atari Video System X
     The working title of the 5200 before Atari opted for a
     numerical designation for its "third wave" videogame system.
     Actual photos of the VS-X, which looked almost exactly like the
     5200 with the exception of a few cosmetic differences such as on
     the face plate, were shown throughout contemporary magazines
     for much of 1982.
Competition Pro Joystick
     An excellent third-party controller, the Competition Pro is
     micro-switch based, giving a satisfying "click, click" response 
     to movements in the joystick.  (Arguably) Better than the Wico 
     Command Control Joystick, but harder to find.
Control Guide
     Here's a novel approach. Since games like Pac-Man require 
     pin-point precision control (something the 5200 sticks are 
     incapable of), Newport Controls decided to limit the movement 
     of the stick. They designed a piece of plastic that goes over 
     the top of a standard controller. It has grooves that only 
     allows the stick to go up, down, left, and right. A steal for 
     the $6.95 they originally sold for; so how come there aren't 
     more of these floating around? 
Fire Command Joystick
     Offering a slightly different feel than its non-analog cousin
     for the 2600, the 5200-compatible version featured two buttons
     and a y-adapter that must be connected to the keypad for full
     compatibility (like the Wico and Competition Pro).
Frob, The
     Allowed its owners to program 5200 games using an Apple
     II/II+/IIe computer.
Kid's Controller
     Similar to the 2600 Kid's Controller, only one prototype of
     this peripheral is known to exist.  Astro Grover and Big Bird's
     Hide & Seek are but two of the titles believed to support this 
Masterplay Interface
     Without a doubt, this is the ultimate solution to your 
     5200 joystick woes. Quite simply, this handy little box allows 
     you to use 2600 compatible joysticks on the 5200 and has a port 
     to plug in a standard Atari joystick for keypad functions, etc. 
     For games that required the top fire button on a standard 
     stick, the Masterplay comes packaged with an auxiliary fire 
     button that does the job very well. There are two different 
     boxes available for the Interface; one is similar to a cartridge 
     box and the other is a smaller yet wider box. Both the 
     Masterplay Interface and Meteorites are sometimes listed as 
     being made by a company called Intellicon. In actuality, 
     Intellicon was nothing more than a mail-order company that 
     bought and sold off the remaining inventory from Electra Concepts. 
Paddle Controller
     Recently discovered, this device is identical in appearance to 
     the standard 5200 joystick controller, except that a paddle is 
     found on the top of the controller where the joystick is 
     normally located.
POP Demo Kiosk
     POP stands for Point Of Purchase. These demo units allowed 
     gamers to sample several 5200 carts. Much like the demo kiosks 
     for newer systems.
Puffer, The
     A home exercise bicycle with two hand grip controllers, a wheel 
     speed pickup, and the necessary interfacing for an Atari 
     computer or 5200.  For detailed information, see the Puffer 
     section elsewhere in this FAQ.
Trak-Ball Controller (Transparent)
     Recently discovered, the clear Trak-Ball was used for 
     promotional purposes only and was never planned for release.
Triga Elite Joystick
     Only a very few of these were made. It is not known whether 
     they made it past the prototype stage and onto store shelves. 
     This joystick had two fire buttons, an adjustable rapid-fire 
     button, and a digital - analog switch. A picture can be seen on 
     the back of the Masterplay Interface box (2nd stick from the 
Voice Commander Module
     Milton Bradley and Atari were jointly associated with this
     speech synthesis/recognition device, where Milton Bradley was to 
     develop the add-on while Atari was responsible for developing 
     games for it.  However, Atari canned the idea shortly 
     thereafter.  A module for the 2600 was also planned, but it too 
     was axed before development went too far.  Milton Bradley later 
     sued Atari for breach of contract.
Wico Command Control Joystick
     An analog (but self-centering) controller that featured two
     fire buttons and the ability to calibrate the joysticks.  Came
     packaged with a y-adapter cord which enabled the use of keypad
     functions of the standard 5200 controller.
Wico Command Control Numeric Keypad
     A stand-alone keypad which substituted for the 5200 joystick
     keypad when used in conjunction with the Wico joystick.
     Although this item had a 9-pin connector, it was only compatible
     with the Wico controller.  Sold separately from the joystick.
Sensing an opportunity to bring health fitness and videogames
together, in 1982 Atari embarked on "Project Puffer," a top-secret 
mission to develop a home exercise bike with two hand grip 
controllers, a wheel speed pickup, and the necessary attachments
for an Atari computer or 5200.  By interfacing their machines to an 
exercise bicycle, Atari planned to make exercising fun.
The Puffer featured hand controllers which easily attached to most
existing exercise cycles and gave the conscientious user directional
control.  The act of peddling was to give the imaginary vehicle
motion and the rider exercise.  Therefore, no peddling--no motion.
For the overzealous cyclist, a pulse rate sensor could be added to
monitor excessive heart beat activity.
The two hand controllers replaced the original hand grips on the
exercycle.  The Puffer controllers were designed to fit as many of
the current exercycles as possible while at the same time remaining
inexpensive and durable.  A magnet attached to the wheel monitored
the wheel speed and a Hall effect sensor detected the passing magnet
which can be read by the computer to calculate the wheel speed.  The
housing for the sensor was also the junction box for the hand
controller cables and the computer cable.  The computer required only
one cable to be connected to a joystick input.
Three new programs were developed to show Puffer's capabilities in
particular applications, and one more was modified to show its
limitations.  The games were Jungle River Cruise (originally called
"Riverboat"), Tumbleweeds, Pole Position, and Ms. Pac-Man, all for 
the 5200 and 400/800 (a 2600 game appears to have never been 
In order to reach a wide spectrum of consumers, Atari planned on
producing three Puffer models - the Pro Model, an Arcade Model and a
Home Model (for the 2600, 5200 and 8-bit computers)
The Home Model consisted of two types -- a folding exercise bike
sourced on an OEM basis with Atari controls mounted on them, or an
add-on module for those who already own an exercise bike. The Home
Puffer was to plug into the joystick port of a 5200, 400/800 or VCS.
The suggested retail price was to be $150 with one game packaged with
the Puffer.  Atari had plans on releasing controllers to fit other
exercise instruments such as rowing machines and foot pads if the
Puffer proved to be a success.
Just as Atari was ready for production of the Puffer and its
compatible software programs, the project was put in the back burner
as Atari began to lose an incredible amount of money in the
marketplace.  The Puffer was resurrected in early 1984, and Atari
planned to aggressively market and sell the Puffer in the summer of
1984, with a full-scale marketing campaign that was to coincide with
the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics.
However, the purchase of Atari by Sam Tramiel in the Spring of 1984
brought an end to the ambitious product, as the new regime under
the Tramiels sought to identify Atari as a professional home computer
For more detailed information about the Puffer, including pictures,
schematics, game information and internal corporate documents, please
visit the Project Puffer Page at..
CPU:          6502C (8-bit), 1.78 MHz
Memory:       16K RAM
Colors:       256, 16 on-screen
Resolution:   320x192
Sound:        4-channel
Power Supply: 4-Port: 11.5VDC @ 1.95A
              2-Port: 9.3VDC @ 1.95A
Note: You can ignore the power supply specifications.  Both the
      4-port and 2-port power supplies are functionally identical.
      As long as it's part #C018187, it will power either flavor
      5200.  Have trust in the console's voltage regulators to take
      care of things.
The Atari 5200 is essentially a console version of the Atari 8-bit
Computers (400/800, XL, XE, XEGS).  The functions of the system are
divided up between four major IC chips:
The CPU in the 5200 is a modified 6502 processor.  The only
difference is that Atari's version of this CPU has some extra
hardware on board that allows the ANTIC chip to take over the bus to
do Direct Memory Access (DMA).
POKEY's main job is to generate sound and to perform a variety of
other miscellaneous functions.  The POKEY chip has four separate
channels, and the pitch, volume and distortion values of each of
these channels can be controlled individually. POKEY is also used to
read the position of each of the joysticks, and scans the keypad on
each controller for key presses.  Its other functions include the
random number generator, IRQ handling, and 3 high-speed counters.
POKEY also has a serial communications port that is connected to the
5200's expansion port.
ANTIC can be thought of as the 5200's graphics co-processor.  ANTIC
has direct access to RAM where it reads a special program called the
display list.  The display list tells ANTIC exactly how to draw the
display and then sends information to the GTIA which generates the
actual video signals.  The 5200 supports 17 seperate video modes;
some are character modes, others graphic.  Each mode has a different
combination of vertical size, horizontal size, and number of colors.
Using the display list, these modes can be mixed freely on a single
screen, so for example a screen could have a couple lines of text
mode at the top, a block of hi-res graphics in the middle, and more
text at the bottom.  The location in memory that the display date
comes from can easily be controlled through ANTIC.  The display data
can be almost anywhere in memory, and it is even possible for the
data for each line to come from totally different places in memory.
This allows horizontal and vertical scrolling to be implemented very
easily.  ANTIC is also responsible for controlling Non-Maskable
Interrupt to the processor.
The GTIA's main responsibility is to generate the video signals to
the TV and to handle sprites.  The GTIA is where the actual colors
are put into the video signal.  The 5200 has a palette of 256 colors.
Most video modes only allow four colors, but a facility in the ANTIC
chip allows the values of these colors to be changed on each line of
the screen, so it is possible to have all 256 colors on screen at
once.  The 5200 has four player and four missile sprites.  Player
sprite are eight pixels wide and either 128 or 256 pixels high,
missiles are two pixels wide and either 128 or 256 pixels high.  Each
sprite can have its on color, independent from the normal screen
colors.  The GTIA chip can detect collisions between players,
missiles, and the playfield.  This chip is also responsible for
reading joystick trigger buttons, and controlling which controller
is being read by POKEY.
$0000 - $3FFF  RAM
$4000 - $BFFF  Cartridge ROM
$C000 - $C0ff  GTIA
$D400 - $D5FF  ANTIC
$E800 - $E8FF  POKEY
$F800 - $FBFF  Character Set ROM
$FC00 - $FFFF  System ROM
4.4 -- BIOS
The 2K BIOS has three functions:
1) To initialize the system, draw the Atari rainbow logo, and
   transfer control to the cartridge.  Note: Some cartridges bypass
   the Atari logo and init the system on their own.
2) To service interrupts.
3) To maintain RAM copies (shadows) of important hardware registers.
Pin   Function
1     Keypad -- right column
2     Keypad -- middle column
3     Keypad -- left column
4     Start, Pause and Reset column
5     Keypad -- third row and reset
6     Keypad -- second row and pause
7     Keypad -- top row and Start
8     Keypad -- bottom row
9     Pot common
10    Horizontal Pot (POT0, 2, 4, 6)
11    Vertical Pot (POT1, 3, 5, 7)
12    5 Volts DC
13    Bottom side buttons
14    Top side buttons
15    0 volts -- ground
TOP                   BOTTOM
D0                1    36    Interlock
D1                2    35    A11
D2                3    34    A12
D3                4    33    A10
D4                5    32    A13
D5                6    31    A9
D6                7    30    Audio In (2-port)
D7                8    29    A8
Enable 80-BF      9    28    Not Connected
Enable 40-7F     10    27    A7
Not Connected    11    26    +12VDC directly from the power adapter
Ground           12    25    Ground
Ground           13    24    Ground (Video In on 2-port)
A6               15    22    A4
A5               16    21    A3
A2               17    20    A1
Interlock        18    19    A0
TOP                   BOTTOM
+5V DC            1    36    +5V DC
Audio Out         2    35    Not connected
   (2 port)
Ground            3    34    Ground
R/W Early         4    33    Not connected
Enable E0-EF      5    32    D7
D6                6    31    D5
D4                7    30    D3
D2                8    29    D1
D0                9    28    Ground
IRQ              10    27    A0
Ground           11    26    A1
Serial Data In   12    25    A2
In Clock         13    24    A3
Serial Out Clock 14    23    A4
Serial Data Out  15    22    A5
Audio In         16    21    A6
A14              17    20    A7
System Clock 01  18    19    A11
       4-PORT MODELS?
The 4-joystick-port model comes with an automated RF switch box that
is not found in the 2-port machine.   The 4-port unit has a unique 
power setup. The power supply plugs into the TV switchbox and the 
TV wire from the 5200 carries power to the system from the switchbox 
while also providing the video display to the TV. In addition, most 
4-port 5200 systems cannot use the VCS cartridge adapter without 
modifications.  Several other minor differences also exist between 
the two machines.
(Taken from ANALOG Magazine)
Later releases of the 5200 incorporate some minor hardware changes.
Controller ports 3 and 4 have been eliminated, making POT7, TRIG2,
TRIG3, and bit 1 of CONSOL useless.  A few of the connector pins
have been redefined.  Pin 2 of the I/O expansion connector now
carries POKEY's Audio Out signal.  Three pins on the cartridge
connector have changed to accommodate the new 2600 adapter.  The
system clock, 02, is output on pin 14, isolated through a diode.  An
alternate video input is taken from pin 24 and is also isolated
through a diode.  Pin 30 provides an alternate audio input.
There is space on the newer boards for circuitry for a PAL (European
TV standard) version of the 5200.  Also, on power-up, the monitor
program checks for the PAL version by examining the GTIA register PAL
after step 2 of the initialization routine.  It also checks the
cartridge program for PAL compatibility.  The byte at $BFE7 should
read $02 if compatible, or $00 if not.  This is the only important
change to the monitor program.  There are some additional hardware
changes, but none affects the machine's operation from the
programmer's view.
Early 5200s that have four joystick ports cannot accept the VCS
(2600) adapter unless modifications are made.  However, Best
Electronics offers an adapter kit which allows the use of the VCS
adapter on 4-port models.
*** NOTE -- Owners of 4-port 5200 machines with an "*" as part of
the serial number are in luck.  Atari apparently made a small run of
VCS-compatible 4-port units before changing over to the 2-port units.
There are three production modifications to the logic board of 2-port
5200 systems.  A number of people have seen these mods on their 5200s
and the mods appear to have been factory installed.
1.  Pin 11 of A5 (GTIA) is lifted out of the socket.  This pin on the
    GTIA is the trigger 3 input which is unused on the 2-port model.
    When it is in the socket, it is connected to trigger 1.  This mod
    probably had something to do with the change from 4-ports to 2.
2.  Pins 8,9,10 and 11 of A7 (POKEY) are connected to pin 1 of A7 on
    the back of the board.  This mod connects the paddle 4,5,6 and 7
    inputs to ground.  This mod also had something to do with the
    change from 4-ports to 2.
3.  A wire is run from the feed thru below C94 to A27 pin 1, pin 1
    and 2 of A27 are connected together on the back of the board, pin
    10 of A15 is lifted, and connected to A27 pin 3.  This
    modification alters the timing of CAS to the dynamic RAM.
(Locations refer to the 2-port version, these may be different on the
4-port model)
A1          4050
Video signal buffer
A2          C014806          CPU  6502C
This is a custom version of the standard 6502 microprocessor.  It is
functionally identical to a standard 6502, except that hardware has
been added to it that allows the ANTIC chip to do Direct Memory
Access (DMA).
A3          C012296          ANTIC
This chip is a microprocessor that reads data directly from RAM to
determine how the screen should be drawn and controls the GTIA to
actually generate the graphics.  The ANTIC is also responsible for
processing NMI's.
A5          C014805          GTIA
This chip is responsible for generating the video signal to the TV,
generating sprites, reading the joystick trigger buttons, and
controlling the reading of the joysticks and keypads (the actual
reading is done by POKEY).
A6          74LS139
Address decoding.
A7          C012294          POKEY
This chip is responsible for generating sound, reading the position
of the joystick, reading the keypad buttons, processing IRQ's and,
controlling the serial I/O port which is accessible through the
expansion connector.
A8          C019156A         ROM BIOS
This is a 2K ROM chip that holds the character set and the BIOS
software.  The BIOS initializes the system and to service interrupts.
A9,10,11    4052
Keypad scanning multiplexers.
A14         74LS125
Control signal buffering.
A15         74LS51
DRAM control signals.
A16,17      74LS258
DRAM address multiplexers.
A18-25      MK4516           1x16K DRAM
A26         4013
Power on/off switch latch.
A27         74LS00
Miscellaneous logic.
The 5200 is basically an Atari Computer without a keyboard.  It has
all the major chips that the computers have with the exception of the
PIA chip, but most of the chips are at different memory locations.
The differences between the two machines are as follows:
*  Memory
   The 5200 has a fixed 16K of RAM.  Memory locations $00-$18 and
   $200-$21B are reserved for the BIOS to use.
*  ROM
   The BIOS ROM of the 5200 is only 2K instead of 10K.  Virtually
   none of the computer's BIOS functions are implemented on the 5200.
   The 5200 does not have a System Reset key, so bit 5 of NMIST is
   not used.
   The trigger inputs, TRIG0-TRIG3 are connected to the bottom
   buttons of the controllers.  The 5200 does not have Start, Select,
   or Option buttons, so these lines are used as outputs.  Bit 2 of
   CONSOL enables and disables the joystick pots.  Bits 0 and 1
   control which keypad controller is being read.  This only affects
   the keypad buttons, and the top trigger buttons.
   The eight paddle inputs from the computer are now wired to the
   joysticks, 2 to each stick, one for vertical position and the
   other for horizontal position.  The joysticks are read in the same
   way that the computer's paddles are read.  On the 5200 the KBCODE
   register bits 1-4 hold the scan code from the currently selected
   keypad controller.  Bit 6 of KBCODE is used to read the top button
   of the controllers instead of the SHIFT key.  They also cause the
   BREAK-key interrupt.  The POKEY's serial lines are connected to
   the expansion connector.
*  Cartridge
   The cartridges can be up to 32K.  There are two interlock
   connectors that are wired together on a cartridge board.  The 5200
   uses this as a switch for the cartridge's power connections and as
   a Reset signal.  Therefore, a cartridge may be safely removed or
   inserted while the 5200 is powered on.
Differences between 2-port and 4-port consoles:
   Not surprisingly, there are very few appreciable differences
   between the 2-port and 4-port variations of the 5200.  For the
   purposes of this article, they are considered to be identical.
Where to get signals:
   Most of the components do not have visible labels on the board's
   silkscreen, so giving component numbers is not useful.  In the
   upper right corner of the area of the board that's covered by the
   shielding, there is a horizontal row of components.
               o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o
               |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
               C  R3 R2 R1 D  R  R  R  R  R  R  R
               |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
               o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o
                              ^  ^  ^  ^  ^  ^
                              |  |  |  |  |  `-Chroma
                              |  |  |  |  `----Luma 1
                              |  |  |  `-------Sync
                              |  |  `----------Luma 0
                              |  `-------------Luma 2
                              `----------------Luma 3
   There is a row of components to the right of the GTIA (C014805)
   and below a cluster of inductors and transistors.
                o  o o o o o o o o o o
                |  | | | | | | | | | |
               R40 R R R R R C R R C C
                |  | | | | | | | | | |
                o  o o o o o o o o o o
Luma output:
   The Luma signal needs amplification to be useful.  After probing
   around on an Atari 800 (a close relative to the 5200 that
   conveniently has Croma/Luma outputs built-in), I realized the
   amplifier circuit they used is remarkably similar to the one
   attributed to Thomas Clancy in the Classic Atari Game Systems FAQ.
   Rather than try to copy the circuit on the Atari 800 or design one
   from scratch, I decided to use the one given there.  The only
   significant difference is the addition of another level of
   Materials Needed:
   100uF capacitor
   10uF capacitor
   10 ohm
   (2) 75ohm - an 82 ohm works well (RS 271-1107)
   750 ohm
   1.6 kohm
   2   kohm
   4.7 kohm
   9.1 kohm
   18  kohm
   36  kohm
   CR - low power silicon diode (RS 276-1122)
   Q - 3904 or equivalent (RS 276-2016)
   RCA jack
                                 |  +
                                 |  100uF  |
                                 |         \/ GND
                                 |             10uf
            CR1  750       1.6K  |    10     | +    |
    Sync --|k
  Luma 2 ---/\/\/-----|  |       \|\e/          75        __
            18K       |  |           \-----,---/\/\/-----O__ LUMA
  Luma 1 ---/\/\/-----|  |  2K             |             |   OUTPUT
            36K       |  `-/\/\/----/\/\/--`         GND \/
  Luma 0 ---/\/\/-----`          |    75
                             GND \/
Chroma output:
   In my experience, the 5200's chroma signal is sufficiently strong
   that it can be used without amplification.  On my own 5200, I
   ran the chroma through a 2kohm resistor to "take the edge off,"
   then a 1uF capacitor to filter the DC voltage off.  Play around
   with the resistance there to find what suits you.
                                                          RCA jack
             2k     1uF                                   __
  Chroma ---/\/\/---|(-----------------------------------O__ CHROMA
                                                         |   OUTPUT
                                                     GND \/
Audio output:
   This is just a capacitor to filter out the DC voltage.
                                                          RCA jack
               1uF                                        __
  Audio ------|(-----------------------------------------O__ AUDIO
                                                         |   OUTPUT
                                                     GND \/
Composite video output:
   To gain composite output, just tie the Luma and Chroma outputs
   together into a single output.
Where to put it:
   I mounted the circuits on a small project board from Radio Shack,
   tapping into the appropriate points on the 5200 board with a
   length of ribbon cable.  I then tucked the board into the
   controller storage space at the back of the console and ran the
   output signals to three RCA jacks I had mounted in the removable
   expansion interface cover.  That way the only permanently
   modified/damaged piece (the cover) is also one that is easily
The early Atari 5200's came with an unusual switchbox which supplied 
power to the 5200 down the same wire the 5200 uses to send the video 
signal to your TV. The power supply plugged into the switchbox. 
Unfortunately, these switchboxes seem to have gotten lost over the 
years and are difficult to come by. Newer 5200's (the one with only 
two controller ports) had the power supply jack on the console 
itself. Fortunately, it is not difficult to construct your own 
RF/power supply box for the 5200. There is one difference, though. 
The original 5200 switchbox would automatically switch from your TV 
antenna/cable to the 5200 when you turned the console on. With the 
RF/power box described below, you will need to use a standard 
game/TV switchbox. 
The following parts are needed to construct the box. Where 
applicable, Radio Shack part numbers, and prices, have been 
provided (these may be outdated). You may use another RCA jack in 
place of the F jack if you wish. I chose to use the F jack to avoid 
ever accidentally plugging the 5200 and TV cables in backwards, 
which would result in 11.5 volts DC going into your TV set, 
possibly damaging it. 
RS#       Part                                     Price
--------  ----------------------------             -----
270-235   2"x2.75"x1.625" Aluminum Box             $1.99
274-1563  Coaxial DC power jack                    $1.79
278-212   Cable TV type F jack (2 pack)            $0.99 
            (optional, see above)
274-346   RCA type phono jack (4 pack)             $2.49
272-131   0.01 uF Ceramic Disc capacitor (2 pack)  $0.59
          Small metal bolt (1" long, 3/8" diam, approx)
          22 guage solid wire (14" or so)
                                             Total $7.85 + local tax
Drill holes in the aluminum box for each jack to match the diagram 
below. The box itself forms the common ground connection to all 
three jacks. To reduce signal loss and ensure the common ground, it 
is recommended that chrome or gold plated type jacks be used. 
         F jack (to TV)
+-------------|  |-------------+
|             |__|             |<--- aluminum box>of the F jack and the RCA jack. 
|                  \/          |      jack. Make the choke by winding 
|                   \          |      at least 10 turns of 22 gauge 
|          Choke     \         |      solid, insulated wire around a 
|        ---|/////|---\        |      3/8" (approx) diameter bolt. 
|       _L            _L       |      Wrap tape around the completed 
+------|  |----------|  |------+      choke to prevent it from 
       |__|          |__|             unwinding. Strip the insulation 
  DC power jack     RCA jack          off of each end of the choke 
  (to pwr supply)   (to 5200)         leads. Solder the leads of the 
                                      choke to the center pins of 
                                      the DC power jack and the RCA 
                                      jack. Screw the box shut. 
                                      You're done. 
The switchbox works as follows. The capacitor transparently passes 
the video signal from the 5200 to the TV output jack, while at the 
same time preventing the DC power from the power supply jack from 
going into your TV. The choke (inductor) transparently passes the 
11.5 volt DC power to the 5200 via the RCA jack while at the same 
time preventing the video signal from escaping back down the power 
supply wire. The bolt around which the choke is wound helps to 
increase the choke's inductance to block more of the video signal 
from going back into the power supply than it otherwise would. The 
aluminum box itself helps keep the video signal confined to where 
it belongs to prevent possible interference and to ensure that as 
much of the signal as possible gets to your TV. For this reason, 
plastic boxes are not recommended. 
Finally, another note about the 5200 power supply. The 5200 power 
supply is 11.5 volts DC @ 1.95 amps and has a standard type coaxial 
plug (center positive 5mm OD, 2.1mm ID). Or you could construct one 
from a transformer, 4 diodes, two capacitors, a resistor, a 3A adj. 
voltage regulator, heat sink, case, and cabling, or find a 12V 2A 
power supply and add a diode inline to drop the voltage by 0.5V. 
5.1 -- CONSOLE
Repairing 5200 consoles:
Bob Ayik found one console that just would not turn on.  He checked 
the board and power was appropriately present.  Easy fix - soldier a 
SPST switch - one end to Pin 18 of cart. slot, the other end to 
ground.  Plug a cartridge in and flip switch and you are set.
Repairing power supplies:
If you have a dead power supply, there is a fuse in it.  Remove 
the screw on the bottom and then check the fuse.  Oftentimes, the 
insulation on the cord cracks where it goes into the power supply.  
Easy fix - open the power supply, disconnect the cord wires, cut 
the wires, strip off some insulation, reconnect them and then change 
the fuse. 
The 4-port power supply (CO18187 - 9.3V DC@1.95 amp) has 2 screws on 
the bottom allowing easy access.  The fuse is on a board inside.  
The fuse is 5A 250V slow blow (Radio Shack part #: 270-1027) and is 
easy to change.
The 2-port PS (CO18187 Model #: DV-9319-A - 11.5V DC@1.95 amp) does 
not have visible screws for access.  A good guess is that they are 
hidden under the rubber feet on the bottow.  It is assumed that the 
fuse is similar.
Atari 5200 controller buttons, mainly the fire and start/pause/reset
buttons, wear out prematurely, either by repeated use or by periods
of non-use.  Here's the easy way to fix the 5200 controller buttons.
The buttons work by pressing a carbon coated disc against a set of
circuits.  The two circuits are interweaved and a connection is made
when the carbon touches both traces.  The traces look like this:
        |-----  |
        | ------|
        |------ |
        | ------|
The carbon coated discs are located on the underside of the rubber
you press.  What makes them quit working is the exposed circuit
traces which corrode and get dirty, not allowing the connection to be
made.  This is especially true if the controllers are stored for some
time in a damp place (or just unused for a long amount of time) (or
especially if you spill pop on them :).  The quick way to fix them is
to clean the traces.  This can be done by rubbing (gently!) with a
pencil eraser until shiny clean.  This will remedy the situation, but
they will soon corrode again, depending on use. (some versions of the
controllers used different coatings on the traces to avoid this, but
these only slightly prolong the life of the buttons; I haven't seen
any that don't need some periodic cleaning).  To open the controller
to clean, follow these steps EXACTLY:
1)  With a small screwdriver, pry up the bezel surrounding the start/
    pause/reset buttons.  Remove the rubber buttons if they don't
    come out with the bezel.  Now peel the printed circuit off the
    plastic case; it's just glued onto it.  Lift the right side, as
    the left side has connections into the controller.  Do NOT rip or
    remove the circuit, just unglue it from the case.
2)  Remove the three screws from the bottom of the case.  Center the
    joystick, and leave it there.  Now seperate the case halves by
    first starting at the start/pause/reset end.  The other end is
    pressed together; it will snap apart if you seperate the cases.
    Don't move the potentiometers in the bottom of the case for the
    stick won't mate back up when you put it back together.
3)  Remove the fire buttons and their bezels.  Now the traces for the
    fire buttons are exposed.  Clean them by rubbing with an eraser.
    Wipe off with a clean napkin or something similar afterwards.
4)  Place the fire buttons and their bezels into the lower half of
    the case.  Guide the start/pause/reset circuit up through the
    upper case half where it belongs, and bring the two halves
    together.  By centering the stick before placing the halves
    together, its receptacle will automatically fit into the bottom
    of the case, and the two directional axis plates will
    automatically hook up with the potentiometers.  It's best to
    place the numerical keypad end together loosely first, as this
    will allow peering into the joystick end as it goes together to
    make sure everything lines up.  The end of the joystick has to go
    into the hole in the bottom case, and the posts on the two arms
    on the potentiometers have to go into their respective holes on
    the plates in the upper case.  After aligning everything
    together, make sure the stick moves in all directions freely and
    completely.  If so, you can screw back in the three screws.
5)  Re-stick the start/pause/reset circuit to the case, then clean
    these traces as described above.  Replace the buttons and the
You can also clean the keypad traces while it's apart, they don't
seem to get used as much, so will usually work a lot longer.  The
flex circuits with the traces on them are fragile, so be gentle
around them.  A hairline crack in a trace can cause certain buttons
not to work at all.  These cracks can be repaired by soldering a
bridge over the crack.  Careful, the flex circuit often melts before
the solder does!
The permanent way to fix these buttons is by soldering sealed,
surface-mount micro-button switches onto the circuits.  This not only
makes the buttons ALWAYS work, but also gives them a 'snap' action,
compared to the mushy feel of the original buttons.  The switches I
use are small enough to fit under the original rubber buttons, so
expect for them to work and feel different; you can't tell from the
outside that any change has been made.  If anyone is interested in
having their sticks retro-fitted with these superior buttons, let
me know.
One of the most "beat upon" parts of the joystick are the "fire"
buttons.  The good news is that they can be replaced easily.
First you will need to order replacement parts.  I recommend
replacing all the internal parts except for the pots (unless you
experience specific difficulties with them).  Best Electronics offers
the following:
                                   SPARE PARTS
Description               Quantity per joystick      Part #     $$$
-----------               ---------------------      ------     ---
Fire Buttons                2 (provides 4 buttons)   C020501    $2
Start/Pause/Reset Buttons   1                        C018128    $2.50
Numeric Keypad              1                        C018126    $2.50
Internal Flex Circuit       1                        C018124    $2.50
Controller Boot             1                        C021084    $0.50
Boot Retaining Ring         1                        C018116    $0.20
Total per joystick          7                                  $10.20
What Now??
1.  Use a knife to remove the plastic bezel containing the Start,
    Pause & Reset buttons.
2.  Remove the 3 screws holding the joystick together.
3.  Use a screwdriver, at the base, to seperate the two halves of the
4.  Remove the fire buttons from each side, making sure to save the
    plastic bezel that holds them in (you'll need this when
    installing the new Fire buttons).
5.  Remove the old flex circuit.  It was probably attached with
    double-sided tape.  Replace this tape when installing the new
    flex circuit.  First make certain the new circuit fits well, then
    add the tape.
6.  Replace the fire buttons mounted in their plastic bezels.
7.  Center the numeric keypad on top of the flex circuit.  Use the
    top half of the joystick to estimate where it should fit.  Also
    use the guide pegs that align the FC into place.
8.  Before re-attaching the joystick, make sure the pots are oriented
    correctly so that you maximize the chance that the stick will
    line up properly.
    The correct position of the pots are:
         Top pot peg positioned at 10 O'clock.
         Bottom pot peg positioned at 6 O'clock.
9.  Re-attach the top half of the joystick.  Make sure you feed the
    flex circuit for the start/pause/reset buttons through the slot
    on the left.  Also make sure the joystick handle fits into the
    cup in between the two pots.
10. Before replacing the screws in the bottom, slowly move the
    joystick handle around to see if it "feel like it's in place.
11. If it feels good, replace the screws.
How do you tell if it is lined up properly?
Play a game like Missile Command or any game that features up/down
movement as well as side-to-side.  If one or more dircections fail
you will need to reopen the joystick and follow from instruction #8
5200 gamers, rejoice!  For individuals who have long suffered at the
hands of the unreliable and imprecise (for some games) standard 5200
controllers, there are a slew of alternatives which are mentioned
Wico Command Control Joystick (by Wico)
     A decent alternative to the original controllers, the Wico is an
     analog stick which comes with a Y-cable which enables the 5200
     joystick to be used for keypad functions.
Competition Pro Joystick (by Coin Controls)
     An excellent alternative to the standard 5200 joystick, this
     controller is a ball-handled microswitch joystick that offers
     tremendous feel and control for most games.  Highly recommended.
Fire Command Joystick (GIM Electronics)
     Unlike the aformentioned two "hand held" controllers, the Fire
     Command Joystick is an arcade-style tabletop joystick with a
     sturdy metallic base.  It features two fire buttons on each side
     of the joystick, allowing for lefties to get in on the fun.  The
     fire buttons are carbon copies of arcade buttons as well.  A
     definite winner.
6.2 -- MASTERPLAY INTERFACE (by Electra Concepts)
This is THE device to have for any collector or die-hard gamer.  The
handy plug-in unit allows 5200 owners to replace the system's analog
joystick with any number of 2600-compatible, digital joysticks.  In
addition, the Interface features a slide switch so that a digital
joystick can be used in either a remote 'start' mode or a 'fire'
model depending upon the game.  A second slide switch lets you keep
the unit permanently connected to the console so that the analog
controller functions, including the use of the keyboard portion by
itself, can be accomplished simply and easily.  The Masterplay
Interface originally came packaged with a second fire button for
games that require it.  This button can either be taped or velcroed
to the 2600-compatible controller.
Materials needed
* (1) 4069 (Hex Inverter)
* (1) 4066 (Quad analog switch)
* (2) PNP 3906 transistor or similiar
* (2) silicon diodes
* (4) 4.7 kohm resistor
* (2) 10 kohm resistor
* (2) 250 kohm resistor \ Values of these resistors are critical.
* (2) 500 kohm resistor / Get as close as you can by stacking.
                          Don't trust the stripes on those resistors;
                          take the time to actually measure them.
* (1) 9-pin male Dsub connector (for 2600 joystick connection)
* (1) 15-pin female Dsub connector (for 5200 port connection)
5200 port                     2600 stick
pin  func                     pin  func
---------                     ----------
 12  +5V---------------------+--7  +5V (2600 sticks)
                             `--5  +5V (Sega sticks)
 15  Ground---------------------8  Ground
 13  Bottom Fire----------------6  Fire (2600 fire, or Sega B button)
 14  Top Fire-------------------9  Fire (Sega C button)
 10  Hpot___/\/\_
                 \      1K
             PNP  \|___/\/\_____3  West
             3906 ^|         |
  9  Pot ________/           |
     Common                  |
               4.7K          |
 12  +5V-------/\/\----------+
 11  Vpot___/\/\_
                 \      1K
             PNP  \|___/\/\_____1  North
             3906 ^|         |
  9  Pot ________/           |
     Common                  |
               4.7K          |
 12  +5V-------/\/\----------+
 12  +5V----+--/\/\---+---------4  East
            |  4.7K   |
            `--/\/\---|--+------2  South
                      |  |
                      |  |             _________
                      |  +------------|1  \/  14|--+5V
                      |  |            |         |
                      |  |  +---------|2      13|
                      |  |  |         |         |
                      +--|--|---------|3      12|
                      |  |  |         |         |
                      |  |  |  +------|4 4069 11|
                      |  |  |  |      |         |
                      |  |  |  |      |5      10|
                      |  |  |  |      |         |
                      |  |  |  |      |6       9|
                      |  |  |  |      |         |
                      |  |  |  | GND--|7_______8|
                      |  |  |  |
                      |  |  |  |
                      |  |  |  `---------------------------+
                      |  |  `---------------------------+  |
                      |  |                              |  |
  9  Pot              |  |      500K   _________        |  |
     Common-----------|--|--+---/\/\--|1  \/  14|--+5V  |  |
            diode     |  |  |         |         |       |  |
 10  H-Pot---|<-------><---->|        |
                   |  |  `--|---------|5      10|--+-----|--+
                   |  |     |         |         |  |     |  |
                   |  `-----|---------|6       9|--'     |  |
                   |        |         |         |  250K  |  |
                   |        |    GND--|7_______8|--/\/\--+  |
                   |        |                            |  |
                   |        `----------------------------'  |
Notice there are four unused inputs on the 4069. These could
potentially be used for other things, like a rapid-fire circuit.
If you're not going to use them, tie the inputs (pins 5, 9, 11,
and 13) to ground.  
* Pushing east on the stick grounds the horizontal circuit, mimicking
  the effect of infinite resistance between pot common and H-pot.
* Pushing west causes a short circuit between pot common and H-pot,
  i.e. zero resistance.
* The fire button works exactly like it does on the regular 5200
* If you're using a Genesis controller, button B functions as the
  bottom fire button, and button C as the top.
Good Things
* No more problems with games that were unplayable with your non-
  centering 5200 sticks.
* Cheap!  It only costs about eleven dollars on the raw materials for
  one of these, including some rather fancy touches (Y-adapter,
  switchable analog stick, etc.)
* It should work with every 2600 joystick there is.  I've tested it
  with my mechanical switch sticks, my Genesis-to-7800 pad, my
  NES-to-7800 pad, and my 2600 remote control joysticks, and they all
  work peachy keen.
Bad Things
* 2600 sticks don't have two fire buttons.  If you want, you can glue
  an extra fire button onto your 2600-compatible stick of choice.
  Just wire it up between port pins 14 and 15.
* Won't work with games that require the analog capabilities of the
  5200 stick, like Missile Command.  A few other games like Galaxian
  and Centipede make limited use of the analog-osity of the regular
  stick by giving two movement speeds depending on how far you push
  the stick.  With the adapter, you can only get the fastest speed.
  It's not a huge handicap, but it's probably worth mentioning.
* Neither this adapter nor the Masterplay Interface gets along well
  with three particular games: Qix, Vanguard and Ms.Pac-Man.  There
  are others, but I haven't gotten around to trying it on all the
  games yet.  They will respond to pushing east (or south) on the
  stick as if you're pushing west (or north).  No real clue exactly
  why this happens, but you may be able to make them work by starting
  up a game, thrashing the digital stick around until the game
  behaves itself, then starting a new game.  It might work for you,
  and it might not.  YMMV.
Yes, you can build an adapter Y-cable for the 5200 to allow the use
of a PC analog joystick. You plug the Atari 5200 controller into one
connecter to use its keypad.  You plug a PC joystick into the other
connecter for movement and buttons.  Great  for Star Raiders and
Galaxian.  OK for Super Breakout if you have a steady hand.
        How to Connect a PC Joystick to an Atari 5200 System
                           (Revision 1.0)
This is an adapter for connecting a PC joystick to an Atari 5200.
It's a small cable with two 15 pin connectors on one end and
one 15 pin connector on the other.  The single connector end plugs
into the A5200.  One the other end, one connector is for a PC
joystick and the other is for an Atari 5200 controller.  The keypad
and top row buttons are used on the 5200 controller as usual.  The PC
joystick replaces the A5200 direction control and fire buttons.
Any PC compatible joystick will work, but some PC compatible
joystick are digital instead of analog.  These seem mostly of the
joypad variety.  You can still use digital joysticks, but some games
will not work.  Super Breakout is the big one that is impossible to
play with a digital PC joystick (Well you can, but the paddle can
only be all the way left, all the way right, or in the middle).
Games like Pac-man and Defender play no different with a digital PC
joystick.  However, I have noticed, that games like Galaxian and Star
Raiders play better with an analog joystick.  For example the ship in
Galaxian has two speeds in each direction.  Moving the stick a little
to the left will move the ship slowly to the left and moving the
stick all the way to the left will move the ship at a faster speed.
So these games are still playable with a digital joystick but won't
have the same feel as an analog joystick.
For the serious gamers, I would recommend an analog joystick
with trimmer controls.  The trimmers allow optimum sensitivity
adjustment and as a bonus you can play Super Breakout with just the
trimmer control.  There's one from Quickshot called the Warrior 5
that is only $10.  If you have a joystick without trimmers like the
Thrustmaster, it still works, but it seems more sensitive in one
direction than another.  This can be fixed by playing with different
capacitor values.
Some of you may be wondering about calibration.  I can't confirm
this, but from my observations, there is some auto calibration going
on.  For example, I put in Galaxian, and press start.  My ship starts
moving right even though I'm in the neutral position.  However, If I
move all the way left and all the way right, the ship always stops
when I'm in neutral position.  I have observed this behavior with my
adapter as well as the Atari 5200 controller.
I have also been asked about the Gravis PC Gamepad.  I don't know
for sure, but I believe the Gravis PC Gamepad is digital.  Feel
free to correct me if I am wrong.  If it is, it comes under the same
restrictions discussed above.
If anybody is interested in making these adapters to sell, you have
my permission.  All I ask is that somewhere you give me credit for
the design.
Now the Disclaimer.  I am not responsible for:
1. Any damage done to your A5200
2. Any damage done to your PC Joystick.
3. Any errors in these instructions or schematic.
I'm not going to give step by step instructions.  I'm going to
assume that the reader has some basic knowledge of electronics and
can figure out what to do with the schematics and info presented
here.  I will, however, answer questions if asked.
Now that I covered my backside, here is how to do it:
Parts List:
2   15 pin Female        Sub-miniature D connectors
2   15 pin Male          Sub-miniature D connectors
2   .22uF                Ceramic Capacitors
1   ~1 ft.               15 pin cable
        ________                           ________
       |        |                         |        |
       | 1    1 |_________________________| 1   1  |
       | 5      |                         |     5  |
       |      2 |_________________________| 2      |
       | P      |                         |     P  |   A5200
       | I    3 |_________________________| 3   I  |   Controller
A5200  | N      |                         |     N  |
       |      4 |_________________________| 4      |   No connection
       | F      |                         |     M  |   on pins 9-15
       | E    5 |_________________________| 5   A  |
       | M      |                         |     L  |
       | A    6 |_________________________| 6   E  |
       | L      |                         |        |
       | E    7 |_________________________| 7   C  |
       |        |                         |     O  |
       | C    8 |_________________________| 8   N  |
       | O      |                         |________|         
       | N      |        
       |        |
       |        |
       |        |
       |        |                          ________
       |        |                         |        |
       |      13|_________________________| 2   1  |
       |        |                         |     5  |
       |      14|_________________________| 7      |
       |        |                         |     P  |   PC
       |      9 |_________________________| 1   I  |   Joystick
       |        |                         |     N  |
       |      10|_____x___________________| 3      |  No connection
       |        |     |                   |     F  |  on pins 5, 8-15
       |      11|_____|_________x_________| 6   E  |
       |        |     |         |         |     M  |
       |        |    _|_       _|_        |     A  |
       |        |    ___       ___        |     L  |
       |        |     | .22uF   | .22uF   |     E  |
       |        |     |         |         |        |
       |      15|_____x_________x_________| 4   C  |
       |        |                         |     O  |
       |        |          Gnd            |     N  |
       |________|                         |________|
1.  Wire up one end of the cable to a 15 pin female connector.  This
    will be the connector that goes to the Atari 5200.  Wire the
    other two connectors to the other end of the cable.
2.  The value of the capacitors is not critical.  If the PC joystick
    has a trimmer, a slightly smaller or larger value should work.
3.  The type of capacitor is not important.  If polarized caps are
    used, connect the negative leads to the 15---4 wire.
4.  Because the Atari 5200 joystick connector is so deep, using a
    clam shell cover for this adapter connector makes it very loose.
    I recommend heat shrink tubing or electrical tape on this end.
The analog 5200 joystick makes it perfect for a paddle conversion, 
right?  Now there's a way to convert your joystick into a paddle
PARTS required: at least one *paddle* from an Atari 2600 (not from
the driving controller) and one 5200 joystick controller.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  This project disables the horizontal capability of 
the 5200 stick which is assumed by the paddle controller.  This 
works great for games like Breakout and Space Invaders but is less 
useful for things like Mario Brothers...  Although the process is 
potentially reversible, it is recommended that you use a spare 5200 
Take the 2600 paddle and cut one of the control cables right behind 
the end of the 9-pin connector.  (I'm not sure if cutting off one 
paddle will still leave the other active for one-player games since 
I was operating with a defective pair.  If anyone experiments with 
this, drop me a note.)
Open up the paddle and note the color of the wire connections to the 
pot (two wires) and fire button (two wires.)  There should be three 
terminals on the pot.  Unsolder the wire on the outside terminal 
(i.e. not the middle one) and solder it to the opposite side.  If you 
don't do this, the paddle will cause the cursor to move in the wrong 
Close up the 2600 controller and open up the 5200 controller.  I 
used a small file to make a notch in the top half of the  5200 
controller just below the silver logo plate.  The U-shaped notch I 
made allows for the paddle cable to slip into it and be held in place 
when the 5200 controller is reassmbled.  One you have a satisfactory 
test fit, you are ready to wire the controllers together.
For convenenience, I will use the following colors based on the 
paddle I used.  If your colors are different, make the appropriate 
red- paddle pot, center terminal
yellow - paddle pot, "outside" terminal
brown - fire button
black - fire button
Take the open 5200 contrller and detach both wires from the
horizontal pot (the "lower" pot, closest to the numeric keypad.)  
Connect the paddle yellow wire to the black wire from the 5200 pot 
(although removed from the horizontal pot, it will remain connected 
to the other pot.)  Connect the red paddle wire to the brown wire 
from the 5200 pot.
The remaining two paddle need to be connected "across" one of the 
lower 5200 buttons (to allow the paddle button to fire the ball in 
breakout.)  You can do this by carefully scraping off the plastic 
from the traces going to each side of one of the lower buttons and 
carefully soldering the black and brown paddle wires to each side of 
the button.  I chose to locate the on the outermost trace running
down the left side of the numeric keypad and the brown wire on the 
next to outermost trace running down the right side of the numeric 
keypad.  You may have to trim the keypad gasket edges slightly to 
clear these wires and allow it to lie flat.
The new paddle-joystick may be tested before reassembly.  Pop in the 
Breakout cartridge and select a game.  The button on the paddle 
should fire the ball to start the game and the paddle (which can also 
be tested before the game is started) should move the onscreen paddle 
left and right just like on the 2600.
If everything seems to be working ok, reassemble the 5200 stick with 
the paddle cable threaded out the side and enjoy!  Be careful to 
route the paddle wires so they aren't crushed by any of the plastic 
supports in the 5200 stick and aren't in the way of the screw holes!
If you've felt that the joystick just doesn't cut it for 5200 Super 
Breakout, Kaboom and others, you now have a solution!  Contact for questions about this conversion.
As of this writing, both 4Jay's ( and Video 61 
( both sell and service Atari 5200 
controllers.  Complete contact information for both dealers can be 
found in Section 9.0 of this FAQ.
Dan Boris's Emulator Page
VSS (Virtual SuperSystem) is arguably the best Atari 5200 emulator
among those that are currently available.  It's for MS-DOS, and 
it's FREE.  The current version runs about 95% of the ROM images I 
have almost flawlessly, and at a reasonable speed even on a 486 
DX2/66.  On a Pentium system the emulator gets close to, or better 
than full speed on a lot of games.  To use this emulator you will 
need a copy of the 5200's 2K BIOS ROM, and 5200 ROM cart images.
Unlike all the other emulators in this roundup, VSS is a dedicated, 
5200-only emulator.
Rainbow Emulator Page
Rainbow is an Atari 8-Bit Emulator that allows Atari 8-bit Computer
and 5200 game images to run on the Macintosh or Windows95/NT.
Currently, only a preview demo is downloadable for Win95/NT, with
the shareware version expected momentarily.  A full shareware
version for the Macintosh has been available for some time.
Here's a quick rundown of key features in the full shareware version:
* Accepts 16K and 32K ROMs for 5200.
* Fast full and medium screen displays.
* True 256 Atari colors.
* Full ANTIC/GTIA graphics, namely all ANTIC modes, Player/Missile
  Graphics, fine scrolling and Display List interrupts.
* Four joysticks (via keypad) and four paddles (using mouse)
Pokey Emulator Page
Homepage Unavailable
Pokey, like VSS, is a free Atari Computer emulator for DOS that 
can also emulate the 5200 if you have the 5200's 2K BIOS ROM.  
It is one of the earlier Atari 5200 emulators and is quite 
outdated.  For instance, the only way you can get sound is if 
you build yourself a Pokey sound card and install it.
Current Pokey features:
* 320 X 200 screen (scrollable) or Mode X (320 X 240 or 360 X 240)
* Supports two PC joysticks (swapple on the fly or upon loading)
* DLI and VBI supported.
* All ANTIC modes.
* Player-missile graphics with collision detection
* GTIA graphics
* Horizontal and vertical fine scrolling
* System monitor.
Atari800Win Emulator Page (Windows 95/98/NT)
This is a fine Atari 8-bit computer and 5200 emulator for Unix, 
Amiga, MS-DOS and Falcon and was originally written by David Firth.  
The 5200 mode currently support about 80% of all ROM images, which 
is slightly less than what VSS currently manages to achieve.  With 
sound turned on, you will need a fast (Pentium II) PC to run at 
full speed.
The official Jum's 5200 Emulator Home Page
This is an up-and-coming DOS emulator that is constantly 
being tweaked and refined by James (who calls himself "Jum" for 
some reason), and it has recently been ported to the Windows, BeOS 
and Mac operating systems.  Definitely worth a look.
The Official MESS Page:
Call MESS the MAME for the home.  MESS is a free emulator 
that supports a TON of home game consoles and computers, including 
the Atari 5200. The current release supports almost 100 systems! It 
is written in C and the source code is available for download. 
Ready-made binaries are available for a variety of systems. 
     -- 5200 Instruction Manual Archive
     5200 Instruction Manuals in ASCII format.
     -- 5200 SuperSystem Homepage
     Your one stop resource for 5200 information.  Home of the 5200
     FAQ and rarity list.
     -- Atari 5200 Museum
     Tons of screenshots and pics of rare and unusual hardware,
     games and accessories.
     -- Atari Gaming Headquarters
     Your complete online Atari resource.
     -- Chris Knape's CVG Page
     Has a section on the SuperSystem along with several reviews.
     -- Dan Boris' Home Page
     The man behind VSS -- a 5200 SuperSystem emulator.  His site is
     also home to the 5200 Tech Page.
     -- Digital Press
     The venerable classic gaming fanzine devotes a sizeable portion of 
     its content to coverage of the Atari 5200.
     -- History of Home Videogames Homepage
     A comprehensive look at all the significant home videogame
     systems, from past to present.
     -- Pete's Vintage/Classic Games
     Includes coverage of the 5200, as well as a section on how to
     build your own arcade-quality joystick for the 5200.
     -- Zophar's Domain
     Terrific emulation site that has a nice section on the various 5200 
          Discussion about any and all classic (pre-NES) games,
          Focuses primarily on home console videogames.  (For coin-op
          enthusiasts there's
          Discussion about any and all classic (pre-NES) game
          hardware and software.  Less activity than in rgvc.
          A videogame newsgroup for those who wish to buy/sell/trade
          videogames.  RGVM is not limited to classic systems, so be
          prepared to sort through piles of sale/trade posts for
          newer systems and games.
          Although RGVA is primarily a Jaguar-centered newsgroup, 
          other Atari game machines (5200 included) are periodically 
          involved as topics of discussion. 
     -- #RGVC
          #RGVC is the official IRC channel of the
 newsgroup.  #RGVC was created in
          February, 1996 for people who enjoy classic games to
          chat about more or less anything, in a real time
          environment.  There are usually people around 24
          hours a day, so drop in and say hello anytime.
          If you're curious about learning more about the
          channel, point your browser to:

          You'll find info about #rgvc's origin, some of the
          people who visit there, and tips on how to join.
9.0)   ATARI 5200 DEALERS 
If you have a large inventory of Atari 5200 items and would like to
be mentioned here, please drop me a line.
     519 W. Fourth Street, Antioch, CA 94509 
     (925) 777-1160
B&C Computervisions
     5917 Stope Way, El Dorado, CA 95623-4716 
     (530) 295-9270
Best Electronics
     2021 The Alameda, Suite 290, San Jose, CA 95126-1127
     (408) 243-6950
Digital Press
     387 Piaget Ave
     Clifton, NJ  07011
Sean Kelly
     5789 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60646
     (718) 583-1552
     Box 901, Lancaster, TX 75146
     (214) 228-0690
Video 61
     22735 Congo St. NE, Stacy, MN 55079
     (612) 462-2500
Video Game Connections
     2434 Rt 9, Howell, NJ 07731
     (732) 462-8343
Video Game Depot
     54 Clinton Street, Center Moriches, NY 11934
     (631) 878-7692

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