Past Blast: The Atari 5200

I had this system back in 1983, and it was a hoot. My previous console was the Atari Model C-380, with seven games preloaded. It had one control on the console itself, and that was a knob to move paddles back and forth and paddle controllers on the sides. I spent many hours playing Breakout on that thing.

I had no cartridges from a 2600 to worry about not being able to play on the 5200. There was no baggage. At first, the whole thing was like a dream! I was able play my favorite arcade games at home. After a few months of steady play, the first thing to go wrong were the controllers. The fire buttons on the sides were wearing out. Fortunately, my dad was able to keep that issue under control… for a time. The joystick pots then began to become unresponsive. By this time, I feel like the system had run its course. It was relatively expensive, but I had other passions to occupy my attention when both of my user interfaces died. I also had the track ball controller add-on, which extended the consoles useful life, but eventually it was something else that went into the closet, only to make an appearance from time to time.

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