Atari 7800

Light guns

Atari Jaguar

The Atari 7800 is a video game console from Atari.


The 7800 should the moderately successful Atari 5200 and Atari replace again gain a better position in the competitive struggle against Intellivision and ColecoVision. This console Atari tried to address the main shortcomings of the 5200: The new console had simple digital joysticks was backwards compatible with the Atari 2600 and affordable.

The 7800 was the first Atari console, which from an external manufacturer ( General Computer ) was developed. The device was initially designed so that a customer was able to expand the system to a fully functional home computer: It was developed a keyboard, and a built-in connection could peripherals such as disk drives and printers are used. General computer also had a " high score cartridge " developed a battery-powered RAM unit for securing points stands in games. However, Atari produced none of these accessories, so that later, the corresponding port has been removed.

The 7800 was first published in June 1984 in California. A month later, Warner Communications sold Atari to Jack Tramiel, who (like most in the U.S.) thought the days of video games are counted. He stopped the production of Atari's existing systems and invested all the resources on the development of the 16 -bit Atari ST computer. The 7800 1986 was again brought to the market after the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System had proved that the video game market was not dead. At this point, NES and Sega Master System were the market, however, already largely saturated, which greatly restricted the sales success of 7800.

The technical achievements of 7800 are still controversial. From the architecture, it was merely an Atari 2600 with better CPU and better graphics chip ( MARIA ). While the system could represent significantly more moving objects ( up to 100) than any competing consoles, so it was this inferior sound-wise. To compensate for this, some games have built a POKEY audio chip in the cartridge. The development of games for the 7800 was more expensive than other current consoles, but many programmers were already familiar with the similar development way for 2600.

The Atari 7800 suffered from the same software doldrums, which should be characteristic of all Atari consoles after the video game crash of 1983. Relatively few games were published by Atari, which moreover often had deficiencies. At the same time undertook Atari little effort to attract external developers for the system.

A later revision of the console already contained the game Asteroids in the 7800 version in ROM.


With the closure in 1996 by Atari Sunnyvale source code for the 7800 operating system ( with the contained Asteroids ) in physical form along with Joust, Dig Dug, Robotron: 2084 and reconstructed in eight other games from the Atari Museum and later released.

Atari Flashback

20 games of the systems Atari 2600 and 7800 were relaunched in 2005 with the console Atari Flashback.


  • CPU: MOS 6502, 1.79 MHz
  • RAM: 4 KB
  • Module Size: up to 128KB
  • GPU: MARIA in 7800 mode / TIA in 2600 mode
  • Resolutions: 160 × 242, 320 × 242
  • Colors ( range ): 16 (256 )
  • Sound Chip: TIA
  • Sound Channels: 2 PSG
  • Controller ports: 2