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Atari 5200

The Atari 5200 was created to compete with systems from Coleco and Mattel. It was both technologically superior and more cost efficient than any console available at that time.

The Atari 5200 was, in essence, an Atari 400 computer without a keyboard. This made for a powerful, proven design which Atari could quickly bring to market. The system featured a revolutionary new controller with an analog joystick and system function keys (start, pause, reset). (Other innovations for the 5200 included an automatic switchbox and 4 controller ports.) Unfortunately, the non-centering joystick design proved to be ungainly and unreliable, alienating many consumers. While the 5200 did garner a strong cult following with its library of high quality games, it faced an uphill battle competing with the ColecoVision's head start and a stuttering economy. But the question of which system was superior became moot when the game market crashed in 1983-84, killing off both systems in their prime.