Atari 8-bit

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The Atari 800.

Atari 8-bit is a term used to describe a family of home computers made Atari from 1979-1987. The initial models were the Atari 400 and Atari 800 released in November of 1979. In 1983 the 600XL, 800XL, and 1200XL models were released. In 1985 the 65XE and 130XE were released. In 1987 the final model, the XEGS, was released, and Atari continued to support the 8-bit line until 1992. The computer family had thousands of software titles and games released for it as well as numerous hardware add-ons. Technologically, the computers were very similar to the Atari 5200 featuring the same 8-bit MOS 6502 CPU, POKEY sound chip, and various other internals. The 8-bit line was supplanted by the Atari ST when it was released in 1985.

Personal

Although my family never had any of the Atari 8-bit computers, they do play a minor role in my past. Around 1985, a friend of my aunt's owned one, and their child said we could play our Atari 2600 games on it, but I was disappointed to see that it used a different cartridge slot and was incompatible.

Later, around 1988, my brother's friend Rob owned a 130XE. While my brother and I were visiting his house, he showed us various games on it like Stickybear Basket Bounce and The Print Shop which we used to make a banner with Garfield on it, and, while it was being printed, it had to send information to the printer multiple times while it wrote "thinking" on the screen. One time it did this was while it was printing Garfield's fat belly, which we thought was a funny coincidence.

Another time when my brother and I were over, Rob showed us how to write a simple Atari BASIC programs, which I thought this was really exciting and I liked the cyan on blue text screen. Rob's younger brother Chris, whom I didn't yet know very well, convinced me to spend the night, but, when I learned that Rob was going to spend the night with my brother at our house, and bring his 130XE, I decided to follow the computer and told Chris I didn't want to stay. He was disappointed, but we would go on to become close friends who spent many after school evenings playing NES games together. Returning home with my brother and Rob, I spent the evening watching them type in silly programs. This sparked my interest in computer programming which caused me to seek out GW-BASIC at my cousin Brian's, convince my parents to buy us our own computer with QuickBASIC, and ultimately led me to taking up programming as a profession.

I have never owned a computer in the Atari 8-bit line, and have only very limited use with them.

Review

I don't know the hardware well enough to write a review.

Software

This is a list of Atari 8-bit software that is important to me.

Applications

Games

See all Atari 8-bit Games.

Programming Languages

Links

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