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Funkmaster V's Atari 7800 Bio

Pick a Fight After School...

If you have been to any Atari 7800 web page and read the webmeister's system overview, you've seen it before: Doom and Gloom. Waxing Poetic. Longing for the CGI rendered shadow lands out a tear stained window. Phooey. All articles opine about the inauspicious start to the Prosystem's life cycle. And... like everyone else's page, you can read my take on that in a second. But nowadays, the 7800 running a race starting on it's left foot in 1984 doesn't matter anymore. It's all about THE SCENE man, THE SCENE. The Atari 7800's game library is being fleshed out nicely by a middle aged army of incredible hobby programmers, making what the cool kids call: Homebrews. Check my top 10 list. No seriously, check it. I DARE YOU. There's hardly room for Ms. Pac Man and Centipede anymore. The library has almost tripled in size, largely thanks to competent homebrew games, hacks, prototype discoveries and bug fixes that make the middle 1980's Atari programmers look like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Don't take my word for it, take a look at these screens. Some games even look like ugly Genesis games. It's uncanny. Also! More cool nerds are making peripherals, hardware, save keys, new controllers, camecarts, etc. It truly is the best time to be a 7800 fan.

So now, warts and all: The Atari 7800 was one of the most under appreciated home gaming systems in video game history. Slated for release in 1984, Atari promised that the 7800 was gonna be the "Mac-Daddy" of consoles. For the time, the graphic capabilities and ability to be backwards compatible with the huge library of 2600 games put the 7800 in a league of its own. Also, rumors of a high score cart were being talked about, where players could store their high scores for the first time in history. The public was hyped, Unfortunately, Atari dropped the ball because they incorrectly predicted that video game consoles were dead.

The 7800 hit the market in 1986, two years after it was supposed to be released. That was one year after America was invaded by the Japanese. No kids, not Pearl Harbor, 1985 was the year that Nintendo washed up on the shores. The rest, as they say, is history. There were many obstacles in the 7800's way to reclaiming the video game crown for Atari. Mainly: poor distribution, lack of promotion, lack of original software during the initial system launch, and Atari promising the public games that were never released.

The 7800 might have flopped in America, but it did quite a bit better overseas. The Pro System sold outside of the US included Asteroids actually in the OS ROM. In New Zealand and Australia, there is a 32-in-1 cartridge. Also, the UK version has a hard to find shooter called Sentinel. These novelties are now much sought after items to collectors. So with a relatively small library, and only a few hard to find gems, this makes the 7800 the perfect system for a beginning collector to get into!

The Atari 7800 did a few things right however, and that's why there are sites like this one today. The 7800 was known for excellent arcade ports, such as Dig Dug, Ms. Pac Man, and Xevious. Even some games got the royal treatment like Centipede and Asteroids, which features two player simultaneous play. Others liked the 7800's quirky original games. Titles like Midnight Mutants, Alien Brigade, Basketbrawl, and Ninja Golf are weird little games unlike any other that are definitely worth a play through for the avid classic gamer.

When this site was started in 2000, there was a booming Atari 2600 Homebrew and Hack scene, and even the Atari 5200's after-market collection was starting to take off. Sadly, there wasn't much in the Prosystem's future to make any of the 7800 fans very happy. Without warning, ResQsoft released the finished but never mass produced Klax and an NTSC version of Sentinel. Gamers then could play new Atari 7800 games for the first time in 12 years... but that was just the beginning. Over the next four years, the 7800's homebrew and hack library gained momentum like large boulder rolling downhill. Shaggy the Atarian started a 7800 homebrew contest, which generated some simple, but good games like Spacewar and the interesting but unfinished Tubes. In the year 2006, the 7800 had seen its best homebrew year yet. With Bob Decrescenzo's Pac-Man Collection released at Christmas and Kenfused's Beef Drop released only a few months earlier, the 7800 not only saw some cute attempts at programming, it now had some games that contended for the title of "best game for the system".

Now, the Atari 7800 Homebrew scene is churning out pure gold. Baby Pac Man, Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest, Froggie, Dragon's Cache, and others hit so hard that its pretty amazing what these hobby programmers can do with the limited 7800 hardware. Stay tuned to this page! We will showcase breaking developments as they happen!!!