The 7800 was Atari’s follow-up to the 5200 Supersystem, and was originally announced in 1984. Unfortunately, when ex-Commodore head Jack Tramiel took over the consumer division of Atari that year, he froze almost all video game projects to focus instead on the company’s 16-bit computer line. While the 7800 might have been a force to be reckoned with in 1984, the video game landscape had changed substantially by its eventual release in 1986, and Atari’s console struggled to make an impact in a market where heavyweights Nintendo and Sega were duking it out.
The ProSystem sold over 3.5 million units in four years, and produced some pretty good home translations of arcade hits like Dig Dug and Xenophobe. The gaming world, however, had moved on to the sprawling, original worlds of Super Mario Bros..For more on the history of the Atari 7800 ProSystem, consult your local Dot Eaters article.
Nintendo’s latest game console, their first shot across the bow in the next generation of video game machines, was released yesterday. The hook is once again a re-imagining of the gaming controller, although here, instead of motion control, the Wii U taps into the gaming tablet rage by having a large screen embedded into the controller.
There seems to be a lot of potential here, including allowing one player to influence the play field on their screen while others struggle against his influence with regular Wii controllers, or even being able to move the game completely onto the controller while someone else watches the TV. It comes off as a mish-mash to me, however. Do we want motion control in our controllers, or do we want a big screen? Also, I’d be very worried handing over a controller with a screen to my 4 and 6 year old sons.
At any rate, here’s hoping the Wii U boosts Nintendo’s sagging bottom line, and doesn’t become the company’s Atari 7800.