All About The Atari 5200

Released 5 years after the Atari 2600 (VCS), in 1982. The Atari 5200 is based on Atari’s 8-Bit computers technology (The 400 & 800 systems).

System Overview

Being touted as having superior graphics to its competitors and Atari’s previous system. The system got off to a bad start when consumers discovered it was not backwards compatible with Atari 2600 games. In addition to this, initial impressions of the Atari 5200 were not great.

Games were often slightly enhanced versions of their 2600 counterparts, the joysticks received great criticism too. The design of the joysticks was poor, primarily due to the stick being non-centring, meaning control was cumbersome.

In 1984, the Atari 7800 was announced, meaning that the Atari 5200 was redundant after just 2 years. Although the 7800 did not release until 1986, this was Atari basically admitting defeat with the system. Atari was also sold in 1984, which further contributed to the delay of the forthcoming 7800.

Sales figures for the 5200 are estimated at around 1 million units. This is dire when compared with the sales figures for the Atari 2600, which stand at 30 million.

Atari 5200
The Atari 5200

How To Emulate This System?

Atari 5200 emulation is reasonably well catered for, we recommend taking a look at RetroArch if you are seeking an all-in-one solution. RetroArch emulates a large number of systems including the Atari 5200. RetroArch is a front end that utilises emulator ‘cores’, it is reasonably easy to use and has lots of good supporting documentation on how to use it. RetroArch is available across a number of platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many consoles. Take a look at our quick start guide for RetroArch which can get you up and running in 5 minutes.

Check out RetroArch here

Also, check out the other Atari 5200 emulators we enjoy using:

StellaStella is a well-established Atari 2600 VCS emulator for multiple platformsWindows / Mac / Linux
AltirraAltirra is now fairly old but does emulate the Atari 400/800, 1200XL, 600/800XL, 130XE, XEGS, and 5200 systemsWindows
ProSystemProSystem is a popular Atari 7800 EmulatorWindows

Raspberry Pi Atari 5200 Emulator

The Raspberry Pi is a compact single-board computer which has become very popular for emulating retro computers and consoles. You can buy the Pi very cheaply and has a whole community supporting and building accessories and applications that are compatible with it.

Significantly, for Retro Gaming enthusiasts, the Raspberry Pi offers fantastic round emulation of many systems. It offers the ability to play Atari 5200 games on HDTVs via HDMI or older CRT TVs via composite outputs. Combining the Raspberry Pi with Retropie, you have a device capable of emulating anything from the Atari 2600 to the Sony PlayStation.