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Atari 7800 System (American system with joystick controller)
Atari 7800

The Atari 7800 was released by Atari Corporation in 1986 as the successor to both the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200. The 7800 has significantly improved graphics hardware over Atari’s previous consoles. By the end of 1986 only 100,000 Atari 7800 consoles had been sold in the United States, less than the Sega Master System’s 125,000 and the Nintendo NES’s 1.1 million.

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The Atari 7800 was a sleek and capable videogame console released in 1986. While it had a solid offering of its own games, the 7800 featured a prime system feature: full, built-in compatibility with the Atari 2600. While consoles of the past could play Atari 2600 games through the use of an optional adapter, the 7800 accepted these cartridges right in the main slot and played them without any extra add-ons.

The Atari 7800 was originally designed to succeed the Atari 5200 in 1984, but the system’s launch was shelved when Atari was sold to new owners who wanted to focus on the computer market instead. The console was, instead, officially launched two years later in response to Nintendo and SEGA entering the US home console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System and Master System respectively. Many of the console’s planned features, such as a high score saving cartridge, were never released.