The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, was a video game console introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. The 5200 was created to compete with the Mattel Intellivision, but wound up more directly competing with the Colecovision shortly after its release. In some ways, it was both technologically superior and more cost-efficient than any console available at that time. However, a number of design flaws had a serious impact on usability, and the system is generally considered a failure.  
  The Atari 5200 was in essence an Atari 400 computer without a keyboard. This made for a powerful, proven design which Atari could quickly bring to market.

The initial 1982 release of the system featured four controller ports, where all other systems of the day had only two ports. The 5200 also featured a revolutionary new controller with an analog joystick, numeric keypad, two fire buttons on both sides of the controller and game function keys for Start, Pause, and Reset. The 5200 also featured the innovation of the first automatic TV switchbox, allowing it to automatically switch from regular TV viewing to the game system signal when the system was activated (previous RF adapters required the user to slide a switch on the adapter by hand). Unfortunately, this unique RF box was also where the power supply connected in a unique dual power/television signal setup similar to the RCA Studio II's. A single cable coming out of the 5200 plugged into the switch box was used for both electricity and the television signal.

The 1983 release of the Atari 5200 saw two controller ports instead of four, and a change back to the more conventional separate power supply and standard (non autoswitching) RF switch. It also saw changes in the cartridge port address lines to allow for the Atari 2600 adapter released that year. While the adapter was only made to work on the two-port version, modifications can be made to the four-port to make it line-compatible. Furthermore, towards the end of the four-port production run, there were also an extremely limited number of 2600 adapter-compatible consoles produced. These much harder to find four-port versions can be identified by an asterisk in the unit's serial number
  he unusual design of the analog joystick, which used a weak rubber boot rather than springs to provide centering, proved to be ungainly and unreliable. They ultimately alienated many consumers and quickly became the Achilles' heel of the system due to their combination of an overly complex mechanical design with a very low-cost internal flex circuit system. The controllers did, however, include a pause button, a novelty at the time that would become standard on almost all future game systems  
  The Atari 5200 suffered from its software incompatibility with the Atari 2600, though an adapter was later released in 1983 allowing it to play all Atari 2600 games, using the more reliable controllers native to that system.

Another problem was the lack of attention that Atari gave to the console; most of its resources went to the already oversaturated Atari 2600. While the 5200 did garner a strong cult following with its library of high-quality games, it faced an uphill battle competing with the Colecovision's head start and a stuttering economy. But the question of which system was superior became moot. The CEOs of both companies became motivational speakers when the game market crashed in 1983, killing off both systems in their prime.

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  CPU: Custom 6502C @ 1.79 MHz (not a 65c02)  
  Support Hardware: 2 custom VLSI chips  
  Maximum Screen Resolution: 320×192 resolution, 16 (out of 256) on-screen colors per scan line. Palette can be changed at every scan line using ANTIC display list interrupts, allowing all 256 colors to be displayed at once.  
  Graphics: ANTIC and GTIA  
  Sound: 4-channel sound via the POKEY chip which also handles keyboard scanning, serial I/O, high resolution interrupt capable timers (single cycle accurate), and random number generation  
  RAM: 16 KB  
  ROM: 32 KB ROM window for standard game cartridges, expandable using bank switching techniques. 2 KB on-board BIOS for system startup and interrupt routing  
  In its prototype stage, the Atari 5200 was originally called the "Atari Video System X (Advanced Video Computer System)", and was codenamed "Pam" after a female employee at Atari, as were many of their game consoles, e.g. "Stella" (Atari 2600) and "Colleen" (Atari 800). It is also rumored that PAM actually stood for "Personal Arcade Machine", as the majority of games for the system ended up being arcade conversions. Actual working Atari Video System X machines (whose hardware is 100% identical to the Atari 5200, albeit for the different name on the controllers and on the console) do exist, but they are extremely rare.  
  At one point during the 5200's lifespan, Atari planned on developing a smaller cost-reduced version of the Atari 5200, which would have gotten rid of the controller storage bin. Code-named the "Atari 5100" (a.k.a. "Atari 5200 Jr."), only a few fully-working prototype Atari 5100s were made before the project was cancelled.  
  The Atari 5200 was not sold or marketed in Canada except supposedly by mail order in Ontario, which may have strictly been from an American importer.