Throughout the first half of 1982, rumors were running rampant around the gaming industry regarding Atari's successor to the Atari VCS. At the Summer CES in Chicago, Atari finally unveiled the machine, and it was dubbed "Video System X." The image above was one of several famous pictures that circulated in contemporary video game magazines in 1982.
Soon thereafter, the VSX was renamed 'Atari 5200' (the VCS was subsequently called the 2600) to indicate that it was twice the power of its predecessor. And as you can tell by looking at the cart picture above, many of the promised titles never saw the light of day (Skiing, Asteroids, Adventure, Tank Battle) on the 5200. Does a prototype Video System X exist today? Surely it must be in someone's closet SOMEWHERE, since it was shown in finished guise at both the Summer and Winter CES shows.
Just in the past year (1998), an individual in Northern California got his hands on a Video System X machine and has since sold it off. And before that, John Hardie discovered a joystick for the machine. It is functionally identical to the 5200 controller with the only difference being the logo on the metal nameplate. In fact, there isn't anything special about the console itself; the only distinguishing feature between it and a production 5200 is the silver plate with the system's name on it. Still, it's nice to chalk up yet another 5200 item and add it to the "unreleased prototypes that are known to exist" list.