- Mailbag Archives -

Subject: Battlezone vs. Robot Tank (2600)
From: Kirk I.

Man, you guys so miss the boat on Battle Zone vs. Robot Tank... Battlezone is actually primitive VR, keeping track of multiple objects in 3D space (hear a gunshot, pull back, see bullet pass in front of you...) while Robot Tank's "there's a bullet coming? Quick, turn so you can't see it and it will miss" is just SILLY. That's the most crucial point. Add in Battlezone's two simultaneous enemies (each one of four different kinds), the cooler explosion when you get hit, the way you can figure out how the tank is moving just by wathcing the treads animation, the way it moves like a tank and not like a fast jeep... I admit there's something to be said for Robot Tank's weather and partial damage system, even if the death-or-damage factor seems like a matter of chance, and the instant transitions to different weather systems is pretty jarring. But can't you see how Robot Tank is just a big shooting gallery in a circle, while Battlezone actually makes a consistent 3D world? Just something to think about....

Subject: Atari 7800 Gun
From: Vortech

You seem to know a lot, so I have a quick question. I have a 7800 game called Barnyard Blaster, a Duck Hunt type game. Anyway, I had heard you could use Sega Master System controlls on an Atari. Do you know if the Sega Phaser will work on the Atari or do you know where I can get an Atari gun?

You can use the Master System Light gun, but it needs to be converted first. Info on how to do it is covered in the Atari 2600 FAQ. There's a link to the FAQ in the 2600 section of our site.

Subject: 2600 Fast Food Review
From: Michael K.

While I agree with most of your reviews of the 2600 games.. I disagree with your Review of Fast Food. I think its a fun game for kids, easy to learn ... and I still have fun with it as well. The graphics are amazing for a 2600 and sometimes dull repetion is a good thing: Space Invaders, Pac-Man, etc etc. You might want to give it another look.

The game certainly has its moments, but I'll stick to my opinion in the review. Telesys did make several terrific games (Ram It and Demolition Herby immediately come to mind), but I just didn't think Fast Food offered as much in terms of gameplay value as the others. You're not the first one to disagree with my review of the game, however.

Subject: VCS Cartridge Adapter For 5200
From: JKuehl

I recently have bought two Atari 2600 to 5200 cartridge adapters through ebay and neither of them work. I thought maybe you had a copy of the owners manual you could e-mail me because I'm thinking that I'm just doing something wrong.

It's probably that your 5200s is a first generation, four joystick port model. The VCS cartridge adapter does not work on 4-port machines unless certain modifications are made to the 5200 iteslf. Back in the days, Atari used to provide this service to 4-port owners. Today, Best Electronics sells a kit for a small fee. You can either invest in a 2-port 5200 or pay the money and get the modification kit from Best Electronics. machines.

Subject: Atari 5200 Controllers
From: JeffCK

You have a great site on Atari 5200! Had one question I hope you can give your opinion on: I'm buying a used Atari 5200 with 2 working controllers. Down the road, when these controllers go bad (which they always seem to), do you think I would be better off buying rebuilt 5200 controllers with gold parts, or purchasing the WICO controllers?

Personally I like the feel of the original controllers, plus they're much cheaper than the WICO, but if the rebuilts aren't designed to last much longer than the originals, I'll probably go with the WICO. Any info you can give me on this would be greatly appreciated.

That's a toss-up. The Wico controllers I am not a big fan of -- I much prefer their 2600 sticks instead.

You definitely ought to invest in a rebuilt 5200 controller with the improved contacts which is part of the Rev. 9 circuit board. It won't come cheap, however, unless you get the parts and do it yourself. You can order them from Best Electronics (www.best-electronics-ca.com.) Best also sells rebuilt rev. 9 5200 controllers as well.

Instructions on how to do this is in the 5200 FAQ in the 5200 section of our page (atarihq.com/5200/)

But to be honest, no matter how careful you are, the 5200 controllers fundamentally are not durable. it's a sad fact, but if you learn to maintain them yourself, you'll be loving life in the long run -- and saving money in the process. It's really not hard either, once you practice at it.

Your other bet is to shell out the $150 or so on a 5200 Masterplay Interface. It's an adapter which allows you to use any 2600 compatible controller on the 5200. For games like Kangaroo, it's a huge, huge advantage. It is quite expensive, however, and very rare.

I get e-mail all the time from frustrated 5200 fans, and I feel their pain. I wish I could help them all, since the 5200 is a wonderful machine with a ton of great classics.

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