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A > ATARI  > 1200 XL


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Atari  1200 XL computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

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Saturday 16th September 2006
Mark Brzozowski (New York)

There is one detail I would like to correct. I can remember very clearly that Atari 1200XL WAS sold in Poland (i.e. Europe) at the time. I used to go to this store and check out latest electronics and when I saw the box for 1200XL, I was hooked. The computer looked very elegant and futuristic at the time. I would go back there every couple of weeks. It was months later (sometime in the fall) when I went there again and noticed that 1200XLs were gone and replaced by 600XL and 800XL. Was very upset, as these didn't look as nice to me as the 1200XL model.
It was years later that I got to own 1200XL. Now I have two of them with original boxes and one of them is in M/NM condition. Even the new smell is still there:).
I don't think I noticed that it was mentioned that the original keyboards, though great, stopped working after a while, so they had to be replaced. I have one sitting right here (just in case) that was made by Mitsumi and has a sticker from Radio Shack. One of my computers has this slight problem with the keyboard. I have to press the key few times, sometimes harder, for the keystroke to register.
As for compatibility, I can play Bounty Bob Strikes Back (1984) cartridge just fine (for example).


Thursday 30th October 2014
zozo (france)

i have one in 1988 but ... je n''est pas fais grand chose avec les jeux ne se trouvaient plus ! j''ai preferé le commodore plus/4


Thursday 8th September 2011
ScottInNH (USA)

I got one of these in 1983. The keyboard was awesome. I used to type and store my programs on tape which had recorded music on it (the 1010 only used 1 track to record data, but it would read data from both left and right tracks. Just enter a POKE command to silence the data squench and you could listen to music while loading.. neat!). It took a while but I typed in nearly every Antic and Analog program listing.

Later got the 1050 floppy + US Doubler chip.

This model did not last long not because of compatibility, but because of cost. The cases were heavily shielded to comply with older stricter FCC regs which were not needed anymore. So while the 1200XL was cheaper to build than the 800, it was not cheap enough, and the 800XL was built with less shielding and a cheaper keyboard.

The one thing I always hated about the Atari though was the fact that all the games catered to 48K ram due to the large base of Atari 800s (though I always thought those users upgraded... and probably did). This held back game quality and you could see many C64 games using all 64KB but the Atari one cutting corners to run in 48K. The other thing bad was the BASIC language was very slow.. if anyone remembers TurboBASIC which was FREE software (much later on).. it blew away everything and had near machine language speed. Some really smart Polish programmer wrote it out of disgust for Atari Basic''s speed.

I tossed my 1200XL (regrettably) in 1997 during a move, along with a 1020 plotter and other neat stuff. I also had a 520STfm, but sold it.

The 1200XL got me into programming, and that''s what I do today.

For those who still have these computers, you can get expansion for it including IDE hard drive interfaces, SD card readers, Ethernet networking (wired.. but you can plug it into a cheap wireless access point). It will work with a modern LCD display as it had a decent NTSC signal (not sure about monitor mode.. maybe that works also).

Favorite games were Alternate Reality, FireBug (a free game in a magazine), Archon, Blue Max, and Rescue on Fractalus.


Thursday 8th September 2011
Anonymous

The 1200XL suffered from poor marketing on the part of Warner Communications. It is the best 8-bit computer of the early 1980''s. They produced ~120,000 units in 1983. The sales flopped when 3party software had issues. They originally shipped with version 10 operating system. The rev 11 is almost identical to the 600/800XL OS and fixed many bugs. Don''t know if they actually shipped with Rev 11 since the production run was less than 6 months. It had the highest quality MOBO and about 2/3 were manufactured in the USA. The last Atari to be made in America. This unit is considered by collectors as the crown jewel of the released 8-bit line. The 1400XL and 1450XLD were never retailed tothe public. They can still be had today on EBAY, but the chronic troblem with aged units is the mylar membrane on the keyboard assembly. Almost 100$ failure rate after almost 30 years. The broken traces can be repaired with conductive pen. A must own for a serious collector.


Thursday 8th September 2011
Anonymous

The 1200XL suffered from poor marketing on the part of Warner Communications. It is the best 8-bit computer of the early 1980''s. They produced ~120,000 units in 1983. The sales flopped when 3party software had issues. They originally shipped with version 10 operating system. The rev 11 is almost identical to the 600/800XL OS and fixed many bugs. Don''t know if they actually shipped with Rev 11 since the production run was less than 6 months. It had the highest quality MOBO and about 2/3 were manufactured in the USA. The last Atari to be made in America. This unit is considered by collectors as the crown jewel of the released 8-bit line. The 1400XL and 1450XLD were never retailed tothe public. They can still be had today on EBAY, but the chronic troblem with aged units is the mylar membrane on the keyboard assembly. Almost 100$ failure rate after almost 30 years. The broken traces can be repaired with conductive pen. A must own for a serious collector.


Friday 11th March 2011
Larry Hampton (Oklahoma/USA)

On 12-06-1983, my parents purchased an Atari 1200XL from Sears for $599.99 in Quail Springs Mall, the maintenance agreement was $53.05. 5 days later on 12-11-1983, they purchased an Indus GT disc drive for $449.99 from Wizard''s in Quail Springs Mall.


Thursday 11th November 2010
Jon A ( USA ) (USA)

I got one of these from a friend who had won it in a Movie Channel contest. I loved my old Ataris.. I originally had only the basic cartridge, but eventually had collected the microsoft assembler, the assembly cartridge, a couple game carts, a 1541 ( modded of course ), an Atari plotter ( the little 4 inch wide one ), and a modem. It was absolutely the greatest machine to tinker with, and became my introduction to the world of IT.


Wednesday 19th December 2007
Scott (USA)

I spent many hours learning to program computers on an Atari 1200XL. They keybaord was fantastic. I had it connected to the Atari I/O box, with a 1200 baud modem and a Centronix parallel printer. I later added 4 floppy drives from both Atari and 3rd party manufacturers, and ran a BBS system from this machine. A friend had four 1 megabyte 8" floppies connected to one for his BBS. I later replaced it with a 130xe from which I soldered more memory directly to the motherboard for 320K of memory using bank switching to access. Much like the IBM PCs did with "Extended Memory" later on.

The Atari's were so hackable in their hardware it was hard to keep the screws in them as each week I would see more information on the BBSs on how to upgrade them to bigger and better performance.


Wednesday 17th May 2006
Steve Scott (USA)

I didn't have a problem with the compatibility. Although I had the compatability chip,I never needed to use it. There were many, many games available. I know I had a bunch stored on disk, with that really cool file system they had. Many of these games were independantly developed.


Friday 1st February 2002
PvK (Seattle)
The Wargamer

Actually, 1200XL's are compatible with most Atari software. Some pre-XL software has problems, but almost all of them are fixed by booting with the translator disk.

PvK





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