Even though the games are so simple and the graphics so primitive, it has a charm that will never be matched. The objects and characters just barely represent what they're supposed to be, but that's the whole beauty of it; that you have to use your imagination. The sound effects? (explosion) Just awesome. And the lack of music just enhances the mood. It's that special kind of atmosphere when it's the middle of the night, and you're sitting in the glow of your TV with the sound of crickets. (Shot of the Nerd playing a game in the dark, with the glow of the TV on his face and the chirping of crickets in the background.)
The Atari had the longest lifespan of any home video game system, and when people say "Atari," they're usually referring to the 2600. But, in between its existence, Atari made other systems which came and went. And one of these was the Atari 5200. It was meant to replace the 2600, although ironically, it failed and faded away while the 2600 lived on. Why don't many people remember this, and why did it die off so quick?
(The Nerd holds the Atari 5200 and glares at it.) BECAUSE IT'S A PILE OF FUCKING SHIT! Why? Well, just look at it. Look at how huge this beast is. It's ginormous. And why is there a door on it? Is this a video game console or a fucking closet? Even the AC adapter weighs a million tons. (he tries to lift it, but drops it and an earthquake happens) So, I'm gonna plug this son of a bitch in here. (Plugs AC adapter in.) There we go. Get all this shit out of the way.
Now, where do I plug the other end in? Doesn't it go into the Atari? Well, you can look all over the system, but there's no power connector. There's a separate box that you have to plug it in. Now seriously, have you ever seen one of these? Other than the Atari 5200, I haven't. So, you plug this bastard in, then there's this one wire coming out of the system, so you plug that in the box. (electric current) Whoa! Did you see that? That can't be good. Look, sparks. No joke. So anyway, the AC adapter and the TV actually share the same wire.
So, I don't know what they were thinking. I mean, maybe they were thinking it would be more convenient to have less wires running across your floor, but they knew they fucked up because later, they re-released the Atari 5200 with the traditional two separate wires instead of just, you know, this thing. But that one had two controller ports instead of four, I think.
Now, we want to hook this thing up to that TV, but it's not going to be easy. I mean, just look at all these games. And every one of them has their own AC adapter and RCA cables or those weird box things; all going to the same TV. So, I don't know how we're going to do it, but we got to get back there and plug this sucker in. (We see the Nerd feeling for the plug at the back of the TV as the Super Mario Bros. underground theme starts playing. Super Mario Bros. "Hurry Up!" plays. To make it easier, he takes the TV out to make sure it's still there, but box cables and AC adapters are following it, so he puts it back, hitting his head in the process, as the Super Mario Bros. Death Music plays.)
That TV is just out of the question. It's a little too busy back there. But, that's okay because I believe the only true way to play Atari... (Turns camera so we see his '80s TV) ...is on an old piece of shit like that. (Spy Hunter (NES) music plays as he tries to plug the TV in, but the cable isn't long enough.) Damn! (He sees the cable stuck by the TV.) Damn! (He tries to plug it in again, but gives up.) Damn, damn! (Blaster Master (NES) Area 1 music plays as we see him go into his closet to get an extension cord, which he plugs into the power strip, then plugs the TV cable into one of its slots. He then trips over the cable.) Ahhhh! Fuck! (He then turns on the TV as the King K. Rool boss music from Donkey Kong Country plays, puts the 5200 on the floor, then tries to plug the box into the TV.) Ugh. (sighs) Son of a bitch! (He tries to tug the wire from behind the other TV, but it doesn't work, so he picks up the old TV while grunting, but the stuck cable on the stand makes him drop it on his foot.) AAAAAGGH! FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK-FUCK!
Now, after all that trouble I went through, let’s play some damn games. Well, we haven't played the games yet, but I can definitely tell you the cartridges suck, because they don't have end-labels. I mean, come on. The Atari 2600 games were all conveniently labeled so you can easily pick out a game, but the 5200, you have to pull each one out to see them. I mean, what a bunch of shit! Alright, let's try this one out. So, okay. Here we go. Now, listen. When you hit the power button, the box makes this weird clicking sound. (He turns it on, box clicks) I'm afraid this thing might blow up.
(Big Earl Bump music from ToeJam and Earl plays. The Nerd tries out Space Invaders, but his controller doesn't work; the same thing happens with Kaboom! and Frogger.) This controller is a piece of shit. (CGI "piece of shit" replaces the Atari 5200 controller in his hand.) What's the most important aspect about any fucking game, well, being able to fucking play it. And what do you need to fucking play it? A fucking controller. So, what do you do when the controller doesn't work? You're fucked. This is the reason the system failed. This! In the name of God, Heaven and Hell, everything in between, every creature on Earth, by the far reaches of the galaxy, by the inner rims of the universe, and every megaverse in the ultraverse, let it be known, let the word be known: THIS CONTROLLER IS FUCKING HORRIBLE! (Takes a bottle of Rolling Rock out of the door on the 5200 and takes a swig.)
Well, to tell you the truth, it is true that the controllers were notorious for malfunction, but they were pretty innovative for their time. For one thing, they're analog, so they're capable of more sensitive movement. They also have a pause button which, believe it or not, was a new thing back then. Also, there's these two buttons on each side which I think was a bit excessive for these type of games. Then there's all these numeric buttons. Like, what the shit is this? Is this thing a phone? Like, what is all this for? Is it like, talking to intergalactic space aliens, flying fuckernauts or astro-bastards?
Now, there's another one: the Trak-Ball controller, but it's an ungodly abomination that begs for apocalypse. (The Nerd takes the controller out of the box and holds it, apparently amazed on how big it is.) Look at it. It's like as big as a VCR or DVD player. It's big enough to be the game system, let alone the controller. Look, it's almost as big as a Nintendo, I mean, no, look. I think it's slightly bigger than the Nintendo. WHAT A BEAST! But, the ultimate question is: "Does it work?" Well, does it? (he tries playing Super Breakout with the Trak-Ball controller, but it doesn't work) No, it doesn't.
(Takes another swig of Rolling Rock) What a piece of shit. Well, we can't play the games, but we can at least look at them. (The Nerd watches the Pole Position demo while drinking Rolling Rock.) We don't have to stand for this shit! There exist alternatives. Did you know that you can plug a Sega Genesis controller into an Atari 2600, and it will work? See, that's the interesting thing about Atari; you can find all kinds of different... stuff that's compatible. As for the 5200, there exist third-party controllers made for the reason of replacing the shitty controller that the system came with. So, let's take a trip into the cyber world known as the Internet, and take a look.
(He goes on the Internet, looking for a working controller, which he does; the auction page reads "ATARI 5200 CONTROLLER - works fucking better!".) There we go. (He buys it, then we see footage from the NES version of "Paperboy," and the package arrives, hitting him on the head. He groans when it does. He opens the package, exploding into packing peanuts, and gets apparently excited.) Alright. Okay. Let's play this bitch. (he tries to plug it into the 5200, but the plug won't fit because there aren't enough pins. The Super Mario Bros. Game Over music plays) FUUUUUCCK!
Transcripts: Atari 5200
The Wico 5200 controller requires a Y-cable to plug in to the Atari 5200.