Atari XE Game System

Console facts

Type Video games
Year 1987
End year 1992
Speed 1.79 MHz
Media cartridge
Graphic modes 320x192 maximum (11 possible modes)
Colors 16 colors with 15 intensity level each
Sound 4 channels, 3.5 octaves
Atari XE Game System

In my collection

Atari XE Game System

Complete with keyboard and basic manual.
Bought from Tradera auction


The Atari XE Video Game System (Atari XEGS) is a video game console released by Atari Corporation in 1987. Based on the Atari 8-bit line of computers, it was compatible with the existing software, and was able to use the same peripherals as the other 8-bit computers that Atari had produced. Shipping with a separate keyboard, joystick and light gun, the console failed in the marketplace, and was succeeded by the Atari Jaguar.

Under the auspices of Jack Tramiel, Atari re-released two game consoles in 1986: the Atari 7800, which had previously been released in a brief test run in 1984; and the Atari 2600jr, an updated version of the Atari VCS/2600. The XEGS followed, building on Atari's 8-bit computer line which had started with the Atari 400 and 800. In practice the XEGS was essentially a repackaged Atari 65XE, in a move not unlike that taken for the Atari 5200, which was effectively a repackaged Atari 400 computer. However, unlike the 5200, the XEGS was still compatible with the existing range of Atari 8-bit computer software and peripherals, and thus could function as a home computer.

The console was conceived in an attempt to increase Atari's console market share while improve flagging sales of the Atari 8-bit family. Providing a "beginning computer" and "sophisticated game console" in one device that would convince more retailers and software developers to support the platform. In May 1987, Atari's then Director of Communications, Neil Harris, updated the online Atari community by outlining this plan, noting that the XEGS was intended to further the 8-bit line by providing mass-merchants with a device that was more appealing to their markets.

The console was not a success. Unusually, the system co-existed with the Atari 2600jr and Atari 7800 on store shelves and was occasionally featured alongside those systems in Atari print ads and television commercials. It was eventually followed by the Atari Lynx handheld system and the Atari Jaguar.

The XEGS shipped with the Atari 8-bit version of Missile Command built in, as well as Bug Hunt which was compatible with the light gun and Flight Simulator II. As the XEGS was compatible with the earlier 8-bit software, many games released under the XEGS banner were simply older games rebadged, to the extent that some games were shipped in the old Atari 400/800 packaging, with only a new sticker to indicate that they were intended for the XEGS.

The XEGS was bundled with three peripherals. A keyboard, which allowed it to function as a home computer, a digital joystick that followed the same design as that of the earlier Atari VCS model, but with colors to match the new system, and the XG-1 light gun: the first light gun produced by Atari, which also compatible with the Atari 7800. Packages containing only a console and a joystick were also available, with the keyboard and the lightgun available separately.

In addition the XEGS could use the standard Atari 8-bit peripherals, allowing the use of devices such as disk drives, modems and printers.

Atari XE Game System images