Computer Entertainer & Ed Semrad Scope Out The Atari 7800

Ed Semrad has been covering the video game scene for a couple of years now for the Milwaukee Journal. If you remember, he wasn’t too hot on Nintendo’s home console. He’s a bit happier with the Atari 7800. I must say that I’ve seen one in action and the graphics pale in comparison to the NES, at least for now. It’s possible with the right game developers the 7800 might be able to match or eclipse the NES, but going off of what is available right now, it’s not looking too great.


Computer Entertainer’s September issue has been mailed out and it also has a lot to say about the Atari 7800 games themselves. They were very happy with Food Fight, giving it a perfect 4 out of 4. One thing I’ll admit, the game prices on the 7800 are a lot cheaper, running about $15 a pop versus the NES games coming in at between $20 and $40 each.

It appears this console war is just beginning. Atari is a shell of its former self, so it remains to be seen if it can get its act together and release fun games on a regular basis. So far the system has been in very short supply and the lineup of games is hit and miss. This could be a supply issue or perhaps there is reluctance on retailers to carry the Atari name again after being burned so badly over the past few years. I think Sega might stand more of a chance of capturing America’s youth with its bright and colorful games and arcade properties that will be instantly recognizable to those who frequent the establishments. The Sega Master System is already trickling out to various retailers on the west coast and should be available in many other areas of the country in October.

No matter the outcome, it’s fantastic to see video games make a comeback. It’s nowhere near the popularity levels of the early 1980s, but it has to start somewhere.


[Sources: Computer Entertainer – September 1986 & The Milwaukee Journal – September 20, 1986]


Craig Majaski

Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He's currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.

1 thought on “Computer Entertainer & Ed Semrad Scope Out The Atari 7800

  • September 22, 1986 at 5:32 PM

    Does Atari even care for the video game market anymore? The Atari 7800 feels more like a half-hearted attempt, a “me too” product, and not a triumphant return to the console market.

    The only thing that could sell the Atari 7800 is the backwards compatibility with the huge Atari 2600 game library, but let’s be honest: who wants a “Super Atari 2600” in 1986? Anyone who wanted to play Atari 2600 games already bought the console, and the games I have seen so far for the 7800 feel like Atari 2600 games with updated graphics. Even the sound is the same. There is nothing on the system that even comes close to Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo.


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