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The Atari 2600 (Atari VCS) was initially released in 1977 and popularized the use of microprocessor-based hardware with games containing ROM cartridges. It wasn't a very typical home console as other dedicated hardware would usually have the game physically built into it. The system became quite popular in the early 1980s and brought forward the concept of third-party developers.


Notably, this is the console where the massive commercial failure Extra-Terrestrial (E.T.) occurred, which led Warner to selling the home console division of Atari to Commodore. Consequently, Tramiel created a new Atari Corporation and re-released a lower-cost version in the mid-1980s to prolong its life cycle. 


The Atari 5200 SuperSystem was initially released in 1982 and was a higher-end complementary console to the Atari 2600. Its internal design was extensively based of the Atari 8-bit family computers and it did not fare well commercially compared to its predecessor. Due to lack of proper funding in developing games for the new console, it launched with a very limited amount of games and many of them were simply updated versions of 2600 titles. Also, it couldn't take advantage of previous generation console  games as it was initially incompatible with the 2600's expansive library.


After two years on the market, it was discontinued due to its lack of popularity. 


The Atari 7800 ProSystem was officially released in 1986 and brought forward almost full backward-compatibility with the Atari 2600, which was a first for its time since backward compatibility was usually achieved through additional modules. The console offered significantly improved graphics hardware over the 2600, though it wasn't anything outstanding for its time.


The launch was successful, though the console eventually suffered immensely of a lack of games being released as there could be several months without anything new being appearing. One of the main issues came from controversial policies employed by the very successful console of Nintendo (NES) which obliged developers to sign exclusive rights for games made on the NES not appearing on other consoles for two years. The production would remain active until 1991, which is when it was discontinued. 


The Atari XE Video Game System was initially released in 1987 and it was based of Atari's 8-bit XE65 computer, which made it compatible with the existing Atari 8-bit computer library. The console was capable of acting as a stand-alone console or as a full computer with the addition of the specially designed keyboard and could play both cartridge and disk-based games. In computer mode, it also utilized the majority of peripherals released for Atari's 8-bit computer line.


They conceived the console in a plan to increase the company's console market share while improving sales of its 8-bit home computer family and the initial launch was very successful and with it brought hope for a brighter future for the company. Eventually, the console was discontinued in 1992.


The Atari Jaguar was initially released in 1993 and was their last proper home video game console with physical media. Atari marketed the Jaguar as being the first 64-bit video game console, even though it didn't seem to provide the intended experience. The multi-chip architecture, hardware bugs, lack of developer support tools combined to poor sale made game development and interest very difficult.


The console struggled to attain a substantial user base and once its competitors released their next-generation hardware, it accelerated the Jaguar's decline. Atari attempted to extend the lifespan of the system with the CD add-on, but it also failed to gain momentum. Consequently, the commercial failure of the Jaguar prompted Atari to leave the video game console market in 1996. 

Portable Console

The Atari Lynx was a 16-bit handheld game console that was initially released in 1989. It was the world's first handheld electronic game with a color LCD, advanced mobile graphics and ambidextrous layout. It also had innovative features such as backlit display, a switchable right-handed/left-handed (upside down) configuration, and the ability to network with up to 15 other units via its Comlynx infrared system.


It started off successfully and reception was positive, but it was never a match for Nintendo's Game Boy in terms of market penetration. In 1991, Atari Corporation introduced the Lynx II with new packaging, slightly improved hardware, better battery life and a new sleeker look but it never caught on since their rivals were also releasing more advanced handhelds. 

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