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The Atari XE Video Game System (Atari XEGS) sometimes pronounced zegs, is a video game console released by Atari Corporation in 1987. Based on the Atari 65XE computer, the XEGS is compatible with the existing Atari 8-bit computer software library. The machine itself shared some styling with the XE range of computers, which in turn were made to match the Atari ST.
It certainly has a more playful look than the other 8-Bit computers, different coloured round buttons on the top of the machine were used for starting the software, select and option buttons and the reset were used for quick loading software, the was also the power button and the cartridge slot, which was moved from the back of the other XE machines.
The rear of the machine has the DIN plug for power, the peripheral port for connecting disk drives etc, then an RF socket for TV and audio, lastly there is a monitor socket for video and a sound one, these will attach to a composite source. All other Atari 8 Bit machines had an AV DIN socket.
The left side of the machine has the connector for the separate keyboard, while on the right, there are two sockets for the 9 pin style Atari joysticks.
Additionally, it is able to operate as a stand alone console or full computer with the addition of its specially designed keyboard. In computer mode, it's able to use the full line of peripherals released for the 8-bit computer line, these plug in the interface in the back of the machine, with the tape deck daisy chaining off of a disk drive such as the 1050, thanks to the universal connector on the Atari 8 Bit range, printers could also be used.
This meant the machine could play all the disks, tapes and cartridges already on the market, meaning any new buyer had a very impressive, if some what elderly in parts games and software library, the 8 Bit Atari by now was getting on for a decade old.
The machine shipped in a console only pack, which was the base unit and joystick, there was also a rebranded cartridge range, colour matched to the XEGS, but otherwise the games were unaltered.
A deluxe model with a separate keyboard, joystick and light gun, was also available, and it sold reasonably well, but was up against a reinvigorated Sinclair brand in the hands of Amstrad, cheaper 8 bit machines such as the C64, and also the emerging 16 bit machines in Atari's own ST and the Commodore Amiga.
Also Sega was gearing up for the launch of its Master System in Europe, all these rival factors made the machine's attempt to dent the UK market very difficult indeed.
The XEGS shipped with the Atari 8-bit version of Missile Command built in, Flight Simulator II, and Bug Hunt which was compatible with the light gun.
The machine could use the standard 9 pin joysticks.
Our machine is in excellent condition and is complete with the Light Gun, keyboard and the full system, all manuals, and the Flight Sim and Bug Hunt carts.
System serial number: A1 B3003802 and the keyboard has a serial number of A1 B1033486.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH20731. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.