Newbie to Atari - Cartridge Compatability

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Newbie to Atari - Cartridge Compatability

Post by Band_6 » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:59 pm

I'm 'new' to the Atari range of 8 bit computers, having spent most of my childhood surrounded by the Spectrum and Commodore range (Boo, I hear you all say!!!)

This will come across as a very basic, idiotic question however it is something I just don't know and would appreciate your confirmed responses...

Are all the cartridges for these systems fully compatible with each other..? i.e. I have just purchased an Atari 65XE at a local boot sale, but this came with nothing but the computer and tape deck. I've turned it on, and it works perfectly so now I need to get some software. I'd prefer to get cartridges as I already have an Atari 2600 with a shed-load of games so I'd like to continue that theme rather than get tapes.

However, having never seen any other Atari 8 bit machine (400/800/600xl/800xl etc), I've no idea if the cartridges for each one are interchangeable - Can someone enlighten me (and feel free to take the p*** regards my stupidity for asking this!!)

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Re: Newbie to Atari - Cartridge Compatability

Post by chrislynn5 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:31 am

well, you can't mix systems typically. I.e. Atari 2600 to Atari 400 (8-bit).
The Atari 400(16k)/800 (48k)/600xl(32k?)/800xl(64k)/1200xl(64k) 8-bits can handle disks, carts, and cassettes. But of course all software is driven primarily by RAM requirements. So check the game out first. Those system I list above are the stock memory. They can be upgraded/modified.

Great page on Atarimania for games that play only on certain 8-bit (there are some other considerations; i.e. OS revision, etc.): ... hy_68.html

I don't have an Atari 65XE so you can ask that forum. But if it has a cartridge slot, then it probably takes the carts for the other systems.

I found this:
Introduced at the 1985 CES in Las Vegas. The Atari 65XE was the direct replacement for the Atari 800XL Personal Computer. Price at $99.99 the 65XE was 100% compatible with all of the Atari 400/800, and XL software (some programs required the use of a "Translator" disk before use) and all peripherals. The 65XE computer had 64K of memory like the Atari 800XL and all of the same custom chips as well. One additional chip was added into the XE series computers which was called the FREDDIE chip. This was a MMU chip (Memory Management Unit) allowing the system to handle memory swapping and larger amounts of memory more efficiently.

As for multi carts, there is a great product at Atarimax that allows to you to take "ripped" carts and put on a collection.

the good news is that there are a lot of new devices:
one of them:

I specialize in Atari 8-bit carts, having almost all of them. I hope this helps.
A nice virtual representation of most of the carts:
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