LGR – Atari 600XL 8-bit Computer System Review

September 5, 2009 by 41 Comments

Review from the perspective of a casual collector of video games: is the Atari 600XL worth a buy today? A short run-down of the history, pros and cons of the games and system, what to look for and be aware of when buying, as well as some of the other 8-bit computers from pre-Jack Tramiel Atari.

Lode Runner
Master of the Lamps
Alternate Reality
Rainbow Walker
Alley Cat
Boulder Dash
Summer Games
Spare Change


41 Replies to “LGR – Atari 600XL 8-bit Computer System Review”

  1. You and your videos have come a long way in ten years! Fuzzy 480p doesn't cut it anymore, LOL!

  2. This was my first computer.

  3. Marcg210 says:

    10 years later…
    We had an 800XL with the cassette drive.

  4. yeah i went the the dump one day and picked one up it was still in the box cost 0

  5. Matthew Hill says:

    Funny, the things that bring you back… like at 4:14, looking at the little spring-loaded plastic cover on the bottom of the cartridge, that protects the edge connector when it's not inserted.

  6. NeonMusic says:

    I have an 800 with 48K and an 810 drive and 1050 drive and printer running on a old color toshiba flat crt. This system is one of the best 8 bit computers ever made. Well worth it. I also like to program games in basic, which is a great way to learn about these 8 bit computers. I'm not that good at basic yet.

  7. Xinless Vice says:

    8 k of ram is all you need

  8. Checking in from 2019: wtf is with that admittedly slamming music? Also: your voice has always been fantastic, you should be on the radio or doing VO work, seriously

  9. eddiehimself says:

    I love that late 2000s dubstep music lol.

  10. All Gaming says:

    is the 600 limited to just 16k?

  11. daoneTM says:

    An HD remake would be nice.

  12. SRCmini 618 says:

    I have an original atari kiosk that came out of an atari store my great uncle was clearing out. A bunch got thrown away. He saved this one and stored baseball cards in it. I have a 600xl on it today setup as it was back in the day

  13. I always liked the 400/800 carts. They looked more like they were for a professional computer instead of a gaming machine. Still, the box art was freakin' awesome and worthy of framing and hanging on a wall. What the heck was with that Star Raiders image? Looks like some kid drew that.

  14. Chad W Smith says:

    Greetings from 2020 – this showed up on my homepage. It's fun to see that the "You talking to a different version of yourself" thing has been around for over a decade. 😀 Never stop being you (and you and you and the other you), LGR! You rock.

  15. 06:04 Wow… Just a little Star Trek rip off. LOL Great game though.

  16. Jared T says:

    The 5200 on the whole is just junk. Same games with just souped up graphics when you could just buy a pc for that and controller ports that make it difficult to plug in a 3rd party controller and apparently there isn't a way to plug in a 3rd party controller for it without needing to use the keypad from a stock controller.

  17. ngiants22 says:

    How was scaling done so well.on games like ballblazer on these 8bit systems?

  18. DrDysl3xia says:

    The first computer I played on was a Atari 800. I had the game Balderdash on a floppy and wanted one so bad to play it. Got a Commodore 64 instead. 😉

  19. Matthew Lane says:

    I love how blutos head in popeye is just a number 5

  20. PAL 600xl for me. I like the monitor port

  21. David Sau says:

    LGR is contagious! I am getting infected with the urge to re-live these experiences …

  22. I had an 800XL. It was my second computer after the Tandy CoCo Model 1. Loved it, and then moved on to the Atari 520ST! This was my all-time most favorite computer I ever owned!

  23. Brian wild says:

    I had the 800xl with 4 custom rom OS chips piggybacked with a rotary switch

  24. R K says:

    fuck me 10 years ago i remember watching this the day it dropped on youtube fuck am old

  25. Jeff Pearson says:

    My first 1st two computers were the Atari 800 and The Bally Astrocade.

  26. Andy O. says:

    These 2 games on Atari are much better than on c64: River Raid, Ninja

  27. More micro computer videos please. 🙂

  28. Jason Jrake says:

    Thanks for reviewing this!

    The Atari 800 is where I learned basic. My dad bought it and made games for us kids to play, in addition to buying the best arcade ports it had.

    We had the large 70s, and later two of the (beautiful) 80s style disk drives, and a cassette tape drive for cheap backups of the basic programs we ran from disks.

    Most importantly it and we had THE modem used in the movie Sneakers, plus a bunch of custom crap my dad built in because he couldn’t stand not to tinker (I think it was an unauthorized ghetto ram upgrade and some extra fans/vents to compensate).

    The ultimate addition to any Atari 8 bit console/computer is a WICO brand joystick.


    Close call on those cartridges, they are the platonic ideal of microcomputer tech of that era and I always keep one in view on my shelf no matter how sparsely I’m living. In addition to the seventies coloring and industrial minimalism, they have an aesthetically pleasing square-that’s-trying-to-be-the-golden-ratio shape we wouldn’t see improved on until the OG gameboy carts.

  29. AQWBlaZer91 says:

    Pretty nice informative video about the Atari 600XL 8-bit Computer.

  30. All Gaming says:

    at least we've got LGR to keep us happy. i turn 27 this month and all i want to do is leave lodi for the coast

  31. All Gaming says:

    "why are they brown and yellow?"
    i couldn't help but laugh

  32. Love that old intro

  33. I had the 800XL. The tape deck was a joke. It was shit at loading and the buttons snapped on the deck. The software support was crap and just left me wishing I had a C64.

  34. crtxl says:

    The 800XL paved my way to my career as a software developer. Therefore I'm giving back by dev'ing games for it still. Although no releases since a few years something is cooking albeit very slowly.
    XL/XE forever 😄

  35. The analogic camcorder… Ohh, the memories. I say this because of the typical VHS quality on the bottom of the screen. 🙂

  36. I had a Atari 130XE and like it a lot. Only odd thing if I remember correct the CPU can not address 128Kb RAM. And the best game I had was Rescue on Fractalus. I even got a software that could transfer tape games to diskettes. And worked great.

  37. germanqr says:

    "It's really stiff". Now, that's something I had never heard before.

  38. Frits Felix says:

    I just trashed my 600xl. One bought it without a PSU. Tried to make my one but failed and my 600xl puffed out a LOT of black smoke. Tried to repair it but alas. It was dead. Shame.

  39. Tristinfate says:

    Frogged on cartridge sucks on the Atari computer, there was a release of Frogger on disk that has all the music of the arcade that is excellent.

  40. Tudor Cotoi says:

    Music in the background ?