The Atari XE Game System was virtually identical to the computer. Only the marketingwas different. Early versions of the XEGS shipped without akeyboard; the keyboard was available separately. Later, thesystem was bundled with a keyboard.
Collectability: B. For collectors, the Atari XE Game System has a lot of terrific titles, most available at cheap prices. Finding complete versions of some of the disk-based software can be a challenge however. For gamers raised on an Atari 8-bit computer (like myself), this console is a natural choice. Then again, from a practical point of view, you get the same capabilities from a normal Atari 8-bit computer, which is more compact and probably cheaper to acquire.
Original Price: $199Hot on the heels of the Atari 7800, Atari inexplicably released another game console, the Atari XE Game System (XEGS). A bizarre move, it was as if Atari had realized their losing strategy with the 7800, and wanted to immediately change gears and take an entirely new approach. This time, Atari attempted to leverage their extensive and highly regarded 8-bit computer game library. Eight years in the making, the library was chock full of quality titles. Ironically, Atari had eschewed marketing their computers as game machines in the past, insisting their systems were better suited for "practical" applications (as if!). The XEGS was essentially an Atari XE computer in a fancy console shell. Although cartridge-based, it would support all the standard Atari computer peripherals including floppy disk drives, tape drives, and printers. Unfortunately, most of the games it could run were old and could hardly compete with the fresh new titles coming out for the NES. Still, there's no denying that the XEGS runs some terrific, classic titles. It's a shame it was packaged with the lackluster Flight Simulator 2 and Bug Hunt. Apparently these were chosen to justify the keyboard and gun accesories. Atari proceeded to repackage several old classics like Archon and Blue Max in cartridge form, but the system was basically dead on arrival. Sharing the same fate as its sister, the Atari 7800, the XEGS languished briefly before fading into video game obscurity.