The Atari 7800 is a third-generation home videogame console designed by General Computer Corporation and sold by Atari, Inc. It was originally meant to be released in 1984, but its launch was interrupted when Atari was sold. The 2-year delay of its release meant that it was out of date by the time it reached the market and it had to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Master System, both technically superior consoles. Had the 7800 been released on its intended 1984 schedule, it may have made a much bigger impact as it was quite impressive for the time and its backward-compatibly with the 2600 gave it a huge early game collection.
Due to the Atari 7800's delayed release and poor uptake in the market, fewer than 70 games were released on the platform, however the system's backward compatibility with the 2600 did give it a base of several hundred older games.
Music and Sound
Because of the expense of being backward-compatible with the 2600, the 7800 relied on the 2600's Television Interface Adaptor chip for its on-board audio device. Had the 7800 been released in 1984, as planned, this may not have been so bad, but by the time it was released in May of 1986, the Nintendo Entertainment System had already been out for several months, and the TIA nowhere near cpable of competing with the RP2A03. Expecting this shortcoming, General Computer Corporation made it possible to include additional audio chips in the 7800 cartridges themselves (this was also possible on the NES) at an added cost to the cartridge. A cheap multimedia chip called GUMBY was planned, but never surfaced, but later 7800 games were released with a POKEY built into the cartridge for better audio capabilities.