For a while now, I’ve been toying with the idea of adding one of Atari’s XL range of computers to my collection. Not only are there some killer games out there, there’s just something about those silver functions keys that just…well, cool!
Prices on eBay seem to fluctuate from pretty reasonable for a tatty yellowed base unit model right up to to the absolutely bonkers prices that folk often like to list these things on the presumption that they are ultra rare.
I spotted pretty nice looking 800XL model, listed as working, with a few cartridges starting at a low 99p price. With about an hour to go before the auction ended, I placed my first bid and made a mental note to check back again a little later on. What with preparing dinner and whatnot, I’d completely forgot to log back into eBay and was pretty gutted when I realised what I’d done. I checked it out anyway to see what the final price had been and to my surprise, I’d only gone and won it after all.
Arriving back from London and checking the mail, there was a courier slip advising a missed delivery and a handwritten note to explain that the parcel was ‘under the bush at the front of the house’. Why they didn’t just take it back to the depot i have no idea…laziness i guess? Anyway, the parcel was still there but the cardboard box was looking awfully tatty and slightly damp. Being away since Friday, who knows how long its been there?
Inside and unpacking, the seller had wrapped everything in plastic so at least everything appeared to have remained dry. My first glimpse of those cool silver functions keys was a tad disappointing though as they appeared yellow/brown tinted and had some sort of gunk on them. I’m sure they’d clean up but yeah, I was bit disappointed. On closer inspection though, what appeared to be gunk was actually a plastic strip of tape attached to each key and once this removed it revealed the gleaming untouched silver keys underneath. I wonder if this was part of the original packaging and the owner has decided not to remove them?
I noticed that the same tape was on the two silver cartridge flaps but rather than risk scratching the plastic inserting cartridges, I decided to leave this in place. Beside, this part hadn’t yellowed.
After a quick wipe a cloth, I think my new 800XL has cleaned up quiet nicely.
Included with the package was the huge brick of a mains adapter, RF lead, one classic Atari joystick and these three cartridges.
There was also a selection of program books.
I especially like the cover on this one.
…but does it work? Well I popped the lid open first to check for damaged components and moisture, and fingers crossed as one always does, I flicked the switch.
Phew, so far so good and all keys are working as far as I can test. After a little research, it appears that the component cables I use on my c64 are compatible too therefore I won’t have to put up with grainy RF.
So, do I go for a SIDE or SIO2SD device next?