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How to Play Atari 5200 Games on Your Computer (Kat5200)

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There is one prerequisite to playing Atari5200 games via emulator – and that’s the BIOS file. This ROM file can be found floating around the web, so it is up to you to obtain this file. It’s not too hard to find.

Next up, we need to get an emulator that can make this all happen. One such emulator is Kat5200. This can be googled

Now, you need to find a nice convenient place on your hard drive and create a folder for all of your Atari 5200 needs. In that folder, create a folder for all of your ROM images and another for the Kat5200 emulator. Now (assuming you downloaded the binaries archive), drag and drop all of the Kat5200 files from the archive folder you downloaded into the Kat5200 folder you made.

Now, place your 5200 rom file and place it somewhere in the Kat5200 emulator folder (it’s easier to find in the emulator after this way). Now, open up the emulator by double-clicking on the Kat5200.exe file.

 

10h7ngi.jpg

 

You’ll probably get wizard that’ll guide you through the set-up process, but if you couldn’t get things to work, no worries, we’ll show you what you need to modify outside of the wizard. The first thing we need to do is get the emulator to detect the 5200 ROM BIOS file. For that, you click (or hover) your mouse on the “Machine” drop-down menu I’ve highlighted above. In the menu, you need to click on “Bios files”:

 

abh25k.jpg

 

In the new screen, you’ll see a line for the Atari 5200 BIOS. Simply click on browse and use their built-in browser to find your BIOS ROM file (you can either use the “Up” button or double-click on the [..] line to go up a directory if need be). Once you have found the ROM file, click on it to highlight it and then click “Load”. Then, click on “OK” to leave the BIOS “window”. Cool! You’ve now pointed the emulator to the BIOS file needed to run the games!

Now, we need to find out the controls. Atari 5200 controllers, weirdly enough, look like large telephone’s complete with a number pad. This emulator will reflect that. To tweak the controls, simply click on the “Options” drop-down menu and click on “Input”:

 

2aeugci.jpg

 

You’ll get a new window that looks something like this:

 

30mo13a.jpg

 

To find out what each button does, click on the button on the left hand side (i.e. Top Button). On the right hand side in the line that says “PART NUM”, you’ll see a box with what key on your keyboard corresponds with the virtual controller. If you want to change this, simply click on the “Auto-Detect” button. A window will prompt you to press the key that you prefer to use. Press the key and not only will the window will disappear, but the new key will be featured in the “PART NUM” box. When you are done configuring your controller, click on the “OK” button.

The next part is to find out how to save and load states. This can be found by clicking on “Options” and “User Interface”:

 

2w72yid.jpg

 

In the new window, you’ll notice that configuring these other options is much like setting up your virtual controller. There is one thing to note, however: there is a line “Device Num” is the key that you hold. The “Part Num” line is the key you press on your keyboard. So, for loading save state 1, you hold down Alt and press “1” as per the default. See below screenshot for this:

 

 

ab30j6.jpg

Again, use Auto-Detect to change the keys. Generally, I found the default settings to be sufficient, but that’s just personal preference.

Finally, you get to load a game. Before you can load a game in the emulator, you have to make sure the game’s are not in a zipped or otherwise compressed archive. If you try to load a game in, say, a .7z archive, the emulator will simply crash after the Atari loading screen, complaining of a CPU crash. So, if your game is in an archived format, extract the .bin file in your ROMs folder first and load the .bin file instead. While the emulator can detect all of the files in the directory, it can only load certain kinds of files as a game.

Now, go into your emulator and click on the “File” drop-down menu. Next, click on “Load Rom”:

 

imj5lz.jpg

 

In the new window, highlight the .bin file of the game you want to load and click “load”. You’ll go back to the previous screen, but the game is loading. If you feel like it’s taking to long to load, move the mouse around a little. Usually, by that time, you’ll get to the Atari loading screen.

When you want to exit the game, simply hit the “Esc” key on your keyboard. You’ll be taken back to the menu screen. You can go back to where you left off in the game by simply going into “File” and “Back to Game”. When you are done with the emulator, just go to “File” and “exit”

That’s it!

Happy gaming!

FAQ

I’m trying to get the game to start, but nothing seems to be working. What’s going on?
Some games require you to hit a button to tell it that you are ready to play. By default, the F10 key will get the game started. This depends on whether or not you’ve changed the default keys (in which case, hit escape and look at the config file to see which of those is the Start button on your keyboard.

I have a game that keeps crashing even though it’s not in an archived format. What’s going on?
I found that rom images labelled “prototype” don’t do so well with this game. If it’s labelled “proto” or “prototype”, it might not be supported by the emulator.

The game still crashes and it’s a regular ROM image?
Could be the ROM in question. It could also be unsupported. Either find a different ROM or a different emulator in that case.

The game looks really small and it’s hard to see. How do I make it bigger?
In the emulator screen, go into “Options”, then “Video”. On the lower right hand part of the screen, you’ll see a pull down menu next to the word “Zoom”. I found 2x Zoom works comfortably well.

 

#credit: Freeze

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There is a newer version of Kat5200 available on EmuCR

if you are interested in updating the newest iteration has new video settings I believe I didn't test much as I find MAME so much easier to use.

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1 hour ago, Patham said:

Nice guide, thanks for that. I wasn't aware of this emulator so thanks for the head's up there as well.

I use MESS (stand alone) for 5200 and Altirra for Atari 8-bit computers. I just upgraded to MAME 0.182 so I'll probably switch over to that for my 5200 stuff. Have you tried Kat5200 for the 8-bit computers? I use Altirra for that and it works well, just wondering how Kat5200 handles it.

could get 5200 to work with anything but kat mess, mame, altirria annoyed me you ar quite welcome

 

4 hours ago, DOS76 said:

There is a newer version of Kat5200 available on EmuCR

if you are interested in updating the newest iteration has new video settings I believe I didn't test much as I find MAME so much easier to use.

very interested thank you

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In the new screen, you’ll see a line for the Atari 5200 BIOS. Simply click on browse and use their built-in browser to find your BIOS ROM file (you can either use the “Up” button or double-click on the [..] line to go up a directory if need be). Once you have found the ROM file, click on it to highlight it and then click “Load”. Then, click on “OK” to leave the BIOS “window”. Cool! You’ve now pointed the emulator to the BIOS file needed to run the games!

Does anyone know the name of the bios file kat5200 needs for "Atari 800 BIOS"?

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Atariosa atariosb atarixl ataribas I think I deleted my KAT install but you need a few bios files for it to run

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Okay then 800 gets the atariosa file then I guess. The ataribas goes in the basic slot and atarixl goes in the xl slot.

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10 hours ago, orkoapprentice said:

"Error Loading Bios Image" Well, so much for that.

Are you using the bioses DOS76 mentioned above?

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I mucked around with 5200 emulation last night as kat5200 wasnt filling the whole screen (didnt know there was an updated version on emucr though which fixes this).

Got it working via RetroArch and the Atari800 core. Place the 5200.rom file in your RA system dir (you can check that its the right one by loading the core, then going to core options). After its loaded you will still get a error about requiring a Atari OS file. Press F1 on the keyboard twice (it also brings up the RA menu). Configure the path to the BIOS file via the menu, then save your config. Then youre set, and can play Atari 5200 roms via RA in fullscreen with shaders. :)

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i got the games running but my ps4 controler not working when i try to map the buttons by using auto detect option a window is flashing and it auto maps everything to button 1 i have it to joystic pls help 

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On 5/8/2017 at 2:52 AM, teeedubb said:

I mucked around with 5200 emulation last night as kat5200 wasnt filling the whole screen (didnt know there was an updated version on emucr though which fixes this).

Got it working via RetroArch and the Atari800 core. Place the 5200.rom file in your RA system dir (you can check that its the right one by loading the core, then going to core options). After its loaded you will still get a error about requiring a Atari OS file. Press F1 on the keyboard twice (it also brings up the RA menu). Configure the path to the BIOS file via the menu, then save your config. Then youre set, and can play Atari 5200 roms via RA in fullscreen with shaders. :)

i still get the error eeven after f1 and retroarch is looking in the right derection for the bios any help also im using a no intro set also when i load 800 ore it says present in the information for the bios :(

 

Edited by kostas

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anyone know hoow to bybass the atari 5200 800 retroarch core error the bios is in the system folder and its been recognised succefuly in core information sais present but still i get the error ''sory etc.''

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I'm not understand i have a good configuration for my pad (360 pad ) but its not working when i play a game :(
image.thumb.png.8d19d16c52f45ab994b1c41ca6a2d821.png
Any idea?

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