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Ralp H. Baer Brown Box Prototype Screenshots
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Ralp H. Baer Brown Box Prototype
Completed in 1968
This machine paved the way for the video games of today. In 1967, Ralph Baer and his colleagues at Sanders Associates, Inc. developed a prototype for the first multiplayer, multiprogram video game system. Since Sanders hoped to license the technology for a commercial venture, Baer understood that the games had to be fun or investors and consumers would not be interested. In an oral history interview, Ralph Baer recalled “The minute we played ping-pong, we knew we had a product. Before that we weren’t too sure.”

Originally called TV Game Unit #7, much like the "Pump Unit" before it, it became far better known by its nickname, “The Brown Box.” The name comes from the brown wood-grain, self-adhesive vinyl used to make the prototype look more attractive to potential investors. The "Brown Box," though only a prototype, had basic features that most video games consoles still have today: two controls and a multigame program system. The "Brown Box" could be programmed to play a variety of games by flipping the switches along the front of the unit, as can be seen in the picture. Program cards were used to show which switches needed to be set for specific games.

Brown Box games included ping-pong, checkers, four different sports games, target shooting with the use of a lightgun and a golf putting game, which required the use of a special attachment. Sanders licensed the Brown Box to Magnavox, which released the system as the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972.


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Magnavox Odyssey Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey
Released August 1972
The Magnavox Odyssey is the first home video game console, predating the Atari PONG home consoles by three years. The Odyssey was designed by Ralph Baer, who had a working prototype finished by 1968. This prototype is affectionately known as the "Brown Box" to classic video game hobbyists. Unlike most video game consoles, the Odyssey is analog rather than digital, which makes its invention all the more amazing in spite of its rather crude graphics and controller responsiveness. Also, unlike any conventional console today, this system was powered by batteries. The Odyssey and its variants also lack sound capability (hence a silent console), which was not uncommon in early PONG systems of that era.

The Odyssey was released in May 1972. While it did not perform badly, it did not take long before it succumbed to poor marketing by Magnavox retail chains. One of their mistakes was misleading consumers into believing that the Odyssey would work only on Magnavox televisions. It did, however, prove that consoles for the home could be designed.


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Magnavox Odyssey 100 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 100
Released October 1975
The Odyssey 100 was an analog system which used four Texas Instruments chips. It did not use cartridges and played two games: TENNIS and HOCKEY. A simple switch selected the games, and the system was either powered by six batteries, or by an AC adaptor (such power supplies were widely used by other systems).

The Odyssey 100 was very basic and didn't have the common features of the million-seller PONG systems of the next years. The knobs were fixed: there were no detachable controllers yet. There was no digital on-screen scoring: the players marked their score using two little plastic cursors on the system. The serve couldn't be changed: it was automatic. This could seem strange compared to the first Atari PONG systems which already had digital on-screen scoring. In fact, this was just a question of technology. On-screen scoring would have required additional components, which would have increased the cost of the system. Nevertheless, on-screen scoring was added in later systems although the first attempts used archaic graphics. The first Magnavox system to offer digital on-screen was the Odyssey 300 in 1976.


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Magnavox Odyssey 200 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 200
Released October 1975
Still in 1975, Magnavox released an improved version of the Odyssey 100: the Odyssey 200. It was same as the Odyssey 100 but with two additional chips from Texas Instruments, which added a third game called SMASH and some on-screen scoring. The Odyssey 200 could be played by two or four players (first system to offer this feature), and displayed very basic on-screen scoring using small rectangles (it still had the two plastic cursors to record the scores). Each time a player marked a point, his white rectangle would shift on the right. The winner was obviously the first whose rectangle would reach the rightmost position on the screen. Although the scores were not yet digital, the Odyssey 200 remained more advanced than the first home version of Atari PONG because it played three different games for two or four players.

1975 marked the beginning of a long history. Both Atari and Magnavox released their systems, and more advanced ones were to come.


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Atari PONG Screenshots
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Atari PONG
Released January 1976
In 1973, after the success of the original PONG coin-op, an Atari engineer by the name of Harold Lee came up with the idea of a home PONG unit. Since the PONG coin-op that Alan Alcorn designed was nothing more than the game board connected to an actual television set, he thought it would be possible to scale it down a bit and modify it for use at home. This would be a new direction for the fledgling Atari consumer electronics. If they could pull it off, they would be one of the pioneers of using high tech custom integrated circuits in the consumer industry.

In 1975 it was decided Sears would sell PONG under it's own specially created Tele-Games label, and production was initially projected at 50,000 units. This was soon raised to 150,000 for the 1975 Christmass season. Atari agreed to give Sears exclusive rights for the following year, and would continue to make custom Tele-Games versions for any future consoles. This was the beginning of a long relationship between Atari and Sears, which would continue even after Nolan Bushnell sold Atari to Warner.


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APF TV Fun Model 401 Screenshots
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APF TV Fun Model 401
Released April 1976
The APF TV Fun is a series of early Pong clone consoles manufactured by APF Electronics Inc. and built in Japan starting in 1976. The systems were among the first built on the General Instruments 'Pong on a chip', the AY-3-8500, that allowed many manufacturers to compete against the Atari home pong.

The model 401 and 401a features four built in games, a built in speaker, and two controller knobs, Toggle Switches (choices are "Professional" and "Amateur") for the following settings - Angle / Bat Size / Ball Speed. There are 2 buttons - Power and Start Game, and a dial to select between the four built-in games.

The TV Fun package is the first excursion of APF into the video game market, APF was formerly a calculator and other small electronics developer. It was sold at Sears under the name Hockey Jockari. TV Fun was followed up by the 8 bit MP 1000 and then APF Imagination Machine beginning in 1979. These were made to compete in the 2nd generation of early ROM cartridge consoles, namely the Atari VCS.


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Magnavox Wonder Wizard 7702 Screenshots
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Magnavox Wonder Wizard 7702
Released June 1976
The Wonder Wizard Model 7702 was sold in 1976 and contains a Magnavox Odyssey 300 circuit board housed into a derivate of the 1972 Odyssey case. The bottom part of the case is identical, only the top differs and was made in two versions: one with silver knobs and woodgrain only in the section containing the "Wonder Wizard" name, and one (as pictured) with black knobs and woodgrain everywhere.

Like Odyssey 300, this system used a 3-position switch to choose one of three predefined combinations of difficulties, avoiding the need to change the ball speed, ball angle and bat size separately. Few systems used this design and most others used individual skill level switches.


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Coleco Telstar Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar
Released August 11, 1976 for $50.00
Telstar, Coleco's first video game system, was released in 1976 and played only three games with three difficulty levels. It was the first system to use GI's AY-3-8500 chip and was a real success: over a million units were sold.

The AY-3-8500 chip played six games with more difficulty levels, and the games could also be played in color. It was pretty obvious that Coleco would release more systems. At least 15 different games were released in two years with the only differences between the "pong" systems being the number of games, the way the difficulty levels were used, and the type of pictured (color or black and white).

An amazing detail is the way Coleco packed their video game systems, they were sold partially assembled. The systems were electronically ready to play, but the users had to put on the knobs and stick the decorative stickers on the plastic case. So far, only Coleco is known to have released their systems this way. It is believed that this was done to save on assembling costs.


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Fairchild Channel F Screenshots
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Fairchild Channel F
Released August 1976
The Channel F was the first programmable video game system, having plug-in cartridges containing ROM and microprocessor code rather than dedicated circuits. Not a very popular or entertaining system, it was nonetheless important at the time for having a number of original features which were copied by later more successful systems.

Fairchild released twenty-six different cartridges for the system, with up to four games being on each cartridge. The games included sports, such as Hockey, Tennis and Baseball, educational, such as Maths Quiz, board games, such as Checkers, and shooting games, such as Space War. The cartridges had labels that contained the game instructions on them and each were given a sequential number. In this respect Fairchild started a trend in trying to boost game sales by numbering them and so appealing to consumers who wanted to complete their collection.

The Channel F console's popularity lowered when the Atari released their VCS in 1977 as the VCS had much better graphics, games and sound.


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Coleco Telstar Classic Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Classic
Released September 14, 1976 for $50.00
The Telstar video game console produced by Coleco first went on sale in 1976. It was a video tennis game similar to Pong. With a price of $50, budget minded consumers loved it. Coleco sold over 1,000,000 units in 1976.

Released the same year as the original Telstar, the Telstar Classic unit was essentially the same as the Telstar. It simply added a classic 1970's wood grain case to it. This unit allowed 3 games (Tennis, Hockey, Handball) and 3 different skill levels.

In the Christmas season of 1977, nine new designs of the Telstar were released, each of them doing virtually the same thing. It was labeled "Video Sports" with four different games, all of them PONG games. During it's life span, Coleco had produced about nine different variations of their machine and tossed about one million 'obsolete' machines.


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Magnavox Odyssey 300 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 300
Released October 1976
The Odyssey 300 dedicated console was released in 1976. Unlike Magnavox's previous two dedicated console products, the Odyssey 300 was meant to compete directly with the Coleco Telstar. Like the Telstar, the Odyssey 300 uses the AY-3-8500 chip as its logic and was among the first dedicated consoles to use a single IC chip as the focus of its design rather than multiple computer chips or transistor-transistor logic. The 300 has the same three games as the Odyssey 200; unlike the 200, the Odyssey 300 console has three difficulty levels: Novice, Intermediate and Expert.

Magnavox used several Texas Instruments chips, each having a special function (collision detection, on-screen scoring, etc). Atari had the advantage of using the first chips often called "PONG in a chip", but the chips were not available to other manufacturers. Each different Atari system used a special chip. Of course, a few discrete components interfaced the chip to the system (video modulator, player controls, etc). These chips replaced most of the numerous components used in analog and digital systems. Although Atari chips were a smart design, the idea of integrating complex circuits into a single chip was a common idea at that time, and other video game manufacturers would soon release their own video game chips.


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Magnavox Odyssey 400 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 400
Released November 1976
The Odyssey 400 dedicated console was released in 1976. The 400 is essentially the same as the Odyssey 200 with automatic serve and on-screen digital scoring features added. The console plays the same three games as the 200 and has the same three game control knobs. An additional Texas Instruments chip was used to implement on-screen scoring.

Like the Odyssey 100 and 200, the Odyssey 400 used the same three knobs to move the bats and control the "English" effect on the ball.


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Sears Tele-Games Super Pong IV Screenshots
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Sears Tele-Games Super Pong IV
Released November 1976
During the 1975 Christmas season, Atari released a home version of Pong exclusively through Sears retail stores. It was also a commercial success and led to numerous copies. This is the Sears version of Atari’s Super Pong and was in fact manufactured by Atari in Sunnyvale California. 1-4 players use wired paddle controllers in four events: Pong/Super Pong, Catch, Basketball, and Handball.

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Atari Super PONG Screenshots
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Atari Super PONG
Released November 1976
Atari's sales of the Home PONG console were phenomenal to put it mildly. Atari would continue to cash in of the PONG franchise by releasing yet another home version of one of its arcade game assets. This time it would be Super PONG. Now home players could select for 4 different variations of PONG games to delight and entertain them for countless hours.

Meanwhile numerous knock-off PONG-type consoles were hitting the market. However, because of Atari's now well known presence in the coin-op market, its name recognition helped it stand out. Also Atari's unusual Pedestal design helped Atari stand out in the Sears Retail Stores as well as other stores who were now carrying Atari products.

When compared to the plethora of bland and boxy "Me-Too" consoles by so many other companies, the Atari PONG line of consoles simply stood out. Atari's consoles had eye catching rainbow colors and a deep and ear catching PONG sound from their built in speaker. Most other consoles were still far behind playing catch up with Black & White displays, flimsy controllers and some even without sound.


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Magnavox Odyssey 500 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 500
Released December 1976
The Odyssey 500 was also released in 1976, and was very advanced for that time considering the technology used. It was in fact the only system of its kind. As a matter of fact, the white paddles representing the players were replaced by simple color graphics: two tennis players with their rackets (TENNIS game), two squash players (SQUASH), or two hockey players holding their sticks (HOCKEY).

Magnavox released the Odyssey 2000, 3000 and 4000 in 1977. The Odyssey 5000 was planned but never released. It was designed to play 24 games (7 different types) for two or four players. The Odyssey 4000 was the last PONG system released by Magnavox.


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Atari Super Pong Ten Screenshots
Atari Super Pong Ten
Released December 1976
The Atari Super Pong 10 added 6 new variations of games, plus the ability for up to 4 players to participate in the games. Atari would introduce something entirely new for their home console line. The addition of hand held external Paddle controllers. Video game players were no longer bound to sit up close to the console, bumping elbows with their fellow gamers. Now two additional players could sit with some comfortable space between them and play the various Pong games.

The Paddle controllers would introduce a shape and a trend that would follow into many other generations of controllers throughout Atari's designs. Their wedged shape design would influence Atari controller design for consoles such as the unreleased Atari 2700 remote control joysticks, the Atari 5200 joysticks and the Atari 7800 ProSystem joysticks. All of the controllers having the same basic wedged shaped design.


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Atari Game Brain Screenshots
Atari Game Brain
Released January 1977
The Atari Game Brain was an unreleased dedicated video game console by Atari. Intended to be released in 1977, it would only have played 10 different games. All of the planned games would have been ports of games from all of Atari's previously released dedicated consoles, such as Pong, Stunt Cycle, & Video Pinball. Its controllers were built onto the system, and included 4 directional buttons, a paddle, and a fire button. Games would be inserted in the top of the system by opening a door, and the door had a small instructions booklet on top of it.

The system was never supposed to be a huge seller for Atari. Instead, the system was just their way of clearing out their CPUs from their unsold dedicated consoles. Unfortunately by the time the Game Brain was finished, dedicated consoles were becoming obsolete against consoles with programmable ROMs, such as the already released Fairchild Channel F, the RCA Studio 2, and Atari's own 2600. Noting this, Atari cancelled the Game Brain. Today, only 3 Game Brain consoles are known to exist, as well as 5 prototype cartridges.


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Coleco Telstar Ranger Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Ranger
Released January 1977
The 2nd Telstar model to be released in 1977 was the Telstar Ranger (model 6046). It came with 6 games, two paddle controllers and a gun.

The games included were the standard PONG games which the AY-3-8500 was programmed for i.e. Tennis, Squash, Soccer, Practice and two gun games. This was the first Telstar released to have a completely different design from the original. It was also the first to include detachable controllers.


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RCA Studio II Screenshots
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RCA Studio II
Released January 1977
RCA could not accept the fact that they let the Odyssey slip through there fingers (Ralph Baer the designer of Odyssey approached RCA with the deal first), and into the hands of there TV rival Magnavox. The RCA Studio II was their answer to the Magnavox Odyssey. Released in 1976 a few months after the release of the Fairchild Channel F, it would have been the first programmable console (Fairchild beat them to the release gate).

The console was doomed from the start. The lack of a color display and control paddles made the unit old and dated. With only 8 games released, the Studio II suffered the same fate as Channel F. Overshadowed and rendered obsolete by the Atari VCS / 2600

The RCA Studio II should have been a color console, a few games were designed for color, but the video output of the console was black & white. A Studio II clone released in the UK called The Sheen M1200 was released in 1978, and produced PAL color with RCA Studio II games and was a more successful unit.


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Atari Video Pinball Screenshots
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Atari Video Pinball
Released February 1977
In 1977, Video Pinball appeared as another Atari coin-op to stand-alone home console translation by bringing the game Breakout to home players. Offered first in the late 1970's Atari "first edition release" standard wood grain (also to be used on the Atari 2600) and then a second edition white molded plastic model. Bumper controllers on the sides or a dial on the front were used to control the games depending on the game selected. There were three game types - Pinball, Basketball, and Breakout.

Interestingly enough, Atari did follow up with an actual Video Pinball coin-op, two years after the release of their home console. It was a unique hybrid between video game and pinball technology that still has not been duplicated to this day. While some before and after tried using the video game part as a game within the game or simply to display unique animations (such as Baby Pacman, or the more recent Star Wars pinball hologram effect model), this was the first to actually use both technologies as an integral part of the game play.


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APF TV Fun Model 405 Screenshots
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APF TV Fun Model 405
Released February 1977
The APF TV Fun is a series of early Pong clone consoles manufactured by APF Electronics Inc. and built in Japan starting in 1976. The systems were among the first built on the General Instruments 'Pong on a chip', the AY-3-8500, that allowed many manufacturers to compete against the Atari home pong.

The TV Fun package is the first excursion of APF into the video game market, APF was formerly a calculator and other small electronics developer. It was sold at Sears under the name Hockey Jockari. TV Fun was followed up by the 8 bit MP 1000 and then APF Imagination Machine beginning in 1979. These were made to compete in the 2nd generation of early ROM cartridge consoles, namely the Atari VCS.

The TV Fun Model 405 offerd 4 games, Tennis, Football, Squash and Squash Practice.


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Atari Stunt Cycle Screenshots
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Atari Stunt Cycle
Released March 1977
All the thrills and chills of real stunt motorcycle riding right in your home living room, so much fun Evil Knievel must have had one! (Well... maybe). Stunt Cycle originally was an Atari arcade coin-op, then made into a stand-alone console shown here.

The original coin-op had been released in 1975 to take advantage of the then popular motorcycle stunt man Evel Knievel. Originally a motorcycle salesman who began doing stunts to draw attention to his store, by the early 70's he was a household name. Atari's coin-op attempted to capture the feel and fun of the stunt jumping Evel Knievel was famous for, and was a mild success.

Stunt Cycle gave the player a first person feel of riding a motorcycle, even though the image on the screen wasn't first person. You could jump cars and buses, if you played with the controls just right you could jump right off the screen, lots of fun!


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Coleco Telstar Combat Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Combat
Released March 1977
The Coleco Telstar Combat! game was released in 1977 as a post-Pong dedicated video game console. Unlike Coleco's earlier home Pong games based on the General Instrument AY-3-8500 chip, it used a AY-3-8700 chip. The console was a modest success but due to having too many similar dedicated console products, Coleco nearly went bankrupt in 1980.

Telstar Combat was one of Coleco's attempts to break away from the Pong game video game rut. It's certainly unique, no other company manufactured a dedicated console with such elaborate controls. The console plays four variations of a tank battle game, very similar to the Atari 2600 Combat game cartridge.


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Atari Video Pinball Model 2 Screenshots
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Atari Video Pinball Model 2
Released April 1977
This is the later (beige) version of the Atari Video Pinball game console. It basically played the same games as the earlier (wood grain) version. The Pinball and Basketball games in this version were slightly updated.

Atari eventually released their Video Pinball as a cartridge game for their 2600 VCS system.


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Coleco Telstar Alpha Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Alpha
Released April 1977
Coleco cashed in on the Pong craze in a big way. They managed to grab a huge share of the early home video game market partly through good marketing (their original Telstar console was half the price of Atari's Pong) and partly through good luck (Coleco was the only company that got their full shipment of the popular microchip that everyone used to manufacture their home Pong systems in late 1976).

The Telstar Alpha (model 6030) was released in 1977. It is a classic from Coleco, and uses the AY-3-8500 game chip. The system plays 4 games in three difficulty levels. It is the successor of the three older models (Telstar, Telstar Classic and Telstar Ranger), and only differs by its case and fourth game (JAI-ALAI, also known as SQUASH).

Like the first Telstar, this system was sold in large quantities as it was cheap. It was also released in Europe as the "Telstar Alpha Europa".


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Magnavox Odyssey 2000 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 2000
Released May 1977
While not the first electronic game, the earliest form of an electronic ping-pong game dates back as a game played on an oscilloscope, by William A. Higinbotham at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958. His game was titled Tennis for Two.

In 1977, the Magnavox Odyssey line of PONG games represents the cutting edge of dedicated console technology. The Odyssey 2000, 3000 and 4000 were arguably the most advanced dedicated PONG console systems of the 1970's.


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Magnavox Odyssey 3000 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 3000
Released June 1977
The Magnavox Odyssey 3000 is another example of the Odyssey line for 1977. It is similar to the 2000 offering the same games in a newly styled, more modern case. The Odyssey 3000 also featured detachable controllers which allowed more freedom when playing. This was not a feature on the Odyssey 2000 model.

Magnavox lead the PONG craze with its Odyssey line of consoles. In three years, the technology had completely changed the PONG universe.


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Magnavox Odyssey 4000 Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey 4000
Released August 1977
The Odyssey 4000 was the last PONG system released by Magnavox. The Odyssey 4000 featured 8 exciting games in full color. The console also featured real joysticks like those offered on other console models.

After the Odyssey 4000, Magnavox goes on to release a completely different system known as the Odyssey 2, also known as Videopac in Europe. This system was designed to compete with Atari and Colecovision cartridge based game consoles.


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Atari 2600 (VCS) Screenshots
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Atari 2600 (VCS)
Released October 01, 1977 for $199.00
The Atari 2600, released in 1977, is the first successful video game console to use plug-in cartridges instead of having one or more games built in. It was originally known as the Atari VCS, for Video Computer System, and the name "Atari 2600" (taken from the unit's Atari part number, CX2600) was first used in 1982, after the release of the more advanced Atari 5200.

The initial price was $199 with a library of 9 titles. In a play to compete directly with the Channel F, Atari named the machine the Video Computer System (or VCS for short), as the Channel F was at that point known as the VES, for Video Entertainment System. When Fairchild learned of Atari's naming they quickly changed the name of their system to become the Channel F.

Atari expanded the 2600 family with two other compatible consoles. The Atari 2700, a wireless version of the console was never released due to design flaws. The Sleek Atari 2800 released to the Japanese market in 1983 suffered from competition from the newly-released Nintendo Famicom.


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Coleco Telstar Colortron Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Colortron
Released February 1978
The Telstar Colortron was released in 1978. It is one of the only systems based around the AY-3-8510 game chip, a derivation of the AY-3-8500. The system offers 4 games instead of 6, but the picture is in color, which is much better. Sound is not unpleasant like on most of the other systems, since it comes from a little piezo beeper which produces a very discrete sound.

The game selection is done using a push-button rather than a switch (easier to use and more robust). Curiously, the system requires two 9V batteries: one for the "video" (the games), and one for the "sound" (maybe the internal circuitry of the piezo beeper).


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Coleco Telstar Arcade Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Arcade
Released March 1978
The Telstar Arcade is maybe one of the most interesting systems made by Coleco, and also the most advanced PONG system released in America, although it played non-PONG games. Made in a triangular case, the system could play three types of games, each being played on one of the three sides of the case. Obviously, the first side allowed playing PONG games (TENNIS and the like), and the second side allowed playing target shooting games. Nothing very different from most other systems, except the gun storage. The third face was the most interesting: it allowed playing car racing games. Very few systems offering that type of games were released at this time, and the games were only played using rotary controllers or some sort of joysticks.

Coleco used a very uncommon cartridge format: a silver triangular case which connects horizontally on the top of the console. Nothing in common with the other black cartridges with plug vertically. Coleco released only four cartridges. The first one was sold with the system and the others were available separately for the price of $25. Two flyers came with the system to order cartridges #2 and #3.


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Bally Professional Arcade Screenshots
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Bally Professional Arcade
Released April 1978
Released in 1978, the Bally Professional Arcade was video game maker Bally's only entry in to the home console market, complete with typical late 1970's wood grain. The little console from the 70's that just wouldn't die, it enjoyed several rebirths similar to the Fairchild VES Channel F and significant home brew/user following.

In 1972, Bally missed an early entry in to video games, by telling one Mr. Nolan Bushnell they were not interested in his Pong video game. With Pong starting the video game arcade revolution, by 1975 Bally decided to create a video game division called Midway (referred to as Bally/Midway) for the purpose of entering this market.

It was decided to base the new console around the Zilog Z-80 microprocessor. A processor making it's way in to arcade games and fast becoming the processor of choice in the still developing microcomputer movement. The graphics system was to have an advanced display system known as bit mapped graphics. In bit mapped graphics, each pixel of the screen is mapped to a corresponding memory location.


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Coleco Telstar Marksman Screenshots
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Coleco Telstar Marksman
Released April 1978
The Telstar Marksman is a first-generation video game console that featured a light gun. It was released by Coleco in 1978. Because it had manufacturer-set amount of games, it is considered a dedicated console. It was part of a series of Coleco Telstar Pong-based consoles; it is essentially a Telstar Colortron bundled with a 3 in 1 light gun and two shooting games. The Marksman light gun is a pistol that features an attachable stock and barrel. It is similar in this regard to the later-released Stack Light Rifle and the Sega Menacer. The elongated barrel included a simple aiming sight.

In addition to the light gun, the system featured two paddle controllers built directly into the console. Its reported features included on-screen digital scoring and three different difficulty settings (beginner, intermediate, pro). It required two nine-volt batteries or Coleco's Perma Power AC adaptor to power the system.


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Magnavox Odyssey² Screenshots
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Magnavox Odyssey²
Released April 1978
In 1978 Magnavox came out with their second major system, the Odyssey², which was totally different than the various Odyssey PONG systems. It was a computer with BASIC programming, but many people regarded it as a home video game console. It came with two controllers, RF switch with TV box, power supply, and the Speedway, Spinout and Cryptologic game cartridge.

The Odyssey² was the first home video game console to introduce what was to become the standard joystick design of the 1970s and 80s: a moderately sized black joystick unit, held in the left hand, with an eight-direction stick that was manipulated with the right hand. In the upper corner of the joystick was a single 'Action' button.

The area that the Odyssey² may well be best remembered for was its pioneering fusion of board and video games: The Master Strategy Series. The first game released was the instant classic Quest for the Rings!, with game play somewhat similar to Dungeons & Dragons, and a story line reminiscent of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.


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Coleco Telstar Gemini Screenshots
Coleco Telstar Gemini
Released May 1978
1978 saw the release of the Coleco Telstar Gemini, which was totally different from any other Telstar pong system preceding it. Looking like a common pong, it doesn't play the common pong games. This unique system offered 2 shooting games along with 4 pinball games.

This console featured 2 flipper buttons on either side which simulated playing a real pinball machine. There is also a big red button on top which was used to launch the ball in to the play field. The button simulated the real thing, a short tap will shoot the ball out slowly and a long press will shoot the ball out faster.

There were actually two completely different Coleco Gemini systems. The Telstar Gemini shown here is the older and rarer machine. The other is an Atari 2600 clone by Coleco called Gemini. Coleco probably did this to hide it from Atari's lawyer armada. This worked for a while, but soon after the launch of the console Atari unsuccessfully sued Coleco for braking copyright laws.


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APF M-1000 Screenshots
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APF M-1000
Released October 1978
The `APF-M1000` is an early 8-bit cartridge-based game console released in 1978 by APF Electronics Inc. The controllers are non-detachable joysticks which also have numeric keypads. The APF-M1000 can only be used with a color TV and comes built-in with the game `Rocket Patrol`. The APF-M1000 is a part of the APF Imagination Machine.

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Fairchild Channel F System II Screenshots
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Fairchild Channel F System II
Released April 01, 1979 for $99.00
In 1979, a company by the name of Zircon bought all the rights to the Channel F. What they had planned to do with them was not clear until when they released Fairchild's scaled-down model as the $99 Channel F System II. Zircon also licensed it overseas, where it appeared as the Saba Video Play in Germany, the Luxor Video Entertainment System in Sweden, and the Grandstand in Great Britain. The System II model played sounds through the TV set, rather than generating them through an internal speaker (that's right: sounds in the System I model came from the unit itself). Channel F System II also had removable controllers.

By 1978, Fairchild had released 23 games the Channel F, with Zircon chipping in four new titles a couple years later. The games run from single to multi game cartridges, and various options for the games are selected by the 4 main buttons on the front of the console. Probably the weirdest feature of the machine is that the games are started by first turning on the console, then inserting the cartridge, and hitting the reset button.


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Mattel Intellivision Screenshots
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Mattel Intellivision
Released September 1979
After successful test marketing in 1979, Mattel Electronics released its Intellivision system nationwide in late 1980. Armed with twelve games, better graphics and sound than its competitors, and the promise to release a compatible keyboard that would turn the system into a home computer ("Play games and balance your checkbook!"), Mattel set its sights on taking down the "invincible" Atari 2600. They got off to a good start, selling out the first production run of 200,000 Intellivision units quickly.

Many people bought an Intellivision with plans to turn it into a home computer when the keyboard was released. There was a huge marketing campaign behind this (one-third of the back of the Intellivision box was dedicated to the "Under Development" keyboard), but months and then years passed without the keyboard being released. actually, it was released in a few test markets in late '81, but the price was too high and the initial reaction poor. So in 1982, Mattel scrapped plans for the infamous keyboard, but later (due to government pressure), they had to make a computer add-on anyway.


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Atari 400 Screenshots
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Atari 400
Released October 1979
The Atari 400 was announced in December 1978, but didn't actually start shipping until late in 1979. Designed primarily as a computer for children, the Atari 400 has an "advanced child-proof design featuring pressure-sensitive, wipe-clean keyboard". It featured a single cartridge port under the front cover.

The Atari 400 boots-up into "Notepad", the only built-in program. Any other programs will have to run from cassette or cartridge - this includes BASIC, or any other programming language. Game cartridges can be inserted into the cartridge slot in front, starting instantly with no fuss. Many games were versions of actual video arcade hits, others were original or copies of other popular (or not) computer games of the 80's.


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Sears Tele-Games Super Video Arcade Screenshots
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Sears Tele-Games Super Video Arcade
Released November 1979
Mattel marketed their console to a number of retailers as a rebadged unit. This is the Sears Tele-Games Super Video Arcade, and it was functionally identical to the original Intellivision system with two exceptions: the Telegames Super Video Arcade featured detachable hand controllers and did not display the line Mattel Electronics presents on the standard game title screen. This Sears model was a specific coup for Mattel, as Sears was already selling a rebadged Atari 2600 unit, and in doing so made a big contribution to Atari's success.

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APF Imagination Machine Screenshots
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APF Imagination Machine
Released November 05, 1979 for $700.00
The APF Imagination Machine was a combination home video game console and computer system released by APF Electronics Inc. in late 1979. It was composed of two separate components, the APF-M1000 game system, and an add on docking bay with full sized typewriter keyboard and tape drive. The APF-M1000 was built specifically to compete with the Atari 2600. The Imagination Machine has the distinction of being one of, if not the first, affordable home PCs to connect to the television, and is still one of the most expandable consoles ever marketed. The full APF Imagination Machine, including the APF-M1000 console and the IM-1 computer component originally sold for around $700.

Only 15 official game cartridges were ever released by APF Electronics Inc, and 1 cartridge that came with the console, the Basic interpreter; although several game cartridges contained multiple titles. Many games were created by an active programming community of owners and distributed through their monthly newsletter, but these were all released only on tape cassette form, or in some cases, merely as a print out of the code that would have to be typed in if it was not transferred through a copied cassette.


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Commodore 64 Screenshots
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Commodore 64
Released January 1982
In January 1981, MOS Technology, Inc., Commodore's integrated circuit design subsidiary, initiated a project to design the graphic and audio chips for a next generation video game console. Design work for the chips, named MOS Technology VIC-II (graphics) and MOS Technology SID (audio), was completed in November 1981.

A game console project was then initiated by Commodore that would use the new chips—called the Ultimax or alternatively the Commodore MAX Machine, engineered by Yash Terakura from Commodore Japan. This project was eventually cancelled after just a few machines were manufactured for the Japanese market.

The C64 made an impressive debut at the January 1982 Winter Consumer Electronics Show, as recalled by Production Engineer David A. Ziembicki: "All we saw at our booth were Atari people with their mouths dropping open, saying, How can you do that for $595?" The answer, as it turned out, was vertical integration; thanks to Commodore's ownership of MOS Technology's semiconductor fabrication facilities, each C64 had an estimated production cost of only $135.


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Emerson Arcadia 2001 Screenshots
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Emerson Arcadia 2001
Released March 1982
In 1982, the computer electronics company, Emerson, jumped into the gaming world. They released the Arcadia 2001, a small cartridge-based system.The Arcadia 2001 controllers are similar in design to the Intellivison or Colecovision, with a numeric keypad, a joystick, and two side buttons.

Emerson Arcadia 2001 was supposed to be the Atari 2600 killer. A great console with great games. Unfortunately they fell prey to complete lack of third party development, and the lack of Arcade game titles. Similar to other consoles before it, they were forced to release home versions of arcade games.

The system didn't grasp much attention, and soon found it's way to the bargain bin at the cost of $99. The release of the Colecovision months later sealed the Arcadia's fate. The Emerson Arcadia 2001 died after only a year and a half with 35 game releases. Most never recall it existed.


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Atari 2600 (Vader) Screenshots
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Atari 2600 (Vader)
Released August 1982
In 1982, a new version of the Atari 2600 console was released without woodgrain. They were nicknamed "Darth Vader" consoles due to their all-black appearance. These were also the first consoles to be officially called "Atari 2600", as the Atari 5200 was released the same year.

Also in 1982, Atari released E.T., a licensed game of the incredibly popular Spielberg film. The game cost around $125 million to develop, largely due to the licensing costs of the game. The game designer was Howard Scott Warshaw, who had received nothing but praise and adulation for his game Raiders of the Lost Ark.


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Coleco Vision Screenshots
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Coleco Vision
Released August 1982
The Colecovision is Coleco's third generation video game console, released in August 1982. It offered arcade-like graphics and controllers, and an initial catalog of 12 titles, with 10 more promised titles on the way. All told, approximately 170 titles were released on plug-in cartridges during its lifetime. The controller was a flat joystick, two side buttons, and a number-pad, which allowed the user to put inserts for customized buttons. The majority of titles in its catalog were conversions from coin-operated arcade games. The ColecoVision introduced two new concepts to the home video game industry - the ability to expand the hardware system, and the ability to play other video game system games.

By Christmas of 1982, Coleco had sold 500,000 units, mainly on the strength of its bundled games. While Atari's fortune had risen on the popularity of Space Invaders, Colecovision was the first console to feature the hit Donkey Kong, by Nintendo. The Colecovision's main competitor in the next-generation console space was the arguably more advanced but less commercially successful Atari 5200.


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Coleco Expansion Module #1 Screenshots
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Coleco Expansion Module #1
Released October 1982
From its introduction, Coleco had touted a hardware add-on called the Expansion Module #1 which made the ColecoVision compatible with the industry-leading Atari 2600. Functionally, this gave the ColecoVision the largest software library of any console of its day. The expansion module prompted legal action from Atari, but Atari was unable to stop sales of the module because the 2600 could be reproduced with standard parts.

Coleco was also able to design and market the Gemini game system which was an exact clone of the 2600, but with combined joystick/paddle controllers.


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Entex Adventure Vision Screenshots
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Entex Adventure Vision
Released October 1982
The Adventure Vision is a self-contained cartridge-based video game console released by Entex Industries in 1982.

Control is through a single multi-position joystick and two sets of four buttons, one on each side of the joystick, for ease of play by both left and right handed players.

One particular feature of the Adventure Vision is its "monitor." Rather than using an LCD screen or an external television set like other systems of the time, the Adventure Vision uses a single vertical line of 40 red LEDs combined with a spinning mirror inside the casing. This allows for a screen resolution of 150 x 40 pixels. Another product using this technique was produced by Nintendo in the mid 1990s – the Virtual Boy – another product which, while technically ahead of its time like the Adventure Vision, was doomed to failure in the open market.

Drawbacks to the Adventure Vision are its monochrome (red) screen as well as the mirror motor, which draws a great deal of power from the batteries. The latter problem can be solved easily by the use of the built-in AC adapter port.

Many casual fans dismiss the Adventure Vision as a failed handheld console. In fact, it was a tabletop console that was much too large and fragile to be used effectively for handheld purposes.


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Milton Bradley Vectrex Arcade System Screenshots
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Milton Bradley Vectrex Arcade System
Released November 01, 1982 for $199.00
The Vectrex is an 8-bit video game console developed by General Consumer Electric (GCE) and later bought by Milton Bradley Company. The Vectrex is unique in that it utilized vector graphics drawn on a monitor that was integrated in the console; no other console before or after the Vectrex had a comparable configuration, and no other non-portable game console had a monitor of its own (integrated). It was released in November 1982 at a retail price of $199. As the video game market declined and then crashed, the Vectrex exited the market in early 1984.

Unlike other video game consoles which connected to TVs to display raster graphics, the Vectrex included its own monitor which displayed vector graphics. The monochrome Vectrex used overlays to give the illusion of color, and also to reduce the severity of flickering caused by the vector monitor. At the time many of the most popular arcade games used vector displays, and GCE was looking to set themselves apart from the pack by selling high-quality versions of games like Space Wars and Armor Attack. The system even contained a built in game, the Asteroids-like Minestorm.


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Atari 5200 Screenshots
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Atari 5200
Released November 1982
The Atari 5200 is a video game console introduced in 1982 by Atari. It was created to compete with the Mattel Intellivision, but it also competed with the Colecovision shortly after the 5200's release. In some ways, it was both technologically superior and more cost efficient than any console available at that time.

The Atari 5200 was in essence an Atari 400 computer without a keyboard. This made for a powerful, proven design which Atari could quickly bring to market. The system featured many innovations like the first automatic TV switch box, allowing it to automatically switch from regular TV viewing to the game system signal when the system was activated.

The initial release of the system featured four controller ports, where all other systems of the day had only two ports. The system also featured a revolutionary new controller with an analog joystick, numeric keypad, two fire buttons on both sides of the controller and game function keys for Start, Pause, and Reset.


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Coleco Gemini Screenshots
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Coleco Gemini
Released November 1982
In 1982, Coleco released Expansion Module #1 for its Colecovision video game system using off-the-shelf components. Atari sued Coleco for patent infringement, however a court ruled that since Coleco used off-the-shelf components and not the same components found inside an Atari 2600, the Expansion Module #1 did not infringe on Atari's patents for the 2600. With this ruling, Coleco decided to make a stand-alone Atari 2600 clone and named it the Gemini.

The main difference between the Coleco Gemini and the Atari 2600 is the controller design. The Coleco Gemini controllers featured an 8-way joystick and a 270-degree paddle on the same controller (the joystick was at the top of the controller, and the paddle was at the bottom of the controller). Unfortunately, if one wanted to play the Atari 2600 game Warlords in 4 player mode, 2 sets of Atari-made paddles were required, and one set of Atari-made paddles was required for 2 player paddle games.


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Mattel Intellivision II Screenshots
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Mattel Intellivision II
Released December 01, 1982 for $99.99
Shortly after the Intellivision I released nationwide in the United States, Mattel followed up with the new updated Intellivision II unit in 1982. The product retailed for $99.99 USD and showed a few marked improvements. In order to cut costs Mattel featured 16 position removable joysticks on their 'new' system. A LED light was implemented to show owners when the system was on or off, since this was a difficulty with the Intellivision I unit. The power button functioned also as a reset switch and must be held for 5 seconds before the power will shut off, otherwise just pressing it will reset the system.

If the game was not in play the screen would go dark after five minutes in order to prevent burn in. To further reduce burn in, the Intellivision II Owner's Manual states that you should play the system using low contrast levels on your TV anyhow. To set the game on pause, you must simultaneously press 1 + 9 on the control pad. The system caused problems when running certain Coleco brand games such as Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap, and Carnival.


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Mattel Aquarius Screenshots
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Mattel Aquarius
Released June 01, 1983 for $160.00
Looking to compete in the standalone computer market, Mattel Electronics turned to Radofin, the Hong Kong based manufacturer of their Intellivision consoles. Radofin had designed two computer systems. Internally they were known as "Checkers", and the more sophisticated "Chess". Mattel contracted for these to become the Aquarius and Aquarius II, respectively. Aquarius was announced in 1982 and finally released in June 1983, at a price of $160. Production ceased four months later because of poor sales. Mattel paid Radofin to take back the marketing rights, and four other companies—CEZAR Industries, CRIMAC Inc., New Era Incentives, Inc., and Bentley Industries—also marketed the unit and accessories for it. Bentley Industries (of Los Angeles) and New Era Incentives, Inc. (of St. Paul) are still in business, though they no longer have any affiliation with the Aquarius product line.

The Aquarius often came bundled with the Mini-Expander peripheral, which added gamepads, an additional cartridge port for memory expansion, and the GI AY-3-8914 sound chip, which was the same one used on the Intellivision console. Other common peripherals were the Data recorder, 40 column thermal printer, 4K and 16K ram carts. Less common first party peripherals include a 300 baud cartridge modem, 32k RAM cart, 4 color plotter, and Quick Disk drive.


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RDI Halcyon Screenshots
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RDI Halcyon
Released January 01, 1985 for $2,500.00
The Halcyon was a home video game console released in January of 1985 by RDI Video Systems. The initial retail price for the system was $2500, and it featured a laserdisc player and attached computer, each the size of an early-model VCR. Only two games were released for the system before RDI went bankrupt: Thayer's Quest and Raiders vs. Chargers, although trailers for several others were created. RDI Video Systems claimed that the system would be entirely voice-activated, and would have an artificial intelligence on par with HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Nintendo NES Screenshots
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Nintendo NES
Released October 1985
Following a series of arcade game successes in the early 1980s, Nintendo made plans to produce its own console hardware that had removable cartridges, a feature not included with the company's earlier Color TV Games product. Designed by Masayuki Uemura and released in Japan on July 15, 1983, the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) was slow to gather momentum: during its first year, many criticized the system as unreliable, prone to programming errors and rampant freezing. Following a product recall and a reissue with a new motherboard, the Famicom's popularity soared, becoming the best-selling game console in Japan by the end of 1984. Encouraged by their successes, Nintendo soon turned their attentions to the North American markets.

In June 1985, Nintendo unveiled its American version of the Famicom at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With a completely redesigned case and a new name, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) proved to be just as popular in America as the Famicom was in Japan, and played a major role in revitalizing interest in the video game industry.


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Mattel INTV System III Screenshots
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Mattel INTV System III
Released October 01, 1985 for $59.95
In March 1984, the rights to the Intellivision system were sold for $16.5 million to an investment group headed by the senior vice-president of Mattel Electronics, Terrence Valeski. In November 1984, the company was renamed INTV.

In October 1985, the INTV System III (also known as the Super Pro System) was introduced for only $59.95. It is another repackaging of the Intellivision master component, this time in a black case. INTV also announced the re- release of all of the original Intellivision titles at between $9.95 and $19.95 each.


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Atari 7800 Screenshots
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Atari 7800
Released January 1986
The Atari 7800 was Atari's chance at redemption in the video game market. Atari Inc. spent a good part of 1983 interviewing thousands of people on what they wanted and didn't want in a video game console. Atari Inc. through Warner Communications, then worked with General Computer Corporation who earlier had lost a lawsuit with Atari regarding a "Speed-up" board for Atari's Missile Command.

The all new graphics chip called MARIA (Also the code name of the 7800 Project) with almost 100 independent sprites, better color palette on screen, and other powerful features would not only allow game designers the ability to code new and exciting games, but the chip also allowed an original Atari TIA processor to co-exist side by side with MARIA so that the new console could also play all of the original Atari 2600 games as well.

The Atari 7800 was designed to be flexible and expandable and even had an expansion port for future peripherals to tap into the system bus and video circuitry.


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Atari 2600 Junior Screenshots
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Atari 2600 Junior
Released March 01, 1986 for $49.99
In 1986 the Atari 2600 was re-released as the 2600 Junior. They retailed for $49.99 and came with a controller, RF switch and power cord but were absent of a pack in cartridge. They were made to match the 5200 and 7800 of the same time and some of the Juniors actually sported a JR stamp on them.

The switches are the same as the CX 2600 A except that they are now sliding buttons rather than switches. The switches on the top of the unit were On/Off, Black and White/Color, Game Select, and Rest. Game Difficulty could be switched on the back. The system was much smaller and could conserve space much better than it's predecessor. The RF lead was not attached to this system.

Competition in the video game industry was at an all time high, the Atari 2600 Junior would be a simple low cost Atari 2600 packaged into a small "lunch-box" carton with appeal to younger gamers.


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Sega Master System (SMS) Screenshots
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Sega Master System (SMS)
Released October 1986
After producing many games for early home video game consoles, Sega decided to develop a console system of its own. The SG-1000 and Mark III were available in Japan in the mid-1980s, but when Sega witnessed the early success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the company knew it wanted a share of the American console market. So, Sega redesigned the Mark III, renamed it the Sega Master System (SMS for short), and released it in 1986, not long after the NES first came out.

Technically, the Master System was superior to the NES, with better graphics and higher quality sound. The original SMS could play both cartridges and the credit card-sized "Sega Cards," which retailed for cheaper prices than carts but had less code. The SMS also had cooler accessories (like 3D glasses), but this didn't do much good when there weren't very many exciting games.

The Master System technology lived on in Sega's Game Gear, which was basically a portable SMS with some enhancements.


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Worlds of Wonder Action Max Screenshots
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Worlds of Wonder Action Max
Released June 10, 1987 for $99.00
The Action Max is one of the few video game consoles that are not able to display graphics on its own, a VCR is required for game play. The system works by attaching directly to a VCR, which in turn transmits the video signal to your television. Sound is delivered through an internal speaker in the Action Max system itself. The included Light Sensor must be plugged into the console, then stuck to the television screen via a suction cup.

All games are the same, whether it is shooting a ghost or a submarine, these are simple point and shoot games. There is no change or reaction to anything being displayed to you when you score a hit. Only a small noise is emitted from the console and the score counter increases.

So what were the system's failings? Due to the linear nature of the games, targets appeared in the same places every single time, making memorization of "enemy" locations a real issue. While the system had three game variations and play for alternating gamers, it was nothing more than a fancy target game, no matter which videotape was utilized. Interestingly, at the end of each videotape "game", there were video previews of other releases, which also had targets and could be shot at and scored, acting like a (unintentional?) demo!


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Atari XE Game System Screenshots
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Atari XE Game System
Released October 01, 1987 for $199.00
It was the 1980's, and the Atari 7800 release fails to attract attention in a market dominated by the Nintendo N.E.S. So the folks at Atari came to a decision to market another system. Oddly enough it was a step back in time.

Atari introduced the XE Game System in 1987. The XEGS was merely a console remake of their 8-bit Atari 65XE computer. For $199 you got the console, a standard joystick, a light gun, and a pack in game called Bug Hunt (light gun game).

The marketing strategy was to take advantage of the back stock of Atari computer cartridges (10 years worth). Some Atari 5200 games were also remade since the architecture was quite similar.

Even though it looks like a console, the XEGS is a true 8-bit Atari computer system. It offered the convenience of a detachable keyboard, compatibility with any standard Atari 8-bit computer peripherals, while offering 64K RAM. When no cartridge was inserted it would also start up with a built-in version of Missile Command.

Of course the XEGS could not compete with the likes of newer systems and Atari pulled it from production after a short time.


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Sega Genesis Screenshots
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Sega Genesis
Released August 1989
It was 1989. Nintendo's NES had reigned supreme in the video game market for nearly five years, and it was time for a new system to take over the throne. Sega's Master System, while graphically superior to the NES, failed to make any kind of lasting impression in the U.S. market (although it was very popular in Europe), and Sega knew that their next system would not only have to be superior to everything else out there, but they'd have to have a lot of third-party developers lined up.

After two years of development, Sega introduced their "next generation" system to the world in late 1989. Known as the Genesis in the West, and the Mega Drive in the east, Sega began an aggressive marketing campaign, not only to customers, but also to developers.

Although NEC's TurboGrafx-16 had beat the Genesis to market by nearly four months, Sega quickly regained lost ground, thanks to their line-up of quality arcade conversions, killer sports games, and most of all, the full support of Trip Hawkins and Electronic Arts.


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NEC TurboGrafx 16 Screenshots
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NEC TurboGrafx 16
Released August 1989
In Japan, shortly after the introduction of Nintendo's Famicom (Japan's version of the NES), the electronics giant NEC entered into the video game market with the introduction of their "next generation" system, known as the PC Engine (PCE). The PCE boasted a 16-bit graphics chip capable of displaying up to 256 colors on screen at once, at a number of resolutions. Although its CPU wasn't much more powerful that of the NES, its spectacular graphics chip and six-channel sound bettered the Famicom in every way. It utilized a sleek new card format (PCE games are either HuCards or Turbochips) to hold its software, rather than bulky cartridges. It was also the first console to boast a CD-ROM drive, for full orchestral soundtracks and even (gasp!) full motion video. The PC Engine was immensely popular in Japan, outselling the Famicom by a significant margin.

In 1989, two years after its Japanese introduction, NEC announced plans to bring the PC Engine overseas, to the booming video game market of the U.S. With a huge library of Japanese software, it seemed to many as though the system couldn't possibly fail.


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Sega Master System II Screenshots
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Sega Master System II
Released January 1990
In 1990, Sega was having success with its Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and as a result took back the rights from Tonka for the SMS. They designed the Sega Master System II, a newer console which was smaller and sleeker but which, to keep production costs low, lacked the reset button and card slot of the original. Sega did everything in its power to market the system, but nothing came out of it.

By 1992, the Master System's sales were virtually nonexistent in North America and production ceased. Sales were poor in Japan as well, due to the dominance of the main competitor from Nintendo, the Nintendo Family Computer.

The Sega Master System is still being produced in Brazil. The latest version is the "Master System III Collection". It uses the same design as the North American Master System II (Master System III in Brazil), but is white and comes in two versions: one with 74 games built-in and another with 105 games built-in on an internal ROM. But in Brazil it's hard to find the 3D Goggles, the Light Phaser Pistol and even the cartridge, leaving Brazilians only with the built-in games.


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SNK NEO-GEO (AES) Screenshots
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SNK NEO-GEO (AES)
Released April 01, 1990 for $650.00
Shin Nihon Kikaku (SNK) first ventured into the arcade market in 1989 and was successful with its unique 2D arcade machine, which was powered by an impressive custom graphics processor, 68000 and Z80 CPUs and offered 330Mbit ROM storage space. This arcade version was known as MVS, or Multi-Video Output and allowed 1 of 6 games to be loaded at any time. The Neo Geo AES (Advanced Entertainment System) was a home version of the Neo Geo MVS and played the exact same games as the ones in the arcades. In fact, even memory cards could be switched between the two, allowing players to save their progress on one machine and load it on the other.

The major weakness of the Neo Geo AES was the high price tag on the cartridges. Most games sold for about $200! The console itself was also fairly expensive, retailing at $650. Its arcade-style joystick and excellent arcade ports made it a very attractive console. A Multi-Link cable was released for the Neo Geo AES that allowed two Neo Geos to be connected together and be played on two separate televisions.


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NEC TurboGrafx 16 CD Screenshots
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NEC TurboGrafx 16 CD
Released August 01, 1990 for $399.99
The TurboGrafx-CD debuted on Aug. 1, 1990 at a prohibitive $399.99 (and did not include a pack-in game). Monster Lair (Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair) and Fighting Street (Street Fighter) were the initial TurboGrafx-CD titles. Ys Book I & II soon followed. However, the TurboGrafx-CD catalog grew at a very slow rate compared to the library of TurboChip (HuCard) titles.

The TurboGrafx-CD came packaged in a very large box, 85% of which was filled with protective styrofoam inserts. By some accounts, no other video game console (or peripheral) has been packaged in such an overkill manner. The TurboGrafx-CD did however come with a large plastic "carrying case" that could comfortably hold the TurboGrafx-16 base system, TurboGrafx-CD, all AC adapters, 2 – 3 controllers, and a few games.

Although the TurboGrafx-CD library was relatively small, American gamers could draw from a wide range of Japanese software since there was no region protection on TG-CD / PC Engine CD-ROM software. Many mail order (and some brick-and-mortar) import stores advertised Japanese PCE CD and HuCard titles in the video game publications of the era.


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Commodore 64 Games System Screenshots
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Commodore 64 Games System
Released December 1990
The Commodore 64 Games System (often abbreviated C64GS) was the cartridge-based game console version of the popular Commodore 64 home computer. It was released by Commodore in December 1990 as a competitor in the booming console market. It was only ever released in Europe and was a considerable commercial failure.

During its short life, the C64GS came bundled with a cartridge with four games: Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O'Fun, International Soccer, Flimbo's Quest and Klax.

The C64GS was not Commodore's first gaming system based on the C64 hardware. However, unlike the 1982 MAX Machine (a game-oriented computer based on a very cut-down version of the same hardware family), the C64GS was internally very similar to the "proper" C64 with which it was compatible.


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Philips CD-I Screenshots
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Philips CD-I
Released April 1991
CD-i, or Compact Disc Interactive, is the name of an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Royal Philips Electronics N.V. CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard used by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was developed by Philips and Sony. Work on the CD-i began in 1984 and it was first publicly announced in 1986. The first Philips CD-i player, released in 1991 and initially priced around USD $700, is capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, and Video CDs (VCDs), though the last requires an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1 decoding.

The CD-i proved to be a commercial failure in that market segment and some of its games have been known to be among the worst games ever made. Philips ceased publishing video games for the platform in 1998.


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Screenshots
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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Released August 23, 1991 for $200.00
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo's second home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated to NES, released as the Famicom in Japan). Whereas the earlier system had struggled in Europe and large parts of Asia the SNES proved to be a global success, albeit one that could not match its predecessor's popularity in South East Asia and North America - due in part to increased competition from Sega's Mega Drive console (released in North America as the Genesis). Despite its relatively late start, the SNES became the best selling console of the 16-bit era but only after its competitor Sega had pulled out of the 16-bit market to focus on its 32-bit next generation console.

Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System which initially sold for a price of $200. The North American package included the game Super Mario World. The SNES was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April 1992 for £150, with a German release following a few weeks later. The PAL versions of the console looked identical to the Japanese Super Famicom, except for labelling.


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NEC TurboDuo Screenshots
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NEC TurboDuo
Released October 1992
In 1992 TTi (Turbo Technologies Inc.) released the TurboDuo, the North American version of the Japanese Duo. The system combined the TurboGrafx-16 and an enhanced version of the CD-ROM drive (the "Super CD-ROM²") into a single unit. The system could play audio CDs, CD+Gs, CD-ROM2 and Super CD games as well as standard HuCards. The Super System Card required for some games when using the original CD add-on as well as some of the Japanese variants of the TurboGrafx was built in to the Duo rather than requiring the card to be inserted at all times when playing CD games. The original pack-in for the Turbo Duo included the system, one control pad, an AC adapter, RCA cables, Ys book I & II a CD-ROM2 title, a Super CD disc including Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's Revenge, Gates of Thunder and a secret version of Bomberman accessible via an easter egg. The system was also packaged with one random HuCard game which varied from system to system (note: Actually, Dungeon Explorer was the original HuCard pack-in for TurboDuo, although many titles were eventually used, such as IREM's Ninja Spirit and NAMCO's Final Lap Twin and then eventually a random pick).

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Sega CD for Genesis Screenshots
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Sega CD for Genesis
Released December 1992
The Sega CD had been announced at the Chicago CES on November 1992. Early reports had suggested that hardware in the system would allow it to display more on screen colors (from a larger palette) than the Sega Genesis or the Super Nintendo, which was an important technical concern for consumers.

In the end, the Sega CD failed to convince North American gamers, mostly due to the cost of the console, and the lack of any hardware advancements. There just was not enough value for the price. Moreover, the game experience was little improved.

The single speed CD drive added load times to all games, and the 64-color graphics and underpowered processor (for video rendering) made full-motion games look terrible. One particularly infamous example of this came in the form of the Mortal Kombat CD, which was widely criticized due to certain moves, particularly the games popular "fatalities", that would not perform until after a notable lag between the execution of the move and its actual on screen animation.


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Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2 Screenshots
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Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2
Released February 01, 1993 for $45.00
In 1993, Nintendo released a top loading NES model 2. This newer model was scaled down to nearly half the size of the original. The case was a sleeker design (Like a smoother Famicom). The cartridge port was more stable, and used eject & power buttons similar to it's successor the SuperNES. Even the controller had the "bone-like" shape of the SuperNES. This new model sold for $45. The cheaper price came at the loss of the original model's interface and A/V output ports. Nintendo dropped support for this new model a year later. Today, it's a collectors item.

Nintendo's success introduced some of the most interesting accessories and conversions. Who could forget the "Power Glove", and "Rob the Robot". Nintendo slapped "NES-like" hardware into an Arcade cabinet and released Nintendo Playchoice to arcades everywhere. In Japan they released a disk drive accessory that allowed gamers to download games from vending machines onto a disk.


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Commodore Amiga CD32 Screenshots
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Commodore Amiga CD32
Released July 1993
The CD32 was released in Canada and was planned for release in the United States. However, a deadline was reached for Commodore to pay a patent royalty to Cad Track for their use of their XOR patent. A federal judge ordered an injunction against Commodore preventing them from importing anything into the United States. Commodore had built up CD32 inventory in their Philippine manufacturing facility for the United States launch, but, being unable to sell the consoles, they remained in the Philippines until the debts owed to the owners of the facility were settled. Commodore declared bankruptcy shortly afterwards, and the CD32 was never officially sold in the United States. However, imported models did come over the border from Canada, and many stores in the United States (primarily mail-order stores) imported units for domestic sale. During the long bankruptcy proceedings, Commodore UK also provided some hardware components and software for the American market, including production of the MPEG Video Module that was not officially released by Commodore International.

On its release, the CD32 was marketed by Commodore as 'the world's first 32-bit CD games console'. Although it was indeed the first such machine released in Europe and North America, the FM Towns Marty, a console released exclusively in Japan, beat it to market by seven months. However, the CD32's 68EC020 processor had a 32-bit data bus both internally and externally, while the 386SX in the FM Towns Marty has a 16-bit data bus externally.


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Pioneer LaserActive Screenshots
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Pioneer LaserActive
Released September 13, 1993 for $970.00
The Pioneer LaserActive was a short-lived Laserdisc-based game console released by Pioneer in 1993. In addition to LaserActive games, separately sold add-on modules (referred to as "PAC" by Pioneer) expanded the hardware to include compatibility with the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 game cartridges and HuCards and CDs. It ended up being a commercial failure.

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Panasonic 3DO Interactive Screenshots
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Panasonic 3DO Interactive
Released October 04, 1993 for $700.00
The 3DO was a concept. "Create the blueprints for a next-generation, 32-bit, do-it-all, set-top system that is fully upgradeable and license the actual hardware manufacturing to some of the world's largest electronics manufacturers." That's the 3DO. Trip Hawkins, founder of the 3DO company, joined forces with RJ Mical and Dave Needle to create the most innovative system of the '90s. The 3DO was originally designed to be the next step in home entertainment: Audi-o, vide-o, 3D-O. The creators hoped it would become as common as the VCR and as fun and entertaining as a TV, VCR, CD player, video game system and computer combined. The idea was sound. Unfortunately, the execution of the idea was not.

Many companies obtained licenses to produce 3DO systems, including Goldstar, Sanyo, Samsung, AT&T, Creative Labs and the world's largest electronics company, Matsushita/Panasonic. With the idea that the 3DO was to become a multi functional part of everyone's home entertainment centers, the unit was released in 1993 with an MSRP of $700.


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Atari Jaguar Screenshots
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Atari Jaguar
Released November 1993
Competing with Sega and Nintendo's 16-bit consoles, the Jaguar was said to be 64-bit. Back then, bit width was a big deal in the gaming industry, just as polygon-pushing power is today. The Jaguar did not work off of a solitary 64-bit processor, but instead it had a collection of processors with bus widths ranging from 16 to 64 bits. The bit width of the Jaguar is still a source of considerable debate today, but consensus exists among those who are familiar with the system hardware that, because Jaguar's main data bus and some of the processors are 64-bit, the entire system can be considered 64 bit. It would otherwise be considered a 32-bit console.

Nonetheless, it was technically superior to the leading 16-bit consoles at the time. Unfortunately, this last ditch effort by Atari to find room in the console market failed. A relatively small number of games were developed for the system, but Atari pulled the plug altogether in 1996.


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Sega Genesis 2 Screenshots
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Sega Genesis 2
Released February 1994
The Sega Genesis 2 Unit was released in 1994 and was nearly the same as the Sega Genesis released in 1989. The new unit was absent of a headphone jack and volume control and used a non standard RF switch and AC adapter. The pack ins were an AC adapter, RF switch, controller, and the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 game.

The failures of the Sega CD and 32X, a lack of effective advertising, and disputes between Sega of America and Sega of Japan had taken their toll on the company. By 1994, Sega's market share had dropped from 65% to 35%, and the official announcements of newer, more powerful consoles, such as the Saturn, Playstation, and N64 signaled that the 16-bit era was drawing to a close. Interest in the Genesis suffered greatly as a result, compounding its already falling sales. In 1996, less than a year after the debut of their Saturn console, Sega quickly brought their participation in the 16-bit era to an end by discontinuing production of the Genesis and its associated accessories.


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Goldstar 3DO Interactive Screenshots
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Goldstar 3DO Interactive
Released February 01, 1994 for $699.95
3DO Interactive Multiplayer is the name of a number of video game consoles released in 1993 and 1994 by Panasonic, Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company which were originally designed at the New Technology Group (which later became part of the 3DO Company) by Dave Needle and RJ Mical. After leaving EA Games, Trip Hawkins originally came up with the idea of the 3DO Multiplayer system.

The consoles had very advanced hardware features at the time: an ARM60 32-bit RISC CPU, two custom video co-processors, a custom 16-bit DSP and a custom math coprocessor. They also featured 2 megabytes of DRAM, 1 megabyte of VRAM, and a double speed CD-ROM drive for main storage, Up to 8 controllers could be daisy-chained on the system at once. In addition to special 3DO software, the system was able to play audio CDs (including support for CD+G), view Photo CDs, and Video CDs with an add-on MPEG video card (released in Japan only). However, few titles utilized the console's full potential, which, along with its high price (699.95 USD at release) and the inability of the console market to sustain multiple platforms, put it in an early grave. The final nail in the coffin was the scuttling of the project after the expensive development of the successor console, the M2.


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Sega CD for Genesis 2 Screenshots
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Sega CD for Genesis 2
Released April 1994
The Sega Mega-CD is an add-on device for the Sega Mega Drive released in Europe, Australia, and Japan. The North American version is called the Sega CD. The device allows the user to both play CD audio discs and specially designed game CDs. It can also play CD+G discs.

The development of the Sega CD was top secret; game programmers didn't know what they were designing for until the Mega-CD was finally revealed at Tokyo Toy Show in Japan. The Sega Mega-CD in Japan was designed to compete with the PC Engine, which had a separate CD-ROM drive.

In the United States, the Sega CD was considered a failure due to its high price, low sales and general confusion with the Sega 32X, another Genesis peripheral offered. Due to Sega of America's lack of support for the Sega CD and 32X, many consumers lost their trust in Sega and it can be said that Sega never recovered from this, as the Saturn sold poorly and the Dreamcast, although considered a good effort on Sega's behalf, was unable to compete effectively with the PS2.


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JVC X'EYE Screenshots
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JVC X'EYE
Released September 01, 1994 for $499.00
JVC had helped Sega by delivering the most advanced sound made by a gaming console. A wider range of sounds not only gave the CD games more of an impact, but it was better then most audio CD players at the time. In return for their work, Sega gave JVC the "OK" to create this console. This system could play both Sega Genesis carts and Sega CD games in a single unit.

At a debut price of $499, the X'EYE was a costly version of something you could buy much cheaper by getting a Genesis and Sega CD separately. JVC's higher price tag did came with some added features. Not only could you play your Sega Genesis and Sega CD games from a single unit, but you could play your games with better video and sound. JVC added audio components such as a Digital Audio Processor and bass enhancer that would improve music clarity and explosive effects on Sega's CD games. JVC also added Super VHS output (SVHS another JVC created standard) that would provide a much improved display then other standards of its time. JVC also added numerous Karaoke features (popular in Japan), and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) output. The MIDI interface could later be used with a keyboard add-on called "Piano Player".


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Sega Genesis 32x Screenshots
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Sega Genesis 32x
Released November 1994
The 32X hit the market in North America in November 1994, during the same month the Sega Saturn was released in Japan. Many industry insiders speculated that the 32X was doomed from the beginning as the Sega Saturn hardware was widely regarded as more powerful than the 32X and had the support of many Japanese third party software developers.

The Sega 32X can only be used in conjunction with a Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis system; it is plugged in where the cartridge bay is. Besides playing its own cartridges, it also acted as a passthrough for Genesis games so it would be a permanent attachment. The 32X came with 10 coupons and several spacers, so it would work with all versions of the Genesis.

Since this was an expensive add-on system, Sega decided to bundle in some rebate vouchers, which were difficult to take advantage of. Orders exceeded one million, but not enough were produced, and supply shortage problems arose.


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Sega CDX Screenshots
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Sega CDX
Released November 21, 1994 for $399.00
The Multi-Mega or CDX was a 16-bit video game console released in 1994 for $399 USD, combining the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis in North America) and one of its add-ons, the Sega Mega-CD (Sega CD in North America), into a single compact unit as a final attempt by Sega to encourage consumer interest in its unpopular Mega-CD format. It was released under the name Multi-Mega in Europe, Genesis CDX in North America and Multi-Mega CDX in Brazil.

Overpriced and underselling due to lack of high quality Mega-CD games, and the anticipation of the Mega Drive's successor, the Sega Saturn, it was never well-supported by Sega, and died a quiet death. Its counterpart, the combined Mega Drive/32X console, the Sega Neptune, never went beyond the prototype stage.


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SNK NEO-GEO CD Screenshots
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SNK NEO-GEO CD
Released December 1994
The Neo Geo CD is essentially the same hardware as the AES but with a CD drive instead of the cartridge slot. CD's are a lot cheaper to produce than cartridges and SNK passed this saving on to gamers with the Neo Geo CD.

Unfortunately, the CD drive is single speed and it takes a long time for games to load compared to cart based games that load instantly. The loading isn't too bad on level based games such as Metal Slug, but it can be really infuriating on fighting games when it needs to load every couple of minutes.


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Atari Jaguar CD Screenshots
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Atari Jaguar CD
Released March 1995
Late in it's life span, Atari released this long-promised CD-ROM unit. The device sat atop the Jaguar console, plugging into the cartridge slot, the physical design of the system sometimes compared to a toilet. The drive had its own cartridge slot to allow cartridge games to be played without removing the CD drive. There was a separate "Memory Track" cartridge for storing saved game position and high scores.

The Jaguar CD unit featured a double speed (2x) drive and built-in VLM (Virtual Light Machine) software. The VLM, which provided a sophisticated video light show when an audio CD was played in the machine, was as popular among buyers as the games themselves. Packaged with the drive were two games (Blue Lightning and Vid Grid), a music CD (Tempest 2000 soundtrack), and a Myst demo disc.

The drive was manufactured for Atari by Phillips in the United States. The initial shipment was 20,000 units. With the JT Storage reverse takeover looming just a few months away, it is possible that those 20,000 drives were the only units ever produced.


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Bandai Pippin Screenshots
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Bandai Pippin
Released April 1995
The Pippin, known in Japan as Pippin Atmark, and marketed as Pipp!n, is a multimedia platform designed by Apple Inc. and produced by Bandai in 1995. It was based on a 66 MHz PowerPC 603 processor, a 14.4 kbit/s modem and ran a stripped version of the System 7.5.2 operating system.

The goal was to create an inexpensive computer aimed mostly at playing CD-based multimedia titles, especially games, but also functioning as a network computer. It featured a 4x CD-ROM drive and a video output that could connect to a standard television display.

The platform was named for the Newtown Pippin, an apple cultivar, a smaller and more tart relative of the McIntosh apple (which is the namesake of the Macintosh).


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Sega Saturn Screenshots
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Sega Saturn
Released May 11, 1995 for $399.00
Sega's Away Team worked for an entire two years exclusively to make certain that the Sega Saturn was launched with some of the world's best hardware and software. The 27-member Away Team comprises Sega employees from every aspect of hardware engineering, product development, and marketing. Their sole mission was to ensure that Sega Saturn's hardware and design met the precise needs of both the U.S. and Japanese markets.

In May 1995, Sega launched the Saturn in the USA, a full four months ahead of schedule. This was announced at that year's E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) where Sega representatives were engaged in a public relations battle with Sony. This surprise move resulted in very few sales, however. This was due largely to the $399 USD price of the system and the lack of available software at time of launch. Also, Sega chose to ship Saturn units only to four select retailers. This caused a great deal of animosity toward Sega from unselected companies, including Wal-Mart and KB Toys.


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Nintendo Virtual Boy Screenshots
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Nintendo Virtual Boy
Released August 1995
The Virtual Boy is a video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was the first video game console capable of displaying "true 3D graphics" out of the box. Whereas most video games use monocular cues to achieve the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen, the Virtual Boy creates an illusion of depth through the effect known as parallax. In a manner similar to using a head-mounted display, the user looks into an eyepiece made of neoprene on the front of the machine, and then an eyeglass-style projector allows viewing of the monochromatic (in this case, red) image.

It was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan and August 14, 1995 in North America at a price of around US$180. Hype surrounding the device included public musings by Nintendo that the device might resemble a gun, projecting a 3D image in the air. The actual device was considered a disappointment. The commercial demise of the Virtual Boy was considered to be the catalyst that led to the designer, Yokoi being driven from Nintendo, yet it was maintained that Yokoi kept a close relationship with Nintendo despite Yokoi having later created a rival handheld system for Bandai. According to Game Over, the company laid the blame for the machine's faults directly on the creator. The Virtual Boy was discontinued in late 1995 in Japan and in early 1996 in North America. In 2007, the system was listed as number five in PC World's "The Ugliest Products in Tech History" list. TIME Magazine's website listed the Virtual Boy as one of the worst inventions of all time.


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Panasonic 3DO FZ-10 Screenshots
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Panasonic 3DO FZ-10
Released September 1995
The 3DO sported some very innovative features. The fact that it is a CD-based system gave developers nearly limitless space to store their games and programs, something cartridge-based systems lack. There was only one controller port. However, this wasn't a problem since extra controllers (up to 8) could be easily daisy-chained as each controller has its own controller port. The original Panasonic controllers have a built-in stereo headphone jack along with a volume control dial. The system has its own internal memory to save games and other information. It has 2 expansion ports which were to be used for future upgrades such as memory cards, modems, digital video cartridges and the M2 system upgrade.

There were many accessories for the 3DO, some of them standard (like game pads, wireless controllers and a light gun). Then there were more unique items like the mouse, steering wheel, flight stick and the Super Nintendo controller adapters which allowed the cheaper Super NES controllers to be used on the 3DO. However, there were even more impressive items available that truly allowed the 3DO to stand alone.


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Sony PlayStation Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation
Released September 1995
Nintendo asked Sony to develop a CD-ROM add-on called "PlayStation" for the SNES. Because Sony wanted 25% of all profits Nintendo earned from sales of this PlayStation and all PlayStation games, after Sony revealed that they were developing it, Nintendo instead went to Philips. This caused Sony to consider abandoning their research, however instead they used what they had developed so far and made it into a full blown console. This led to Nintendo filing a lawsuit claiming breach of contract and attempted, in U.S. federal court, to obtain an injunction against the release of the PlayStation, on the grounds that Nintendo owned the name. The federal judge presiding over the case denied the injunction.

The PlayStation was launched in Japan on December 3, 1994, the USA on September 9, 1995 and Europe on September 29, 1995. In America, Sony enjoyed a very successful launch with titles of almost every genre including Toshinden, Twisted Metal, Warhawk, and Ridge Racer. Almost all of Sony's and Namco's launch titles went on to produce numerous sequels.


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Nintendo 64 Screenshots
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Nintendo 64
Released September 29, 1996 for $199.00
The Nintendo 64, commonly called the N64, is Nintendo's third home video game console. The N64 was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North America, 1 March 1997 in Europe/Australia and September 1, 1997 in France. It was released with only two launch games in Japan and North America (Super Mario 64 and PilotWings 64) while Europe had a third launch title in the form of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (which was released earlier in the other markets). The Nintendo 64 cost $199 at launch in the United States.

During the developmental stages the N64 was referred to by its code name, Project Reality. The name Project Reality came from the speculation within Nintendo that this console could produce CGI on par with then-current super computers. Once unveiled to the public the name changed to Nintendo Ultra 64, referring to its 64-bit processor, and Nintendo dropped "Ultra" from the name on February 1, 1996, just five months before its Japanese debut.


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2 Screenshots
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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2
Released October 01, 1997 for $99.00
By 1996, the 16-bit era of gaming had ended, and a new generation of consoles, including Nintendo's own Nintendo 64, caused the popularity of the SNES to wane. In October 1997, Nintendo released a redesigned SNES 2 in North America for $99 USD (which included the pack-in game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island). Like the earlier NES 2, the new model was designed to be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor but lacked S-Video and RGB output, and would prove to be among the last major SNES-related releases in America.

Nintendo of America ceased production of the SNES in 1999. In Japan, the Super Famicom continued to be produced until September 2003 (also some new games were produced until the year 2000). In recent years, many SNES titles have been ported to the hand held Game Boy Advance, which has similar video capabilities. Some video game critics consider the SNES era "the golden age of video games," citing the many ground breaking games and classics made for the system, whereas others question this romanticism. See video game player for more.


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Sega Genesis 3 Screenshots
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Sega Genesis 3
Released February 01, 1998 for $29.99
A company by the name of Majesco started to take over manufacturing of systems for Sega in 1998 with their release of the Genesis 3. The system retailed for $29.99 and came packaged with one controller, AV cables, and a power cord. The controller that was featured as a pack in was the new Sega six button controller. The system itself was very tiny, about the size of two controllers for the system. The system lacked the expansion port that the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 had and thus could not utilized the function of the Sega CD 1 or 2. The Genesis 3 could not utilize the 32X either.

Besides redesigning the Sega Genesis, Majesco also re-released certain games for the system. They came in cardboard boxes with black and white instructions. Majesco had also done some re-releasing for the Sega Game Gear and the Super Nintendo. At the same time they were doing work with the Game Gear, they had plans to re-release the Sega Saturn, but as of yet, nothing has been done. The following games do not work (per Genesis 3 Instruction Manual): Virtua Racing. The Sega Channel Modem also does not work.


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Sega Dreamcast Screenshots
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Sega Dreamcast
Released September 1999
The Dreamcast was released on November 27, 1998 in Japan, on September 9, 1999 in the United States (the date 9/9/99 featured heavily in US promotion) and on October 14, 1999 in Europe. The tag line used to promote the console in the US was "It's thinking", and in Europe "Up to 6 Billion Players". (The vagueness of these campaigns and almost total lack of any in game footage has been touted as one of the reasons for the Dreamcast's eventual downfall. Many Americans knew that the Dreamcast was coming, but didn't know what one was.)

The Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem and Internet support for on-line gaming. It enjoyed brisk sales in its first season and was one of Sega's most successful hardware units. In the United States alone, a record 200,000 units had been pre-ordered before launch and Sega sold 500,000 consoles in just two weeks (including 225,000 sold on the first 24 hours which became a video game record until the PlayStation 2 launched a year later). In fact, due to brisk sales and hardware shortages, Sega was unable to fulfill all of the advance orders.


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Sony PlayStation PS1 Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation PS1
Released March 2000
The first new version was actually a revision in early 1996, produced in response to complaints that PlayStations were overheating. Sony did not change the technical aspects or the cosmetics, but did remove the S-video port left over from the Japanese release.

Sony produced a redesigned version of the original console, called the "PSone", in a smaller (and more ergonomic) case which was introduced in September 2000. The original PlayStation was abbreviated in Japan to "PS" and was often abbreviated as "PSX" by American gamers, as this was Sony's internal code name for the system while it was under development. This led to some confusion in 2003, when Sony introduced a PS2-derived system in Japan actually called the PSX. The PlayStation is now officially abbreviated as the "PS1" or "PSone," although many people still abbreviate it "PS" or "PSX". There were only 2 differences between the "PSone" and the original, the first one being cosmetic change to the console, and the second one was the home menu's Graphical User Interface.


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Sony PlayStation 2 (SCPH-5000x) Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation 2 (SCPH-5000x)
Released October 2000
The PlayStation 2 had a difficult start. Only a few million users had obtained consoles by the end of 2000 due to manufacturing delays. The PlayStation 2 was such a hot item after its release that it was near impossible to find one on retailer shelves, leaving those wanting a PlayStation 2 to either wait or purchase the console on-line at sites such as eBay, where the console was being sold by many people for twice and sometimes five times as much as the manufacturer's listed price.

The PlayStation brand's strength has lead to strong third-party support for the system. Although the launch titles for the PS2 were unimpressive in 2000, the holiday season of 2001 saw the release of several best-selling and critically acclaimed games. Those PS2 titles helped the PS2 maintain and extend its lead in the video game console market, despite increased competition from the launches of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. In several cases, Sony made exclusivity deals with publishers in order to preempt its competitors.


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Nintendo 64 Pikachu Screenshots
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Nintendo 64 Pikachu
Released November 01, 2000 for $189.99
The Pokémon Pikachu Nintendo 64 had a large, yellow Pikachu model on a blue Nintendo 64. It has a different footprint than the standard Nintendo 64 console, and the Expansion Pak port is covered. It also shipped with a blue Pokémon controller; orange in Japan.


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Nintendo Game Cube Screenshots
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Nintendo Game Cube
Released November 2001
Unveiled during Spaceworld 2000, the Nintendo GameCube was widely anticipated by many who were shocked by Nintendo's decision to design the Nintendo 64 as a cartridge-based system. Physically shaped similar to a geometric cube, the outside casing of the Nintendo GameCube comes in a variety of colors, such as indigo, platinum, and black (also a limited edition Resident Evil 4 platinum and black game console).

The Nintendo GameCube uses a unique storage medium, the GameCube Optical Disc, a proprietary format based on Matsushita's optical-disc technology; the discs are approximately 8 centimeters (3 1/8 inches) in diameter (considerably smaller than the 12cm CDs or DVDs used in competitors' consoles), and the discs have a capacity of approximately 1.5 gigabytes. The disc is also read from the outer-most edge going inward, the opposite of a standard DVD. This move was mainly intended to prevent piracy of GCN titles, but like most anti-piracy technology, it was eventually cracked.


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Microsoft X-Box Screenshots
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Microsoft X-Box
Released November 2001
The Microsoft Xbox is a sixth generation era video game console first released on November 15, 2001 in North America, then released on February 22, 2002 in Japan, and later on March 14, 2002 in Europe. The Xbox was Microsoft's first independent venture into the video game console arena, after having developed the operating system and development tools for the MSX, and having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Sega Dreamcast console. Notable launch titles for the console include Amped, Dead or Alive 3, Halo: Combat Evolved, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, and Project Gotham Racing.

In November 2002 Microsoft released the Xbox Live on-line gaming service, allowing subscribers to play on-line Xbox games with (or against) other subscribers all around the world and download new content for their games to the hard drive. This on-line service works exclusively with broadband. 250,000 subscribers had signed on in 2 months since Live was launched. In July 2004, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live reached 1 million subscribers, and announced in July 2005 that Live had reached 2 million.


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SSD XaviXPORT Screenshots
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SSD XaviXPORT
Released August 2004
In January at the Consumer Electronics Show 2004 (CES), SSD COMPANY LIMITED debuts their XaviX® technology to the American public. The XaviXPort console was officially released in the US in August of 2004.

XaviXPort is a unique and innovative console that uses peripherals to interact with on screen games. The console contains image recognition and infrared sensors that can detect player movements. These movements are calculated by a proprietary multiprocessor that measures both velocity and angle. The multiprocessor then translates the actions into on screen movement.

Getting players to immerse themselves into games with body movements is not something new. However, this is the first time a console has been dedicated to providing this "Get your butt off the couch" interactive gaming experience. What makes XaviXPort even more unique is that the console’s multiprocessor is not installed inside the system itself. The multiprocessor can be found in each game cartridge.


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Sony PlayStation 2 (SCPH-70000) Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation 2 (SCPH-70000)
Released September 2004
In September of 2004, in time for the launch of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (the best-selling game during the 2004 Holiday season), Sony revealed a new, smaller PS2. In preparation for the launch of a new, slimmer PlayStation 2 model (SCPH-70000), Sony had stopped making the older PS2 model (SCPH-5000x) sometime during the summer of 2004 to let the distribution channel empty out stock of the units. After an apparent manufacturing issue caused some initial slowdown in producing the new unit, Sony reportedly underestimated demand, caused in part by shortages between the time the old units were cleared out and the new units were ready. This led to further shortages, and the issue was compounded in Britain when a Russian oil tanker became stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking a ship from China carrying PS2s bound for the UK. During one week in November, sales in the entire country of Britain totalled 6,000 units — compared to 70,000 a few weeks prior. Shortages in North America were also extremely severe; one retail chain in the U.S., GameStop, had just 186 PS2 and Xbox units on hand across more than 1700 stores on the day before Christmas.

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Atari Flashback Screenshots
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Atari Flashback
Released October 2004
The Atari Flashback was released in 2004. The console resembled an Atari 7800 in appearance, and came with a pair of controllers which resembled those of the Atari 5200 but were slightly smaller. The system had twenty games built-in, all originally developed by Warner Communication's Atari Inc. and Atari Corp. for the 2600 and 7800 game systems. The games which originally required analog paddle controllers were made to work with the included joysticks.

It was designed by Atari veteran Curt Vendel, whose company Legacy Engineering Group designs other home video game and video arcade products. Atari Inc. gave Legacy Engineering ten weeks to design the product, produce its games, and ready it for the 2004 Winter holiday season. The Atari Flashback was based on "NES-on-a-chip" hardware, not resembling either of the Atari systems which the Flashback was supposed to represent. As a result, the games it contained were ports and differed in varying degrees from the original games, and therefore the Flashback was unpopular with some purists.


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Yobo FC Twin Screenshots
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Yobo FC Twin
Released March 2005
The FC Twin (also known as FC X2) is a Famiclone that can play Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) games. The system has been well received due to the increasing scarcity of original hardware.

The FC Twin console uses SNES compatible controllers and devices such as the Super Scope and Konami Justifier light guns, but cannot use NES compatible controllers and devices such as the NES Zapper peripheral for Duck Hunt. Yobo has its own version of the NES Zapper which is compatible with games that require use of the NES Zapper. The Super Nintendo controller buttons otherwise map to the NES controller inputs (B maps to Y, A maps to B. A maps to turbo B, X maps to turbo A; L and R serve no function). When using any controllers besides the actual FC Twin ones, the A and X buttons do nothing during 1-player or 2-player NES play.



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Atari Flashback 2 Screenshots
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Atari Flashback 2
Released April 2005
The Atari Flashback 2, the successor to the original Atari Flashback console, was released in 2005. It has forty Atari 2600 games built-in. A few of the included games are homebrews which were created by enthusiasts in recent years, and two of the games (Pitfall! and River Raid) were originally published by Activision.

The appearance of the Atari Flashback 2 is reminiscent of the original Atari 2600 console from 1977. It is roughly two-thirds the size of the original, and much lighter in weight. The Flashback 2 console has five buttons (power, reset, left and right difficulty toggles, and select); on the back it has a color/black-and-white slider switch and two ports for the included joysticks. The joysticks bear very close similarity to the original Atari 2600 joysticks from 1977, and are compatible and interchangeable with them. The Flashback 2 does not come with paddle controllers, but original paddle controllers can be connected to it and used with its paddle-based games.

The console also includes two hidden titles which require the use of paddle controllers. The Flashback 2 does not come with paddle controllers, so these games cannot be played unless the user has an original set of Atari 2600 paddle controllers. To access the hidden paddle game menu, the user must press up on the joystick 1 time, pull down 9 times, push up 7 times, and pull down 2 times (this represents the year 1972, in which Pong first appeared). The code must be entered steadily and without pauses (enter it too quickly and it won't work).


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Messiah Entertainment Generation NEX Screenshots
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Messiah Entertainment Generation NEX
Released September 05, 2005 for $59.99
Generation NEX is a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) hardware clone released in 2005. It is developed by a company called Messiah Entertainment, Inc. with the name being a portmanteau of Generation X and Nintendo Entertainment System. The machine is designed to play most games released for the Nintendo Famicom and its American/European equivalent, the Nintendo Entertainment System. The console takes both the Japanese Famicom 60-pin and North American/European NES 72-pin cartridges used by Nintendo.

Messiah Entertainment, Inc.'s official compatibility list states that the system is compatible with 97.25% of NES games released in the US. Twenty-one NES games are listed as not compatible, including Castlevania III. The compatibility, with regards to games that Messiah's compatibility chart lists as working, is disputed; while there are claims from some that the NEX is faithful to the original Nintendo Entertainment System, others claim that the color and sound reproductions are inaccurate and some games have additional glitches when played on the NEX.


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ZAPiT Game Wave Screenshots
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ZAPiT Game Wave
Released November 2005
The idea of a gaming enhanced DVD player was nothing new when the ZAPiT Games Game Wave was released. The NUON had already tried to meld the two technologies with limited success. However, the Game Wave was not released to appeal to gamers and was rather released primarily as a family game system. As such, the Game Wave doesn't feature any games from the mainstream genres, such as FPS or adventure, so most gamers won't be interested in it. What it does bring to the table are a number of solid games that are easy to approach for families and non gamers alike.


Designed by Nytric for ZAPiT, the console itself is little more than a standard, progressive scan DVD player with an embedded Mediamatics 8611 CPU for generating game graphics and reading commercial DVD content. The DVD drive control for the games is achieved by using an Altera Max II CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device). Half of the console (and part of what makes up the "wave") is nothing more than a covered storage unit for the controllers. The overall quality of the console seems a bit cheap, but it is functional. It has better graphical capabilities than most standard DVD players, but it won't impress anybody with what it can render.


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Microsoft X-Box 360 Screenshots
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Microsoft X-Box 360
Released November 2005
The Xbox 360 is Microsoft's newest video game console, the successor to their original Xbox. It was released on November 22, 2005 in North America, December 2 in Europe, and December 10 in Japan. It will be released on February 2, 2006 in Mexico, February 24 in South Korea, and March 2, 2006 in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

The Xbox 360 will compete against the upcoming generation of consoles, including the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution, and was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, a week before the E3 trade show.

Except in Japan the console is sold in two different configurations: the "Xbox 360" and the "Xbox 360 Core System". The Xbox 360 configuration, often referred to as the "Premium Edition", includes a hard drive (required for backwards compatibility with original Xbox games), a wireless controller, a headset, an Ethernet cable, an Xbox Live silver subscription, and a component HD AV cable (which can also be used on non-HD TVs).


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Yobo FC 3 Plus Screenshots
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Yobo FC 3 Plus
Released January 2006
The Yobo FC 3 Plus Game System has separate circuitry and card slots for 8-Bit NES, 16-Bit SNES, and 16-Bit Sega Genesis game cartridges, allowing you to play the original NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis games all on one single gaming system. You can easily switch between the NES/SNES/Genesis games with the system selector switch. There is also an LED indicator that tells you the game system mode that has been selected.

The Yobo FC3 Plus game console comes with two eight-button controllers, providing control for NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis games. A NES zapper gun is also included for NES compatible games such as Duck Hunt.


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Mattel HyperScan Screenshots
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Mattel HyperScan
Released July 01, 2006 for $69.99
HyperScan is a video game console from Mattel. It uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology along with traditional video game technology. It was marketed toward boys between the ages of five to nine who were not ready for high-end video games in terms of maturity or expense, though ironically the included game was rated T by the ESRB. The console used UDF format CD-ROMs. The HyperScan has two controller ports, as well as a 13.56 MHz RFID scanner that reads and writes to the "cards" which, in turn, activate features in and save data from the game. Players are able to enhance the abilities of their characters by scanning cards.

Games retailed for $19.99 and the console itself for $69.99 at launch, but at the end of its very short lifespan, prices of the system were down to $9.99, the games $1.99, and booster packs $0.99. The system was discontinued in 2007, shortly after its release, and is featured as one of the ten worst systems ever by PC World magazine.


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Envizions EVO Smart Console Screenshots
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Envizions EVO Smart Console
Released October 20, 2006 for $399.00
The EVO Smart Console (codenamed Evo: Phase One) is a Media PC and game console marketed in the seventh generation era.

The EVO Smart Console comes loaded with Fedora 8, with an option to convert to Linux-based Mirrors Evolution (a modified version of Fedora 8) or to install Virtual Windows for an additional $100. This console offers gaming, Internet, VoIP support and HD Video playback. EVO offers cloud computing based applications, Amiga-based games and Akimbo-based Video on Demand service with a catalogue of over 10,000 titles. EVO also offers additional features such as remote access, virtualization, voice-recognition, Digital Video Recording, support for Internet Television, social networking, streaming content, and automatic backup and storage, and finally -- the unit acts as virtual online cloud storage.

Only 3000 units were ever sold, and the console seems to have disappeared from existence as the website Evo-SmartConsole.com is gone and the company (Envizions) does not display the console nor does it mention it anywhere on the company website. In 2009, all EVO Smart Consoles were sold out.


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Sony PlayStation 3 Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation 3
Released November 2006
The PlayStation 3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006. During its first week of release in the United States, PlayStation 3s were being sold on eBay for more than $2300 USD. Reports of violence surrounding the release of the PS3 include a customer shot, campers robbed at gunpoint, customers shot in a drive-by shooting with BB guns, and 60 campers fighting over 10 systems. Two GameStop employees fabricated a robbery to cover up their own theft of several PlayStation 3 and four Xbox 360 consoles.

Sony stated every PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game that observes its respective system's TRC (Technical Requirements Checklist) will be playable on PS3 at launch. SCE president Ken Kutaragi asked developers to adhere to the TRC to facilitate compatibility with future PlayStations, stating that the company was having some difficulty getting backward compatibility with games that had not followed the TRCs. It has been confirmed (image) that initial PS3 units include the CPU/rasterizer combination chip used in slim PS2 (EE+GS) to achieve backward compatibility.


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Nintendo Wii Screenshots
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Nintendo Wii
Released November 2006
The console was known by the codename of "Revolution" until April 27, 2006, when it was renamed Wii, spelled with two "i"s to imply an image of players gathering together, as well as to represent the console's controllers. It is said Wii sounds like 'we', which emphasizes that the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii"

The Wii Remote is a one-handed controller that uses a combination of accelerometers and infrared detection to sense its position in 3D space. This allows users to control the game using physical gestures as well as traditional button presses. The controller connects to the console using Bluetooth, and features force feedback, 4KB non-volatile memory and an internal speaker. Perhaps the most important of these devices is the Nunchuk unit, which features an accelerometer and a traditional analog stick with two trigger buttons. In addition, an attachable wrist strap can be used to prevent the player from unintentionally dropping or throwing the device.


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Retro-Bit Retro Duo Screenshots
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Retro-Bit Retro Duo
Released January 2007
The Retro Duo is a video game console developed by Retro-Bit and distributed by Innex, Inc. The Retro Duo is an 8-bit and 16-bit video game console. It was designed to fit the needs of 8-bit and 16-bit console gamers and plays game cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES. There have been quite a few clone systems made in recent years, but the difference with this one is that it plays American, European, and Japanese games and has the highest compatibility over any other clone system. Another notable difference is that S-video is now compatible when playing SNES games and it makes the games look noticeably better. The console is not licensed by Nintendo and is not fully compatible with every game released for the two game systems; however, the majority of games will function properly.

Reviews of the Retro Duo have praised its compatibility for games many other clone consoles struggle with (due to hardware issues) such as Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse on the NES, Star Fox on the SNES, and the Game Genie cheat cartridge. The Retro Duo is also compatible with the Super Game Boy device. The Retro Duo was released in four different color schemes: white/blue, silver/black, black/red, and a red/gold limited edition version.



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Eittek MiWi Screenshots
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Eittek MiWi
Released April 2007
If this looks and sounds familiar, that’s because the MiWi tries its best to look and feel like the Nintendo Wii. The MiWi claims to play WiiSports-esque games including boxing, ping pong, tennis, golf, baseball, soccer and bowling. The controllers are very similar to the Nintendo Wii controllers, and the controller add on pieces are very similar as well.

The MiWi is a 16 bit system with several games developed specifically for it. The games are a far cry from today’s Wii. Nice try guys.


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Hyperkin RetroN Screenshots
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Hyperkin RetroN
Released August 01, 2009 for $49.99
Replay your classic NES games with the Retron 1 NES system. The Retron 1 utilizes the top loading mechanism; it lets you easily change out game cartridges with ease. Its NES controller ports are full compatible with original Nintendo controllers and zapper guns.

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Sony PlayStation 3 Slim Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation 3 Slim
Released September 2009
Following speculation that a 'slim' model was in the pipeline Sony officially announced the PS3 CECH-2000 model on August 18, 2009 at the Sony Gamescom press conference. Among its features are a slimmer form factor and quieter noise when powered on. It was released in major territories by September 2009. As part of the release for the slim model, the logo was changed from the "Spider-Man font" and capitalized PLAYSTATION 3 to a more traditional PlayStation and PlayStation 2 like 'PlayStation 3' logo with "PS3" imprinted on the console. Along with the console and logo redesign, the boot screen of all consoles changed from "Sony Computer Entertainment" to "PS3 PlayStation 3", with a new chime and the game start splashscreen being dropped. The cover art and packaging of games has also been changed to reflect the redesign.

The PS3 slim was officially released on September 1, 2009 in North America and Europe and on September 3, 2009 in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. However, some retailers such as Amazon.com, Best Buy and GameStop started to sell the PS3 slim on August 25, 2009. The PS3 Slim sold in excess of a million units in its first 3 weeks on sale. The redesigned, slimmer version of the PlayStation 3 features an upgradeable 120 GB, 160 GB, 250 GB or 320 GB hard drive and is 33% smaller, 36% lighter and consumes 34% (CECH-20xx) or 45% (CECH-21xx) less power than the previous model.


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Sega FireCore Screenshots
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Sega FireCore
Released October 2009
Announced in 2008 as the "Firebox" and "Sega Genesis 4" and released in 2009 as the "Firecore", a remodeled "Sega Genesis" console that featured built-in games. The Genesis Firecore was manufactured by ATGames. The system doesn't have an expansion port, which makes the Firecore incompatible with the Sega CD, and is also incompatible with Sega 32X, Power Base Converter and Virtua Racing. It's been reported unable to properly emulate the in-game music when playing from the original game cartridges of titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

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Hyperkin RetroN 3 Screenshots
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Hyperkin RetroN 3
Released May 01, 2010 for $69.95
Hyperkin is no stranger to creating low cost videogame consoles and portables. Their RetroN 3 Video Gaming System claims compatibility with Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), and Sega Genesis cartridges via its three cartridge ports and wireless Sega 6-button controller clone. This unit also has three sets of controller ports to match the respective original systems. The RetroN 3 was released in two colors, metallic red and dark grey.

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Microsoft X-Box 360 Slim Screenshots
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Microsoft X-Box 360 Slim
Released June 14, 2010 for $299.00
Xbox 360 S consoles feature redesigned internal architecture with the Valhalla motherboard, which allows for around 30% more space than previous motherboards, and the XCGPU, an integrated CPU/GPU/eDRAM chip using a 45 nm fabrication process. This allows them to be both smaller and quieter than the previous versions of the Xbox 360. They also feature 5 standard USB 2.0 ports (2 more than previous models) and an additional custom USB port for use with peripherals such as the Kinect sensor.

Unlike older models, 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and a TOSLINK S/PDIF optical audio connector are also built-in, allowing for digital audio and wireless networking without the need for external adapters. The Memory Unit slots found on previous consoles have been removed in favor of the USB flash drive solution added in a previous system software update (released on April 6, 2010) and the power and DVD drive eject 'buttons' are touch sensitive rather than the physical buttons found on previous models.

The external hard disk drive connector has also been swapped for an internal bay for use with a proprietary hard drive. The hard drive bay is designed such that a specially formatted laptop hard drive may be loaded in. It has been noted that users can also open up the casing of the original model's hard drive and simply load it into the drive bay instead of purchasing a hard drive branded for use with the new model.


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Microsoft Kinect for X-box 360 Screenshots
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Microsoft Kinect for X-box 360
Released November 04, 2010 for $150.00
Kinect for Xbox 360, or simply Kinect (originally known by the code name Project Natal), is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console. Based around a webcam-style add-on peripheral for the Xbox 360 console, it enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller, through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands. The project is aimed at broadening the Xbox 360's audience beyond its typical gamer base.

Microsoft had an advertising budget of US$500 million for the launch of Kinect, a larger sum than the investment at launch of the Xbox console. The marketing campaign You Are the Controller, aiming to reach new audiences, included advertisements on Kellogg's cereal boxes and Pepsi bottles, commercials during shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Glee as well as print ads in various magazines such as People and InStyle.

10 million units of the Kinect sensor have been shipped as of March 9, 2011. Having sold 8 million units in its first 60 days on the market, Kinect has claimed the Guinness World Record of being the "fastest selling consumer electronics device". According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, Kinect bundles accounted for about half of all Xbox 360 console sales in December 2010 and for more than two-thirds in February 2011.


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Atari Flashback 3 Screenshots
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Atari Flashback 3
Released September 01, 2011 for $39.99
In 2011 Atari licensed out Legacy Engineering's Flashback concept and name to AtGames for the "Flashback 3". The Flashback 3 includes 60 built-in Atari 2600 games, 2 joysticks, and a case design that is similar to the Flashback 2/2+ design, except for front-based joystick ports, no B/W switch, and a different curvature. Internally the Flashback 3 system uses emulation running on an ARM-based processor instead of Legacy's "2600-on-a-chip" and is not hackable to add a cartridge port for reading original Atari 2600 cartridges. Original 2600 joysticks and paddles will also work on this system however.

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Nintendo Wii U Screenshots
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Nintendo Wii U
Released April 2012
On April 25, 2011, Nintendo released a statement officially announcing a system to succeed the Wii. They simultaneously announced that it would be released during 2012, and that playable console units would be present at E3 2011 (June 7–9)

A prototype version of Wii U was showcased at the E3 2011. The design of the console and controller were not definitive versions. The controller demonstrated features a touch screen over 6 inches wide and contains a built-in microphone, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, rumble and camera. Although it may look like a tablet, all processing is done on the console itself and the screen only supports single touch, not multitouch, going against a popular trend across the technology industry. Games that were confirmed are LEGO City Stories, a new Super Smash Bros. game, and a new Pikmin title. A list of third party titles was announced to be available at release, and were on show with video clips taken from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.

The Wii U is Nintendo's sixth home console and the first Nintendo console to produce 1080p high-definition graphics, and features a new controller with an embedded touchscreen. The controller allows a player to continue a gaming session by displaying the game even when the television is off. The system will be fully backwards compatible with Wii, and Wii U games can support compatibility with Wii peripherals, such as the Wii Remote, Wii MotionPlus, and Wii Balance Board. However, it will not be backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube media or peripherals.



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