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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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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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GameConsoles
1970s Video Game Consoles | 1980s Video Game Consoles | 1990s Video Game Consoles | 2000 and Beyond
GameConsoles
Top 10 Game Consoles of All Time | 10 Game Consoles That Didn't Catch On | Game Console Clones
GameConsoles
Top Brands:Magnavox | Atari | Coleco | Mattel | Nintendo | Sega | Sony | Microsoft
GameConsoles



GameConsoles

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