Archive for General
I must confess that i am a great admirer of Atari and what they have achieved over the years. With the era of cartridge gaming, consoles starting to slowly fade i.e. the 2600, 5200 and the 7800. Atari along with other major companies introduced a completely new platform of gaming in the form of home computers. The Atari 400 & 800 were just two systems that came from a large range of 8-bit computers created by Atari and released in 1979.
My first contact with these machines was in the early 80′s, at the time I was an avid Commodore 64 user but i can clearly remember being pleasantly surprised when i was introduced to Atari 800 and the 800 XL were i saw that the system’s features were quite comparable to that of the Commodore 64. Over the next few months it became apparent that there was quite a battle building between these two rival systems for superiority and there were really only a few key elements that separated them.
(pics to follow. . .)
The Oric 1 was an 8-bit computer system that was developed by Oric International Ltd and was released in 1983. Apparently the name ORIC came about by juggling the letters of the word ‘micro‘ and the best they came up with was the word ‘oric‘ (somewhere the letter ‘M‘ was lost) and the name stuck. When the first Orics were released the Oric logo on the casing was shown as a grey logo whereas later models sported a coloured logo (Red, Light Blue & Dark Blue).
The system came to exist due to a British micro-computer company that was originaly based in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire known as Tangerine Computer Systems. Founded By Dr. Paul Johnson, Nigel Penton and Mark Rainer in 1979. Tanagarine had previously produced the TAN1648 VDU (Visual Display Unit) which was one of the first VDU kits, and it was this product that gave them the recognition they needed in the home computer market. To move forward in the computer market they then produced one of the first 6502-based kit computers known as the Microtan 65 or the M65.
In 1987, Sega brought us their third generation video game console in the form of the Sega Master System. This is one of those systems that it like purely for its simplicity, the pads are small basic, simple buttons. The console has two controller ports at the front for the pads and an off/on switch.
In total three version were released. The Master system I in Japan in 1987, the Sega Master System II in 1990 and the Master System III was released in Japan on Sunday, October 20, 1985.
The system fell straight in the firing line of the Nintendo Entertainment System and went down a similar path as Nintendo providing such add-ons as a Light Phaser Gun, varied controllers and even boasting 3D Glasses with an adapter card. With a library of some 318 games, what more could you ask for! Due to strong international support, the Master System became the second best selling Sega console with 13 million units being sold worldwide. I suppose that i why in 2009, the Master System was named the 20th best video game console of all time (out of 25) by the video gaming website IGN ( would have liked to have seen it a little higher ).
Well, what can i say, this is the big one. I believe the Odyssey to be the Holy Grail of retro systems as i hope many of you will agree and that has got to be a must for any serious collector. The Magnavox Odyssey or Magnavox Odyssey ITL200 to use its proper title was the world’s first home video game console. This console has to be the cream of my collection or should i say consoles due to me being lucky enough to source a run 1 and a run 2 model. I will explain these differences further into the post.
The Magnavox Odyssey was the brainchild of Ralph Baer who had started designing the system around 1966. It was over the next two years due to Ralphs commitment, perceveirance and determination he eventually had a working prototype that was finally finished in 1968.
The magnavox was a pretty basic machine with simple components, it was so simple that it even run batteries. As for the game play that was also quite basic as well.
The Videosport MKII games console was an early PONG style games machine made from 1974 to 1977 by ‘Henry’s‘ who was a British retailer of televisions and Hi-Fi’s. Two versions of this console was made, the first being the more rarer version that had gold lettering and later version did not, i believe this was done purely as a cost cutting measure.
The Videosport MKII could be purchased via local retail stores of the 70′s and also via mail order, a little bit like the Sinclair ZX81.
What shines through and gives you a good feel for the age of the Videosport MKII is the good old British design and build quality. The console was powered solely by the mains as it did not support batteries and when these consoles were made i believe they were assembled by hand. The unit itself was glued together rather than using any kind of screw fixing like most modern consoles today. This does make for a stronger unit but also makes any repairs very difficult.
The Philips CD-i (Compact Disc Interactive) player was a 16-bit CD ROM based system that was released to us in 1991 priced $699.00.
In March 1986, the first public announcement was made of a new product – Compact Disc Interactive in the first industry conference in the US to promote CD-ROM. Because of this a provisional standard called The Green Book was later issued in May.
Initially, the Philips CD-i was not really promoted as a gaming platform although many hundreds of gaming titles were released. In advertising, Philips highlighted and pushed the CD-i’s Multimedia applications that the system was capable of performing.
The Philips CD-i player 200 series includes the 205, 210 and 220 models. These models in the 200 series were designed for general consumption, and were available at major home electrical stores around the world. The Philips CD-i 910 was the most basic American version compared to that of the CD-i 205.
The Philips CD-i player 300 series includes the 310, 350, 360 and the 370 models. The 300 series consists of portable players designed for the professional market and not available to home consumers. A popular use for this range was by pharmaceuticals to provide product information to physicians, as the devices could be transported by sales representatives.
This is were my gaming passion really started, the ‘Philips G7000 Videopac Computer’ being my first ever computer console (definitely showing my age here lol). At the time i desperately wanted an Atari 2600 as it was the console to have at the time but was absolutely bouncing when i got my Philips G7000 on Christmas Day.
It came about with Philips and Magnavox merging in 1974, however it wasnt until in 1978 that the Philips G7000 Videopac Computer was released. Other versions such as the philips G7200 and the philips G7400 arrived later.
The Philips G7000 was known worldwide as it followed in the footsteps of the Atari 2600 and the Fairchild F. In USA was known as the Magnavox Odyssey 2 (or Odyssey 2) and in 1983 the Brazilian branch of Philips released it as the ‘Odyssey’ where it became more popular than it ever did in the USA; Tournaments were even held for popular games like “Videopac 44‘ - ‘KC’s Crazy Chase‘. Television commercials for most of the videopacs games were made such as this Freedom fighters clip.
Welcome to my blog about retro video game systems where over the coming months and years i’m going to be posting tonnes of useful information, tips, images and videos on a huge passion of mine – Retro Video Game Systems.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a vast collection of gaming consoles stretching right back to the Magnavox Odyssey! It’s here on my blog that I intend to do a total brain dump of all the knowledge that I’ve picked up over the last 25 years.
My house is virtually full of retro consoles, games and accessories and I’m going be introducing you to a full breakdown of them all.
I’ve been meaning to get this blog going for quite a while now, so if your into your retro gaming then your going to be in for a real treat.