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1976 Dawn of the Cartridge Age!



Actually, it wasn't until August 1976 that the Fairchild Video Entertainment System came into existence. So we've got some other ground to cover until then.


First of all, let's list the dedicated PONG machines:


In the PBS version of this blog, which is now airing in a few select viewing areas, this scene occurs in episode four.


I start reciting the list of different PONG systems available during the great PONG Rush of 1976. Every time I say the name of another dedicated PONG machine, it pops into view among the others. (all done with the magic of TV Special FX!) It starts out nice and orderly, but by the time I'm up to the 12th unit or so, they've started piling up in front of me. They eventually block the camera completely. I try to recite the list faster and louder, to make myself heard over the clamorous ponging of the tide of consoles, but just I can't keep up. My voice gets high and fast like Alvin, Simon or Theodore as the appearance of each new system accelerates. Then, suddenly, the PONG Tower collapses, crushing me and wrinkling my polyester leisure suit. Stage hands come in and dig me out. The last shot of the episode is my broken unconscious body being med-evac'd off the roof of the studio, a PONG controller still in my limp, lifeless hand.


See, the PONG controller in my hand represents my unwillingness to let go of the past. PBS viewers love that kind of crap. That Emmy is so going to be mine. They'd have to clone Carl Sagan to do a better documentary on videogames.


So, here's how the list starts . . .


Atari PONG - Somewhere in 1976

Coleco Telstar - June 1976

Magnavox Odyssey 300 - Somewhere in 1976 (played it!)

Magnavox Odyssey 400 - Ditto (have it!)

Magnavox Odyssey 500 - Ditto

National Semiconductor Adversary - Sometime in 1976 (have it!)

Sears Speedway IV

Sears Super PongAtari Super Pong

and a gaggle of others. All PONG playing variants.


While I AM interested in each of the game variants, I'm not interested in seeing them duplicated time and time again across each machine.


I'll talk about the three consoles with which I've had experience (noted above) and then I'm movin' on.


The truly important thing to happen in 1976 was, of course, the birth of the programmable home videogame console.(Music Cue: Also Sprach Zarathustra)


The Fairchild VES, a.k.a The Fairchild Channel F!!!


Three cartridges came out for it in 1976, best known as Cart 1, Cart 2 and Cart 3. There was also two games built-in to the system, Tennis and Hockey, so even if you had nothing . . . you had something!


I'll slog through the PONG machines which I do have, take a 10 day vacation in Sunny Southeastern Pennsylvania, and talk about the Channel F stuff when I get back.



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In the PBS version of this blog, which is now airing in a few select viewing areas, this scene occurs in episode four.


Woooot?? Where can I watch that??


so even if you had nothing . . . you had something!



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hahaha, actually a PBS version of this blog would be awesome. I'll have to settle for doing it in YouTube without a grant from the Public Broadcasting System. Hey, thanks for news about that link. Fixing!

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