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Yesterday I did write "National Instruments" but what I should have written was "National Semiconductor". I could go back and correct it in each of the entries in which I make this error, but I've decided not to because it would represent a larger waste of time than this paragraph apologizing for it. So, sorry about that.
Okay, this is a dedicated Pong clone. The Adversary, by National Semiconductor, is a lovely little console, resplendent in the faux woodgrain decor previously reserved for family station wagons.
This pong-y console, like others before it, features Handball, Hockey and Tennis. It also features COLOR!!! I actually think the manual describes it as "Living Color", but I'll have to check to make sure. (checks) Oh, no, I stand corrected. They state on the box "3 ACTION FIELDS IN TRUE LIVING COLOR."
There are a few innovations in this system which may or may not have been present in the other systems that came out before or after in in 1976. They may only be innovations relative to the Odyssey systems I was playing earlier.
Innovation One: Separate, individual controllers. To control this game, one doesn't need to hover over the console itself, one may luxuriate in one's easy chair, sofa or hammock while one plays using a hand held controller that stretches a full 10-freakin'-feat from the console! It even has a reset button on it!
Innovation Two: Adjustable Sound (to your desired level). The sound for this game comes through the TV speaker, and doesn't beep from deep within the heart of the console.
Innovation Three: One Player Mode. I don't know if other units have this feature, but there is supposedly a console controlled AI in this thing. I don't remember trying it out when I played it the first time, so I guess I'll have to, soon.
Innovation Four: Multiple Paddle Sizes. For the player who is just plain better than the person he or she is playing against, you can make the better player's paddle itty-bitty.
Innovation Five: The ball speeds up after a successful volley of four.
There's your typical score display mode during Tennis. While this isn't so new and exciting now, remember how we used to have to keep score ourselves back in 1972? The score only appears in between volleys.
My wife actually sat down to play this game against me. (she won, 15-14, so, whoop-de-frackin'-doo for her. ) My son was all "ho-hums" but played me for a little while anyway because I wouldn't let him on the Xbox until he did.
As an example of early "both-gender" marketing attempts. The cover of the box and the manual show a man and a women supposedly enjoying this system together. The man looks to have more of a sneer than a smile, though, and the woman won't show her face for some reason. I'm wondering how long it took for marketing departments to realize that most couples don't play videogames together. (I'm not saying, all, I'm saying most.)
The first Odyssey in 1972 was all about the Family. Now in 1976 we've got videogames being marketed to couples. How long before they're marketed solely to pale, overweight males in their thirties playing by themselves? I think that because we're not very photogenic, it may never happen.
Well, that wraps up all the Pong Games from 1976 that I can find and stand to put myself through. If I find any others in the future I'll insert them into that 11 day period of silence which occurred while I was on vacation.
Tomorrow begins the new era. August 1976. The month the Fairchild Channel F comes out. Feel the world's anticipation!!! Programmable Videogame Systems have arrived!
Pretending that tomorrow is August 1976 means I've finally reached the "less than 30 years behind" mark. See, I've had an Odyssey since the Fall of 2002 and ever since I started doing this Chronogaming thing I've been more than 30 years behind the modern year. Now I'm only 29 years behind! I'm closing in on the present! Whoo-wee!