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CatPix

Entertainment Computer System : is it worth owning?

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I like collecting systems and accessories for them. So when I heard about the Intellivision ESC, I started to look for one, and.. I may be able to get one.

Tho, I try to collect things I can enjoy and play, and not having "dust catcher" pieces of hardware that would make the joy of someone else.

 

I heard there is 6 games that use the ECS; of these, were all 6 released in Europe? Just wondering.

 

And more important; since the ECS got a standard "tape data" interface, is there homebrew games using the ECS capabilities? Or maybe, homebrew games for regular Intellivision available in MP3 format to feed to the ECS? If not, does some community or developer plan to make some ECS games?

 

If not, what do you consider being a fair price for an ECS with the keyboard (not the music one) and boxed?

 

IntelliECS_zps57f0545c.jpg

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Worth it yes! World Series Major League Baseball makes it worth it all alone. It is the only game (I know of) that uses the ECS and the Intellivoice.

Edited by SoulBuster

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The ECS Computer Adaptor was only supported by a handful of Intellivision games. In addition to World Series Major League Baseball, other gems in the ECS library are Mind Strike and Melody Blaster; the latter is the only game which uses the ECS Music Synthesizer keyboard. You should be able to interface your PC sound card to the ECS cassette ports using the correct audio cables. I don't know if MP3 compression will work for cassette data, but I've successfully recorded it to WAV files.

 

It's pointless to try to use the ECS as a serious computer, of course; the built-in ECS BASIC is pretty pitiful even by 1983 standards. It existed only to fend off lawsuits over Mattel's failure to release the original Keyboard Component. But the ECS Computer Adaptor does add some interesting potentialities to the Intellivision (two extra controller ports, three more sound channels, 2K of extra RAM, cassette I/O, and a serial printer port), and I'm hoping that more Intellivision homebrew games will make use of it. Whether it's "worth owning" now depends on how much you like the games which use it; if you're not interested in the ECS games, you can easily live without it.

 

I'm afraid I don't know the going rate for the brown ECS Computer Adaptor like the one shown in your picture; it was released only in Europe and is much more rare than the gray Adaptor sold here in the United States.

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The ESC as a computer module is crap. Absolute crap. (I know, it was my first computer!)

 

The tape support was for user programs made in BASIC. All real games came in cartridge. You could make your own programs, but the computer module was so crippled that it was rather pointless.

 

However, it does include additional system RAM and an extra sound chip that adds three more voices, so it is definitely worth it. In addition to the ECS-specific games, some home-brews take advantage of the additional sound capabilities. For instance, Space Patrol uses them to play additional simultaneous sound effects during game-play. Newer games may do more.

 

-dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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I didn't know of space patrol's sounds.

Cool. I hope more homebrewers begin to use ecs as an extra.

I think more and more collectors will eventually get an ecs

 

By the way, it's not that it has more sound effects, it's that it can play more at a time of the ECS is plugged in, so it is a bit enhanced.

 

dZ.

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The ECS Computer Adaptor was only supported by a handful of Intellivision games. In addition to World Series Major League Baseball, other gems in the ECS library are Mindstrike and Melody Blaster; the latter is the only game which uses the ECS Music Synthesizer keyboard. You should be able to interface your PC sound card to the ECS cassette ports using the correct audio cables. I don't know if MP3 compression will work for cassette data, but I've successfully recorded it to WAV files. It's pointless to try to use the ECS as a serious computer, of course; the built-in ECS BASIC is pretty pitiful even by 1983 standards.

 

I'm afraid I don't know the going rate for the brown ECS Computer Adaptor like the one shown in your picture; it was released only in Europe and is much more rare than the gray Adaptor sold here in the United States.

It is? as in, do you have the sales figure for Europe?

 

I am in Europe, so, this is the only ECS we got; the Intelli II was never released here, so Mattel made the ECS brown to match the classic Intelli we have.

 

For MP3, I successfully loaded games on my Amstrad CPC from MP3 files. Despite the fact that the CPC have the fastest data tape of any computer of the 80's. So unless you compressi it really low, I suppose you're fine. And I just meant "sound files", if one uses Ogg, WAV or FLAC, it works either way.

 

I don't plan to do BASIC programming on this system, I only really want to play games on it, either Mattel ones or homebrew ones, so I look for the possibilities.

 

Thanks for the tip on League Baseball. I may buy it, for the added capabilities and Intellivoice, even if I'm not a fan of sports games nor baseball :P But heh, I have an Intellivoice... better use it good, too.

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Most ECS owners used cassette storage only for BASIC programs; the ECS games were all released on cartridge. I think a few ECS games could make use of the cassette—Melody Blaster allowed you to save custom melodies, for example, and I believe Mattel planned to release extra melodies on tape at one point—but if you don't plan on using BASIC, you don't really need the cassette interface. It's good to know that someone has successfully used MP3 for cassette data, though; I'll have to try it myself on the Aquarius, which can share its cassette drive and printer with the ECS.

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It's very handy because it allow you to have only one of those cheap MP3 player and a cable instead of dragging your computer around.

 

For the games, I was more asking if some homebrews were made on sound format, that's all. Well I supposed, if there is Astrocade games on tape form, there can be ECS games on tape format as well...

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@ CatPix

 

Its the ECS I have on my Ebay watchlist too, but its untested and so I am not going to pay premium price for it.

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It's very handy because it allow you to have only one of those cheap MP3 player and a cable instead of dragging your computer around.

 

For the games, I was more asking if some homebrews were made on sound format, that's all. Well I supposed, if there is Astrocade games on tape form, there can be ECS games on tape format as well...

 

There are a few Basic programs as listenings online that you can type in and storage on tape. I did this with SIMON from Joe Z. ;-)

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To me. I own the Ecs for the games. I adds more games to the intv library, Scooby doo, Jetsons, Mind Strike , Ws Baseball, Space partol is all worth owning. So i say yes to owning one.

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The unreleased Super NFL Football that finally made its way out on cartridge a while back is another.

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One neat trick with the ECS basic is that you can import sprites from any game cart. Most computer didn't offer easy way to tap into game cart for sprites.

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One neat trick with the ECS basic is that you can import sprites from any game cart. Most computer didn't offer easy way to tap into game cart for sprites.

 

True, but the BASIC was so crap that it was almost worthless.

 

-dZ.

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As far as I care, the BASIC is sufficient as long as it provides machine code access, which ECS BASIC does.

As far as I can tell "CALL" doesn't let you execute code at an arbitrary address. You have to specify a 4 letter name. That means you need some kind of cart with a header block in it that ECS BASIC knows about. The RAM in the ECS is also 8-bit wide and I'm not sure you can even execute code from it (that depends on the bus cycles it supports).

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The ECS will allow you to play World Cup Soccer with 4 players. And if you pick up the 'synthesizer' keyboard, you can go into "music" mode, and play music with up to 6 voices. Actually, you can also use the alpha-numeric keyboard to play music too, although it's certainly not quite the same as using the music keyboard.

 

There are some nice music 'demos' that utilize all the sound channels as well; if you're into chip-tune music.

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To answer the topic question: I think its not worth to own it unless you are a collector. I own it meanwhile and most games are total crap. For one good game, which is baseball? Nope, not worth the money.

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It would be cool to see all of the ECS info in an "Ultimate ECS page" linked to by the BSR and Intellivisionaries site. Something permanent that anyone can refer to, so when these ECS questions come up there is a (permanent) single version of the truth to hit...

 

The ECS will allow you to play World Cup Soccer with 4 players. And if you pick up the 'synthesizer' keyboard, you can go into "music" mode, and play music with up to 6 voices. Actually, you can also use the alpha-numeric keyboard to play music too, although it's certainly not quite the same as using the music keyboard.

 

There are some nice music 'demos' that utilize all the sound channels as well; if you're into chip-tune music.

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Would the ECS be useful for my starting collection and at what price?
I really want the system to play, and not to collect, but saw a local ECS.
Cheers!

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Would the ECS be useful for my starting collection and at what price?

I really want the system to play, and not to collect, but saw a local ECS.

Cheers!

 

Owning an ECS is never a bad idea. The ECS-specific games are not that many, and the built-in ECS BASIC is super-crappy and mostly useless; but it does have an extra PSG sound chip, and some home-brews are starting to take advantage of that fact. I would recommend it.

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