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CreatiVision (1981) -> ColecoVision (1982) -> SG-1000 (1983)

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I was lurking the web and stumbled onto an old game system that is very rare and little known about:

The VTech CreatiVision.

 

I am posting here about this because this system was released before the ColecoVision and has very similar hardware (same Texas Instruments video & audio chips). The ColecoVision even looks a bit like the CreatiVision. creativision-2eru-460.jpg

 

I had assumed that Coleco was being completely original with their hardware and design (and that maybe Sega somewhat "copied" Coleco with their SG-1000), but now I think otherwise...

 

The VTech CreatiVision was released in 1981 in Hong Kong, one year before the ColecoVision's release date. The Sega SG-1000 was released a year after the ColecoVision, in 1983. All 3 consoles use the same video and audio chips.

 

There is little known about this console-computer system. There were a couple old threads, but I wanted to make a new one here.

 

Some info on the CreatiVision:

 

http://www.classic-consoles-center.at/creativision

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTech_CreatiVision

 

 

Even the games on this system (many released in 1981) look and sound like early ColecoVision games:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fxxfdZqSpQ&feature=endscreen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmKKj8Cyy5k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur0GA1hTiiU

 

 

Do you think Coleco knew about this console from VTech before they started development themselves? What about Sega and their SG-1000?

In any event, I'd like to get my hands on a CreatiVision and a SG-1000 someday.

 

 

Discuss :!:

 

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Just so you know, Eric Bromley did start working on the ColecoVision in 1978

The first working prototype was made in 1979 and it has been sold to a competitor (Mattel if remember correctly)

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My initial reaction when I first tried the CreatiVision emulator called FunnyMu quite a number of years ago was similar to your reaction as far as the similarity of this system to the ColecoVision. BTW, M.E.S.S. emulates this system and it's clones very nicely as well. While it's impossible now to know if Coleco (Eric Bromley and the rest of the tech folk) borrowed from this system in developing the ColecoVision, the coincidence of Coleco using the same TI video and audio chips is probably just that, a coincidence, due to the fact that these chips were widely used by many companies at this time.

 

I would have to say that CreatiVision's Tennis game provided a lot of inspiration for Imagic's Tournament Tennis for the ColecoVision.

 

Aside from that, there are some pretty fun games in the CreatiVision library that would fit nicely into the CV's library of games like Auto Chase... unless Opcodereleases Rally X one day.

 

@ Retroillucid... I thought that prototype PCB that ended up being bought by Mattel was actually developed by another company and was offered to Coleco first, but Eric Bromley had turned it down? I'll have to reread his interview.

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@ Retroillucid... I thought that prototype PCB that ended up being bought by Mattel was actually developed by another company and was offered to Coleco first, but Eric Bromley had turned it down? I'll have to reread his interview.

From what I recall, the R&D team were REALLY small for CV, they used services from other companies ( as they used to do) .... And I'm sure here the company in question is Nuvatek

Then, in 1979 when they first developped the prototype, Mr Bromley was apparently not satisfied with the end results

The prototype was sold to Mattel, apparently

 

The name Colecovision is the concept name of their cartridges based console project

From the interview, Bromley said it was a tentative name wich was never updated

Maybe they borrow the Vision from creativision, it's possible

 

In early, 81, the first official prototype of the CV is made

 

In late 81, Bromley goes in Japan to secure the deal with Nintendo

 

2nd official CV prototype was later made that same year and shown to CES the following year

 

You know the rest of the story...

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Few year ago , i wrote (in french) an article on my forums about that console.

 

http://www.atomicfe.com/forums/index.php?topic=332.0

 

That is more a less a colecovision with a 6502. Its software library is very interresting, as they don't have license for popular arcade games they created some very interresting clones.

 

This console was very popuplar in Italy.

 

I think the harware similarity between colecovision, SG1000 and Creativision. It is just because at this time if you wanted build a videogame console and you didn't want to invest in custom chip... you do not have lot of choice... you had the TI VDP you can use. .. then you have to build a machine around.. and a machine is quite simple... you need a processor , 2 bus , some RAM , some ROM ... at this time they are all build the same way.

Coleco choosed the Z80 (unfortunaly for me :) ) ... Creativision choosed the 6502 ... Sega the Z80...

 

And i guess the name Creativision , comes in the goal to rival with the Intellivision.

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Little known perhaps, but you completely left out the links to the main Creativision site and discussion forum.

http://www.madrigaldesign.it/creativemu/news.php

http://www.madrigaldesign.it/forum/

 

Apart from selected European countries, the Creativision was rather big in Australia under the brand name Dick Smith Wizzard. However it is ultra rare to find in a NTSC version, once sold in Japan.

 

For that matter, you should also consider the Japanese home computer Sord M5 which clearly was available in 1982. It has the same Z80, VDP and PSG that the ColecoVision has. As it has been pointed out that ColecoVision had prototypes out several years before the consumer release, I suppose they didn't copy anyone else. Rather I think it was Texas Instruments who may have extracted the VDP and PSG from their TI-99 line of computers, and began to offer those either separately or in bundles to other potential computer and console manufacturers. Exactly when that might have happened, I don't know but as the first TI-99/4 was released in 1979, I suppose they would offer chips to competitors no earlier than 1980.

 

Also when you think of various Vision systems, apart from Intellivision we should not forget Bandai's SuperVision etc. I suppose it was a rather popular monicker to have something-Vision, just like it was popular to have Video Computer System, Video Entertainment System etc.

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I have a complete creativision collection aside from the impossible to find Stone Age game. It is a neat obscure system, with an uncanny similarity to the coleco.

I wasn't sure if anyone was aware but the creativision was basically compatible with the msx, sms and coleco. Vtech even made an expansion unit to play all coleco games on, but it was either not released due to copyright/game crash or is just exceedingly rare...which honestly would not surprise me as everything for the creativision is really :P

Here is a link at dieter koenigs site with a little bit of info and a pic of the unit I mention:

http://www.classic-consoles-center.at/creativision/interesting-facts-about-the-vtech-creativision

 

:)

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There exists a ColecoVision adapter at least for the Salora Manager. I suppose it fits the Laser 2001 as well. Not sure if the device advertised to fit the CreatiVision was made. I don't know exactly what the expansion unit contains, if it can use the VDP and PSG inside the main unit or has its own chips and just relies on passing video through.

 

By the way, hopefully within a year we'll have some new homebrew releases for this system as well. Development is underway, although some of us (cough, that'd mostly be me) ran into some VDP timing issues like many of the ColecoVision programmers already have discovered and solved. For those of you who prefer 6502 machine code and want to do "firsts", it is a good choice. As for rarity, it seems to depend on where you live. In my town, almost every vintage game collector owns at least one CreatiVision system with a pile of games. Nope, I'm not kidding - for some reason they pop up like mushrooms over here, but I don't know why or from where.

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Just so you know, Eric Bromley did start working on the ColecoVision in 1978

The first working prototype was made in 1979 and it has been sold to a competitor (Mattel if remember correctly)

 

I believe that eventually became the Intellivision, so that doesn't really count...

 

My initial reaction when I first tried the CreatiVision emulator called FunnyMu quite a number of years ago was similar to your reaction as far as the similarity of this system to the ColecoVision. BTW, M.E.S.S. emulates this system and it's clones very nicely as well. While it's impossible now to know if Coleco (Eric Bromley and the rest of the tech folk) borrowed from this system in developing the ColecoVision, the coincidence of Coleco using the same TI video and audio chips is probably just that, a coincidence, due to the fact that these chips were widely used by many companies at this time.

 

I would have to say that CreatiVision's Tennis game provided a lot of inspiration for Imagic's Tournament Tennis for the ColecoVision.

 

Aside from that, there are some pretty fun games in the CreatiVision library that would fit nicely into the CV's library of games like Auto Chase... unless Opcodereleases Rally X one day.

 

@ Retroillucid... I thought that prototype PCB that ended up being bought by Mattel was actually developed by another company and was offered to Coleco first, but Eric Bromley had turned it down? I'll have to reread his interview.

 

 

It's not only the TI chips, but the Coleco console LOOKS a lot like the CreatiVision......even down to the joystick-keypad controllers.

The Mattel Intellivision was the first to start the keypad controller thing, but they used a circle disc at the bottom. VTech and Coleco and Atari also kept with the keypad controller idea for their consoles, but using joysticks at the top. The VTech and Coleco controllers look pretty similar.

 

 

In early, 81, the first official prototype of the CV is made

 

In late 81, Bromley goes in Japan to secure the deal with Nintendo

 

2nd official CV prototype was later made that same year and shown to CES the following year

 

You know the rest of the story...

 

...and in early 1981, the CreatiVision was released commercially to the public, in Hong Kong. That probably means the prototypes were being made in 1980.

Maybe Coleco did have the concept for the released CV the same time VTech did, but just waited a bit longer. Actually, I had read that Bromley wanted to release the CV earlier, but at that time it was too expensive, so they waited and released it later.

 

 

Little known perhaps, but you completely left out the links to the main Creativision site and discussion forum.

http://www.madrigaldesign.it/creativemu/news.php

http://www.madrigaldesign.it/forum/

 

 

It's not like I intentionally left those out. I only put up a couple quick links...

 

 

As it has been pointed out that ColecoVision had prototypes out several years before the consumer release, I suppose they didn't copy anyone else. Rather I think it was Texas Instruments who may have extracted the VDP and PSG from their TI-99 line of computers, and began to offer those either separately or in bundles to other potential computer and console manufacturers. Exactly when that might have happened, I don't know but as the first TI-99/4 was released in 1979, I suppose they would offer chips to competitors no earlier than 1980.

 

 

Which goes back to my original post......

Coleco may have had prototypes in 1980..........but they still decided to wait until 1982 to release the ColecoVision.

VTech released the CreatiVision before Coleco released the ColecoVision, and they are both very similar consoles (except CPU).

 

 

I have a complete creativision collection aside from the impossible to find Stone Age game. It is a neat obscure system, with an uncanny similarity to the coleco.

I wasn't sure if anyone was aware but the creativision was basically compatible with the msx, sms and coleco. Vtech even made an expansion unit to play all coleco games on, but it was either not released due to copyright/game crash or is just exceedingly rare...which honestly would not surprise me as everything for the creativision is really :P

Here is a link at dieter koenigs site with a little bit of info and a pic of the unit I mention:

http://www.classic-consoles-center.at/creativision/interesting-facts-about-the-vtech-creativision

 

:)

 

Yeah, I had read that. That makes the CreatiVision even more unique and impressive to me. :)

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I'm not saying coleco did it first, just giving some facts

 

Anyway, we all know how coleco did copy the idea of Telstar, Handheld games etc...

 

So, No ... i would not be surprised if coleco did copy creativision for their console

 

 

:)

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CreatiVision = older brother

 

ColecoVision = middle brother

 

SG-1000 = younger brother

 

 

They are console siblings :P

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I'm not saying coleco did it first, just giving some facts

 

Anyway, we all know how coleco did copy the idea of Telstar, Handheld games etc...

 

So, No ... i would not be surprised if coleco did copy creativision for their console

 

 

:)

 

 

Yeah that's kinda what I'm thinking. Guess we'll never know for sure...

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Yeah that's kinda what I'm thinking. Guess we'll never know for sure...

As far as i respect the intellivision, they are certainly not twins

Obviously not an orphan too ....

 

Well..... Guess someone cheated someone else here. :P

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What about the intellivision then? ;)

 

Well, Intellivision has a different CPU, different video chip and different sound chip. But since it has "vision" at the end of it's name, and has the keypad controllers and somewhat similar console shape/idea; I'd say the Intellivision is one of ColecoVision's second cousins. :P

First cousin would be something like the MSX...

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maybe they are kissing cousins hehe :D

 

...but no intellivision didn't start keypad controllers, I can think of at least Al and Phil Friedman good old APF M-1000, it had keypad controllers and a short stick at the top of the controller very similar to coleco and creativision and it came out in 1978 ;)

god are they shitty controllers though hehe

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I was lurking the web and stumbled onto an old game system that is very rare and little known about:

The VTech CreatiVision.

 

I am posting here about this because this system was released before the ColecoVision and has very similar hardware (same Texas Instruments video & audio chips). The ColecoVision even looks a bit like the CreatiVision. creativision-2eru-460.jpg

 

I had assumed that Coleco was being completely original with their hardware and design (and that maybe Sega somewhat "copied" Coleco with their SG-1000), but now I think otherwise...

 

The VTech CreatiVision was released in 1981 in Hong Kong, one year before the ColecoVision's release date. The Sega SG-1000 was released a year after the ColecoVision, in 1983. All 3 consoles use the same video and audio chips.

 

There is little known about this console-computer system. There were a couple old threads, but I wanted to make a new one here.

 

Some info on the CreatiVision:

 

http://www.classic-consoles-center.at/creativision

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTech_CreatiVision

 

 

Even the games on this system (many released in 1981) look and sound like early ColecoVision games:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fxxfdZqSpQ&feature=endscreen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmKKj8Cyy5k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur0GA1hTiiU

 

 

Do you think Coleco knew about this console from VTech before they started development themselves? What about Sega and their SG-1000?

In any event, I'd like to get my hands on a CreatiVision and a SG-1000 someday.

 

 

Discuss :!:

 

 

 

Ehh, and before CreatiVision there was the APF MP1000.

 

APF_MP-1000_Console.gif

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I believe that eventually became the Intellivision, so that doesn't really count...

Not really, the Intellivision already began development around 1977 and was worked on between APh and Mattel Electronics, Eric Bromley had no involvement AFAIK.

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To make it even more interesting, MADrigal on the Creativision forum last month wrote that he got information about the Korean (or if it was Vietnamese?) Pong clone manufacturer Otron (e.g. various Gamatic models) which might have been the source for engineering the Creativision in 1979. Supposedly it would have been offered to many manufacturers, of which VTech bought it and perhaps finished the design. I don't know if Eric Bromley also had a summer house somewhere in Asia, or like it has been mentioned the availability of chips from TI made it possible for many engineers and manufacturers at the same time to come up with very similar designs. The Otron lead might be false, but worth looking up. Perhaps they made designs both with 6502 and Z80?

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The Creativision is a design descendant of the TI-99/4A. TI were at heart a chip manufacturer and sought as wide a distribution as possible for their designs. The TMS99xx series of chips were very powerful and flexibly for when they were brought out. So the Creativision is a 6502 with accompanying TI-9918 graphics chip.

The Z80 based architecture with the TMS991x chip and initial sound processor started with a design from the two designers (Hong Kong based Americans) of the original Spectravideo. Colecovision were working on their own design (with similar components) but could not get it work (this initial work then become the Adam) so bought the initial prototype design from Spectravideo. They then added their own BIOS, went to work on the early software titles, pushing their console out well before Spectravideo could launch their extensive range of machines and expansion units.

Nishi of Microsoft Japan then took the design and showed it to a large number of Asian manufacturers, including Sega, trying to drum up support for a proposed 8-bit computer standard. Also early converts were Yamaha, who added the much improved sound processor replacing the original TI based sound solution. Sega went ahead quickly using the base design for the SG-1000, followed by the SC-3000 computer line (which actually ended up being released at the same time as the original Spectravideo).

With support gathering from a large number of Japanese manufacturers, Bill Gates came fully onboard to support the MSX standard concept, allowing Spectravideo to work with Microsoft's Basic team merging features of Microsoft Colour Basic and Visual Basic (16-bit). Bill gates announced the MSX standard in advance of the official announcement in Japan.

Some very minor architecture changes (merging the cartridge and expansion ports into the same interface) and changing the bank switching to allow up to 2Mb of memory, made Spectravideo having to re-release their machines with new models that supported the changes.

There was a very well researched (proper interviews with most of the parties) article released by a UK publication recently for the MSX 30th anniversary. I'll have to dig up the URL and repost here for you to have a look at.

All very interesting machines, I am currently collecting as many of the variants as I can find. I have most of them now, including a Creativision, a Sord M5, SC-3000 (& SC-3000H), Einstein all original Spectravideos, many MSX machines. Still missing a Memotech MTX though.

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Ehh, and before CreatiVision there was the APF MP1000.

They look similar, but their design is completely different internally.

Edited by Wickeycolumbus

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Not really, the Intellivision already began development around 1977 and was worked on between APh and Mattel Electronics, Eric Bromley had no involvement AFAIK.

 

I had heard that somewhere. I stand corrected. :) I know the Intellivision uses a General Instrument CPU/video chip & General Instrument sound chip. Apparently, development on the Intv started in 1976........ before the Atari VCS was even released!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APh_Technological_Consulting

That makes it an even more impressive console :!: Seems all "vision" consoles were advanced for their time. :thumbsup:

 

According to this article: http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2010/09/feature_how_colecovision_became_the_king_of_kong

Bromley states that he started the preliminary design & costing for the ColecoVision at least 3 years before it's release in 1982. So the beginning development for the CV was in effect at least by 1979. The only thing that throws me off is the GI sound chip. Maybe it was a typo....or maybe Coleco finally switched to the TI sound chip maybe for cost reasons? Anyone know for sure?

 

 

 

 

Ehh, and before CreatiVision there was the APF MP1000.

 

 

LOL........what's your point? This thread is about the CreatiVision and it's hardware similarities to the ColecoVision.

I looked up the APF MP1000 (info & videos) and it has completely different hardware. The VTech & Coleco keypad controllers resemble each other much more than they do to the APF keypad controllers.

 

 

They look similar, but their design is completely different internally.

 

Yep. Completely different hardware. The APF MP1000 is primitive compared to the CreatiVision and ColecoVision...

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Speaking about "vision" console, do you know the Homevision ?

 

That is a very interresting console. I think it is more or less a Atari 2600 (if i remember well it is compatible with the 2600)... but there was a module to transform it in a "real" computer too with 32k of Ram.

 

homevision.jpg

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