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

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It looks cool, a bit like a Compumate, doesn't it? Didn't Homevision have those reprogrammable cartridges that just happened to be Atari 2600 compatible and that just happened to be possible to load with original Atari ROM dumps instead of the meager selection of Homevision's own releases?

 

As for the APF MP1000, I think it rather is the concept than the actual hardware that makes people speak of it next to similar machines like e.g. the CreatiVision. For that matter, there is the Basic extension for Odyssey^2 too, but I'm not familiar enough with the system to know what you can do with it.

 

Personally, I still think Texas Instruments started to offer bundles at discounted price: order both TMS9918 and 9919 (renamed SN76489) to get 25% off or something like that. Whether they are particularly easy to interface, more so than other chips (e.g. GI AY-3-8910), I have not a clue but I seem to recall reading something on the subject before, comparing the AY and SN from an engineering point of view. It might also have been GI cutting off Coleco to start with, not being keen to have too many competing customers but that is also my personal speculation. Apart from Bandai's SuperVision 8000 and Mattel's (Radofin?) Intellivision, which other early (pre-1982) video games or consoles used an AY sound chip? Wikipedia says the first generation Hummingbird sound cards for Apple ][ were designed in 1981, but wouldn't have been a worry for GI neither to market sector nor demand.

Edited by carlsson

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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?

 

Yeah see that's the thing, Colecovision were working on their own design for quite a while and it probably did use the GI sound chip (so probably both stories are right), but they were running out of time, so it was easier to get the working model off Spectravideo (which was their early design before through Nishi's contacts in Japan they then replaced the sound chip with the Yamaha one). It also probably goes a long way towards why the Coleco Bios has so many rough edges i.e. it was rushed.

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Here I am - I'm the webmaster of the CreatiVEmu website - I was pointed here by Carlsson and Mobsie.

 

I recently read an interesting story from a friend. He told me that the CreatiVision was possibly designed around 1977 by Otron (or Oltron), a Korean manufacturer of "pong-style" videogames.

 

The "project" was offered to Coleco, which refused. Then it was offered to VTech, which bought it, completed the development and released it as "CreatiVision".

 

But what you forget to say is that:

 

1. CreatiVision was not meant to be a "console with a strangekeyboard". It was designed to be a real home computer! You can remove the left and right panels from the main unit, and you'll find out that:

2. on the left side there's a specific connector to attach the custom tape recorder/player

3. on the right side the cartridge slot is actually an expansion port, in which you could attach the I/O module (released), the RAM expansion (unreleased), the modem (unreleased), the floppy disk drive (unreleased) and the "Colecovision converter" (unreleased for the Creativision -> released for it's successor, the Laser 2001 computer)

4. you could attach a Centronics printer to the I/O module, and actually use it to print listings from the BASIC interpreter

5. the BASIC interpreter (released in 4 variants) is a standanole cartridge, sold separately with its 140-pages manual

 

You can find whatever information you want on the CreatiVEmu website. There's a nice "history" in English, a few tutorials, and a complete database of scans of flyers, game manuals, game covers, prototypes, articles, books etc. Around 1 Gb of freely downloadable data :-)

 

You're welcome there :-)

 

PS: I have a few units to get rid of, including an ultra rare variant: the Hanimex Rameses. I also have books, boxed games, rare items, etc. Contact me via the website. I'll do anything I can to help. :-)

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Yeah see that's the thing, Colecovision were working on their own design for quite a while and it probably did use the GI sound chip (so probably both stories are right), but they were running out of time, so it was easier to get the working model off Spectravideo (which was their early design before through Nishi's contacts in Japan they then replaced the sound chip with the Yamaha one). It also probably goes a long way towards why the Coleco Bios has so many rough edges i.e. it was rushed.

Hm, don't all MSX computers have a GI AY-3-891x sound chip? They might been license manufactured by Yamaha though, but I thought the improved YM chips found their way into machines later on, like the Atari ST. I saw something on Wikipedia that Yamaha's AY chip had small improvements over GI's, perhaps that is why it is mentioned explicitely?

 

I still wonder about the Sord M5, if they also copied Spectravideo's design or managed to get a working design on their own. Surely there would be some reference design on how to interface the VDP and PSG chips with different CPUs? I know the VDP technical programmers reference guide or what it is called contains code examples for TMS9900, Z80, 6502 and 8088 if I'm not completely wrong but it may have been published years later than the era we are discussing.

 

Perhaps if one goes through old computing magazines like Byte, InfoWorld and so on, there will be technical articles about when TI began to offer custom chips to manufacturers, although those magazines likely will not have many articles on video games. I suppose in terms of developing new systems, it is not too uncommon to change components in the middle of development - see for example the above mentioned Atari ST that supposedly started off based on a National NS32016 or perhaps 32032 CPU, but shifted to a 68000 before it was finished.

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Yeah see that's the thing, Colecovision were working on their own design for quite a while and it probably did use the GI sound chip (so probably both stories are right), but they were running out of time, so it was easier to get the working model off Spectravideo (which was their early design before through Nishi's contacts in Japan they then replaced the sound chip with the Yamaha one). It also probably goes a long way towards why the Coleco Bios has so many rough edges i.e. it was rushed.

 

I guess it wasn't uncommon for companies to change components (as carlsson has said) in the middle of development.

I'm just guessing that Coleco finally switched over to the TI audio chip due to availability/cost reasons. The TI and GI audio chips are similar with their 3 square wave + 1 noise channels. But I THINK the GI audio chip was a little more "flexible" than the TI audio chip, so it probably cost a little more. [Anyone please correct me if I'm wrong] :?:

 

 

@ MADrigal -

 

Thanks for the info post! :)

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Just picked up a creativision and a bunch of carts this weekend at the Portland retro expo. Now I just need to get it working. Might do a video mid to get around the pal issue

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evg2000: you'll find a tutorial about adding the "composite video mod" to your unit on the creativemu website.

and just in case your power supply is broken, there's an useful thread on the creativemu forum, with diagrams and layout to help you build a new (and cheap) one.

Edited by MADrigal
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@evg2000: would you mind listing the carts you got? Did they come complete with manuals, boxes and overlays?

Why I'm asking: I'm still trying to get a few pieces of missing information.

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@MADrigal, here are pics of what I got. Unfortunately no docs, some overlays that aren't in great shape, and the carts. I figure I was lucky to find this in the US so I'm very happy with what I got, now I just have to hope it works. Wish it would of had police jump. I see the multicart is no longer in production, bummer.

 

 

crv.jpgcrvol.jpg

crvcarts.jpg

Edited by evg2000

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the multicart sold out in 2008.

we still have carts n. 1 and 100 to sell sometime soon. i keep on planning to put them on auction on ebay, but then something happens which keeps me away from doing so.

about police jump: i have a few duplicates to sell/get rid of - both boxed and loose.

they're all "second editions" with the "white tall bad dude" as opposed to the "first edition" in which the bad dude was brown.

and i also have a rubber keyboard (loose) and a tape module (loose), a basic cart with manual and a bunch of other cartridges.

Edited by MADrigal

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I stumbled upon your diagram for creating a power supply, so I will need to give that a try. The PS and converter I tried didn't seem to work. Also need to open it up and hook up the av mod to test it.

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According to the son of John McNett, Director of preliminary Design at Coleco Industries in the 70s

 

This would be the very first ''ColecoVision' prototype Coleco sold to Mattel

post-11933-0-72573300-1381269710_thumb.png

Edited by retroillucid
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On 10/8/2013 at 4:02 PM, retroillucid said:

According to the son of John McNett, Director of preliminary Design at Coleco Industries in the 70s

 

This would be the very first ''ColecoVision' prototype Coleco sold to Mattel

post-11933-0-72573300-1381269710_thumb.png

That's an incredibly rare photo - thanks for sharing.

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I remember there were a series of 3-4 related European game console/computer release in 1976-1977 with the keypad with joystick design. Can't remember the names now. I think I posted about them somewhere on the AA forum. Likely a different hardware setup, but not sure.

 

Also, the Zilog Z80 (released 1976) could run any program written for the Intel 8080 of ancient IBM fame, released in 1974.

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