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Bally Astrocade vs Arcadia 2001 vs Odyssey 2

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Can you provide links to the best sources of Arcadia history please?

 

1) Digital Archaeology Arcadia 2001 Website - This site was last updated in about 2003, but Ward Shrake's Arcadia 2001 FAQ is still essential reading. It's not a quick read, but the convoluted history of the Arcadia comes alive here:

 

http://www.orphanedgames.com/DigitalArchaeologyArcadia2001/index.htm

 

2) Arcadia 2001 section of from the Digital Press Collector's Guide - "Director's Cut" of Ward Shrake's console group section, as submitted to the editors of Digital Press for inclusion in their seventh edition of the "Digital Press Collector's Guide." (In Microsoft Word format)

 

http://www.orphanedgames.com/DigitalArchaeologyArcadia2001/texts/dp2001dc.doc

 

3) Emerson Arcadia 2001 Central - The site definitely is the one-stop shop for Arcadia information, ROMs, emulators, and documentation. I feel that the site is difficult to navigate, but it's worth the effort wading through it all.

 

https://amigan.yatho.com/

 

4) Arcadia 2001 Consoles Yahoo Group - Founded April 4, 2002 by Ward Shrake. Curerntly, this group has 127 members. This is a place for "Arcadia 2001" console group fans and researchers to meet, hang out and discuss the console, its game library, and/or any of the Arcadia 2001's silicon ancestors, including the "Interton VC-4000" console group and/or the Signetics "Instructor 50" machine. "Digital Archaeology" and the global sharing of collective information is one of our goals, but having fun is definitely approved. The group is restricted, so you can't post or read the messages until you join the group. Today I asked the moderator if he can change the settings so that the group's thousands of messages can be read by anyone (like the Astrocade's Bally Alley Yahoo group).

 

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/arcadia2001consoles/info

 

I hope that helps you find your way around the world of the Arcadia family.

 

Adam

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1) Digital Archaeology Arcadia 2001 Website - This site was last updated in about 2003, but Ward Shrake's Arcadia 2001 FAQ is still essential reading. It's not a quick read, but the convoluted history of the Arcadia comes alive here:

 

http://www.orphanedgames.com/DigitalArchaeologyArcadia2001/index.htm

 

2) Arcadia 2001 section of from the Digital Press Collector's Guide - "Director's Cut" of Ward Shrake's console group section, as submitted to the editors of Digital Press for inclusion in their seventh edition of the "Digital Press Collector's Guide." (In Microsoft Word format)

 

http://www.orphanedgames.com/DigitalArchaeologyArcadia2001/texts/dp2001dc.doc

 

3) Emerson Arcadia 2001 Central - The site definitely is the one-stop shop for Arcadia information, ROMs, emulators, and documentation. I feel that the site is difficult to navigate, but it's worth the effort wading through it all.

 

https://amigan.yatho.com/

 

4) Arcadia 2001 Consoles Yahoo Group - Founded April 4, 2002 by Ward Shrake. Curerntly, this group has 127 members. This is a place for "Arcadia 2001" console group fans and researchers to meet, hang out and discuss the console, its game library, and/or any of the Arcadia 2001's silicon ancestors, including the "Interton VC-4000" console group and/or the Signetics "Instructor 50" machine. "Digital Archaeology" and the global sharing of collective information is one of our goals, but having fun is definitely approved. The group is restricted, so you can't post or read the messages until you join the group. Today I asked the moderator if he can change the settings so that the group's thousands of messages can be read by anyone (like the Astrocade's Bally Alley Yahoo group).

 

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/arcadia2001consoles/info

 

I hope that helps you find your way around the world of the Arcadia family.

 

Adam

 

Thanks Adam.

 

Wasn't Phillips/Magnavox involved in the development of this bad boy?

 

Lloyd

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You are the one that should write a book. :)

 

Quick question. How many docs do you have on Atsrocade bankruptcy? Just the one you link to?

 

Nope, it's not going to be me that writes a book about the Astrocade. I'd like to read an in-depth history of the Astrocade, but I'm not going to write it. If anyone plans to write about the Astrocade's history, then I have plenty of offline material (that has been scanned) that I can send to them. Heck, I'm sure I have more offline Astrocade-related material then I have material that's online at BallyAlley.com.

 

I'm not sure which link of the Astrocade bankruptcy that your referring to in you post here. I'm pretty sure that there are several of them on BallyAlley.com. Please, point me to what you've found, and I'll show you a few more. If I have any offline documents about the bankruptcy (which is possible), then I'll post them to BallyAlley.com for you. I might not get a chance to post here again for a day or two. I'd love to see someone translate the lawyerese in those documents into English that I layman can understand.

 

What's your interest in the bankruptcy of Astrocade, Inc.? Are you also investigating the transfer of the Bally Arcade from Bally in about 1980?

 

Adam

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So...

 

Of all consoles Astrocade has caught my interest the most. I have been doing research when time premits for a long time. The cast of characters is rather funny and how the company was managed.

 

I fully understand the bankruptcy docs. In fact the Astrocade bankruprtcy was mentioned in a law book as a case study. :)

 

Did you know one of the big investors in Astrocade ended up in federal prsion for a pump and dump stock scheme? I believe he got out a few years ago.

 

We'll talk when you get back on the board.

 

lloyd

Edited by retroeight

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Are you also investigating the transfer of the Bally Arcade

 

 

 

What's your interest in the bankruptcy of Astrocade, Inc.? Are you also investigating the transfer of the Bally Arcade from Bally in about 1980?

 

Adam

 

from Bally in about 1980?

 

Adam

 

Yes on transfer. Do you have any more offline info about that?

 

lloyd

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Wasn't Phillips/Magnavox involved in the development of this bad boy [the Emerson Arcadia]?

 

I wish that I knew the development history of the Arcadia. Certainly the Emerson's release of the Arcadia console is not the first release of this system worldwide. When you read Ward's FAQ and his section of the DP Guide (linked above), then you'll begin to get an idea of just how clouded in mystery the development of the Arcadia family is to those who are interested in such things. Partially, I think that this is because it was possibly developed by U.A. Limited in Taiwan, or maybe an initial version was created by Phillips. Either way, the system was probably not created in an English-speaking country, so the details to English speaking researchers are limited. Plus, a kind-of-precursor to the Arcadia, the non-compatible VC-4000, adds to the murkiness of the where-did-it-come-from situation.

 

If the development of the Arcadia family is interesting to you, then read Ward's two documents (the FAQ and the DP Guide section) and then post your questions to the Arcadia 2001 group after you get approved.

 

Adam

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Yes on transfer. Do you have any more offline info about that?

 

Please send a message about this topic to me via AtariAge or to my email address. We'll discuss this in private as not to clutter this thread.

 

Adam

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However, the Arcadia and, say, the Colecovision had two different markets.

Gamester81 writes that the Arcadia 2001 was released in May 1981 at $199, while other sources claim it wasn't released until 1982 and that the Colecovision was released in August 1982 - only a few months after the Arcadia - at $175. Furthermore Gamester81 states that the Arcadia was dumped to $99 after one year, so quite possibly Emerson did intend it to compete among the top consoles at the time but misjudged both the competition and what was coming around the corner?

 

The Arcadia's eight colors are black, white, red, green, blue, yellow, cyan and purple. In comparison, the Vic-20 does have sixteen colors, but many of the colors are very similar to each other. The Vic's eight "main" colors are white, red, cyan, purple, green, blue, yellow and orange. The other eight colors on the Vic-20 are light orange, light red, light cyan, light purple, light green, light blue, and light yellow. So, the comparison between the Vic-20 and the Arcadia 2001 is pretty accurate, at least color-wise. The Astrocade's color palette is 256, but (under normal circumstances) there are strict restrictions of four colors per the left/round color boundary. For this reason, many Astrocade games have about six colors on screen at once. Sure, there are exceptions, but these more-colorful games were released later.

Close, but the VIC-20 has black, white, red, cyan, purple, green, blue and yellow among its primary colours while you find orange, light orange, light red, light cyan, light purple, light blue and light yellow among its secondary colours which are only useful for backgrounds and auxillary colour for multicoloured graphics, i.e. "hires" foreground is always limited to the first eight, which is also what you find on nearly every other system of the time. If you consider a RGB palette with only 0 and 1 for each component, those are the colours you get.

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Wasn't Phillips/Magnavox involved in the development of this bad boy?

 

I believe it has been discussed elsewhere, that Philips owned Signetics in the mid 70's so in some sense they had at least ownership interests in the chipset maker. I also posted a link to a Swedish TV reportage from Philips in Eindhoven (?), late 70's where they demoed the Interton, apparently before the Odyssey^2 was in consideration or otherwise they probably would've demoed that one when TV was making a visit.

 

So in that respect, you could say the comparison in this thread is between two different consoles with Philips ownership interests, and one console (Bally) that Philips probably had nothing to do with.

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I believe it has been discussed elsewhere, that Philips owned Signetics in the mid 70's so in some sense they had at least ownership interests in the chipset maker. I also posted a link to a Swedish TV reportage from Philips in Eindhoven (?), late 70's where they demoed the Interton, apparently before the Odyssey^2 was in consideration or otherwise they probably would've demoed that one when TV was making a visit.

 

So in that respect, you could say the comparison in this thread is between two different consoles with Philips ownership interests, and one console (Bally) that Philips probably had nothing to do with.

 

I believe that I saw somewhere that Magnavox/Phillips was behind this. Here is what "bugs" me a little. True Value hardware stores use the be big on the O2 back in the day. They had almost all new games etc etc. they had hardly any Atari games. So one day I wan in another town at a True Value and saw the Emerson Arcadia with all the games. This True Value didn't even have Atari games at all. Seems like Magnavox had a marketing deal with True Value. I swear, True Value hardware stores were the only places you could buy an Arcadia.

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Gamester81 writes that the Arcadia 2001 was released in May 1981 at $199, while other sources claim it wasn't released until 1982 and that the Colecovision was released in August 1982 - only a few months after the Arcadia - at $175. Furthermore Gamester81 states that the Arcadia was dumped to $99 after one year, so quite possibly Emerson did intend it to compete among the top consoles at the time but misjudged both the competition and what was coming around the corner?

 

 

 

Gamester81 writes that the Arcadia 2001 was released in May 1981 at $199, while other sources claim it wasn't released until 1982 and that the Colecovision was released in August 1982 - only a few months after the Arcadia - at $175. Furthermore Gamester81 states that the Arcadia was dumped to $99 after one year, so quite possibly Emerson did intend it to compete among the top consoles at the time but misjudged both the competition and what was coming around the corner?

 

Close, but the VIC-20 has black, white, red, cyan, purple, green, blue and yellow among its primary colours while you find orange, light orange, light red, light cyan, light purple, light blue and light yellow among its secondary colours which are only useful for backgrounds and auxillary colour for multicoloured graphics, i.e. "hires" foreground is always limited to the first eight, which is also what you find on nearly every other system of the time. If you consider a RGB palette with only 0 and 1 for each component, those are the colours you get.

 

Who is gamester81? I would like to see this.

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Gamester81 writes that the Arcadia 2001 was released in May 1981 at $199, while other sources claim it wasn't released until 1982 and that the Colecovision was released in August 1982 - only a few months after the Arcadia - at $175. Furthermore Gamester81 states that the Arcadia was dumped to $99 after one year, so quite possibly Emerson did intend it to compete among the top consoles at the time but misjudged both the competition and what was coming around the corner?

 

 

 

I "believe" that 3/08/1982 is when the Arcadia 2001 was available for sale.

 

What is interesting is that it looks like in 1990 Emerson had possible ambitions to use that name in computer software.

 

lloyd

Edited by retroeight

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I referred to this particular page, but it would appear that all the other links posted have more in depth knowledge about the system than he has obtained.

http://gamester81.com/history-of-consoles-arcadia-2001-1982/

 

I have no idea about the Magnavox/True Value connection, but stranger things have happened than one company with ownership interests both in a hardware developer and a chain of stores have influenced the two to meet, if nothing else to recoup invested money. With a lot of competition on the video games market, the Arcadia 2001 might as well have ended up as mail order only if not someone made sure that a chain of stores would pick it up.

 

While it is awfully off-topic for this thread, it reminds me about the VTech Creativision (essentially a Colecovision with a 6502 instead of Z80) that was displayed on Winter CES 1983 and received notions and often very positive writeup from up to 7 different magazines like Byte, COMPUTE!, Creative Computing, Electronic Fun with Computer & Games, InfoWorld, Popular Mechanics and Radio-Electronics. Yet it seems to never have been introduced for sale, or in very small quantities and perhaps mail order only. Outside of Australia (Dick Smith) and some European countries it is barely heard of anyway, and probably it was released too late in a market heading for a crash, but the lack of a deal with a strong chain of stores also didn't help its potential sales.

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While it is awfully off-topic for this thread, it reminds me about the VTech Creativision (essentially a Colecovision with a 6502 instead of Z80) that was displayed on Winter CES 1983 and received notions and often very positive writeup from up to 7 different magazines like Byte, COMPUTE!, Creative Computing, Electronic Fun with Computer & Games, InfoWorld, Popular Mechanics and Radio-Electronics. Yet it seems to never have been introduced for sale, or in very small quantities and perhaps mail order only. Outside of Australia (Dick Smith) and some European countries it is barely heard of anyway, and probably it was released too late in a market heading for a crash, but the lack of a deal with a strong chain of stores also didn't help its potential sales.

 

I collect for the Creativision, and, while a neat concept - in fact it's a better realization in many ways of a console/computer hybrid than most of what came before it - it would have gone nowhere had it been released in North America. It just didn't have the games. It would have been in the same boat as the Arcadia 2001, with no "star power" to its game line-up and not enough technical horsepower to wow in other ways versus the top two power systems at the time (ColecoVision and Atari 5200). Really, Atari, Coleco, and Mattel had most of the best available licenses locked up.

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I collect for the Creativision, and, while a neat concept - in fact it's a better realization in many ways of a console/computer hybrid than most of what came before it - it would have gone nowhere had it been released in North America. It just didn't have the games.

 

I like how its Locomotion clone is called Mouse Puzzle, while its Burger Time clone is called Locomotive. If it had had a Mousetrap clone called Burger Maze, life would have been complete.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ_6DUaiwcM&index=1&list=PLC5PJIGl6fUnp4XOPv3duZQARYK7bt5rF

Edited by ZylonBane
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I fully understand the bankruptcy docs. In fact the Astrocade bankruprtcy was mentioned in a law book as a case study. :)

Which law book...? It sure would be cool to add that case study to BallyAlley.com.

 

Here are the only bankruptcy documents on BallyAlley.com:

 

1) Astrocade Bankruptcy - This is the bankruptcy paperwork that Astrocade, Inc. filed in February 1984. (63 Pages). This is a pdf.

 

http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/Astrocade_Inc/pdf/Astrocade_Bankruptcy.pdf

 

2) "General History and Background of Astrocade, Inc." (February 10, 1984.) - This general history of Astrocade, Inc. is an excerpt from the Astrocade, Inc. bankruptcy plans filed on February 10, 1984 in Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. The case number is 2-82-04677. This is a text file.

 

http://www.ballyalley.com/ballyalley/articles/General_History_and_Background_of_Astrocade_Inc.txt

 

I thought I had much more information about the Astrocade bankruptcy offline, but I only found two documents (which I think I found online someplace, but I can't remember where). I'm attaching the documents here, with the overview descriptions (which I don't understand) taken from each document:

 

1) Astrocade Bankruptcy, June 2, 1983 (Bankruptcy No. 2-82-04677) - Overview: The debtor had offices in Ohio and California, and the creditors filed financing statements with the Secretary of State for both states. The debtor closed the California office in December, 1982 and filed for bankruptcy later that month. In January, 1983, the creditors requested relief from the automatic stay, and the debtor filed an application for authority to use cash collateral. In response to the creditors' demands for adequate protection, the debtor challenged the validity of their security interests. The court continued the hearing on the issues, and the creditors then filed financing statements with the Franklin County Recorder in Ohio in February, 1983 and March, 1983, respectively. After the second hearing, the court ordered that the participation of the creditors in the debtor's future uses of cash collateral would be required. The court held that (1) while the California office was open, it was the debtor's chief executive office and "location"; and (2) the creditors properly perfected their security interests in Ohio within the deadline of four months after the California office closed, pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1309.03©(5) and Calif. Com. Code § 9103(3)(e).

 

Astrocade bankruptcy 1983.PDF

 

2) Astrocade Bankruptcy, December 3, 1987, Decided, December 4, 1987, Filed (Bankruptcy No. 2-82-04677) - Overview: The court-appointed trustee for a debtor in a Chapter 11 case filed an adversary proceeding to recover from two business entities and two individuals, residents of South Carolina, the amount of their account with the debtor. The court denied the residents' motions to dismiss for lack of personal and subject matter jurisdiction, and also denied their motion to transfer the action to another district. The court held that it had both personal and subject matter jurisdiction over the South Carolina residents. The court held that the interest of justice would not be better served by transfer of the case to a South Carolina forum. The court held that although it lacked jurisdiction over the trustee's cause of action as a core proceeding within 28 U.S.C.S. § 157(b), the case was a related proceeding over which it possessed subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that the South Carolina residents were entitled to a jury trial as to the trustee's claims. The court noted that under the Seventh Amendment and in a nonbankruptcy court, the residents would be entitled to a trial by jury. Further, a request for a jury was timely demanded pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9015(b)(1).

 

Astrocade bankruptcy 1987.PDF

 

I'm very interested to know what you make of these bankruptcy documents.

 

Did you know one of the big investors in Astrocade ended up in federal prsion for a pump and dump stock scheme? I believe he got out a few years ago.

 

No, I never heard that the investors in Astrocade ended up in prison. What is a "pump and dump stock scheme?" Is that the sort of thing that happened with the discount store Crazy Eddies back in the, I think, 1980s?

 

If you're a member of the Astrocade Yahoo group, then we should move this discussion over there; there would be plenty of people who would be very interested in any of these newly revealed facts.

 

Adam

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First off-- great post! I really enjoyed reading your review of this Arcadia 2001. It's was well thought-out and it covered many of the primary bases that people want to hear about when they're reading a console review. It was a treat to read it. In many ways, your thoughts mirror many of my own ideas about this little-regarded console. I do have a few points I wanted to extend upon.

Thank you!

 

The coiled cords are a good idea, but you have to be right next to the Arcadia when you're playing the games. The controller cords, at best, only reach about two feet from the back of the system. I've been playing Cat Trax lately, and the shortness of the controller cords has been maddeningly annoying to me!

I agree that the coiled controller cords make sense, to the extent that they help keep the console relatively compact. The trouble--speaking to your point--is that the console doesn't really have enough weight to it to keep it from moving around on you if you try to stretch the cord further than a couple of feet.

 

Code sharing was and is common. It only makes sense to share code among programmers. If it was good enough for Activision, then it surely was good enough for programmers of the Arcadia family.

True enough, but in the case of the Arcadia it gave me the impression that several of these games must have been programmed at roughly the same time, and as quickly and cheaply as possible. Another example: Cat Trax and Escape seem to share some slightly modified enemy characters.

 

I never would have thought of a Vic-20/Aquarius comparison, but this is right on the mark!

That's what the text style and redefineable characters made me think of. Some of the color palette, too, I guess.

 

Yes, I agree, the Arcadia's controllers are basically near-clones of the Intellision layout. However, keep in mind, that this was hardly unique. In 1982, the same year the Arcadia was released in the U.S., the Atari 5200 had a similar controller layout as the Intellivision. Also, something that isn't too obvious with the Arcadia controller is that the joystick is analog, and not digital-- which makes it kind of similar to the Atari 5200 controller.

Well, keypads weren't unique--if fact, with the Interton, Studio II, APF, Intellivision, Atari 5200, Coleco, Creativision, and Arcadia, there are probably as least as many '70s/'80s consoles with keypad controllers as without--but that's not what I was commenting on. Rather, that the Arcadia controller looks and feels strikingly similar to the Intellivision controller specifically.

 

The Arcadia controller is analog? Interesting, I would have guessed they were digital and used a non-tactile circuit design similar to the Odyssey 2 joystick or Intellivision disc. Were the games just coded to respond in 4/8 directions then? (All the ones I've played so far control this way.)

 

There's no denying that the Arcadia's boxes and manuals are made on-the-cheap. It's also notable that the long-style cartridges are identical the APF MP1000 cartridges (which were released, originally in 1978). Also, the Arcadia 2001 and the APF also share the bottom molding of the console itself. Ward Shrake has suggested that the original APF injection molds for the console's housing were purchased and then re-purposed with the Arcadia.

I never knew APF cartridges came in two sizes. I've only ever seen the--I guess, short?--cartridges.

 

The Emerson Arcadia's library of games is only 22 games, but many more (as you mentioned) were released overseas. I think the Arcadia family of consoles was aimed at people who wanted an inexpensive game system that could play games. Any games. And that's exactly what the Arcadia delivers: many games which are look-a-likes or work-a-likes of many popular games on other systems.

 

My basic impression of the Arcadia is that it's the system you played when you went to your cousin's house in the boonies for a Christmas get-together or something, and even though you knew it sucked compared to your Atari 5200 or Nintendo, you still liked it because at least it was a video game, and it was what they had. And it let you hide out downstairs in the rumpus room away from your weird relatives. :-D

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The Arcadia controller is analog? Interesting, I would have guessed they were digital and used a non-tactile circuit design similar to the Odyssey 2 joystick or Intellivision disc. Were the games just coded to respond in 4/8 directions then? (All the ones I've played so far control this way.)

Yes, as far as I can tell, the Arcadia's controllers act like a 4/8 direction joystick. I don't think that any of them take advantage of the analog movement, which is a shame, as there is a breakout style game for the Arcadia that really could have used it.

 

Since we're talking about the APF a little bit too, it's interesting to note that that joystick is a four-way only controller. In fact, you physically can not move the joystick in a diagonal direction.

 

I never knew APF cartridges came in two sizes. I've only ever seen the--I guess, short?--cartridges.

Only one game on the APF came in the long-style case. That game is also the rarest on the system: Space Destroyers, a clone of Space Invaders. Space Destroyers is probably the closest home port of Space Invaders of its era. That being said, I think that the 2600 version of Space Invaders, with its crazy amount of options, is more fun than even the arcade version of the game.

 

Here are the APF cartridges in both the long and short style:

 

post-4925-0-18784500-1507665908.jpg

 

The Arcadia carts are pretty-much identical to these APF cartridge.

 

My basic impression of the Arcadia is that it's the system [that you] still liked it because at least it was a video game, and it was what [your family] had.

 

Yes, I agree, you play and enjoy whichever videogame system that you have available. If it was 1997, then you might envy your cousins who are playing Mario 64 on their N64, but you'd surely play the Arcadia if that's all you had back at home. Probably though, you'd cry the whole time. Nah, if your only console in 1997 was the Emerson Arcadia 2001, then you certainly were crying!

 

Adam

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Several years back we established definitively that the APF M/MP1000 molds somehow made it over the Arcadia 2001 guys. The top of the APF M/MP1000 console is nearly identical to that of the Arcadia 2001 (accounting for minor modifications), and the short/long cartridges are exactly the same as the standard/Space Destroyers cartridges on the APF. In the case of Space Destroyers, the extra space was required for the larger board with extra RAM, etc. I don't believe there was any logic to why the Arcadia 2001 class of systems used the short or long cartridge. It was probably down to what was available (maybe these were initially left-over APF shells?).

 

In terms of the story of how/when the molds were acquired, that we don't know.

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Rather, that the Arcadia controller looks and feels strikingly similar to the Intellivision controller specifically.

Don't forget the Bandai Super Vision 8000 which sometimes is mistaken for an Intellivision knock off, but is a completely different console that even predates the Intellivision by some time. It gets particularly interesting if you consider that Emerson licensed the Arcadia 2001 in Japan to .. Bandai a couple years later.

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Don't forget the Bandai Super Vision 8000 which sometimes is mistaken for an Intellivision knock off, but is a completely different console that even predates the Intellivision by some time. It gets particularly interesting if you consider that Emerson licensed the Arcadia 2001 in Japan to .. Bandai a couple years later.

Did Emerson license it, though, or did Bandai get the license from whoever Emerson got it from (presumably UA, Ltd.)?

 

As widespread as the Arcadia platform was, it's interesting that the Emerson version also seems to have come out in Australia.

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Don't forget the Bandai Super Vision 8000 which sometimes is mistaken for an Intellivision knock off, but is a completely different console that even predates the Intellivision by some time.

 

I had never even heard of this system before now. Thanks for pointing it out. I just watched a short video that has the console and uses a Space Invaders-type game to show-off the console. Check it out:

 

 

There are so many consoles in the world. I wonder, has anyone ever tried to come up with a semi-definitive number of consoles released over the years. That seems like an impossible task.

 

Adam

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Did Emerson license it, though, or did Bandai get the license from whoever Emerson got it from (presumably UA, Ltd.)?

I think that before anyone realized that there was an entire family of "Emerson" systems, it was presumed that Emerson licensed their technology to Bandai. Now I think that's impossible, as Emerson (probably?) was just a licensee, not a licenser... but until someone unravels this weird tale of UA Limited's full involvement, as the classic Tootsie Pop commercial told us all so many years ago, "The world may never know."

 

As widespread as the Arcadia platform was, it's interesting that the Emerson version also seems to have come out in Australia.

 

I've read speculation on the Arcadia Yahoo group forum that Monaco Leisure, in New Zeland, released the very first "Emerson" console (even before Emerson) in 1982 as the Tunix Home Arcade. Check out the Tunix system:

 

post-4925-0-77182300-1507671868.jpg

 

I'm not sure of the original source of this Tunex-was-first information, but the Tunex and Emerson consoles are nearly identical (except for a few markings). Plus, I think that they use the same box art.

 

This thread is a very interesting and fun read. Thanks to "Jackel192" from starting it simply by asking, "Bally Astrocade vs Arcadia 2001 vs Odyssey 2: Graphics, Games (were they good or not, counting ports, if any), sound quality and durability." Sometimes even simplest questions can lead to the most entertaining threads.

 

Adam

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As for a definitive list of all consoles, clones and variations ever released, I believe such attempts have been made elsewhere but there always tends to be a few missing. I spotted the Super Vision a couple of years ago, which besides inferior graphics seems rather nice with a Z80 and AY sound IIRC. Had it come with a VDP, it would've been an early precursor to the entire Colecovision/Sord/Spectravideo/MSX/whatever genre of systems, but if it actually predated the Intellivision, it is more or less technically impossible for it to have a TI VDP as the 99/4 kind of was contemporary with the Bandai, again IIRC without a detail study of dates.

 

Edit: Hm, the Super Vision was debuted in September 1979, the TI-99/4 in October 1979 and the Intellivision was test marketed in December 1979. Apparently General Instruments sold their AY chips to just about anyone, not dedicated for the upcoming Intellivision, but Texas Instruments must've begun to sell their chips to 3rd party at a later time, one of the mysteries I've tried to hunt down for some time when and how. We know that the Creativision was debuted sometime in 1981 featuring a 6502 and the TI chips, supposedly a Hong Kong/Taiwanese/Korean reference design which was available in both 6502 and Z80 flavors.

Edited by carlsson

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Several years back we established definitively that the APF M/MP1000 molds somehow made it over the Arcadia 2001 guys. [...]

 

As usual, Bill is right. Ward Shrake posted to the Arcadia forums in 2008 about this. Since you can only read those messages and view the pictures if you're a member, I'm "freeing" some of the information and pictures from the Yahoo groups. If you want the full story, then you'll want to read many of the posting from the end of February 2008, but if you just want an overall general idea of the moldings for the APF and Emerson, then this should get you off to a good start.

 

Adam

 

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Confirmed! APF upper half mates perfectly with Tele-Fever

Arcadia2001consoles: Message #2165

February 26, 2008

By Ward Shrake

 

[This is] a photo of an APF MP-1000 machine's upper console half attached to the lower section of a Tele-Fever.

 

post-4925-0-09225700-1507673290.jpg

 

[Photo Description: Photo showing an upper housing half of an APF MP-1000, with the lower housing half from a Tele-Fever console. (A revised, cooler-looking, later version of the Arcadia 2001 console.)]

 

This proves (at least to me) that we have three generations of one set of mold tools: the first was made for use with the APF system (1978); the second's a revised version of that, in a form we fans of obscure consoles know as the Arcadia 2001 or the Leisure-Vision or whatever; with a third set of mold tooling changes taking place when the Arcadia 2001's makers made the Tele-Fever game console in or around 1983. If nothing else, it's a graphic reminder of how rapidly the home gaming market evolved, between 1978 and 1983.

 

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The Relationship between APF and the Arcadia

February 28, 2008

By Ward Shrake

arcadia2001consoles: message #2167

 

"[...] One other bit of news, in relation to the relationship between the APF's plastic mold tooling, and the Arcadia 2001 carts / console: it made no sense to me before, so I had ignored it, but inside the early (sliding door) version of the long style of Arcadia carts, there are the letters "MPA10" stamped inside, on both halves of the cart case. I saw that exact series of letters used, in the old FAQ for the APF -- it apparently was a name for the Imagination Machine (or some APF thing). [...]"

 

post-4925-0-08141900-1507673291.jpg

 

[Photo Description: A photographic demonstration that 2001 carts insert just fine, into an APF MP-1000 console.]

 

post-4925-0-12640500-1507673292.jpg

 

[Photo Description: Side-by-side comparison of "short cart" innards, across two different old gaming systems. (The Arcadia's makers built their console around pre-existing cart cases, once made for APF's machine, so each cart's pin spacing and board outline are alike.)]

 

post-4925-0-15687100-1507673293.jpg

[Photo Description: Side-by-side comparison of "short cart" innards, across two different old gaming systems. (The Arcadia's makers built their console around pre-existing cart cases, once made for APF's machine, so each cart's pin spacing and board outline are alike.)]

 

--------------------

 

I know that few people really care about second-tier or third-tier consoles, let alone a console as old as the Arcadia family, but I'm still very glad that Ward did this research nearly ten years ago. It was fun to see him unearthing this forgotten bit of history while it was happening.

 

For those who haven't seen a Tele-Fever console, then check out the comparison between an Emerson unit and the sexy Tele-Fever.

 

post-4925-0-37593100-1507673952.jpg

 

In the above photo, the joysticks aren't inserted into the disc on the controllers. Here is what the Tele-Fever looks like when it's setup with the joysticks (this picture also gives a better sense of scale):

 

post-4925-0-46047700-1507673953.jpg

 

The system looks incredibly cool, but having handled Ward's system, I can verify that it seems as cheaply made as the Emerson Arcadia. Well, maybe not that cheap!

 

Adam

 

 

 

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