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ECS extra controller ports

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Was just wondering ,  I know the 2 ports on the ECS allow you to plug either keyboards into it or also you can plug 2 extra controllers, either Sears or Inty 2 into them.

 

Was the ECS originally designed for that purpose, to add 2 extra controller ports or was it just a side extra benefit of the ports necessary for the keyboards?

Did Mattel envision using 2 extra controllers in games for 4 player games and if so, why not release any 4 player games at the time? You'd have thought they'd release at least 1. Plus, they didn't sell extra controllers. Well, they did but they were to replace your faulty or broken controllers rather than as extra controllers for the ECS.  In Europe you couldn't buy replacement controllers as we didn't have the Sears or Inty 2 models. 

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Posted (edited)

It's probably a biproduct of the fact that the additional sound chip provides two inputs for controllers.  According to intellivisionlives.com two 4-player sports games went into development; Super NASL Soccer and Doubles Tennis.  

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20181219003152/http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/games/credits/ecs.shtml#Anchor-Doubles-7510

 

The ECS was released in mid 1983 which is also about the same time Mattel Electronics started layoffs and finally shutting down in 1984.  Doubles Tennis was abandoned but Super NASL Soccer was eventually released as World Cup Soccer. 

Edited by mr_me
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4 minutes ago, mr_me said:

It's probably a biproduct of the fact that the additional sound chip provides two inputs for controllers.  According to intellivisionlives.com two 4-player sports games went into development Super NASL Soccer and Doubles Tennis.  

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20181219003152/http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/games/credits/ecs.shtml#Anchor-Doubles-7510

 

The ECS was released in mid 1983 which is also about the same time Mattel Electronics started layoffs and finally shutting down in 1984.  Doubles Tennis was abandoned but Super NASL Soccer was eventually released as World Cup Soccer. 

How and why does an extra sound chip provide 2 extra controller ports? 

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If you look at the data sheet of the intellivision sound chip you'll see it has 16 bits of input/output.  One intellivision controller uses eight bits.

https://console5.com/wiki/AY-3-8914

 

The intellivision chip set includes the cpu, ram, rom, sound chip, stic, and colour chip.  They had to put the i/o somewhere and keep chip packages within 40 pins.

 

 

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It would be very cool if homebrew games added some creative optional 3rd or 4 controller support.

 

A co-op or head-to-head games/modes in which each player used two discs would be exciting.

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1 hour ago, Bamse said:

How and why does an extra sound chip provide 2 extra controller ports? 

It's not so rare. Many chips of the era were designed  to have several purposes to save costs.

Sometime the opposite happened; dirt common chips were used to lesser purposes despite being able to do more.

For example, the controller chip for the Thomson computers gamepad ports (which were your standard Atari affair, on and off signals) are able to read data from a SD card...

sdmoto_12.jpg

 

The Intel 8253 is a timer chip which generate a signal in early IBM PC. When IBM conceived the first PC, they only used two of the 3 outputs.

They wired the last one to a speaker, and thus the infamous PC-speaker was born.

This chip was copied in the Soviet Union (as the ВИ53/ VI53 )and used in non-IBM-PC computers and even arcade games as a pure sound chip; with 3 channels it's quite acceptable.

 

 

 

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Even in the early 80's it was hard to find anyone to play against.  Everyone in my area were 2600 owners.

I had 2 or 3 friends that were pretty good at MLB and NBA.  But other than my brother, I had to really not try most of the time!

 

Other games like NFL, I had to keep telling them how to enter plays and of course, I now know were they are throwing etc.

 

So, we would play Activision Ice Hockey and I'd get smoked!  LOL

 

Now, I can't even get my brother to play a game of MLB!  If you can find 3 people to play a game on Intellivision... I am jealous.

But YES, it would be cool, and I'll buy it HOPING to get a few friends someday! LOL

 

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1 hour ago, mr_me said:

If you look at the data sheet of the intellivision sound chip you'll see it has 16 bits of input/output.  One intellivision controller uses eight bits.

https://console5.com/wiki/AY-3-8914

 

The intellivision chip set includes the cpu, ram, rom, sound chip, stic, and colour chip.  They had to put the i/o somewhere and keep chip packages within 40 pins.

 

 

I think I understand, that makes sense. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Black_Tiger said:

It would be very cool if homebrew games added some creative optional 3rd or 4 controller support.

 

A co-op or head-to-head games/modes in which each player used two discs would be exciting.

Ultimate Pong is 4 simultaneous player support 

Edited by Bamse

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, mr_me said:

If you look at the data sheet of the intellivision sound chip you'll see it has 16 bits of input/output.  One intellivision controller uses eight bits.

https://console5.com/wiki/AY-3-8914

 

The intellivision chip set includes the cpu, ram, rom, sound chip, stic, and colour chip.  They had to put the i/o somewhere and keep chip packages within 40 pins.

 

 

So you don't think the ECS two 9 pin ports were meant to be 2 extra controller ports when the ECS was first released? 

Also, if it wasn't designed to have two extra controller ports, whys would they make it as two seperate 9 pin ports instead of one 18 pin port to plug either of the keyboards in to? 

Edited by Bamse

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The master component hand controllers interface through the sound chip.  So it's natural that the second sound chip in the ecs would support two more controllers.  As bamse pointed out they didn't have to design it as two DE9 connectors if all that was needed was a keyboard connector.

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On 7/11/2019 at 1:38 PM, Bamse said:

How and why does an extra sound chip provide 2 extra controller ports? 

The POKEY in the Atari machines was a multipurpose chip as well (not just sound)

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Putting two extra controller ports in the ECS was a natural design decision.  The Intellivision uses a PSG (the AY-3-8914), which includes two parallel 8-bit I/O ports that are dedicated to the hand controllers.  When Mattel designed the ECS, they needed something simple and inexpensive, so they used another of the same family of PSG (the slightly-different AY-3-8917), which brought with it two more 8-bit I/O ports.

 

The two ports are electrically separate from one another, so combining them into one large connector wouldn't have gained them anything, and it would have required the use of a different connector than the standard DB-9 connectors they were already using in the console.  The ports are general-purpose; they can potentially be used for just about anything.  The ECS uses them for the keyboard and the Music Synthesizer, and they certainly intended it to be used with an extra pair of controllers because they said so right on the back of the ECS box.

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On 7/11/2019 at 3:46 PM, Black_Tiger said:

It would be very cool if homebrew games added some creative optional 3rd or 4 controller support.

 

A co-op or head-to-head games/modes in which each player used two discs would be exciting.

FUBAR has 4-player support.  So did Ultimate Pong.

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39 minutes ago, Zendocon said:

FUBAR has 4-player support.  So did Ultimate Pong.

I have the ECS with an extra set of controllers and a copy of Ultimate Pong.    I just need to find three more people who share my passion for gaming on obsolete technology . 

 

I will have this setup at VCFMW incase anyone wants to try out a 4 player game

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