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It's a Fairchild Channel F!


simbalion
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A while back I located some cartridges for this system and now thanks to AA member Goldleader, I now own a fully functional Fairchild Channel F!

I must admit, compared the the 2600, this system is very basic in graphics and sound. But, I do like it and take it as it is, the first system to use cartridges and an important step away from Pong and to the games we have all come to love. Really, the graphics aren't that bad, when you consider the time this came out it probably seemed light years ahead. What really lets this system down in my opinion is the sound, which could be and after playing Football, can be fleshed out more. Actually, the Odyssey 2 didn't really have much more advanced graphics, but it sold better. Really, Fairchild's corporate games doomed this innovative and rather historical console to an early death. Who knows what might have happened if they had dug in and decided to try and push this console as far as they could and paid better attention to what games the public desired.

 

 

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The O2 have "better" graphic capabilities than the Channel F, but you're right in that the system could have been pushed more.

What I laways found strange is that in Europe, the game "Chess" was released, with added RAM to allow the game to play, and this RAM could have been used to improve games, as Efrog5's pacman prove us :

 

 

What I find interesting is that the Channel F offered 4 action buttons and a pause button by 1976; you'll have to wait for the Atari 5200 to find a console with a Pause button dedicaced to pause the game (there is a combination of keys on the Intellivision (#+9?) to pause games but unless you know about it, you can't guess it's there).

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...

What I find interesting is that the Channel F offered 4 action buttons and a pause button by 1976; you'll have to wait for the Atari 5200 to find a console with a Pause button dedicaced to pause the game (there is a combination of keys on the Intellivision (#+9?) to pause games but unless you know about it, you can't guess it's there).

I thought the channel F controller had two actions by pushing down or pulling up. Never seen one but the controllers look interesting. The Intellivision pause function was documented in the console instructions. Everyone that had one knew about it.
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A while back I located some cartridges for this system and now thanks to AA member Goldleader, I now own a fully functional Fairchild Channel F!

I must admit, compared the the 2600, this system is very basic in graphics and sound. But, I do like it and take it as it is, the first system to use cartridges and an important step away from Pong and to the games we have all come to love. Really, the graphics aren't that bad, when you consider the time this came out it probably seemed light years ahead. What really lets this system down in my opinion is the sound, which could be and after playing Football, can be fleshed out more. Actually, the Odyssey 2 didn't really have much more advanced graphics, but it sold better. Really, Fairchild's corporate games doomed this innovative and rather historical console to an early death. Who knows what might have happened if they had dug in and decided to try and push this console as far as they could and paid better attention to what games the public desired.

:thumbsup:

 

It's certainly a primitive system, but not without simple gameplay value. It's mostly notable for A) being the first cartridge-programmable console to hit the market, and B) how brilliantly innovative the hardware was (and even a couple of the games, too, like Video Whizball).

 

The Odyssey 2 wasn't exactly a powerhouse, either, and was often hamstrung by its limitations, but it had some important advantages over the Fairchild--better color, smoother and faster sprite movement, and no flicker (or at least a lot less flicker). The Odyssey also had its whole "computer" vibe which suckered a lot of people into buying it, thinking they and/or their kids would learn about computers and programming with it. :P

 

The thing about Fairchild is they were never a videogame company to begin with--they were involved in several industries, videogames being just one--and the console "crash" in late '77-'78 (when cheap LED handhelds like Mattel Football briefly took over for a little bit) no doubt made them think the whole thing was more trouble than it was worth. The company being taken over by Schlumberger at the time can only have complicated matters. Bad luck for Fairchild that they left the market just before videogames really started to get good (with all due respect to Pong, Tank, Gunfight, et al) and weren't able to capitalize on the arrival of games like Space Invaders, Galaxian, Pac-Man, and Asteroids, as Atari and Magnavox did.

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I thought the channel F controller had two actions by pushing down or pulling up.

The knob can be moved in 8 directions like a conventional stick, pushed down or pulled up, and also twisted to the left or right. A real advantage to games such as the built-in Hockey (the 8-way stick and twisting applied to the offensive paddle, and push/pull to control the player's goalie. But the lack of optional controller ports really hurt the system, I think.

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I must admit, I wish the controllers did have an action button for at least the main 'fire' function on most games. Sometimes I am afraid I am going to break them when the action gets going. The good thing is that most games have repeat fire and in most cases they fire at a steady rate.

The Fairchild is a good little time waster though. Great for short periods when waiting for something or for a show to come on the TV. I never intended on playing this console hard, due to its relative rarity. Now the Atari 2600, yes. Those can be played hard and there are still plenty of them out there. For me this is really the completion of a journey I started in 1997.

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