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Bally Astrocade vs Arcadia 2001 vs Odyssey 2


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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.


This "reference" sure sounds very similar to the mysterious origins of the Arcadia family. Was it a common practice at the time for East Asian companies to design a videogame console and then license it out to other companies for release in various countries around the world?


Another weird system (in this case, a computer) that I can think of that didn't get wide release was the Rabbit Computer RX83 (a Z80 based system):




It was planned for release in the United States, but that never occurred. See this flyer that I scanned in from the Summer 1983 CES show:




The system was released in Belgium as the GEM 1000, in Brazil as the CCE - MC1000 and in Hong Kong as the Rabbit RX83. If you read the details that I provide at the above link with the CES flyer, then you'll learn that many Astrocade games were planned to be ported to this system by WaveMakers.



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It looks like a Neo Geo version of the Arcadia!


That's true, the Tele-Fever does look like the Neo Geo; I never noticed that before you mentioned it.


You probably already know this, but coming soon to the Neo Geo Arcadia 2001 is Metal Slug: The Second Coming. Here's a screenshot of this game in action:




It looks fantastic, doesn't it?!?


Okay, you caught me; this is the Neo Geo Pocket version of the game. I changed the apsect-ratio to 4:3 and I've dumbed-down the color palette to 16-colors (dumbing it down to the Arcadia's 8-colors looked horrible), but it still looks far better than anything that could have been released on the Arcadia platform. I'm pretty sure that if this game really existed, that it would be the first proper platformer on the console.



Edited by ballyalley
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The telefever system is by far the nicest Arcadia clone. It's actually quit slick.

I would like to sometime figure out a way to convert mine to ntsc.

It was only sold in Germany by tchibo coffee shops and I believe only for a few weeks.....not sure if they planned to ever do more with it. It's cousin the cosmos is even more rare and used the same case but with a 70s color scheme! :)

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The system was released in Belgium as the GEM 1000, in Brazil as the CCE - MC1000 and in Hong Kong as the Rabbit RX83.

I don't know the MC-1000 personally, just read about it on the Tandy MC-10 list as someone compared the similarities, mostly dimensions, memory size and that they all use the 6847. It also makes me think of the VTech Laser/VZ 1xx/2xx series which sometimes are described as TRS-80 clones with 6847 colours added. I don't know if the RX-83 and MC-1000 also ran a copy of Microsoft BASIC Level II (copied from the TRS-80, IIRC) but they're very much alike.


Then we have the EACA Genies from Hong Kong. The first black and white ones I think were straight TRS-80 clones, but they also added 6847 colours with the Colour Genie, though in a different way than the VTech Lasers and possibly different than the other group of computers discussed.


I don't know the Bally Astrocade very much besides sharing a Z80 with the RX-83/GEM/MC-1000, but would assume porting (Tiny) BASIC programs from it would be just about as much work as porting BASIC programs from any other limited system at the time. I've come to understand that Philips steered a couple of conversions of Videopac games to their computer VG-5000 that doesn't seem that similar but in that case I suppose it was mostly due to they already had the rights to the games they were about to port.


In any case, video games and computers have existed in a lot of combinations and many designs similar to eachother. Back in the days, perhaps the customers were none the wiser and what mattered in the end was the available software more than the hardware configuration, plus of course the price, which is easy to forget 35-40 years later. Wikipedia tries to adjust launch prices to 2017 dollars which means we'd compare a $1200 Bally Astrocade from 1977 with a $750 Odyssey^2 from 1978 and a ~$500 (or less) Arcadia 2001 from 1982.

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Apparently it was some sort of promotional deal at the coffee shop. So like most promotions they don't last long.

So no idea if they were used in this promotion because they had made them and then decided to not release them and this was a way to get rid of them?

Or if this was how they were going to introduce them and then they didn't if the promotion didn't go well.

Cosmos released it with the same slick case with different colors but these are next to impossible to find.

So it seems they did even worse with them than the tele fevers did with the coffee shops.

The telefevers have arcade sticks and are quite nice looking....quite futuristic for that time 82-83.

I can't think of anything else that early that had gotten away from the 70s colors...browns, blacks, woodgrains etc.

Other than the bally whitey maybe...

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What was the point [of selling the The Tele-Fever in Germany by Tchibo coffee shops for a few weeks]?


I'm not saying that Mark is wrong, as I've heard that the Tele-Fever was only sold out of coffee shops too, but the idea of it, especially the short length of time of just a few weeks, seems absurd to me. I'm not saying that it can't be true, but it seems unlikely. Then again, I guess there was a time in the early 1980s in the United States when you could get a new Timex 1000 computer for free as a premium gift. Was the Tele-Fever sold as a full-priced console, or was it used as a premium? For example, enter coffee shop, see sign that says, "Buy X cups of coffee and get the wonderful Tele-Fever game system for only X DM. Special Offer available only to our valued customers."


Following are a few more (scant) details (if you can call them that) on the Tele-Fever.


1) www.heimcomputer.de - Here's a webpage about the Tele-Fever (it has very few on details):




2) vgcollect.com - This webpage says that the Tele-Fever is a "rare Emerson Arcadia related console with a great futuristic design sold by the coffee manufacturer Eduscho/Tchibo in Germany. The system was sold in a short one or two week Special-Sale in the mid 80ties. A few were also sold in shops. Like the much more popular German Schmidt TVG 2000 system it is based on the Philips Signetics hardware platform and the 2637 chipset. It uses the same cartridges than the Schmid but sold only 4 of them under their own brand." The site is also very sparse on details:




3) Tele-Fever Auction Ebay.de - This is a Tele-Fever with a few cartridges currently for sale on ebay.ie. The starting bid is EUR 499.99.




The Ebay auctions has five high-quality photos of the Tele-Fever, here are a few of them:






I must admit that the Tele-Fever sure is a great-looking game console. I'd love to know the history behind this weird beast. To put this console into current perspective, just imagine a Starbucks Playstation. Hell, Starbucks started in 1971. Maybe there is a Starbucks-branded Arcadia lurking in a warehouse somewhere. It seems that people around the world jumped on the Arcadia family bandwagon in 1982. Why not this Seattle coffee company?



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I'm not saying im right either. This is just what I have learned from reading and talking to others.

Some of our German friends who were there back in the day would have to recall what exactly went on. Stefan probably might know better details.

I don't know how they sold it at the shops if it was a reward, or just sold there. I thought though that it was some sort of promotion.

After finding over 40 Arcadia variants though, no new ones surprise me. It seems anybody could have got on that boat. And with how rare they are for some, it seems they can go all these years with not 1 being found by collectors.

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The telefevers have arcade sticks and are quite nice looking....quite futuristic for that time 82-83.

I can't think of anything else that early that had gotten away from the 70s colors...browns, blacks, woodgrains etc.

Would you consider the Casio PV-1000 to be futuristic looking? That is the first system I'm thinking about that isn't black, brown or matte silver grey.

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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.





Ideally he may want to update that.




That first use in commerce is typically pretty accurate.

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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.




My mistake. It was not a pump and dump scheme. It was even worse.


Under the proposed plan Guerin was basically going to take over the company. He was the one that helped get the initial investors lined up.





(from bankruptcy filing.)


And here is his fate.




He would have been a great person to try and interview at the time I was doing research; but when I found out he was in prison it got a little difficult.



Edited by retroeight
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Would you consider the Casio PV-1000 to be futuristic looking? That is the first system I'm thinking about that isn't black, brown or matte silver grey.

I definitely would call the pv1000 futuristic looking. The telefever maybe more so though. With its slightly metallic silver blue case and very minimalist design. Just wish they had made new keypads for it rather than reuse the tan and brown ones from the other consoles.....that looks terrible on it....blue and black would have been nice for the keypad.

In the 70s just like tvs and electronics they seemed to want to make them blend into the home as if they were furniture.

These would be some of the 1st systems to certainly try and stand out and say I am electronics and not just furniture.

Then the nes, the intellivision 2 etc...

Don't get me wrong though I love the look of the 70s consoles....I worship the woodgrain ;)

Also I suppose IMHO the most futuristic looking home console ever was the original odyssey....looks like it could have been out of woody Allens movie sleeper from 73. :D

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Hmmm, I'd look no further than the Radofin 1292 design for a sleek, 70 AND futuristic design :


and that was 1978.

Okay, they do use black, but in a design manner.


The Nordmende design for the Channel F is also far away from the 70's woodgrain.


But I think that "70's woodgrain design" was mostly an US feature. All 70's electronic stuff I have is usually bright colored plastic, or a sleek black and white design. Sure there were "woodgrain" stuff (mostly TV and record players) but there was always a large offer of "plastic 70's"







slogan : A color television can be beautiful too :D

Edited by CatPix
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ah yeah the nordmende, I have 1 or those. yes it certainly is space age looking and very portable looking.


The Toshiba visicom is also quite futuristic and beautiful. It has black but lots of shiney silver too. :)


I have some bright colored tvs, they look great. It seems they went more wild with the portable type ones.

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