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Thoughts on a new console to purchase


Sapicco
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Greetings alll. So there's s few consoles I'd like to enventually pick up. An Snes, duo rx , but I may wait on those a while.

 

I was thinking something more vintage/obscure and want some opinions from the experts on this site. I am hoping for something that can hook up to a modern tv, preferably av modded.

 

These are my options. Let me know what you would buy if you could, factoring in price, quality of games, and ease of access to games. Oh, and if any reputable poster is selling one, in good condition with box, let me know. Feel free to add another console to the list too.

 

Fairchild channel f

Bally Astrocade

Magnavox Odessy 2

Emerson Arcadia

Sega sg-1000

 

Thanks for any opinions shared.

Edited by Sapicco
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Of the options available I'd go with the Odyssey 2. It's the easiest to find games for (a couple local game stores around here have a small stack of them, whereas games for the other systems are non-existent around here) and it should be a fairly affordable and reliable system to pick up and start enjoying.

 

The Channel F would be my second pick, since it's interesting from a historical perspective (being the first home console with cartridge based games) and it has a decent variety of games to play on it that won't break the bank and shouldn't be too difficult to find. There's also a pretty enthusiastic fan community for the Channel F, with new homebrew games coming out for it like the excellent Pac-Man.

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If that is your solid list of systems to work with I'd take the top or bottom.

 

I've got experience with the Fairchild Channel F2 as my mom had one which I took over for many years. It's an interesting curiosity piece being the first with cartridges which leaves far more options for play and that they're fairly fun. The other I would have to vote on that Japanese Sega. Not sure what the pricing market on it is, but it had around a 100 games though around a quarter needed the keyboard. It has a lot of really solid games, some being arcade conversions along with various unique games. Best quality wise I'd say for a/v and control, gameplay wise too. It's the Master System's daddy so it's not too far removed from that in quality.

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I'd say the Odyssey 2. It probably has the most fleshed out library and many of its games are cheap and easy to obtain (as is the console itself). I don't have personal experience with the Arcadia or Channel F but I have been under the impression they are more limited in scope when it comes to their respective game libraries. The Astrocade has some nice conversions but from what I understand units can be finicky and unreliable, and it's not horribly cheap to obtain either. The SG-1000 is nice but is also probably considerably more expensive to collect for. Probably best off just getting a SMS and a Master Everdrive, which allows you to play SG-1000 ROMs.

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Of the things listed, Odyssey 2 would be my choice, for the reasons others stated. It's slightly less obscure and it's much more well rounded. I still play Pick Axe Pete and KC Munchkin at least a few times a year.

 

Of all the things to hunt down and spend money on (and possibly repair/maintain), I would not want any of these C-listers, but that wasn't part of the question. ;-)

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Do you have a list somewhere on what you've already got? Are you looking to fill gaps or find something that is not too far away from what is already in your collection? Out of those you mention, I think only the Odyssey^2 may have 3rd party games, possibly the Sega SG-1000 if you consider Sega licensed games from other developers. It often affects not only the size but also quality of the library.

 

My brief opinions:

 

Channel F - The first. Unique controllers that not only have four directions and fire, but also rotation and pull up for the few games that support it. I've tried most of the games from the multicart, and besides homebrew efforts such as Pac-Man or Tetris that you anyway can play on any other system in just as good versions, only a few games like Video Whizball have any lasting impression on me. From what I understand, it is somewhat prone to breaking down though I haven't observed it myself.

 

Astrocade - No idea, I've never seen or tried one, not even in emulation. I'll let others speak for it.

 

Odyssey^2 (Videopac) - Tends to be the most affordable of the bunch, and from what I've observed barely ever breaks. The games are quite OK for their time, and the addition of 3rd party titles like Frogger improves its value. The big keyboard tends to have very little use, but it gives it an unique look. Definitely the one I would recommend if you want only one.

 

Arcadia 2001 - I've only played this very briefly until it broke down. It seems like late 70's technology repackaged for the early 80's. I've played its older cousins in the 1292/VC-4000 family more, and those games range a lot from entire crap to just playable, but it isn't to say that Arcadia games would be as random in quality. However it probably is the one of these five that was furthest away from the top lists of gamers, as it was released in a time period between Intellivision and right before the Colecovision.

 

Sega SG-1000 - The most modern of them, as it is the direct forerunner of the Master System. Most games are fine as expected for a mid-1983 console with a such major player as Sega behind it. While it might be less heard of, it doesn't quite play in the same generation of video games as the other four. Games seem to be a rather pricy and probably hard to find elsewhere than eBay.

 

As always, I want to make a mention of home computers, if that at all is your thing. You have plenty to choose from like the Atari 8-bits, the TI-99/4A, the VIC-20, the TRS-80 CoCo to name a few from the first half of the 8-bit era. None of those are obscure, but depending on what is already in your collection might mark a change in direction.

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Of your choices, I'd go with an O2 myself... but really there's only a handful of games still worth playing IMO.

 

That said and if you're open to ideas, I like the Sega Master System as Austin mentioned or even better yet... a computer, as Carlsson suggests. C64 or a TI would be my top choices. TI if you're wanting to stick with something earlier. A lot of unique games on cartridge that are easy to collect and usually dirt cheap. Or can go the multigame cartridge or flashcart route if you want an instant "collection".

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I think you're going about this backwards, personally- rather than "I want a vintage system, what's good?", you should be asking "I want vintage games, what's good?" I mean, if your intent is to actually be playing this machine, isn't it better to make sure the software is there first? If you're out to just pick up 'one of everything' regardless of play value, then it doesn't matter much where you start, does it?

 

If you really don't know where to start, maybe just see what's around locally. Even if you don't buy your console from a local place, knowing what you can find could help influence your decision. Better to get something you can find software/accessories for than scouring the internet for something so obscure you have to scour again just to get all the bits to run it right.

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Hoshi speaks truth. I would try out a healthy sampling of games. That stuff is well represented here: https://archive.org/details/consolelivingroom&tab=collection

 

I find that I can often get the "gotta have its" out of my system with a quick emulation blast, or watching videos, but for me, playing is more fun than having. I'd rather visit an arcade than own one. You might be different.

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As others have pointed out, it would be important to know what you are looking for. Collection or games? Curiosity over obscure systems, or just wanting to look what was made elsewhere or in the very old times?

 

Fairchild Channel F :

Obvious choice if you are more of a collector or want to see the early state of video gaming. It is the first processor-based game system. And it shows.

Don't get me wrong, the games are what they are, and you have to keep in mind htat the system have to cope with HALF of the Atari 2600 RAM (AKA a whopping 64 octets of RAM if you want to measure what is is, in brute, raw ASCII format, It's 64 characters, that correspong to the beginning of the sentence I put in bold (spacing not counted).

Games are crude, but some manage to be acceptable and even funny at times. But really it's mostly a collector's item.

 

Bally Astrocade :

Conceived the same year than the Channel F, released the same year tan the Atari 2600, it's a kickass of a powerful system, graphics and sounds being on par with the Colecovision,'s early games. There are few games but most are solid games. The downside is that it's a very fragile and expensive system to collect for.

 

Magnavox Odyssey 2 :

I won't be original here, like all others, depending on what you want, it's probably the most obvious choice. The O² is a solid contender for the Atari 2600, and in many European countries, managed to top off the 2600 (at least when both systems were sold alongside.

An interesting bit of trivia : most of the original first party games were written by the same guy. If it mean they tend to look a bit alike (also due to the use of build-in graphics) they are also programmed with talent.

Some games are generic, but there are a lot of them that are original in gameplay or add nice silly features. For example, one game is a simple Connect 4 game - but it is played with the help of Hound Dog and Micro Cat, that show up on the screen to push the pieces. In the Cat and Mouse game, catching the mouse/being caught result in a death screen where the cat eat the mouse (which might be the first "death screen" of video games history)/

Showdown in 2100AD /Duel start in two players mode. You can pick up either side, and if you let the game run, the computer will pick the opponent. If you don't touch any control, the computer will take control of both character! Munchkin is a decent PacMan clone with two twists that maake it better than the original : random labyrinth layout and moving pellets.

The Voice! is one of the best voice synthesis modules ever made for 8 bits systems.

 

Emerson Arcadia :

I have little experience with it sadly, can't get mine to work correctly. The games are able, play well and looks decent - but they are not original in the slightest. The system even have licenced arcade ports!

It can do only so little compared to other systems of the same era. It would have been relevant in 1979/1980.

If you like the thrill of hte hunt, this is the system for you - it's rare, most people doesn't even know about it, and if you're lucky, sellers might not know it's rare and sell the games for cheap.

Plus getting over 10 games will take you years.

 

Sega SG-1000 :

This one stand out in your selection. It's a 3rd gen system, way more advanced than all the othre you mentionned.

It's not especially hard to collect for, but due to having to get everything in Japan, it can be long and expensive, as most sellers I've sseen only have one or two games at a time, so shipping will get prohibitely expensive.

A system more in line with the others would be the Epoch Cassette System, that feature graphics akin to the Channel F.

It was hte first major game system in Japan so it show up more often than the SG-1000. (But games are the opposite, you see more SG-1000 games than Cassette Vision games).

Edited by CatPix
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Honestly, if you were to go for the SG 1000, you'd be better served looking into getting a Mark III since it can play the SG 1000 games as well as Mark II and obviously Mark III.

 

And Master System, with a simple $15 cartridge pin adapter.

 

The Mark III is an awesome system but yeah, it is a totally different era vs. the others listed.

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Thanks everyone for the comments and feedback.

 

I think I am leaning towards Arcadia. But, haven't fully ruled out Astrocade. The Arcadia games look more fun from what I watched on YouTube. Does anyone know how I would hook up to a tv easily?

 

Also, does anyone sell modded/refurbished consoles of these? I would hate to buy something that's junk. And, I a, not technically savvy to fix them.

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I have a 7800 so not really looking for a 2600 unless I get get one cheap. I'm not opposed to an intellivision. What's better, a 1 or 2?

I like the Sears Intellivision, with its long straight controller cords. Other than the top cover the Sears Intellivision is identical to the original. The Intellivision II controllers are inferior to the original and it doesn't have a proper power switch. Intellivision II has a slightly different sound processor causing a couple of games sound effects to be a little weaker. Then there are the black and silver INTV Intellivisions which are a mix of the two models. If you get an Intellivision II you could always use flashback controllers with it (modification or adapter required).
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Also isn't the Intellivision 2 incompatible with some third party games? I think I seen an article awhile back about it.

Yes, it's incompatible with Word Fun, Coleco Donkey Kong, Carnival, and Mouse Trap. But there is a workaround using the LtoFlash memory cart. Edited by mr_me
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Fairchild channel f

Bally Astrocade

Magnavox Odessy 2

Emerson Arcadia

Sega sg-1000

I'm sure I'm parroting most of the other responses here, but of the ones listed here, I'd go with the Odyssey 2. It's easily the cheapest, has the best library (with possible exception to the SG-1000, which you might have a hard time getting games for anyway), is by far the easiest to find games for, is probably the most reliable, has great controllers, and is super easy to mod if you're so inclined. Honestly, of this group, the Odyssey is a slam dunk.

 

Unless your plan is to get all of them eventually and you're simply deciding where to start. In which case, I'd knock out the harder ones like the Astrocade and Channel F first before they get even more expensive.

 

Also isn't the Intellivision 2 incompatible with some third party games? I think I seen an article awhile back about it.

Like, four of them, and they suck anyway. Carnival, Mouse Trap, Donkey Kong, and Venture. (Okay, Venture's actually awesome, but you'll never miss the other three.) Electric Company Word Fun is incompatible as well, but again, who cares. :P

 

The tradeoff is you get System Changer compatibility. Hmm...dozens and dozens of awesome 2600-compatible games, or a half-dozen marginal Intellivision games you wouldn't play anyway? :P (Granted, it's redundant; if you own and actually use an Intellivision in 2017, chances are you also have an Atari kicking around somewhere. Still, though...convenience! :-D )

 

The Intellivision II seems to be more reliable than I/III/Super Pro models, although I've had pretty good luck with all of them. If had to choose one, I'd go with the Intellivision II. It's compact, looks awesome (especially with the matching peripherals!), runs all the software that matters (except Venture :_() as well as the System Changer, and the combo power/reset button and controllers aren't as bad as everyone says they are (which isn't to say they're good exactly, just that you get used to them).

 

One note about Intellivision II controllers: the fire buttons aren't actually buttons. They're more like sensor pads--zero travel or tactile response, but they work very well. Just don't try to press them like conventional buttons or you'll kill your thumb. And if you hate them that badly you can get a Flashback adapter and use FB controllers, or rig up your own controller, because they're detachable. ;)

 

If you're going to get an "Intellivision I," get a Tandyvision. Because...I mean, come on. Woodgrain overload!

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Carnival, Mouse Trap, Donkey Kong, and Venture. (Okay, Venture's actually awesome, but you'll never miss the other three.)

Actually, I think a fair number of owners would agree that Mouse Trap is a decent game.

Edited by ls650
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