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A recreation of PlayComp - the best variant of PlayCable?


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Back in 1982 Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark put together a personal version of PlayCable, called PlayComp.  This used PDP-11 computers they had at home to "broadcast" games over a serial connection to their development kits based on Jerrold PlayCable adapters.  I believe it was the rarest and best version of PlayCable.


I've put together a replica of PlayComp that uses modern hardware to run the system on a regular Intellivision Master Component.  You can find a short explanatory video, showing PlayComp in use and its advantages over the standard PlayCable service here:



Joe, Dennis and the other Jerrold engineers constructed a library of over 40 games for use with PlayComp, and its pre-cursor PlayTape. In addition to the standard Mattel titles, this included games from Activision, Imagic and Coleco (yes, the dreaded Donkey Kong even made it both PlayTape and PlayComp).


Overall, I've found PlayComp to be slick and reliable, offering a significantly better user experience that the real PlayCable service, thanks to its use of two-way communication between the server and adapter.


So, now I have a PlayCable of my very own (well, sort of).  What's more, unlike most adapters, it's not a doorstop, and it's even a variant that @cmart604 doesn't own! ;)


Let me know what you think.  Now I really must stop being distracted by shiny things, and get back to Jack Lalanne, or @Ron The Cat is going to kill me.




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On 2/10/2022 at 4:26 PM, Morpheus said:

You well deserve the Nobel prize for Intellivision Decle!!!???


One question: what is "pick a doodle"?

Was it a game???



Check this out:



Pick-a-Doodle is a little animation program originally written by Dennis in 1981.  It allows non-programmers to put together up to 20 frames of background cards and play them like a flick-book accompanied by background music. 


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  • 5 months later...

Interesting how this version differs slightly from the original PlayCable unit, beyond the obvious.  The load beeps for example, they are spaced further apart on here than on the actual machine.  I wonder why that is?  Also, is the recording they made of the original PlayCable signal still in existence?  I kick myself for not thinking of trying to capture the signal myself back in the day, but given my crude technology at the time, it's unlikely that even if I had, that the signal would be usable today.  Either way, great job!!

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