The TV Game 2000K, 3000H
Screenshots (.jpg): Football-Soccer (8K) | Tennis (10K) | Racquetball-Squash (4K) | Target Practice: Start (2K), Target (1K)
Additional Views of the TV Game 2000K (.gif, courtesy Bo Zimmerman)
Portrait (64K) | Portrait with Screen Shot (52K) | Box (54K)
Introduced Based on Commodore's MOS acquisition, the appearance of the
Telstar Arcade and Pong's twilight, the TV Game series most likely appeared
Hardware MOS 7601 system-on-a-chip in the plastic (MPS) 7601-001 variant (see Comments for more). Two hard-wired knob-style paddles, two additional connectable (included, via 3.5mm T-S connector), optional light rifle (not included, via twinned T-S connector). 9VDC or battery power.
Graphics and Sound Generated by the 7601; PAL only. Changeable background colour, one or two "bats" per side, changeable side borders per game, moving target. It is unclear if the target is a separate moveable element or a redefined "bat." Can generate green, blue, red and white. Single-channel sound generated by 7601 on built-in speaker.
Eventual Fate Released in Europe, unknown number sold or sales history.
See below for comments on both systems.
Football-Soccer (15K) |
Tennis (7K) |
Racquetball-Squash (4K) |
Manual Scans (.gif): Manual Front Page (43K) | Manual Front Page (German) (46K) | Assembling the Rifle (42K) | Commodore Offices (58K)
TV Game 3000H with Light Gun (49K, .jpg, courtesy Lee Rayner)
Additional Views of the TV Game 3000H (.jpg, courtesy Lee Jones)
Console (49K) | Console Closeup (55K) | Console with Paddle (81K) | Screenshots: Squash Game (30K), Tennis Game: He shoots (20K), he scores! (32K)
Telstar Arcade (from pong-story.com)
Other Pongs-on-a-Chip (from pong-story.com)
The Pong you could program, possibly and Confirmed! the MOS 7600/7601 Pong chip is a true microcontroller (me, on Old Vintage Computing Research)
aka TV Spiel 3000H
Hardware MOS 5601, a less-capable variant of the MOS 7601-001 with different graphics circuitry. Uses slide paddles, one built-in, one connected by wire, two additional connectable (included, via DIN connector), optional light rifle (not included, via DIN connector). 9VDC or battery power.
Graphics and Sound Also generated by the 5601; PAL only. Unlike the 2000K, the 3000H backgrounds are black and only orange and blue colours can be distinguished; no green or white elements appear on any screen. One or two bats per side, and a moving target (again, unclear if this is a redefined "bat" or an independent element). Single-channel sound generated by 5601 on internal speaker.
Eventual Fate Released in Europe, unknown number sold or sales history.
The TV Games were one of the cavalcade of me-too Pong clones that infested late 1970s home gaming until the emergence of the Atari VCS. These units were apparently only ever badged as Commodore products, so they cannot predate Commodore's purchase of MOS. Both systems play a set of four games selectable using a console switch (football [soccer to us Yanks], tennis, racquetball/squash and target practice), though the target practice mode is only playable if the light gun/rifle/pistol is connected. Two or four may play.
It is not clear where the K or H suffixes originated from (or, to extend the pattern, if there was ever a TV Game 1000N). The 3000H seems to be the later unit based on its smaller and apparently cost-reduced form factor, and it has obviously less colourful graphics and more inferior slide paddles. For that reason, I think the 2000K is the better unit in both build quality and graphics despite nearly identical game experiences. The 3000H is also interesting for being fully bilingual: my unit has both English and German on the box, and English and German manual pamphlets inside.
Of all the "Pongs-on-a-chip" that were produced by a plethora of manufacturers (most notably General Instruments, National Semiconductors and even Commodore's old nemesis Texas Instruments), the MOS 7600 (NTSC)/7601 (PAL) are probably the most interesting to us, especially because the 7600/1 are actually crude microcontrollers executing 13-bit instructions out of a 512-word mask ROM. The chip is rather complex for the era at somewhere around 16,000 transistors and a three-level subroutine stack. The graphics were definitely not programmable, however, and the weaker 3000H's 5601 (thanks to Gareth Young, who removed the heatsink off his unit's and reported "M5601-136") doesn't even manage the colours of the 2000K's 7601. The graphics are, in fact, generated by dedicated circuitry and cannot be coerced into drawing other kinds of shapes. Colour palettes, interestingly, are determined by discrete components on the board and vary between implementations.
The MOS 7600/1's most notable application was not merely in the TV Game series but also in the Coleco Telstar Arcade, released in the United States in 1978, where it lurked in its plug-in cartridges and was Coleco's attempt to distinguish itself from the other clones. Coleco's Telstar is an unusual triangular console with a light gun, driving controller, and knob panels on each of the three legs of the triangle. The Telstar's multi-game cartridges also have the same triangular form factor and drop in the top of the unit; one came with the machine, and three others were eventually released. Inside each Telstar cartridge is an NTSC MOS 7600, each localized for its particular graphics requirements. Variant -002, for example, is in Telstar Arcade cartridge #1 and plays "road race, tennis and quick draw" while cartridge #2 contains "hockey, tennis, handball and target [practise]," and because this sounds suspiciously like the games in the TV Game, this probably contains the same TVG variant -001. Cartridge #3 contains "bonus pinball, shooting gallery, shoot the bear and deluxe pinball" (7600-004) and cartridge #4 contains "naval battle, speed ball and blast away" (7600-003). -004 was also repackaged into a later standalone console called the Telstar Arcade Gemini, not to be confused with Coleco's Telstar Gemini, an unrelated machine; it did not sell in significant numbers.
Not counting the 7601 and 5601, which only exist in the -001 variant, four 7600 variants are known. The internals of the Telstar cartridge #1 at Pong Story show a 7600-002 with a fabrication date of 25th week 1977; this coincides well with an expected release of the TV Game systems somewhere around 1976, assuming that Commodore released the first commercial application of these chips (seems logical as the MOS acquisition had been consummated completely by this time). While Gareth's MOS 5601 was unmarked, my 2000K's 7601's date code indicates 31st week of 1977, so the machines must have been manufactured for at least that long. (Because the board is soldered in, I had to use a camera probe to get a look at the other side.) The latest date code I have seen for any 7600/1 in any system so far is 46th week of 1977, in my personal Telstar Arcade cartridge #3; the earliest I've seen is a 47th week 1976 in an Allied Leisure Name of the Game I.
The 7600/1 also appears in the aforementioned Allied Leisure Name Of The Game and Name Of The Game II systems (probably the first users of the NTSC 7600 in 1976), the APF TV FUN Sportsarama, the Dayya Marume 2000, the Granada ColorSport VIII, the Hanimex 888/888G TV Scoreboard (also sold by Tandy Radio Shack), the Radofin SC4000 and SC8000 (also sold by K-Mart), the Roberts Rally X and the Venture Electronics Video Sports VS-7, some of which are rather rarer, and some of which appeared in the United States. Despite its use in this array of systems, however, it seems to have been dropped by Commodore around 1978 and neither the 5601 nor the 7600/1 appear in my Commodore-MOS parts list by 1982.