Consoles of the '70s

Our guide to the grandfathers of gaming


Atari Video Pinball

Now that Pong had its time in the sun, digital Pinball was the new craze. Atari released a dedicated console to capitalize on this popularity, which included two extra game variants - Basketball and Breakout. The console included bumpers on the side to play Pinball with, while the other games were controlled with the dial mounted prominently on the wooden finish. Yup, they were still making wooden consoles.


Mattel Electronics Handheld Games

Predating the DS and thousands of colors by close to 30 years, were these simple handheld games featuring LED displays similar to that of a calculator or digital watch. Auto Race and Electronic Football were the first two Mattel handhelds and required players to navigate either a car or quarterback through obstacles. Newer 3D versions of these genres retain the same essential gameplay.


Magnavox Odyssey 2

As a subsidiary of Philips (who released this console abroad as the Philips Odyssey 2), Magnavox’s new design finally enabled users to play cartridges, rather than Pong games booted from the console’s memory. The O2 included a full keyboard for edutainment games and a standard joystick complete with a big-ass red button on each. The console sold relatively well, pushing over a million units by 1983.


Bally Professional Videocade

Developed by Midway, the gaming division of Bally at the time, the Videocade or Astrocade as it was known in the early 80s was notable for its graphical prowess. Midway had wanted a video display chip in their successive systems, from arcade to consoles and ended up producing one of the most powerful 8-bit systems. Utilized cartridges and came with a 24-key keyboard.


Coleco Telstar Colortron

Coleco kept pumping out the same damn thing - this time, the Colortron contained four Pong variants in glorious Technicolor. Colortron comes complete with various beepy sounds and fixed dials on the console.


Coleco Telstar Marksman

Bundled with six color games, the first four were of course variants on Pong, while the other two were light gun shooters. The light gun featured an attachable stock and barrel, similar to the late Sega Menacer. Your parents may have been duped into buying this.


APF M1000

One of the earliest 8-bit cartridge consoles, the M1000 could only be used on a color TV and came with non-detachable joysticks. A number of games came out for this boringly-titled system, and chances are you’ve never heard of Rocket Patrol.

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