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Consoles of the '80s

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Console: Sega SG-1000 - Japan
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued: 1984

The SG-1000 marked Sega’s first entry into the console market. It was quietly released and sold moderately. Basically, the SG-1000 was a test ground for the Master System.


Console: Philips Videopac+G7400 - UK
Manufacturer: Philips
Discontinued: 1983

While the G7400 was the UK equivalent of the Magnavox Odyssey 2, the +G7400 was released only in Europe with very limited quantities. RAM and ROM were bumped to 16 KB, meaning specific high-res games could be played in addition to normal G700 games. It kinda looks like a typewriter.


Console: Sony MSX - Japan
Manufacturer: Sony
Discontinued: 1995

Sony’s MSX was a Microsoft of Japan-led attempt to create some unified standards among hardware developers. The console was a success overseas, selling about five million units and was even the major Japanese platform to develop for (until the Famicom was released). Back in those days, Konami and Hudson Soft originally developed for the MSX. In fact, the first-ever Metal Gear was developed specifically for the MSX2, a revision of the hardware.


Console: Apple Macintosh
Manufacturer: Apple
Discontinued: 1987 with the Mac II

The original Mac was the first commercially successful computer ever to feature not only a mouse, but a graphical user interface (desktop) and not a command-based one. In fact, the bundled software - MacWrite and MacPaint - were designed to show off its GUI. Its ease of use led many to complain that it was nothing more than a toy, a common argument heard today. Also known for that 1984-esque commercial that aired only once during the Super Bowl.


Console: Sega SG-1000 II
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued: 1986

Pretty much identical to the original SG-1000, numero dos merely redesigned the console and switched where the keyboard port was. Yup.


Console: Super Cassette Vision - UK
Manufacturer: Epoch
Discontinued: A short time later

As if Epoch didn’t get the hint, they released the Super CV a short time after their original baby didn’t catch on. This time the hardware was improved just slightly. It sold very little in Europe. Besides the Cassette Vision Jr., they didn’t release another console again. Shame.



Console: Amstrad CPC 464/CPC664 - UK
Manufacturer: Amstrad
Discontinued: The whole line was discontinued by 1990

Amstrad build these PCs as direct competitors to the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. The CPC 454 was packaged with its own monitor (still pretty rare at the time) and a built-in cassette deck. The 664 contained a built-in floppy disk drive instead of the tape deck. However, later in ’85, they replaced their hardware yet again. The strategy here is: if one computer don’t get ‘em, a few dozen more might.


Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Discontinued: 1993ish

North America’s Famicom counterpart, the NES ruled the console roost up until its successor, the SNES, came along in 1991. Debut franchise series on this system include Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, Castlevania, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. The incredible sales in North America, combined with Japanese popularity helped cement the NES as one of the highest-selling consoles of all time (estimated 62 million units sold) and evolved Nintendo into a serious gaming publisher whose popularity still exists today.


Console: Atari ST
Manufacturer: Atari
Discontinued: 1993

Atari’s commercially popular PC was based on Motorola hardware and was the first computer to come with a fully bit-mapped graphical interface. Even though the ST competed with the Apple Mac and Commodore Amiga, the ST was cheaper and ideal for business use.

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