First and Second Generations of video game consoles

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In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the video game market experienced an explosion of products hoping to capitalize on the success of the Odyssey and Atari. From the nigh-infinite Pong clones, to the suspiciously similar consoles, consumers had far more options than they do today. This is a list of those first and second generation machines. Not all of them can be emulated. See also Strange and Forgotten Console emulators, a similar page for 90s and 2000s.

First Generation (Pong Consoles)[edit]

It's Pong. You can play it anywhere. Emulating first generation systems like these can be tricky, as the games were heavily tied to their hardware, and most were just variations of Pong.

*Coleco Telstar Arcade: Only 4 cartridges were released for this triangular abomination, but the console's design means that they can't be dumped and "emulated." They're more like activation discs for data already in the console. No known emulators.

Second Generation (Cartridge Consoles)[edit]

Best-selling game consoles: Atari 2600, Intellivision, Magnavox Odyssey², ColecoVision.

Name MAME support No-intro collection Internet Archive Description
APF Imagination Machine/M-1000 Not Very Good A PC with a game console mounted on top of it 32X-style (take that, master race!) Only 25 games were released (15 cartridges), one being built-in, and a lot of homebrews. ROMs are here.
Atari 2600 Good ROM Hunter v11 Collection
Atari 5200 Good No-intro
Bally Astrocade*** Good TOSEC
Bandai Super Vision 8000*** Good Only 7 games.
ColecoVision Good No-intro
Emerson Arcadia 2001* Decent TOSEC
Entex Adventure Vision Decent Like the Vectrex, this console had it's own screen and operated like a miniature arcade cabinet. Only four games were released for it. TOSEC
Epoch Cassette Vision None Only 11 games exist for this console, and none have been dumped because of the cartridge design. Apparently the BIOS for the console is inside each cart. It's on MESS's to-do list.
Fairchild Channel F Good No-intro
Fairchild Channel F II Good NA An update to the Channel F, with no exclusive games.
Intellivision Good TOSEC
Intellivision II Good NA An update to the Intellivision, with no exclusive games.
Magnavox Odyssey²/Videopac Good No-intro
RCA Studio II Decent TOSEC
VC 4000** Decent Has 40 games. ROMs are here
Vectrex Good No-intro
VTech CreatiVision Good TOSEC

* Clones and variants: Advision Home Arcade, Arcadia, Cosmos, Dynavision, Ekusera, Hanimex MPT-03, HMG-2650, Home Arcade Centre, Intelligent Game MPT-03, Intercord XL 2000 System, Intervision 2001, ITMC MPT-03, Leisure-Vision, Leonardo, Ormatu 2001, Palladium Video-Computer-Game, Polybrain Video Computer Game, Poppy MPT-03 Tele Computer Spiel, Prestige Video Computer Game MPT-03, Robdajet MPT-03, Rowtron 2000, Schmid TVG-2000, Sheen Home Video Centre 2001, Soundic MPT-03, Tele Brain, Tele-Fever, Tempest MPT-03,Tobby MPT-03, Trakton Computer Video Game, Tryom Video Game Center, Tunix Home Arcade, UVI Compu-Game, Video Master

** Clones: 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System, Jeu Video TV, Super Play Computer 4000, etc.

*** Emulated by MAME only.

Handhelds[edit]

Name MAME support No intro collection Description
Game & Watch Preliminary Many of the 60 Game and Watch games can be played in the various Game and Watch collections. Just emulate those. If you do not mind playing online, many Game and Watch games, including some not found in the collections, can be played here. Another option would be running simulators through the gw-libretro core in Libretro.
Milton Bradley MicroVision Preliminary 12 games were made. A Windows emulator that is front-end friendly can be found here, with all known games included.