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 or preserved, though some that can't be emulated have simulations instead. See also Strange and Forgotten Console emulators, a similar page for the 90s and 2000s. Amazingly, over 900 first-generation home video game consoles are known to exist. More than 200 different companies were involved in the first generation, and while more than half only released one console, it's still a large number of companies compared to the 20 that partook on the second generation.

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.

  1. These 3 bizarre Atari models made use of bumper controllers to control some games. Other 2 models were "Sears Tele-Games Pinball Breakaway (99713)" and "Epoch TV Block" (Japan).
  2. Only 4 cartridges were released for this triangular abomination, but because of the console's design they can't be dumped and "emulated." They're more like activation discs for data already in the console. No known emulators.
  3. The VIII model is based on the same chip as the Coleco Telstar Arcade. It features eight (4x2) different sport games including a gun-shooting game.
  4. Aesthetically different but same console hardware. Their chip is also the base for other consoles such as the Coleco Telstar Arcade. Allows to play Pong-like & other games such as Target shooting (optionally playable with the optical gun), Tennis, Football & Squash.
  5. The Entex model is similar to the first Japanese video game console, Epoch's TV Tennis Electrotennis, released a year prior. There was an UK version marketed by Binatone called the TV Game Unit.
  6. Besides the normal Odyssey and Odyssey² consoles released in 1972 and 1978 respectively, Magnavox also produced the X00 and X000 series (1975-1977) of home Pong consoles. Released models were: 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 2000, 3000 and 4000. Then owner Philips also released three Odyssey variants in Europe between 1976-1978. They played "Ball and Paddle" games such as Hockey, Tennis, Smash, Squash and others. No known emulator exists for any of these machines.
  7. There were over 200 variations of the PC-50X home game consoles family. The units were made in various countries and were marketed by Creatronic, Hanimex, ITMC, Rollet, GrandStand, Soundic and plenty other manufacturers.
  8. The TV Scoreboard is an handheld Pong with dials or paddles made by Tandy, with support for 10 games. Also released in Germany under the name Universum Multispiel. Hanimex Model 666 & Model 677 are very similar.
  9. 4 different Ricochet models? MT-1A, MT-5A, MT-1A8, MT-4A with their own names.
  10. There were about 18 models in Sears' Tele-Games line, bar for one linked to Atari's Visual Pinball line. Many models were licensed from Atari and APF
  11. Epoch's unit is the first Japanese home video game console ever & released in 1975, a few months before Atari's home Pong console.
  12. This TV+4 unit plays 4 Pong variants.
  13. Unisonic released a series of 10 dedicated consoles between 1976-1978.
  14. Volley VI is a dedicated console actually made by company Roberts from Korea. Plays 4 coloured Pong variants.
  15. The W.W. model 7702 is basically a Magnavox Odyssey 300 with a different case.

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/MP1000 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 v15 Collection
Atari 5200 Good No-intro
Bally Astrocade[N 1] Decent TOSEC
Bandai Super Vision 8000[N 1] Good Only 7 games.
ColecoVision[N 2] Good Coleco marketed different add-ons for their console, with one of them being the fast-selling Atari VCS adapter which enables the ColecoVision to play Atari cartridges! Atari sued them, but lost the case. No-intro
Commodore MAX Machine Good Also known as Ultimax (USA) and VC-10 (DEU), though it was only briefly sold in Japan. It's a cut-down console version of the C64 hardware family (Later used in C64) with limited computing capability & a membrane keyboard. TOSEC: (2012), (2016).
Emerson Arcadia 2001[N 3] Decent Over 50 games made for it. The graphic quality is similar to that of the Intellivision and the Odyssey. Sound still imperfect in games. TOSEC
Entex Adventure Vision Decent Like the Vectrex, this console had its own screen and operated like a miniature arcade cabinet. Only four games were released for it. TOSEC
Epoch Cassette Vision None Only 12 games exist for this console, and some have been dumped. Seanriddle has succeded to dump the graphic sprites of Kikori no Yosaku. Apparently, the BIOS for the console is inside each cart. Latest MAME forum thread.
Fairchild Channel F Good No-intro
Fairchild Channel F II Good NA An update to the Channel F, with no exclusive games.
Interton VC 4000[N 4] Decent Has 40 games. ROMs are here
Magnavox Odyssey²/Videopac[N 5] Good No-intro
Mattel Intellivision[N 6] Good TOSEC
Mattel Intellivision II Good NA An update to the Intellivision, with no exclusive games.
RCA Studio II Decent TOSEC. rca-studio2 programmer emulator. EMMA 0.2.
Vectrex[N 7] Good No-intro
VTech CreatiVision[N 8] Good This hybrid computer and console were distributed to many different countries around the world and some variants were rebadged units with different names. Emulators list. TOSEC.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Emulated by MAME only.
  2. The ColecoVision was sold as NTSC and PAL variants in different regions. Clones: Spectravideo SVI-603 Coleco Game Adapter (For hooking up to the SVI-318 or SVI-328 computers), Bit Corporation's Dina (AKA "Chuang Zao Zhe 50". Taiwan. 1986.), Telegames' The Personal Arcade (1988. Clone of Dina 2 in 1.).
  3. 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.
  4. Clones: Radofin 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System, Jeu Video TV, Super Play Computer 4000, etc.
  5. Clones: Jopac JO7400, Odyssey 3 Command Center (prototype), Videopac G7000/C52, Videopac Plus G7400.
  6. Extra models with: Keyboard Component (Unreleased. 1981.), IntelliVoice expansion (1982), Entertainment Computer System + Intellivoice expansions (1983). Clones: Sears' Super Video Arcade (1982), Intellivision II (1982).
  7. Clone: Spectrum I+ (1984. Roy Abel & Associates.).
  8. Clones and variants: Educat 2002 (Israel), Dick Smith Wizzard (Australia/New Zealand), FunVision Computer Video Games System (Oceania), Hanimex Rameses (Oceania), VZ 2000 (Oceania), etc.
    Computers: Laser 2001, Salora Manager (Finland).

Further info:

Handhelds[edit]

Name MAME support No intro collection Description
Milton Bradley MicroVision Good 12 games were made and all are dumped except for some revisions.


These games are: Block Buster, Connect Four, Bowling, Star Trek: Phaser Strike (aka Shooting Star in Europe), Pinball, Vegas Slots, Mindbuster, Baseball, Sea Duel, Alien Raiders (aka Space Blitz or Blitz in Europe), Cosmic Hunter, Super Blockbuster
A Windows emulator that is front-end friendly can be found here, with all known games included.

Milton Bradley OMNI None Released in 1980, The OMNI was a weird hybrid of a portable console, Mono 8-track player and a Tabletop game, graphics were limited to four 2-character seven segment displays, 8-track tapes were used to store the games instead of cartridges and because of its massive limitations, most of the games for it were trivia games, it's unknown how many units were sold or when it was discontinued, only 13 games are known to be released for it.

Encyclopedia[edit]

External Links[edit]