Teleplay Modem

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The Teleplay Modem attached to a NES and a Sega Genesis.

The Teleplay Modem is a modem for the Nintendo Entertainment System created by Keith Rupp and Nolan Bushnell, designed to provide online play between NES users, while also possessing compatibility with the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.

The first prototype, called the Ayota Modem, has a maximum speed of only 300 bit/s, too slow to render normal NES quality graphics. It was unveiled at the 1992 consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, where it received a fairly good reception.

Bushnell later dropped out of the project, and Keith Rupp founded the company Baton Technologies. He continued to develop the modem, changing its name to the Teleplay Modem, increasing the speed to 2400 bit/s. He conceived the idea of allowing cross-platform play between compatibly designed games for Nintendo and Sega systems. Three games were developed internally (Battle Storm, Terran Wars and Sea Battle) but never released. Both Nintendo and Sega refused to license the Teleplay Modem or the games developed for it.

Sega instead licensed AT&T to develop a modem called the Edge 16, but no hardware was ever sold at retail. The venture capitalists behind Baton Technologies feared competing against AT&T and attempting to sell hardware and games without the all-important licensing, so Baton was unable to fulfill its first $300,000 order, and quickly folded thereafter in the summer of 1993.

In an unrelated venture, Catapult Entertainment later developed the 2400 bit/s XBand modem, similar to the Teleplay Modem in many respects. Although well funded by Viacom, Catapult failed to receive sufficient developer and gamer backing, folding in early 1997.

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