Fairchild F Videocarts

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The Fairchild Channel F is a game console released by Fairchild Semiconductor in November 1976.[1] It has the distinction of being the first programmable ROM cartridge–based video game console, and the first console to use a microprocessor. It was launched as the Video Entertainment System, or VES, but when Atari released their VCS the next year, Fairchild renamed its machine.

Twenty-six cartridges, termed 'Videocarts', were officially released to consumers during the ownership of Fairchild and Zircon, the first twenty-one of which were released by Fairchild. Several of these cartridges were capable of playing more than one game and were typically priced at $19.95. The Videocarts were yellow and approximately the size and overall texture of an 8 track cartridge.[2] They usually featured colorful label artwork. The earlier artwork was created by nationally known artist Tom Kamifuji and art directed by Nick Talesfore.[citation needed] The console contained two built-in games, Tennis and Hockey, which were both advanced Pong clones. In Hockey the reflecting bar could be changed to diagonals by twisting the controller, and could move all over the playing field. Tennis was much like the original Pong.

A sales brochure from 1978 listed 'Keyboard Videocarts' for sale. The three shown were K-1 Casino Poker, K-2 Space Odyssey, and K-3 Pro-Football. These were intended to use the Keyboard accessory. All further brochures, released after Zircon took over Fairchild, never listed this accessory nor anything called a Keyboard Videocart.

There was one additional cartridge released numbered Videocart-51 and simply titled 'Demo 1'. This Videocart was shown in a single sales brochure released shortly after Zircon acquired the company. It was never listed for sale after this single brochure which was used for winter of 1979.

Videocart-1[edit]

Videocart-1: Tic Tac Toe, Shooting Gallery, Doodle, Quadradoodle is a board game genre videogame released in 1976 by Fairchild.

Videocart-2[edit]

Videocart-2: Desert Fox, Shooting Gallery was released in 1976 by Fairchild.

Videocart-3[edit]

Videocart 3: Video Blackjack is a Casino videogame released in 1976 by Fairchild. Video Games praised Casino Royale (Video Blackjack) in 1983, calling it "the best card game, from blackjack to bridge, made for any TV-game system" and a reason to buy the Channel F after its discontinuation.[3]

Videocart-4[edit]

Videocart-4: Spitfire is a one-on-one aerial dogfighting Shooter game released by Fairchild in 1977. In addition to a two-player mode, the game allowed for one player to combat the CPU, which for the time was unique for a home console owing to the Channel F being the first home console with a CPU.

Videocart-5[edit]

Videocart-5: Space War is a Shoot 'em up released by Fairchild in 1977. Video Games in 1983 unfavorably reviewed Space War, calling it perhaps "the most antiquated game of its type still on the market".[3]

Videocart-6[edit]

Videocart-6: Math Quiz (Addition & Subtraction) is a Triva/game Show videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild.

Videocart-7[edit]

Videocart-7: Math Quiz (Multiplication & Division) is a Triva/game Show videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild.

Videocart-8[edit]

Videocart-8: Mind Reader, Nim (also referred to as Magic Numbers) is a trivia/game show videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild.

Videocart-9[edit]

Videocart 9: Drag Strip is a racing videogame released in 1976 by Fairchild.

Videocart-10[edit]

Videocart-10: Maze, Cat and Mouse is a puzzle videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild.

Videocart-11[edit]

Videocart-11: Backgammon, Acey-Deucey is a board game genre videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild.

Videocart-12[edit]

Videocart-12: Baseball is a sports videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild. The first console baseball game featured an innovative pitching interface that would become a cornerstone for future titles based on the sport. Twisting the controllers steers the pitch, while pushing forward or pulling back varies its speed. If a batter manages to hit the pitch, four fielders can be moved to the left or right to make an out. Strikeouts, walks, and getting hit by the pitch are all possible. The intricacies of the batter/pitcher contest made this game, much like real baseball, a game that came down to pitching.

Videocart-13[edit]

Videocart 13: Robot War/Torpedo Alley is a 2D platformer released in 1977 by Fairchild. Video Games in 1983 described Robot War as one of the best Channel F games, calling it "Berzerk without guns".[3]

Videocart-14[edit]

Videocart-14: Sonar Search is an action videogame released in 1977 by Fairchild.

Videocart-15[edit]

Videocart-15: Memory Match is a puzzle videogame released in 1976 by Fairchild.

Videocart-16[edit]

Videocart-16: Dodge-It is a sports videogame released in 1978 by Fairchild. The game is similar to dodge ball. One or two players controls a character represented by a square in a room on the screen. A ball controlled by the computer is then introduced into the room. Overtime more balls are introduced into the room. The objective is to not come in contact with the balls controlled by the computer. Different rooms in the game have different properties. Variables such as the size and speed of both the player controlled characters and the balls varies, as well as the size of the room. Video Games in 1983 described Robot War as one of the best Channel F games, calling it "simple but great".[3]

Videocart-17[edit]

Videocart-17: Pinball Challenge is a videogame released in 1978 by Fairchild. Despite the name, it is a Breakout clone.

Videocart-18[edit]

Videocart-18: Hangman is a videogame released in 1976 by Fairchild.

Videocart-19[edit]

Videocart-19: Checkers is a videogame released in 1980 by Fairchild.

Videocart-20[edit]

Videocart-20: Video Whizball is a videogame released in 1981 by Fairchild.

Videocart-21[edit]

Videocart-21: Bowling is a videogame released in 1978 by Fairchild.

Videocart-22[edit]

Videocart-22: Slot Machine is a videogame released in 1980 by Zircon.

Videocart-23[edit]

Videocart-23: Galactic Space Wars is a videogame released in 1980 by Zircon. It contained a shoot 'em up and a Lunar Lander-style game.

Videocart-24[edit]

Videocart-24: Pro-Football is a videogame released in 1981 by Zircon.

Videocart-25[edit]

Videocart-25: Casino Poker is a videogame released in 1980 by Zircon.

Videocart-26[edit]

Videocart-26: Alien Invasion is a videogame released in 1981 by Zircon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fairchild Channel F Patent, FCC Approval, & Launch Brochure". 
  2. ^ Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d Dionne, Roger (1983-03). "Channel F: The System Nobody Knows". Video Games. pp. 73–75. Retrieved 26 May 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)