Visit Atarimax Store


Free-Net Logo
The Atari SIG Historical Archive
Created and hosted by: atarimax.com
[ HOME | GO ATARI | 8-BIT | ST/TT | PORTFOLIO | LYNX | JAGUAR | LIBRARY ]


Article #597 (635 is last):
From: Michael Current 
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.news
Subject: Rare And Historic Items To Be Shown At The World Of Atari '98 Museum
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Sun Sep  6 17:22:01 1998

From: keita@mindspring.com (Keita Iida)
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 09:01:28 GMT

****************
NON-ATARI  ITEMS
****************

APF MP-1000/MP-1000 Console (1980)
A short-lived game machine that was the hub of the
first expandable computer system called "Imagination
Machine."

Bally Home Arcade (aka. Astrocade)

Coleco ColecoVision
Coleco ColecoVision Driving Controller (Expansion Module 2)

Coleco Frogger Tabletop machine
One of the early Vacuum Flourescent Display (VFD) games that
set the standard for handhelds in the early 80's.  Coleco
also released Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaxian and
Zaxxon in tabletop format.

Coleco Telstar Arcade
Not to be mistaken with the Coleco Telstar (a dedicated
early Pong machine), the Telstar Arcade was a color game
console designed by Ralph Baer of Odyssey 1 fame.

Emerson Arcadia 2001

Entex Adventurevision
Perhaps the weirdest handheld ever designed, this rare system
uses LED's that are shown onto a spinning mirror to display
the game screens.  The Adventurevision takes cartridges, but
only 4 games were released for the system.

Entex Select-A-Game
This handheld uses Vacuum Flourescent Display in a different
way.  The unit itself doesn't contain a game.  The games were
cartridges that when plugged into the unit, provided
"different" games.  Only 8 games were released for the system:
Baseball 4, Basketball 3, Battleship, Football 4, Pac-Man 2,
Pinball, Turtles and Space Invaders, which was packed with
the system.

GCE Vectrex
GCE Vectrex 3-D Imager
GCE Vectrex Light Pen

Fairchild Channel F

Magnavox Odyssey (1972)
THE very first home game system, released in 1972 and designed
by Ralph Baer of Sanders and Associates. Although the coin-op
game Computer Space was first to hit the market, it was Baer
who first designed a videogame that was commercially feasible,
and he was subsequently awarded numerous videogame-related
patents which Magnavox vigorously pursued (and made plenty of
money doing it.)  The games for the Odyssey were in black and
white but much like the Vectrex, one could place colored
plastic overlays on the TV screen for an enhanced visual effect.

Magnavox Odyssey 2

Mattel Auto Race (1976)
Designed when Michael Katz (later of Coleco and Sega fame)
had an idea for a new technology, this handheld can be credited
as the first LED based handheld.  It was followed by the hugely
popular Baseball, Football and Football 2.

Mattel Intellivision w/voice module
Mattel Intellivision II with ECS and System Changer

Milton Bradley Merlin

Milton Bradley Microvision
The very first cartridge-based handheld machine that is similar
to the Nintendo Game Boy in more ways than one.  Although it
seemed like an idea ahead of its time, the system with a 2"
monochrome LCD display never quite hit the big time. The design
of this system led to a severe problem with screen rot, which
rendered many systems useless.

Nintendo Donkey Kong Game & Watch

RCA Studio II (1977)

Texas Instruments 99/4-A (1977)

*****************
ATARI  VCS  ITEMS
*****************

Amiga Joyboard
Although the name is more familiar to fans of the
Commodore Amiga computer, they dabbled in the 2600
arena with the Joyboard, a unique controller which
allowed players to rock on the board for directional
control.  Mogul Maniac, a mediocre skiing game, was
the only game commercially released for this device.

Atari 2600 (a.k.a. VCS)

Atari 2700 (a.k.a. RC Stella) (1981, prototype)
An unreleased prototype remote-control Atari VCS system.
Notice its similarity in design to the Atari 5200
SuperSystem.

Atari 2800 (1983)
Similar in external design to the VCS-compatible Sears
Video Arcade II, the 2800 was Atari's attempt at tapping
into the lucrative Japanese gaming market.  Unfortunately, it
was released a mere two months before Nintendo's Blockbuster
Famicom system (known in the U.S. as the Nintendo Entertainment
System.)  Too little, too late.

Atari CX-2000 (VAL) (Blue & Brown) (1981, prototype)
An odd 2600-compatible prototype system that was wisely canned
before going into production, the CX-2000 was meant as a VCS
for kids (not the blue color of the later blue version... it's
similar in color to the VCS Kid's Controller) with its slim
design and built-in dual joysticks.  The cartridge port is on
the back of the unit.  Flaws were abundant -- built-in (fragile
as heck) controllers?  You'd have to bring the entire unit in
if the broke.. and these were meant for kids? -- and it was one
of the many failed experiments that Atari should never have let
past the drawing board in the first place.

Atari G1 Light Gun (1986, prototype)
Unlike the 2600/7800 and 8-bit computer-compatible light gun,
the G1 was meant to be marketed exclusively for the consoles.
Unreleased.

Atari Graduate Computer (CX-3000) (1982-83, prototype)
Not to be outdone by keyboard attachments by rivals Coleco and
Mattel, Atari promised a VCS computer attachment of its own for
most of 1982 and '83.  However, in the wake of declining prices
in 1983 of more powerful computers like the C64 and Atari's own
8-bit line, they decided against releasing an upgrade for a
system that was already on its last legs.

Atari Mindlink Controller (1983, prototype)
Look ma, no hands!  With Atari's Mindlink controller, the
infrared sensors wrap around your forehead with Velcro straps
and plug into the Mindlink transmitter, which plugs into the
Atari Computer, VCS or 7800 game system.  It doesn't really
read your mind, but it does detect muscle impulses when you
move your eyebrows and forehead.  The $100 device was to play
games like Breakout, and Atari claimed that software would be
available on ESP, thought games, memory and biofeedback.
Groucho Marx would have been great at this.  The Mindlink you
see here was recently discovered.

CVC GameLine Modem (1983)
When Control Video Corporation announced its Gameline Master
Module for the Atari 2600, it was the beginning of the first
interactive telecommunications service linking a home videogame
console with a central server.  The service, dubbed "The
Gameline", allowed owners of the 2600 to tap a centeral
computerized library of video games licensed from leading
companies, on a pay-per-play basis. Gameline was to be the
first of a number of CVC services planned, including electronic
mail, news and information, home banking and financial
management.  CVC's telecommunications link for the 2600 was its
Master Module, a unique device which was inserted into the game
console like a game cartridge and connected to a telephone or
telephone outlet.  The idea was too little, too late, as it was
released just moments before the videogame market began to
collapse all around it.

One interesting sidenote regarding CVC and its GameLine
service.  After the failure with its 2600 gaming service, CVC's
president, William F. von Meister, founded America Online, the
leading online service company today.

Dynacom Megaboy (?)
A pirated, handheld (well, sort of) version of the Atari VCS,
the Megaboy was sold for a brief period in Brazil.  It lacked
its own screen, negating much of the benefit of a handheld
machine.  It was packed with a 64K educational cartridge.

NICS TV Boy (?)
A pirated, handheld version of the Atari VCS, the TV Boy
differs from the Megaboy in that it has 127 games built into
the unit.  Unfortunately, the TV Boy lacks a cartridge port
(unlike the Megaboy), limiting its use to the games that are
built into the machine.

RGA International Video Game Brain (1983)
A "video game jukebox" of sorts, the Video Game Brain was one
of several devices for the 2600 which allowed users to select
their games by a touch of a button.  The unit plugged into the
cartridge port and stored up to six cartridges.

Sears Telegames II system (1983)
Almost identical in appearance to the Japanese Atari 2800
machine.  Both were 2600-compatible.

Spectravision CompuMate (1983)
The only keyboard add-on released for the Atari 2600, despite
announcements from a plethora of companies that promised the
same thing.  Only a small number of CompuMates were ever
released in the United States.  It was a wider release
overseas in PAL format.

Starpath Supercharger (1982)
One of the most fondly remembered companies of the classic era,
Starpath's Supercharger was a plug-in device that expanded the
Random Access Memory (RAM) of the Atari VCS almost 50-fold,
from 128 to 6,272 bytes (roughly 6K).  The increased memory
added vivid high-resolution graphics capabilities like never
before on the venerable Atari machine. The Supercharger was
inserted into the cartridge slot of the Atari unit. A cable
from the Supercharger plugged into the earphone jack of almost
any cassette player.  Starpath games were recorded on
audiocassettes, achieving greater memory capacity and reduced
cost of cassettes. The user simply placed the game cassette
in the cassette player, pressed the play button, and played
the game. The Supercharger originally listed at $44.95, and
was packaged with the game Phaser Patrol, an excellent Star
Raiders knock-off. Additional games could be purchased for a
mere $15-18.

Starplex Deluxe Video Game Controller (1982)
This gourmet controller was designed to mimic the control
panel of the arcade version of Asteroids.  It was also one
of the first controllers to offer a rapid fire feature.  Two
AA size batteries were required.

**********************
OTHER  ATARI  CONSOLES
**********************

Atari 5100 (5200 Jr.) (1984, prototype)
Following the trend of Atari's redesigned 2600 "Jr.", Atari
planned on producing a lower-cost version of its 5200
SuperSystem.  Since the 5200 was one HULK of a machine, it
was only logical, then, to take out all of the excess metal
and plastic that was only there for cosmetic purposes.  What
you see here was dubbed the 5100, or "5200jr." as we like to
call it..

Atari 5200 SuperSystem (1982)
Atari 5200 VCS cartridge Adapter (1983)
Atari 5200 advertising display poster (1982)
Atari 5200 Trak-Ball Controller (1982)
Atari 5200 Trak-Ball prototype (1982)

Atari 5200 self-centering joystick (1983, prototype)
A prototype of a joystick that consumers were clamoring for
(the OEM 5200 controllers did not snap back to the center
when a player let go of the joystick.)

Atari 5200 Kid's Controller (1983, prototype)
Like with the 2600 Kid's Controller, the 5200 version was
to be used with Sesame Street "edutainment" programs, where
Overlays were to be placed above the numeric keypad to play
the games.  The one shown here is only a mock-up.  Astro
Grover and Big Bird's Hide & Seek were two games which were
announced for use with the Kid's Controller, but were not
released.

Atari 7800 ProSystem (1984)
Atari 7800 Prototype
Atari 7800 Cartridge (clear, prototype)
Atari 7800 Console (clear, prototype)
Atari 7800 Controller (clear, prototype)

Atari 7800 Keyboard (1984)
One of the plethora of peripherals planned for the 7800 until
Atari's sale from Time Warner to Jack Tramiel caused the
cancellation of the computer add-on.  The one you see here
is the only known prototype to exist.

Atari Cosmos (1980)
>From 1978-1980, Atari spent considerable time developing
Cosmos, a handheld holography game system. In May, 1981, Atari
announced that the machine was ready to be released but never
stated an exact date when it would be available in stores. The
console was to retail at $100 and the eight game cartridges,
among them the ever popular Asteroids and Space Invaders, were
to be sold for $10 each. Advance reviews of the console
complained that the holograms really didn't enhance the game
play and were merely used as backdrops.  Atari conceded that
this was true but defended it by saying that since Cosmos was
the first of its kind, such trivialities could be overlooked.
By year's end, however, Atari scrapped the project.  The Cosmos,
and the rest of its holographic research, was never heard about
again.  (NOTE: It will be on display periodically at the Atari
Gaming Headquarters booth.)

Atari Game Brain Console (1977, Prototype)
With the Game Brain, Atari sought to bridge the gap between
dedicated Pong consoles and programmable videogame systems
like the Fairchild Channel F machine. Basically, the Game Brain
was a cartridge-based system, with its game library to consist
of "Atari's Greatest Dedicated Console Hits."  The unit had the
paddle controllers built onto the machine itself, and an area
near the top of the console where game instructions could be
stored for quick and handy reference. It was inspired by the
Coleco Telstar Arcade.

Atari never counted on the Game Brain to sell in large numbers;
rather, it was designed as a way to get rid of all the dedicated
game CPUs that they thought would be obsolete with the release
of the then-forthcoming VCS.

The market for such a hybrid Pong/videogame machine was
short-lived, however, as competitors like the Odyssey2, Channel
F and Atari's own VCS captured what market was out there for
home video entertainment. As a result, Atari eventually decided
against debuting the Game Brain amid the uncertain prevailing
market climate.

Atari Jaguar (1993)
Atari Jaguar CD (1995)
Atari Jaguar Voice Modem (1994, prototype)

The Jaguar Voice Modem is a finished (but unreleased) product
that connects to the Jaguar's DSP port. It came equipped with
a combination headphone-microphone headset so gamers could talk
to one another while they played against each other. The modem
got its power from the Jaguar's power supply and had two
telephone jacks, a power switch and 2 LED lights (for power
and data connection.)  The only game developed to use the Voice
Modem was Ultra Vortek, a fighting game by Beyond Games.

Atari Lynx (1989)

Atari Mirai (?, prototype)
This mock-up is an enigma.  Was it to be a cartridge-based
system based on the ST computer?  Your guess is as good as ours.

The Mirai displayed is a mock-up shell.

Atari Pong (home) (1974)
The home version of Atari's wildly successful Pong.

Atari Video Pinball (1977)

****************
ATARI  COMPUTERS
****************

Atari 1055 3.5" Drive (prototype)
An unreleased prototype 3.5" floppy disk drive, designed during
the Warner Atari era.

Atari 1090XL (1984, prototype)
Designed the Atari's XL line of 8-bit computers, the 1090XL
Expansion System contained five slots which could accommodate a
variety of expansion options.  Only a handful of prototype cards
were ever made for it, including a RAM card, a CP/M module and
an 80-column card.  The 1090XL never saw the light of day as
the system -- and the entire 400/800/XL line, for that
matter -- was quickly discarded when the Tramiels took over
Atari.

Atari 1200XLS (1982, prototype)
Atari 1200XL with a center cartridge slot.
Atari 1450XLD (1984, prototype)
The 1450XLD was to be Atari's flagship 8-bit computer system.
It featured an internal modem, a voice synthesizer, and
built-in floppy disk drive (the 1450XLD with dual floppy
drives were also made.)

Atari 65XEP (1985, prototype)
Atari's portable version of the XE line of computers, the 65XEP
had a built-in monochrome display and a 3.5" disk drive.  Only
one prototype 65XEP was ever made.

Atari 800XL (1983, unreleased)
The Atari 800XL was the 400/800 line of computers as well as
the ill-fated 1200XL. The system contained a 64K of RAM, and
was much smaller physically than its predecessors.   Like the
1200XL before it, its OS was still not completely compatible
with all 400/800 software, but Atari began to distribute a
"Translator" disk which would load up a 400/800 compatible OS
into memory so that the 800XL could support those programs.

Atari 815 Dual Disk Drive (1983, unreleased)
A 5.25" dual double-sided disk drive.  sold 500, released
with the bookkeeper package in early '81.  accounting package.

Atari 1040 ST system

Atari CP/M Module (1983-84, prototype)
An add-on for the XL series of Atari 8-bit computers, the one
shown at World of Atari '98 is believed to be the only one in
existence.

Atari Portfolio (1989)

Atari TT030
The TT030 was an ST-compatible computer based on the Motorola
MC68030 32-bit running at 32Mhz.  It also had a powerful
Motorola MC68882 FPU processor and came with 2MB or 10MB of
ST RAM plus 4MB or 16MB of FastRAM.  Several TT030's were
purchased by NASA and used in the Space Shuttle project.

Atari XC11 Cassette Player
An XE-style cassette drive that looks similar to the 410 drive.
It was never available in the U.S., and its availability in
Europe is also in question.

Atari XC12 Cassette Player
The external style differs from the XC11 and looks more like
the 1010 drive.  It was sold in Europe in limited quantities.

Atari XF351 3.5" Drive (prototype)
A Tramiel-era attempt at a 3.5" drive for the XE line of
computers. Never released.

Atari XTC-201 Thermal Color Printer (prototype)
XTC stands for (X)E (T)hermal (C)olor Printer.  Had I/O ports
on the back of the printer, and had a removable model which
snaps out and allowed the use of other modules (i.e.- a
Commodore 64 module which allowed the XTC-201 to be used with
the C64 computer.)

********************
MISCELLANEOUS  ATARI
********************

AtariTel Eagle Telephone (1983)
A full duplex speakerphone by the AtariTel division which was
formed in 1981 was created to form an entire new line of
consumer electronics.  The AtariTel line was to include
conventional telephones with advanced features and styling.

In addition to the full duplex speakerphone capability, the
Eagle had features that most telephone companies only
had available in expensive high-end business phones.  Other
notable features included a variable speakerphone volume,
flash button for call-waiting, speakerphone mute, memory
auto-dial, ringer volume, ringer on/off and on-receiver hang-up
and mute.  Two of the world's leading industrial designers,
Porsche Design and Morrison Cousins Associates were
commissioned to develop the product designs. As was the case
with many products developed just prior to Atari's sale to the
Tramiels, the Eagle -- and the entire AtariTel division -- was
canned.

Atari Space Invaders Handheld Box (1980, prototype)
Sensing that money was to be made in the handheld market, Atari
was all set to bring out stand-alone black-and-white versions
of Space Invaders and Breakout.  What you see here is a
production first article of the box for Space Invaders.  The
actual handheld is not believed to have ever been completed.
(NOTE: It will be on display periodically at the Atari Gaming
Headquarters booth.)

Atari Video Music (1976)
Talk about a device that was tailor made for the funky-fly 70s.
Atari planned to appeal to the disco/psychedelic crowd with
its stereo-looking device that was to attach to your television
and stereo to produce some wacky animations on the tube. Don't
expect anything better than archaic 2600-type stuff, however.
This is 1976 we're talking about.  Any receiver or amplifier
can be attached to the Video Music.  From there, you simply
connect the Video Music to the television to produce the
desired effects on your TV.  Fans of the Jaguar CD's Virtual
Light Machine will get a major trip from its distant relative.


Keita Iida
Atari Gaming Headquarters
http://www.atarihq.com
World of Atari '98
http://www.atarihq.com/atari98







Visit Atarimax Store