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Grandcheapskate
August 27th, 2016, 08:45 PM
I was in Micro Center the other day and saw reproductions of both the Intellivision and Coleco Color consoles. I know nothing about the Coleco but I do have the original Intellivision. These are not exact reproductions as the Intellivision does not accept the original cartridges and is smaller in size but seems to come with 60 games stored in memory.

Just an interesting and nostalgic item should anyone be interested.

Joe

Chuck(G)
August 27th, 2016, 09:36 PM
The Intellivision used the 16-bit GI CP1610 CPU that dates from around 1975. GI designed the ISA so that only 10 bits of each instruction word were used and even had 10 bit-wide ROM. I fooled around a bit with the CP1600 CPU; it was blindingly slow at 1MHz and seemed to waste a lot of space in its instructions--some were 3 words (6 bytes) long. The architecture was similar to the PDP-11. R7 was PC and R6 was SP.

A curious beast. GI sold its microprocessor division to Microchip. The Microchip PIC is the direct descendant of the GI 1600 I/O processor--Peripheral Interface Controller (PIC) chip. GI PIC manual (http://en.wikichip.org/w/images/8/89/PIC_series_microcomputer_data_manual_%281983%29.pd f).

One of those odd things--few people remember the CP1600, but PICs are in wide use today.

KC9UDX
August 27th, 2016, 10:41 PM
I just spent an hour playing SPACE ARMADA and AUTO RACING prior to discovering this thread.

I still have the same Intellivision I had in 1979. Well, it's had the gubbins of a Sears machine in it since 1996, after the original gubbins gave up the ghost 1986 or do. Hence DUNGEADVANCEDAGONS.

32810

Apparently from what I've read, the guy that designed the new miniature thing made decent replica controllers, intentionally, so that they could be used to replace original controllers. But he somehow bungled the electronics and they don't interchange.

I saw them at Target for cheep a couple years ago. I just can't bring myself to buy one though I probably should.

Grandcheapskate
August 28th, 2016, 09:13 AM
I think the price on the Intellivision was $59.99 which I guess is pretty good since it comes with 60 games. I didn't see a price on the Coleco but it's probably the same. The bigger question would be the quality of the unit.

I have two "originals" here.

One was bought back in the 80s when a group of my fellow workers took an assignment in Venezuela. They bought the IT so they would have something to do. I bought it from them when they returned and a few of the games are in Spanish. Unfortunately, the machine has a habit of occasionally turning off during play.

The other was given to me at a garage sale. I don't even know if I have tested it and it may be the Sears model.

Joe

krebizfan
August 28th, 2016, 09:16 AM
The various Flashback units (Coleco, Atari, Intellivision, etc.) are all using the same basic ARM board to drive an emulator. Only the plastic shells and controllers differ.

KC9UDX
August 28th, 2016, 10:50 AM
I think the price on the Intellivision was $59.99 which I guess is pretty good since it comes with 60 games. I didn't see a price on the Coleco but it's probably the same. The bigger question would be the quality of the unit.

I have two "originals" here.

One was bought back in the 80s when a group of my fellow workers took an assignment in Venezuela. They bought the IT so they would have something to do. I bought it from them when they returned and a few of the games are in Spanish. Unfortunately, the machine has a habit of occasionally turning off during play.

The other was given to me at a garage sale. I don't even know if I have tested it and it may be the Sears model.

Joe, do you by chance have the capability to make a YouTube video? I'd be very interested to see the games in Spanish. I've seen a lot of the different variations on some games but never anything foreign language that i can recall.

The Sears model (Tele-Games is the name, I think) looks very different from a real Intellivision. It's beige in colour and has a different case design. If I recall, the case and controllers were actually better designed. If it doesn't look radically different than an original Intellivision, it could be one of the many other clones, or even an InTV, which is actually the proper successor to the original unit.

Does the one actually power off during play, or just change to a black screen? I've found that in most cases, bad cartridge contact is actually the problem. These cartridges for whatever reason seem more prone to this than other machines'.

The failure mode of the one I have was to go to a black screen during play. It would do this sooner and sooner and finally stopped playing altogether. I always meant to find out why but never did. The power supply was not the problem because I didn't change that when I swapped parts with the Sears unit.

Matt.

KC9UDX
August 28th, 2016, 10:51 AM
The various Flashback units (Coleco, Atari, Intellivision, etc.) are all using the same basic ARM board to drive an emulator. Only the plastic shells and controllers differ.

That's one of the reasons I haven't bought one. I have not been impressed with the other emulators.

The other Intellivision emulators have been particularly bad. This one stands to be better, but I don't know.

Al Kossow
August 28th, 2016, 11:39 AM
I fooled around a bit with the CP1600 CPU

My first contract gig out of state was with GI in Hicksville to write code in the summer of 1978 for a wafer mapping system built
out of a GI GEMINI development system, then spent a month of hell in Chandler a year later trying to get it into production.
Somewhere, I have a tape with the homebrew floppy OS the guys in Hicksville wrote for it. That was the only time I ever used
a Xerox Sigma 9; trying to use their cross-development tools and was the closest I ever got to a semiconductor fab line. I still
remember all of the PDP-9's and 15's they had for testing DEC's UARTs that were made there.

Chuck(G)
August 28th, 2016, 12:12 PM
Wasn't that "GIMINI" for the GIC1600? Wonder how many still exist...

ClassicHasClass
August 28th, 2016, 12:50 PM
The Inty was my first console as a kid. We had a Tandyvision. Now I have a Sylvania GTE Intellivision (with a Cuttlecart), but both of these are mostly just cosmetic variants compared to the Sears Tele-Games version, which as you say was a significant redesign.

Unknown_K
August 28th, 2016, 01:19 PM
Some friends had an Intellivision back in the day, I liked playing B-17 bomber with voice pack. Think I have a voice module for the machine in my stack of oddball stuff.

Not sure I would want to play with one now, but I did buy a Colecovision and a bunch of games a few years back. Same friends had all the good consoles, I just have an Atari 2600 (still do).

KC9UDX
August 28th, 2016, 05:24 PM
Wasn't that "GIMINI" for the GIC1600? Wonder how many still exist...

If I recall correctly from my reading over the years, the Intellivision is highly based on the GIMINI, and in fact may be an exact copy with additional parts.

Chuck(G)
August 28th, 2016, 05:52 PM
The GIC1600 was an MDS-sized box, complete with switches and LEDs. 13 card slots. Can't find a photo of one.

Grandcheapskate
August 28th, 2016, 07:13 PM
Joe, do you by chance have the capability to make a YouTube video? I'd be very interested to see the games in Spanish. I've seen a lot of the different variations on some games but never anything foreign language that i can recall.

Matt.

Matt,
Unfortunately I can't make videos (I am way behind technology wise...and loving it). But if I remember correctly, only the manuals are in Spanish and the games (screens) are in English. Luckily none of the games are too hard to figure out.

Joe

KC9UDX
August 28th, 2016, 07:42 PM
Matt,
Unfortunately I can't make videos (I am way behind technology wise...and loving it). But if I remember correctly, only the manuals are in Spanish and the games (screens) are in English. Luckily none of the games are too hard to figure out.

Joe

OK. Yeah, if it's just the manuals, you aren't missing much. I read the SKIING manual earlier, and quickly remembered why I didn't know the answer to the question I was seeking. The manual is horribly written. You're much better off just figuring it out by trying than following those instructions!

KC9UDX
August 28th, 2016, 07:44 PM
The GIC1600 was an MDS-sized box, complete with switches and LEDs. 13 card slots. Can't find a photo of one.

There were likely multiple products named GIMINI, then. The one I recall reading about was a CP1610 based video game machine, meant to demonstrate the GI video and sound chipset, as well as the CP1610 uP.

KC9UDX
August 28th, 2016, 07:47 PM
Something I remember thinking from a very long time ago, is that C64 cartridges are eerily similar to Intellivision cartridges. I should open two and see why I thought that. Clearly the pinouts must be different. Maybe just the board form factor is the same.

MicrocomputerSolutions
August 29th, 2016, 08:46 AM
My Uncle had a printing/color business back in the 1970s/1980s and he did a lot of work for Mattel, including the boxes for the Intellevision (before the work was farmed out to China). Mattel has a Employee Toy that was open only one day a week (or one day a month) that Mattel Employees were allowed to enter and buy Mattel Products at amazing prices. Some were discontinued, some were future products, and some were current products that were in high demand and impossible to find in stores. There was a limit on how many of each an employee could purchase. Because of my Uncle's Business' importance to Mattl (his shop was across the parking lot from Mattel, he and his employees were allowed to enter the Mattel Employee Store when it was open.

He bought some Intellevision consoles, and bags of games. I have his original Intellevision console, and a grocery bag of games. Some of which are duplicates, and have never even been opened.

KC9UDX
August 29th, 2016, 08:58 AM
I'll never forget early 1984 when all the stores had 55 gallon drums full of loose cartridges for $.50/each.

Trixter
August 29th, 2016, 12:19 PM
The Intellivision used the 16-bit GI CP1610 CPU that dates from around 1975. GI designed the ISA so that only 10 bits of each instruction word were used and even had 10 bit-wide ROM. I fooled around a bit with the CP1600 CPU; it was blindingly slow at 1MHz and seemed to waste a lot of space in its instructions--some were 3 words (6 bytes) long.

Thank you for confirming what I thought I heard the Blue Sky Rangers mention in a talk they gave a decade ago. The 10-bit thing I can forgive, but the 3-word-long instructions are unforgivable. I'm betting this made ROM carts overall more expensive for the Intellivision as a result, needing more ROM space for code.

Chuck(G)
August 29th, 2016, 04:20 PM
GI did offer a 10 bit-wide ROM.

The picture is a bit more complicated--and horrifying. The first word of an instruction uses 10 bits out of 16--the unused 6 bits were apparently reserved for a coprocessor or some other function.

The second and third words are, in fact, a full 16 bits, unless they're direct jump operands--in which case they're 10 bits as well; you have a three-word instruction.

In the case of a relative (conditional) jump, a 16-bit displacement is used as the second instruction word. However, the sign of the displacement is part of the first instruction word, so if you've got a 10 bit instruction ROM, you're limited to +/- 1023 words either side of the jump, so not so bad.

However, there's a "prefix" instruction for people using 10 bit ROMs "SDBD" - set double-byte data, which allows the 16-bit operand of a non-jump instruction, such as a load/move immediate to be represented by 2 following bytes.

Bizarre, and inefficient, but this was 1975. The principal 16-bit competition was the NS PACE, which went the other way--all instructions were one word, which had problems of its own--and, like the CP1600, it was slow.

If you weren't in the defense industry, practical chips like the Fairchild 9440 were basically unobtanium.

Trixter
August 29th, 2016, 05:02 PM
That's bananas. Putting the sign of the displacement in the opcode is just goofy -- why arbitrarily shorten your opcode space when you can just put it in the displacement value? You've got 16 bits there! What a strange design.

If I had a choice, I would have easily chosen the NS PACE; it sounds much faster to get up and running.

ClassicHasClass
August 29th, 2016, 05:07 PM
I'll never forget early 1984 when all the stores had 55 gallon drums full of loose cartridges for $.50/each.

I remember that too. We tripled our game library overnight.

Trixter
August 29th, 2016, 05:48 PM
I remember that too. We tripled our game library overnight.

Yeah, but with crap. Market saturation was the cause of the crash, so those bin games were all pretty terrible.

krebizfan
August 29th, 2016, 05:58 PM
Yeah, but with crap. Market saturation was the cause of the crash, so those bin games were all pretty terrible.

Everything went into the bins: good games and bad games. Stores just wanted video games gone. A little selectivity and one got a great collection.

Chuck(G)
August 29th, 2016, 06:18 PM
If I had a choice, I would have easily chosen the NS PACE; it sounds much faster to get up and running.

Well, the ISA is somewhat similar to the DG Nova, but with drawbacks. IIRC (this is all from memory), you've got a 10-deep stack, after which, you service an interrupt and empty or fill it again. The chip was the typical 3-supply (Vss, Vcc, Vbb) MOS affair with most signals requiring special interface chips. Not particularly fast (a Z80 could beat it) with some awkward ISA quirks.

Only two "immediate" instructions; a "load immediate" of an 8-bit quantity and a "complement and add immediate". A strange "skip if AND of the addressed memory location and AC0 is zero" instruction. Many other ISA oddities.

All in all, it wasn't really worth the effort.

KC9UDX
August 29th, 2016, 06:20 PM
Selectivity and timing. If you weren't there first, the games were already picked through. I seem to remember getting one or two good games, and a dozen or more bad games in triplicate. I think I have four copies of STAR STRIKE, which at the time we thought was a horrible game (and apparently everyone else did too). Ironically, it's one of my favourite games now.

The best game I got at that time (as I recall) was SPACE ARMADA. I thought it was a great game, but it was too stinking hard, so I never played it. I remember that one specifically because it was the one game that I recall was in the bins with its box and overlay. But it came with black&white instructions and only one overlay! These days, I enjoy playing it, but can't do it for very long.

Grandcheapskate
August 29th, 2016, 08:13 PM
Does the one actually power off during play, or just change to a black screen? I've found that in most cases, bad cartridge contact is actually the problem. These cartridges for whatever reason seem more prone to this than other machines'.

The failure mode of the one I have was to go to a black screen during play. It would do this sooner and sooner and finally stopped playing altogether. I always meant to find out why but never did. The power supply was not the problem because I didn't change that when I swapped parts with the Sears unit.

Matt.

I honestly can't remember. It's been a while since I have used one.

My friend and I used to play IT Football before watching a real game on Sunday morning. The one issue was with the color choices they made. It seems no one ever considers the fact the person playing a video game may be color blind. So it's a BAD idea to put a red guy on a green background - it's just doesn't stand out to someone who is color blind. So I always had to be the red guy since I could follow him because I knew where I was moving. The black guy stood out on the green background so my friend always had to use that controller.

Joe

ClassicHasClass
August 30th, 2016, 07:52 AM
Yeah, but with crap. Market saturation was the cause of the crash, so those bin games were all pretty terrible.

No, not everything. There was a lot of crap, yes, but we also got almost all of the Mattel games we were missing, and quite a few of the decent Imagic titles. And pennies on the dollar.

KC9UDX
August 30th, 2016, 07:58 AM
I think that was when I got all the Imagic games I have.

Clarus
September 24th, 2016, 01:09 PM
Now, for the really important question...will there be a repro Intellivoice unit, or are we going to have to use originals/build our own? :p

KC9UDX
September 24th, 2016, 01:49 PM
I thought those had one built in.

It's irrelevant, there's no cartridge slot and likely no attempt to emulate the system bus, so no way to adapt an Intellivoice.

Clarus
September 24th, 2016, 03:41 PM
I thought those had one built in.

It's irrelevant, there's no cartridge slot and likely no attempt to emulate the system bus, so no way to adapt an Intellivoice.

Unless they're building in a pretty unpopular module (http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/hardware/voice_tech.html) for a repro, I doubt it's built in, it wasn't originally either...the Intellivision III was supposed to have it built in, but that never came to be. I suppose it depends on the actual design of the repro system, as I recall you could wire in your own cartridge slot for the Atari Flashback systems that came out a few years ago, but that may have been deliberate on the designers' part.

KC9UDX
September 24th, 2016, 05:48 PM
I don't think it was unpopular. I knew people that had one or even two, who didn't even have the games that required it.

This new thing must have it built in. I know I've seen Heligans (Space Spartans) and Bay Seventain Baumer advertised for it. I can't imagine anyone wanting to play those without it.

ClassicHasClass
September 25th, 2016, 06:04 PM
Bay Seventain Baumer

I'm sorry, sir, you really must learn to spell. It is, in fact, spelled Bee Sevuhnteen Baaaaahmer.

I wouldn't think it's a given. It seems exactly the mentality to throw another game in for the stats, never mind that without the voice the game loses a major play dimension. (Almost like Mind Strike without the ECS keyboard.)

KC9UDX
September 25th, 2016, 07:03 PM
I'm sorry, sir, you really must learn to spell. It is, in fact, spelled Bee Sevuhnteen Baaaaahmer.

I wouldn't think it's a given. It seems exactly the mentality to throw another game in for the stats, never mind that without the voice the game loses a major play dimension. (Almost like Mind Strike without the ECS keyboard.)

Energy level nine thousand. Zero Heligans.

I'm considering buying one just to find out. I'll have to peruse the list of included games and see if there's any I don't have that would make it worthwhile.

KC9UDX
September 25th, 2016, 08:43 PM
I guess I'm not thoroughly impressed with the game list. Someone on Amazon had the gall to say that those are all the games there were.

Sharp Shot? Really?

I might get it anyway though. There's a couple included which are games I've lost and wouldn't mind having again. Specially Motocross. I've never played the newer Baseball game, so that might be interesting.

ClassicHasClass
September 26th, 2016, 10:20 AM
I have a Sylvania GTE Intellivision (that I repaired the controller pads on) with an Intellivoice and a Cuttlecart. That is how you Inty. This thing is a joke.

I confess I did buy the ColecoVision version to investigate further but I was not impressed.

KC9UDX
September 26th, 2016, 03:56 PM
I'm pretty sure the Cuttle Cart boat has sailed.

Oddly my controllers still work fine, aside from a bad cable on the right one which I've been meaning to replace for decades. It works most of the time.

I'm torn about buying a Flashback. I'm sick to death of miniaturised replicas. Just the size of the PiDP-8 is the main reason I can't get the ambition to assemble it.

MindParadox
March 18th, 2018, 12:37 AM
The various Flashback units (Coleco, Atari, Intellivision, etc.) are all using the same basic ARM board to drive an emulator. Only the plastic shells and controllers differ.


Actually, the Atari Flashback II(2?) is actually an atari, not an emulator, with a rom chip soldered to the board. it actually has the header for the cartridge slot and everything, and can accept all original controllers, and mod boards for them.

I found this out when I was doing research into upgrading the video on my Sears Tele-Games 2600 clone, and subsequently just added a cartridge slot to my up till then "useless" flashback 2 :) Works great, have to do a bit of solder, and I kept the rom chip, so that was an extra switch so I could flip between cartridge and ROM :)

The instructions for modding a flashback 2 are easily found via google, happy hunting! :)

Great Hierophant
March 24th, 2018, 08:30 PM
Actually, the Atari Flashback II(2?) is actually an atari, not an emulator, with a rom chip soldered to the board. it actually has the header for the cartridge slot and everything, and can accept all original controllers, and mod boards for them.

I found this out when I was doing research into upgrading the video on my Sears Tele-Games 2600 clone, and subsequently just added a cartridge slot to my up till then "useless" flashback 2 :) Works great, have to do a bit of solder, and I kept the rom chip, so that was an extra switch so I could flip between cartridge and ROM :)

The instructions for modding a flashback 2 are easily found via google, happy hunting! :)

The Atari Flashback 2 is the only Flashback that uses an ASIC that recreated (excellent but not perfectly) the 2600 hardware. The original Flashback used a NES-on-a-Chip to simulate (poorly) the 2600 & 7800 and the Flashback 3 and above use ARM chips to emulate (nowhere as good as Stella) the 2600.