Obscure consoles: Nintendo Color TV Game

By Mike on 12:46 pm

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Some say they single-handedly saved gaming. When Nintendo's NES came out in 1985, it was a smash hit. The lone console brought the market back from the brink. It was the daddy of modern game systems. However, it wasn't the first for Nintendo. The company's history goes back over a century. Prior to the NES, they made arcade cabinets. Before that, they had the Color TV Game.

The original Color TV Game came in glorious orange
Thankfully Nintendo went with grey for the NES

Let me take you back to a time when gaming was in its infancy. The year was 1977. The only game available was Pong, a simple table tennis simulator. There were countless different companies making their own copies of this game. Then Atari released the 2600. It had high quality colour graphics and a huge bevy of games. People jumped on it and it quickly dominated the home gaming market. Of course Nintendo, an arcade developer, wanted a piece of the action. Their response to the 2600? The Color TV Game; another Pong clone.

Tennis must have been huge in the 1970s.

The original featured six variations of "Light Tennis". Unlike other Pong clones, it had colour graphics. Colour in the sense that it had white paddles on a green background, as opposed to a black background. The games were controlled with two dials, attached to the console itself. A revised version featured wired controllers and 15 variations of Light Tennis. A third Color TV Game, released in 1979. It dropped tennis in favour of "Block Breaker", a Breakout clone. The systems were only released in Japan.

Miyamoto's handywork, Block Breaker. His first project with Nintendo

Like the Halcyon, the Color TV Game did have something notable going for it. It may not have been the most advanced, or even the most innovate system. Block Breaker would have the biggest influence on gaming. The console's external design was one of Shigeru Miyamoto's first projects. The legendary game designer would go on to create Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and countless other Nintendo classics.

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