The Telstar Arcade was released in 1977. It is one of the most interesting systems made by Coleco and also the most advanced PONG system released in America, although it played non-PONG games. Made in a triangular case, the system could play three types of games, each being played on one of the three sides of the case. Obviously, the first side allowed playing PONG games (TENNIS and the like), and the second side allowed playing target shooting games. Nothing very different from most other systems, except the gun storage. The third face was the most interesting: it allowed playing car racing games. Very few systems offering that type of games were released at this time, and the games were only played using rotary controllers or some sort of joysticks. Best of Coleco's Telstar Arcade was the wheel and the gear box for the car racing games. Since several types of games could be played, the system used interchangeable cartridges. Telstar Arcade is therefore of the earliest system to use cartridges containing a dedicated game chip. Each cartridge contains a chip made by MOS Technology: the MPS-7600. The four versions of this chip contain customised circuits because of the types of games, but they all use the same technology: a basic frame processor that controls the circuits, driven by a small program in ROM (the 8 PONG games chip has a 512-word program). Therefore, the MPS-7600 chips are not like the other PONG chips: they are customized microcontrollers. Coleco used a very uncommon cartridge format: a silver triangular case which connects horizontally on the top of the console. Nothing in common with the other black cartridges whith plug vertically.

Coleco released only four cartridges. The first one was sold with the system and the others were available separately for the price of $25. Two flyers came with the system to order cartridges #2 and #3. Interestingly, cartridge #2 could play Tennis in four-player mode and was sold with two additional hand controllers.

Box of the Telstar Arcade.

Top view: three game sides for each type of game...

"PONG" side: like on the other systems...

"Shooting" side: for playing shouting games...

"Race" side: quite advanced for 1977 !

Cartridge 1 was sold with the system.

Cartridge 2. Click on the photo for more information.

Cartridge 3. Click on the photo for more information.

Cartridge 4. Click on the photo for more information.

Printed circuit board of cartridge 1,
component side: the MPS 7600 game chip.

Printed circuit board of cartridge 1,
solder side.

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