Long long before the Switch, Wii-U, Wii, 2DS, 3DS, Gameboy Advance, Gamecube, SNES, Super Famicom, Gameboy, NES or Famicom, there were Nintendo’s Color TV Game 6 and 15.
These were what are now called dedicated game consoles, that can only play games that are built into it. It used to be that these were the only kinds of consoles there were. They’ve made something of a comeback recently, for this is essentially what units like the NES Mini and Atari Flashback are.
The Color TV Game 6 and Color TV Game 15 use the same system-on-a-chip design. As sometimes happened back then, the 6 is electrically capable of playing all the games the 15 can, but doesn’t make the 15’s extra game’s selectable.
The paddles don’t use potentiometers, like nearly every other paddle controller does. They’re switches, meaning no analog control. When your paddle moves up or down, it’s always at a constant speed, making the included Pong-style games play much than on practically every other system.
All of Nintendo’s game consoles have used a three letter designation. The Switch’s is HAC. The Wii was RVL (Revolution), the DS was NTR (Nitro), the Gamecube was DOL (Dolphin) and the Famicom was HVC. This system may have originated way back here with the Color TV Game: it’s code was CTG.
The always excellent Nicole Express has a great post on the Japanese gambling game Pachinko, especially the imported machines that made it to the U.S. when for a brief time we liked it too. It contains the fact that we probably got video pachinko before Japan did, through the Odyssey2 game Pachinko! (The exclamation point there is part of the game’s title, as it is with all Magnavox-produced Odyssey2 games. While I enjoy that bit of trivia, I am not actually hugely excited about it.)
Physical slot machines were, and maybe still are, illegal in Japan, so all the ridiculous graphic and sound flourishes those demonic entities bear in North America are instead put in the service of the Tiny Silver Balls. I’ve always shied away from these forms of gaming for the same reason I never got into Magic: The Gathering: by tying profitability to gameplay, they feel to me like they’re more business model than game, really. I might not be able to earn my quarter back at Pac-Man, but at least there isn’t someone figuring out how to work those odds against me.
We love Nicole Express! She regularly covers the most interesting, and often obscure to U.S. audiences, gaming topics. This time out, she relates the many ways that the PC Engine saved game data. Just about every possible way the system could do saving, it did, from simple passwords to on-cart battery-backed RAM to expansion port peripherals with batteries or capacitors, even to a device that plugged into the controller port. Great information as always from Nicole Branagan!
The 60-in-1 is often recognizable by its distinctive menu system, but it can actually be set to play one of its games in a stand-alone mode, in which case its menu never appears. It’s actually an ARM board running MAME, which means its games have distinctive quirks. All the information is there, so go acquaint yourself with ubiquitous gray-market arcade hardware!