I was looking around the web through alternative search engine Wiby, which I find can be a good way to get out from beneath Google’s oppressive crush of SEO and pandering, a.k.a. tHe aLgOrItHm, and wow did it come through. It brought my eyes to the small yet hopeful gaming site Retro-Sanctuary, and their YouTube channel, which presented something I had never heard of before: a super-obscure old German game console called the Interton VC 4000, created by a hearing aid manufacturer!
Look at those weird controllers! They’re like calculators with a joystick attached, but they’re analog, and unlike the Atari 5200’s infamous ‘sticks they’re self-centering! And this was made in 1978! Interton was owned by Phillips, who also owned Magnavox, who made the Odyssey and (later) the Odyssey 2. The VC 4000’s tech was licensed to other companies for making their own versions which, in an unfortunate prelude to the NES era of game production, couldn’t use each other’s cartridges because they were different shapes.
As the guys in the video point out, most of the games for the systems were copies of early Atari VCS/2600 games, but often just different enough to be interesting for their own sake.