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Coleco Telstar

The first incarnation of the Coleco Telstar.

The Telstar was a series of video game consoles produced by Coleco from 1976 to 1978. Starting with Telstar Pong clone based on General Instrument's AY-3-8500 chip in 1976, there were 14 consoles released in the Telstar branded series. One million Telstar units were sold.

The large product lineup and the impending fading out of the Pong machines led Coleco to face near-bankruptcy in 1980.

Design and Add-Ons Edit

The Telstar had a wide range of incarnations. The base console had two fixed paddles. Its games were Pong variants. The next model, Telstar Classic, was released in 1976 and had two fixed paddles as well. It also had a deluxe wood case to differentiate it from the base console. Next was the Telstar Deluxe, released in 1977. Some people might remember it for 'Video World of Sports.' This model had two fixed paddles as well and a brown pedestal case with wood paneling. This model was made for the Canadian market with French and English text. The Telstar Ranger was released in 1977 and had a black and white plastic case, included a Colt 45-style light gun and separate paddle controllers. It came with four ball games and two target games. Special features of the four ball games included automatic serve and variable paddle and speed control for three experience levels (beginner, intermediate, and professional). It also used six C batteries or an optional AC adapter, but the light gun required one nine-volt battery.

The Telstar Alpha, released in 1977, had a black and white plastic case and fixed paddles yet again. The games included featured an automatic serve function and variable settings for three skill levels (beginner, intermediate, and pro). Used six C batteries. After that came the Telstar Colormatic, also released in 1977. It contained a black and white plastic case with detached wired paddles. It was also the first model to include color graphics - each game was a different color. The games featured an automatic serve function and variable settings for three skill levels (beginner, intermediate, and professional). It used six C batteries. Next up we had the Telstar Regent, shipped out in 1977, which featured a black and white plastic case and detached wired paddles (See a theme here?). The games featured an automatic serve function and variable settings for three skill levels (beginner, intermediate, and professional). Used six C batteries.

Afterwards, the Telstar Combat! came onto the scene. Can you guess when it came out? 1977, of course. It came bundled with four fixed joysticks (two per player). The packaged games were variations on Kee Games' Tank. The console used six C batteries or an optional AC adapter. The Telstar Gemini was released afterwards, and it was in color and contained a light gun, two flipper buttons on the left and right sides of case, a pinball launch button and field adjustment sliders on top. The Telstar Arcade was the last model produced in 1977, and it was a cartridge-based, triangular model. It included a light gun, a steering wheel with gear shift, and one paddle on each side of the machine.

The Telstar Sportsman was released in 1978 and featured a black and white plastic case, detached wired paddles, and a light gun. After that the Telstar Colortron came out, and that model featured color, built-in sound, and, of course, fixed paddles. The games included were Pong variants and featured variable settings for three skill levels (beginner, intermediate, and pro). It used two nine-volt batteries or an optional AC adapter. Lastly, the Telstar Marksman came out, and it was the largest entry to the Telstar family. It was in color, contained a larger light gun with removable stock, and fixed paddles. The games packaged with it were four Pong variants and two gun games. It used two nine-volt batteries or an optional AC adapter.

I couldn't find out when this one was released, but there was also the Telstar Galaxy, which had separate joysticks and fixed paddles.

GalleryEdit

Trivia Edit

  • Many of the games included on the system were derivatives of Pong.
  • The games in question were often given sports names, such as Jai-Alai or Handball.

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