100% developed

History of video games/Platforms/BSS 01

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search


[edit | edit source]


[edit | edit source]
The East Berlin "Death Strip" - 1984. To make the BSS 01, western chips had to be smuggled through the tightly controlled border into East Germany.

The system used imported chips from the United States of America, a rare occurrence due to the prevalence of clone chips and serious export restrictions on legal transport of such chips to communist nations.[1][2][3] These chips were likely obtained by funneling them through a network of fake companies to hide their use from export regulations and then smuggled across the border to East Germany.[4]


[edit | edit source]

The BildSchirmSpiel 01 (BSS 01) was released sometime around 1980 in East Germany for 500 East German marks, playing games similar to Pong.[2][3] This cost of the console was prohibitive, costing as much as a worker would make in a half month.[1]


[edit | edit source]
An educational session held at Halbleiterwerk Frankfurt Oder in 1988.

The price was reduced to 330 East German Marks in 1984, when the system was discontinued having sold 1,000 consoles, in order to focus production on alarm clocks with radios.[5][1][6]

Around the reunification of East Germany with West Germany in 1990, most East German computer organizations folded.[7] This included the BSS 01 manufacturer Halbleiterwerk Frankfurt Oder (HFO), which ceased operations around 1991.[8] Despite widespread unemployment initially, the computer industry had returned to former East German areas by 2000.[9][7]


[edit | edit source]

The BSS 01 serves as a unique example of how a Warsaw Pact country approached building a video game console during the Cold War, and the barriers that had to be surmounted to create it. It furthermore shows how social factors surrounding the release of a console could cause it to sell poorly, in this case a high cost compared to standard worker wages.


[edit | edit source]

The BSS 01 uses a GI AY-3-8500-7 chip and produces black and white graphics.[2]

[edit | edit source]

External Resources

[edit | edit source]


[edit | edit source]
  1. a b c "pongmuseum.com - and the ball was square... RFT - TV Spiel BSS 01 made in DDR - GDR". pongmuseum.com. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  2. a b c "OLD-COMPUTERS.COM : The Museum". www.old-computers.com. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  3. a b "Gaming Beyond the Iron Curtain: East Germany". Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  4. "Retropolis #104: Piep-Show jenseits der Mauer - BSS 01". Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  5. "BSS 01". Wikipedia. 11 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  6. "BSS 01 / Bildschirmspiel 01 - DDR Konsole - OhrBIT (04.06.2017)". Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  7. a b Schmid, John; Tribune, International Herald (13 March 2002). "East German chip zone is growing despite global slowdown : Silicon Saxony dodges crisis (Published 2002)". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  8. "East German CPU's The CPU Shack Museum". Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  9. McGrane, Sally (25 October 2000). "ONLINE OVERSEAS; Their Roots Give Former East Germans an Edge (Published 2000)". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  10. Markham, James M. (13 February 1984). "TV BRINGS WESTERN CULTURE TO EAST GERMANY (Published 1984)". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 December 2020.