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History of video games/Platforms/Coleco Telstar series

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West Hartford, Connecticut, the city where Coleco was founded.


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Coleco was founded as the Connecticut Leather Company in west Hartford Connecticut in 1932 by Maurice Greenberg, a Russian immigrant.[1][2]

The Coleco Telstar was devised as a home version of Pong in 1975.[1] Shortly after product design began, Leonard Greenberg of Coleco discovered that home pong style games already existed.[1]

Much of the Coleco Telstar had to be redesigned in a week to meet an FCC deadline, after they failed their first FCC compliance test.[3][4] Coleco quickly signed a licensing agreement with Magnavox to consult with Ralph Baer, who successfully got the radio interference of the Telstar under control.[3]

At least some units were made in the United States of America.[5]


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An AY-3-8500, the heart of most Telstar units.

The first Coleco Telstar console was released in 1976 at a cost of $50 with the capability of playing Hockey, Tennis, and Handball.[6] In 1976 over a million Coleco Telstars sold due to it's low price, which was about half of what competitors charged.[6][1] Still sales were considerably hampered by a strike and material shortage at the critical lead up to the 1977 Christmas season.[7]

In 1977 the Coleco Telstar deluxe was released exclusively for the Canadian market.[8]

The Coleco Telstar consoles were followed by the ColecoVision.


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The original Coleco Telstar used a General Instrument AY-3-8500.[6] This inexpensive chip contained the game logic and graphical output functions.[9]

The Telstar Arcade uses a very different triangle cartridge based system with each cartridge containing a MOS MPS 7600 processor,[10][11] as well as game ROM.[12] This cartridge based approach is completely different from every other Coleco Telstar console, which were dedicated consoles. However the console still shared the Telstar brand.

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Telstar Series

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External Resources

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  1. a b c d Kleinfield, N. R. (21 July 1985). "COLECO MOVES OUT OF THE CABBAGE PATCH (Published 1985)". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  2. "Coleco Industries". Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  3. a b "Pong-Story : Coleco Telstar". www.pong-story.com. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  4. "Because of Her Story". Because of Her Story. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  5. "Video game console:Coleco Telstar Ranger - Coleco Industries". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  6. a b c "OLD-COMPUTERS.COM : The Museum". www.old-computers.com. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  7. "COLECO'S NEW VIDEO CHALLENGE (Published 1982)". The New York Times. 11 November 1982. https://www.nytimes.com/1982/11/11/business/coleco-s-new-video-challenge.html. 
  8. "Coleco Canada – Montreal Video Game Museum". Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  9. "Pong-Story : PONG in a Chip". www.pong-story.com. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  10. "This Is the Strangest Video Game Console of All Time - IGN". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  11. "Pong-Story : Coleco Telstar Arcade". www.pong-story.com. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  12. a b "Coleco Telstar Arcade (1977 – 1978)". Museum of Obsolete Media. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2022.