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Fairchild Channel F Video Game Console

Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.1976

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

While not as well known today as the Magnavox Odyssey or Atari VCS, the Fairchild Channel F was an important second generation home video game console. Released in 1976, the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (later renamed the Channel F) was the first home video game system to use plug-in game cartridges, which the company marketed as "Videocarts." The earlier Magnavox Odyssey (1972) used a type of "game card" to switch between the games loaded on the console, but these cards were not video game cartridges containing programming. Similar to contemporary systems, the Channel F was programmed with several built-in games, including a tennis version of the popular game Pong, and through the use of Videocarts expanded the library of games for the system to 21 titles. The Channel F had a number of other unique properties: a hold button to temporarily freeze in-progress games; an innovative joystick with rotating directional controllers (similar to those on the later Bally Astrocade); a lengthy controller cord (six foot) which allowed players to sit away from the console itself. This artifact is an example of the follow-on Channel F console, the System II, which was released in 1979 to compete with the Atari VCS. The majority of changes made to the System II were cosmetic and did little to address the fact that Atari's VCS had superior graphics and game mechanics. Only a handful of new games were released for the System II, sales decreased, and production was canceled in early 1980.

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Details

  • Title: Fairchild Channel F Video Game Console
  • Creator: Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.
  • Date Created: 1976
  • Location: USA
  • Subject Keywords: video game, electronic game, Fairchild Channel F
  • Type: Console Hardware
  • Medium: printed paper, plastic, metal
  • Object ID: 110.3707

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