We all know by now that Nintendo is the grandaddy of the video games industry. I mean if Nintendo was an actual grandaddy it would be able to tell you about the great (Console) war!
But most of us think of them being a product of the 80’s, However before the NES, and before the Famicom… even before game and watch, There was another!
Introducing the Nintendo Color TV Game 6!
If you thought by that name that maybe Nintendo was not that creative back then, then you would be correct! As not only is that the most boring and uncreative name for a console but this console was also a direct rip off of the Atari hit Pong.
In July of 1977 Nintendo released the Color TV Game six to the Japanese market to minimal fanfare.
It was a simple box with two dials to control the 6 variations of the Pong clone, with multiple options so adjust the games via physical toggle switches on the obscenely yellow body.
Each game had a different color palate and it has been said that it was not an easy console to play on, however this was followed up later that year by the successor…
The Nintendo Color TV game 15!
That’s right, more Pong clones than the last version! Nintendo did however improve upon the design by making the control dials removable from the console so that they were hand held.
The Colour TV Game line marked the company’s entry into all forms of video game, not just home consoles. While video games were already available in Japanese arcades by 1977, and while Nintendo did make coin-op amusement machines, it only made electro-mechanical games as well as its line of EVR, or “Electronic Video Recording” machines, which were games played with live-action clips shot on 16mm film. It didn’t produce an arcade video game until Computer Othello in 1978.
It was not long after the launch of these first units that Nintendo hired a fresh-faced young designer named Shigeru Miyamoto. For Chris Kohlers book Power-Up, He asked him what he thought of these first two machines. “They were bad,” he said. The company tasked him with improving the designs for the next two games in the Colour TV Game lineup, 1978’s Racing 112 and 1979’s Block-Kuzushi (a Breakout clone).
Nintendo released one more single game dedicated console, The Computer Othello in 1980. The same year as the first Nintendo Game and Watch.
Nintendo would not release their groundbreaking Nintendo Famicom until 1983 before releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System to the western world and saving the Video game industry as a whole.