The Interton VC 4000 was quite popular in Germany. Interton produced a serie of pong systems before releasing the VC-4000 in 1978. The console is quite obscure outside Germany, but many "software compatible" systems can be found in many countries (at least in Europe). It's unclear if Interton really made the VC-4000 from scratch or if they bought the rights and the design to produce it, as many other brands produced similar systems the following years. The same thing will happen with very similar systems: Emerson Arcadia 2001 & "clones"...
According to the excellent research work from Dale Hansen, the 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System from Radofin would be the first member of the line as it was released in 1976! Radofin then licenced its system wordlwide to different companies.
The VC-4000 is powered by a Sgnetics 2650A CPU (same as Arcadia 2001) and a Signetics 2636 Video Controller (Arcadia 2001 uses a 2637). The two controllers are composed of a 12 keys keypad, 2 fire buttons and an analog joystick. On the control panel of the system, one can find an on/off switch and three buttons: RESET, SELECT and START.
One particularity about this videogame "family" (VC-4000 & clones), is that they seem to be the only systems which required the game to be loaded into internal RAM from the cartridge, before being able to play (generally through a LOAD PROGRAM or equivalent button found on the control panel. On the VC-4000 it's the RESET button).
About 40 cartridges were released (37 so far). The games are not bad for 1978, but not impressive too...
The console designers forgot to include a "reset on power-up" circuity so the user had to manually press reset... that button was just called "load game" for marketing reasons. It''s just like all the other consoles from that era that directly execute code from ROM.
The console did not have any RAM chip, just 37 bytes of unused but still readable/writeable video registers were used as RAM by games.
Just a few cartridges for which 37 bytes wouldn''t have been enough (such as Chess) came with extra RAM inside the cartridge.
Tuesday 21st November 2017
Examining the emulators: The games look a little too familiar... (2600 ripoff, cough...$-)
But it is still refreshing to see similar programs from a different perspective$ A nice addition to MESS.
Saturday 19th November 2016
About the Reset button : as emu fan mentionned, the Interton have only 43 bytes of RAM$ but, it also have 4Ko of VRAM. Much like for the Colecovision, RAM accessible by the processor was extremely expensive, so most of the RAM would be put on the VRAM, allowing the us of cheaper ram, at the cost of more difficult programming and slower games. The 43 bytes would be used to tell to the sytem to load the game into the 4Ko of VRAM. Also, later game cartridge include 128Ko of RAM to improve either graphisms or game mechanics.
Tuesday 30th April 2013
END OF PRODUCTION
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Two controllers with 12 buttons, 2 fire buttons and an analog joystick
Signetics 2636 (Video controller)
Single channel beeper
Video output, Cartridge slot, Two controller connectors