After the release of the Telstar (the first "dedicated-chip" pong system) in 1976 which was a big success, Coleco conceived a whole range of pongs for release at Christmas 1977. The Telstar Alpha is one of the simplest system of the range. It offers only four games and has built-in controllers. That's cool if you want to play 2 players games alone ! The only difference between the original Telstar and the alpha is that there is one more game on the Alpha (Jai-Alai).
There's a 3 positions switch that controls difficulty (BEGINNER : slow ball, big paddles / INTERMEDIATE : slow ball, small paddles / PRO : fast ball, big paddles). If this is common to the first Telstars, this is quite different from most of the other pong systems which offer individual settings.
Heh! I got one of these for a Christmas present. It worked fine, but got real boring, real quick.
Thursday 17th April 2014
Edward Jackson (Missouri, USA)
I think you are confused about the 3 difficulty switches... you stated "beginner : slow ball, big paddles / advanced : fast ball, big paddles / expert : fast ball, small paddles"
however it's really: (beginner : slow ball, big paddles / INTERMEDIATE : SLOW BALL, SMALL PADDLES / PRO : fast ball, BIG PADDLES)
this is what I get from my Telstar Alpha unit.
the unit I have I've hacked so that it's directly connected via RF (as opposed to using a metal sliding switch box). I soldered a slightly modified NES RF box. I recommend doing this on your unit, as it gets much better video results (crystal clear!).
I wonder if RCA jacks can be made from it.. it would be more convenient http://www.pong-story.com/pics/gi/ay38500.gif