One really nice and odd pong system. Designed by Alcatel, it was also sometimes distributed and sold under the Pizon Bros label. The system was sold in a brown suitcase so you could carry it easily and anywhere. In the upper part of the suitcase is stored the lightgun.
The buttons are very original and very cool to press (hehe, you can't imagine that feeling...). You can use the magnets sold with the system to keep the score by placing them on the sides of the metallic panel where numbered squares are drawn.
The console use a AY-3-8500G chipset from General Instrument offering 7 different games (Tennis, Hockey, Hockey handicap, Practice, Squash, Ball-trap, Tir cible). But there are two special options built-in the system which are quite uncommon :
- A new game called Hockey Handicap. It's a classic hockey game where there's a third bat for one of the players.
- But what makes the Visiomatic 101 quite special is a robot option that allows a single player to play vs the system in 4 games (Tennis, Hockey, Handicap Hockey and Squash). This function was not built-in the AY-3-8500G chipset, but hardware designed by Yves Kien, the Alcatel technician in charge of this project. The robot follow the ball movements but blinks on a fixed interval to give a chance to the human player. One of the first implementation of a robot feature in a pong system !
Later on, Yves Kien developped a color version of the Visiomatic 101,called the Colormatic 211. It displayed green for the tennis and red for soccer. It was going to be sold in 1978 but got canceled.
A definitely nice looking pong with original options and graphical designs !
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I was an Alcatel technician in charge of this design in 1973!!!!The product was designed by Alcatel and sold by Pizon Bros. We produced approximately 10000 of this type. You can remark that it is possible to play alone against a "robot" (this is a plus i added).
The chipset is an hybrid circuit designed for that product. I still own one. After this i designed another type with colors (green for the tennis and red for soccer). This application was developped to start a new hybrid circuit prduction line in alcatel factory in Arcueil. This game is working on old TV set through the antenna UHF.
Thursday 24th March 2011
Yves Kien (France)
The color version as described by Yves Kien was called the Colormatic 211 ans was going to be sold in 1978 but got cancelled. The story Yves is telling is true except for the year (not 1973...must be a typo).
The "Robot" is in fact a small circuit add-on and not implanted in the GI chip. I still don''t know why that is has the "AY-5-8500-G" inscription instead of the usual "AY-3-8500" found in many European consoles.