Before Nintendo released the Family Computer in 1983, it had already created five home-use TV video game machines in the Japanese market. Between 1977 and 1979 four games were released in the Color TV Game series. The fifth game was Computer TV Game (CTG-HC10), which came out in 1980.
Though the Color TV Game series (カラー テレビゲーム シリーズ) was successful, contrary to the other Nintendo toys and games of the era, not too much effort was put into creating a unique experience. For the most part, these machines adopted concepts developed by Magnavox and Atari.
Atari’s home version of Pong was released during the holiday season of 1975, and in 1977 Nintendo was ready to take a slice of the Pong clone pie when it released the Color TV Game 6 (カラー テレビゲーム 6) and Color TV Game 15 (カラー テレビゲーム 15), offering 6 and 15 Pong-style game variants respectively.
The machines were co-developed by Mitsubishi Electronic and did not prominently feature Nintendo branding on the casing.
These first TV Games were followed by two somewhat more original creations:Color TV Game Racing 112 (カラー テレビゲーム レーシング 112) in 1978 and Color TV Game Block Kuzushi (カラー テレビゲーム ブロック崩し) the following year.
Racing 112 is a racing game that could be played by a single payer, using the provided steering wheel, or by two players using the paddles.
Block Kuzushi is clearly inspired by Breakout, and featured six game variants with some original ideas.
In upcoming posts we will take a closer look at each of these four games, and their power adapter accessory: