In 2021, André Pauptit gave me some old Philips gear he still had lying around. Of course I could not say no to that! And so we quickly discussed by e-mail how to get these things at my place. Anyway, I reported about our digital meeting in a article, and the reference can be found on the left side of this screen.
During our contact, it turned out that André Pauptit had worked at Philips in Eindhoven in 1979 as a component package developer. And also that he ended up at Philips because when he was writing a series of articles for the Elektuur magazine about the Simple Cost effective self-build Micro Processor or SC/MP by National Semiconductors. These articles prompted him to write an article about Philips' 2650 μP and thus André regularly visited the Philips Elcoma Application Lab. It was here that he learned about the G7000 game console that Philips was going to market.
Game computer history
The history of gaming computers began in the 1970s, when the first home computers entered the market. These devices had very limited graphics capabilities and were mainly intended for performing simple tasks such as word processing. Nevertheless, they were also used for playing simple games. The Philips G7000 is a home video game console that was sold in Europe in 1978, just after competitor Atari launched the 2600, under the name Philips Videopac G7000.
Originally developed by Magnavox, a subsidiary of Philips, the G7000 was released in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey². This was the successor to the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey and was actually the world's first commercial game console.
In the following years several new gaming consoles were released, including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Sega Master System. These consoles brought more advanced graphics and sound to the living room and offered a wider variety of games than ever before. This period also saw the rise in popularity of handheld game consoles, such as Nintendo's Game Boy.
In the 1990's, the graphics and sounds of game consoles continued to improve and more and more 3D games were released. The launch of the Sony PlayStation in 1994 was an important moment in the history of gaming computers because it was the first console to use the CD-ROM as its storage medium, which made it possible to store much more data than cartridges.
Since that time, more and more gaming consoles and platforms have entered the market, including Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's Wii. Online gaming platforms such as Steam and Origin have also proliferated, allowing users to download and play games on their computers or consoles. Today, the gaming industry is nothing like that of the early years. It is now one of the largest entertainment industries in the world that is constantly evolving with new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.
Back to that Philips G7000:
This was an 8-bit console with a processor that was based on the Intel 8048. And had a number of features that were unique for the time, including a keyboard that could be used to play games and to program and run programs. While the console had limited graphics capabilities and could only display 4 colors, it did have a built-in sound chip and speaker.
In the article I published in 2021, André Pauptit stated that Philips Austria, because of the experience they had there with video signal conversion to European VCR standards, was handling the European product development of the G7000. The G7000 was a Magnavox derivative, but restyled for the European Market and it was for this reason that Andrea Panchetti from Italy contacted me. He had always assumed that the G7000 was an all American design. "What was needed for the G7000 productdevelopment was the interface to European TV's. That was something Philips Austria already did for VCR's." according to André Pauptit.
A word about Andrea: he works with the Cattolica university in Milan and blogs at various places on the Wild Wide Web about old game consoles. He introduced himself to me as a "independent researcher and a content creator, specialized in writing essays and articles relating to the history of video games and personal computer evolution. My main focus is the history of gaming in Italy, my native country. I created my first website/blog about this topic in 2007, Quattro Bit, as an archive of personal reviews/essays in order to support local studies in videogame history. For the same purpose, I published there an in-depth series of interviews with experts and people involved in video games programming and publishing.
Quattro Bit became during the years one of the most important and cited primary sources for academic and scientific studies about the history of gaming in Italy. In 2022 I decided to change the project and turn it into a more 'up-to-date' and responsive newsletter on Substack, in order to spread knowledge and get in touch with researchers, followers and users.".
What followd was an intensive e-mail exchange between the three of us. How nice André Pauptit thought it was, when I asked him if he was okay with me giving his e-mail address to Andrea, that there are still people interested in this distant history!
Nowadays, if we take a look online, we'll find countless websites and videos about old game consoles. And for folks who lived through those days, memories come flooding back. The same goes for me. As a game player and later as a tinkerer and during my time in Game Publishing in the 90's. Since then, I focussed my gaming on Personal Computers. But the fun is the same!
You may be wondering what exactly I am up to with this article.... Ah., call it melancholy. That feeling of slight sadness caused by longing for moments that have passed. And the realization that the moment then, it seems now, was valued less than now, when I look back on it. Sobering yourself realizing that those moments, that time, will never come back.