Colour in your hand

Atari announced the world's first color hand-held game system at the June Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago.

Atari's hand-held flagship

The 1lb unit features fast action, dramatic graphics, realistic four-channel sound and a built-in color monitor. Up to eight systems can be connected for multi-player games.

One game card, about the size of a credit card, comes with the system. Five additional games, developed by Epyx Inc, a California-based developer of games software, are already available for the system. The games include California Games. Blue Lightning, Impossible Mission Monster Demolition, Time Quests and Treasure Chests, and Gates of Zendocon.

Product specifications include a system clock operating at 16MHz, 3.5-inch diagonal color LCD screen, and 16 colours on screen selected from a Palette of 4,096. Controls include an eight-way joypad, two fire buttons, five function keys, volume and contrast. The system is powered by six AA size batteries, an AC adapter, or car cigarette lighter adapter. The image on screen can be flipped upsidedown so the system can be easily played by left handed people.

Industry leader Nintendo announced their black and white hand-held game machine, Game Boy, at the same show. Though their product is not as feature rich, Nintendo excel at mass-marketing and distribution. By contrast, industry watchers fear Atari's production facilities may have problems meeting Christmas demand.

The Atari Portable Color Entertainment system should begin shipping in August. Suggested retail will be under $150.


ST Format Shrine
Page last updated: 10 November 2011
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