Monday, March 15, 2010

The history of the world wide web on consoles Part 1

Heres a chronological list of all consoles that in some way had online connectivity.

The first device/service in this post did not use a modem or the telephone lines but I still think it deserves to be in this list.


"The PlayCable system, introduced in 1981, allowed local cable-TV system operators to send Intellivision games over the wire alongside the normal TV signal. Subscribers to the service could then use a special converter—the PlayCable Adapter—to download the games to play on their Intellivision game consoles."

So here we possibly have the very first device for a console that would let you download games using the telephone lines and it was called CVC GameLine for the Atari 2600.

"In the early 1980s a cable pioneer named William von Meister was looking for a way to use his innovative modem transmission technology, recently acquired in ill-fated attempts of sending music to cable companies. Legal issues caused cable providers to step away from the service, leaving Von Meister with a delivery tool and no content.
He then converted his variable speed adaptive modem technology to download games from central servers to individual households. This allowed users to call up a system and, for a fee, download games to their GameLine modules. The game would typically work for 5-10 plays, after which the user would have to connect to GameLine again and pay for another download.
Physically, the GameLine looked like an oversized silver Atari cartridge, it had a phone jack on the side that was used to link the GameLine with the CVC computers. The GameLine module was able to transmit with pulse or tone dialing, this allowed the unit to be versatile in the field. The games on Gameline were all from third-party gamemakers, the largest of which was Imagic. Gameline tried, but failed to obtain licensing agreements from the largest game makers, such as Atari, Activision, Coleco, Mattel, and Parker Brothers."

Nintendo Entertainment System - Famicom

Nintendo 8bit - Yes even the king of consoles had a modem but only in Japan and even if there were some games that made use of it it was mainly meant for getting game cheats, jokes, weather forecasts, and a small amount of downloadable content. It could also be used to make live stock trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange!.

A very unfun looking horse betting game that made use of the Famicom Modem:

There was also a modem produced for the US market but it was sadly cancelled and it was called Teleplay Modem you can read more about it here:

Sega Genesis - Megadrive

XBAND - Released on the US market for snes and genesis 1994-1995.

The genesis/megadrive actually had one more modem released for it and it was only released in Japan and later on in Brazil called Sega Meganet. Sadly the only two available videos of this in action is made by a Brazilian that likes to scream so I recommend muting the video when watching ;)

Sonic Eraser released exclusively on the meganet service in Japan:

Super Nintendo - Super Famicom

The Snes Satellaview only released in Japan 1995.

"The Satellaview system was developed and released by Nintendo to receive signals broadcast from satellite TV station WOWOW's satellite radio subsidiary, St.GIGA. St.GIGA was responsible for file server management, maintenance, and vocalization for "SoundLink games." Nintendo data broadcasts were given a fixed time-slot known as the Super Famicom Hour (スーパーファミコンアワー?) during which scrambled Satellaview-related data was streamed via radio waves to be unscrambled by St.GIGA's "BS digital tuner" (BSデジタルハイビジョンテレビ BS Dejitaru HaiBijon Terebi?). As a subscription-based ambient/New Age music station, St.GIGA listeners were already equipped with "BS tuners" prior to St.GIGA's contract with Nintendo, however Satellaview owners who lacked a "BS tuner" had to purchase one separately from St.GIGA (at a price of ¥33,000 as well as sign up for Nintendo's and St.GIGA's monthly joint membership fees. Alternately, users could rent "BS tuners" from St.GIGA for a 6-month period at a price of ¥5,400. Despite the price, by March 1997 St.GIGA subscriptions peaked at 116,378 households; by June 2001 the number of subscribers had dropped to around 46,000."

1 comment:

  1. first console i went online width wus a Dreamcast with the built in modem


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