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          PONG in a CHIP             


 In 1975, Atari and Magnavox started selling improved systems using integrated circuits. Magnavox used      several Texas Instruments (TI) chips, which replicated the design of the first Odyssey, itself based on 1967 transistor circuits. Atari, however, had the smart idea of designing the first "PONG in a chip" device, but these Atari chips were not available to other manufacturers, thus limitating the market considerably. Most Atari systems used a different chip because of the different games and features. Of course, a few discrete components interfaced the chip to the other parts of the system: the video modulator, the player controls, etc. These chips replaced most of the numerous components used in the early analog and digital systems. Although Atari chips were a smart design, the idea of integrating complex circuits into a single chip was a common idea at that time, and other video game manufacturers soon released their own video game chips.

Texas Instruments (TI) had an important role in 1975 since Magnavox asked the manufacturer to design a special chip set for the Odyssey 100 and later models. Each chip had a special function: paddle generator, collision detection, on-screen scoring, etc. They are detailed in the table at the end of this page. These chips were the SN764xx. It was possible to combine these chips to design a customised Ball & Paddle games, and even a Spacewar game.

Later, TI copied the Executive Games Television Tennis circuits and integrated them into a new chip: the SN76410N. This chip was very unsuccessfull and very few systems used it: Tele-Match 3300R, Ricochet Super Pro (model MT-4A), and Venture Electronics Video Sports VS-5. David Winter asked Glen Dash (who designed the Television Tennis) how this came to his attention. His reply was crystal clear: "The Tennis game was absolutely same, so much that it had the same bugs as my original design".

Because all these chips were unsuccessfull, TI decided to release another type of chip in 1977: the TMS-1955 and TMS-1965, both pin compatible with the GI AY-3-8500, hence a better success.


         My first computer game, was built by a colleague of my father, using just the the Texas Instruments TMS1965 microprocessor, the year 1977 !

The first Italain's console to use the TMS1965 !