Videomaster Colour Cartridge

Console Name: Colour Cartridge
Release Date: 1979
Manufacturer: Videomaster
Number of Games: 4

History
Videomaster was the leading pong console producer in the UK in the 70s. But at the end of the decade, a new type of pong console started to gain a lot of popularity in Europe : the SD 050 clones. While the Atari VCS and the other cartridge-based console swept away the pong console from North America, the pong consoles were still very popular in Europe. As pong consoles were very cheap to produce, there’s was plenty of company that wanted in on this craze.

Videomaster was the leading pong console producer in the UK in the 70s. At the end of the decade, a new type of pong console started to gain a lot of popularity in Europe : the SD 050 clones. Since by then the pong consoles were basically only a game on a chip, pong makers decided to create a console with interchangeable chips. The chip, hosted in a cartridge, can be changed at will, therefore emulating a cartridge-based console. This is in a nutshell what the SD 050 consoles are. Although this makes a system very cheap to produce with the ability to change the games, it also means that all SD 050 console will have exactly the same games as they use the same chips. This also means that new chips had to be created for new games to be released for these consoles, but since only eight chips were ever produced, the most cartridges one of theses console could have, is eight.

At the same time that the SD 050 clones were gaining in popularity, the 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System was also starting to spread across Europe. As thesis systems had ROM-based cartridge, it means that there was virtually an infinity of games that could be made for theses systems. But the cost of theses systems was also significantly higher than the SD 050. Videomaster had no experience with programmable video game console and would have to acquire the licence to publish a 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System. Most of the Videomaster fund was tied to the upcoming release of their Star Chess console, so the logical choice was to go with a SD 050 as there was no licensing cost nor development to do. They already had everything on hand.

Release
The console was finally released with one game in 1979 alongside three additional games. Sadly, these were the only games that Videomaster would release for this console.

Demise
The console could have been successful, but the demise of their Star Chess console lead the company in real financial problems which lead to the sale of the company to Waddingtons, a company well known for their wishing cards. By the time the deal with Waddingtons was concluded and that Videomaster would have been ready to invest again in its console, the Videomaster Colour Cartridge had already failed to reach a critical mass and investing again in this console was too risky. Eventually, Videomaster would partner with Voltmace  in 1980 to release the Database Games-Computer, a 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System console.

Cartridge List

  • All Sports (pack-in)
  • Road Race
  • Stunt Rider
  • Super Wipeout
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