Toshiba Corporation (株式会社東芝) was founded in 1939 under the name Tokyo Shibaura Denki K.K. Toshiba had its hand in pretty much everything made from electronic parts from radars to computers, television and microwaves. In 1977, the company released its first video game console, the TVG-610. The console was a pong clone that came with a few games (tennis, squash, etc.) as well as a target-shooting game which required a light gun (TGG-610) sold separately. The console had a certain success, but Toshiba wanted to hit a home-run and take over the Japanese video game market. In 1978, aside the Video Cassette Rock by Takatoku which was based on the GIMINI 8600, all other video game consoles available in Japan were dedicated console with no cartridges support. Toshiba decided to reach out to RCA to licence the RCA Studio II.
At the time, RCA was already having difficulty as the RCA Studio II was deemed inferior to its competitors (black & white, no detachable controller, etc.) and already had started working on a color version of the RCA Studio II named the RCA Studio III. Toshiba decided to acquires the right to the RCA Studio II anyway, but didn’t make the same mistake RCA did. Knowing very well that it wouldn’t be long before a competitor released a similar system in Japan, Toshiba decided to improve the RCA Studio II concept by adding color and detachable controllers. The end product is very close to the RCA Studio III in terms of capabilities, but is a totally different system.
Although they both have 22 pin, the cartridges pin-out of was also slightly modified so that the RCA Studio II games wouldn’t be compatible with the Visicom C-100. Some of the games available for both RCA Studio II and the Visicom C-100 have been reprogrammed to included color.
Release on April 1st, 1978, the Viscom C-100 was sold for ¥54,800. The system came bundled with 5 built-in games and each additional cartridges were sold for ¥5,000. A box set (CAS-100K) containing 4 games (Arithmetic Drills, Sports Fans, Gamblers I and Space Command) was also available for ¥20,000 which was exactly the same price as buying the game individually.
The Visicom C-100 was not the success that Toshiba hoped for. First of all, although more advance, the console was very expensive when compared to the competition. Another factor was Toshiba distribution channel. At the time. Toshiba was not really in the toy business and had to sell its console through its home appliance channel which limited the visibility of the console. Finally, it was not long before competitors started to import newer console American console to Japan for roughly the same asking price. In the end, the system failed to take over the Japanese market and Toshiba ceased its video game adventure.
6 games were officially released for the Visicom C-100. The numbering suggests that at least two other games were in the work but were never released.
Built In games
- Addition (加算ゲーム)
- Bowling (ボウリング)
- Doodle (落書き)
- Freeway (カーレース)
- Pattern (模様書き)