General Instruments Ball & Paddle

Dedicated TV Games

The AY-3-8500 circuit has been designed to provide a TV 'games' function which gives active entertainment using a standard domestic television receiver. The circuit is intended to be battery powered and a minimum number of external components are required to complete the system.


Overview

General Instruments' introduction of the AY-3-85xx family of integrated circuits democratized the license and manufacture of dedicated TV games consoles in the mid-1970s. Reducing the functionality of the Magnavox Odyssey's discrete circuitry to a single chip both simplified the design of dedicated consoles and greatly reduced their price. Rather than entering the nascent TV game industry, General Instruments would license its technology to dozens of manufacturers, including Coleco, APF, Radofin, Interton, Radio Shack, and even Magnavox. The diminutive 'Ball & Paddle' chip could generate six selectable games—tennis, soccer, squash, practice, and two rifle games—with variations in paddle size, reflection angles, ball speed, and service control. With complementary chips, manufacturers could augment their games with two-axis paddle movement and color compositie video.

Specifications
Manufacturer General Instruments
Type Console
CPU

AY-3-85xx

RAM n/a
Resolution 128x262 | 128x312
Palette monochrome
Graphics Chips pins provide outputs for a ball (6), right and left paddles (9,10), and the score and field (24).
Sound three 32ms pulse tones for hit (976Hz), boundary reflection (488Hz), and score (1.95kHz)
Input Chip pins 11 and 12 provide input for the left and right paddles' vertical control, adjustable with a 10K resistor.
Media none (though some variants did use cartridges)
Variants
  • Coleco Telstar (1976)
  • Magnavox Odyssey 300 (1976)
  • APF TV FUN (1976)
  • Radio Shack TV Scoreboard (1976)
  • Sears Hocky-PONG (1976)
  • Unisonic Sportsman (1976)
  • Interton Video 2400 (1977)
  • Magnavox Odyssey 2000 (1977)
  • Magnavox Odyssey 3000 (1977)
  • Radofin Tele-Sports (1977)