Since the dawn of time, or at least since 1975 when every Tom, Dick and Harry began releasing their own forms of videogame console that used General Instruments’ AY- 3-8500 chip, people have been referring to all video tennis consoles as Pong consoles. This is quite understandable since the graphics from most of these consoles were basically the same and everybody had heard of Pong, yet it still irks me whenever someone calls a game console that doesn’t carry the Atari or Sears “Pong” name a Pong console (or Pong clone).

But the misnaming of consoles isn’t limited only to the early video tennis consoles. Here are three examples of consoles that are usually called by the incorrect name.

The first is from Fairchild Semiconductor. Just about everyone refers to the first console to use cartridges as the Channel F. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. As a matter of fact, there never was a console called the Channel F. There was a rede- signed Channel F System II, which Fairchild released in 1978, but I’m referring to the original system that came out in 1976. The console that most people erroneously call the Channel F was actually called the Video Entertainment System (VES). In March of 1977, Fairchild’s marketing department subtly renamed the VES console, and ads began appearing where the system was called the Channel F. The “F” in the name represented the console’s F8 processor, which was manufactured by Fairchild. Oddly, this name change only occurred on paper, i.e. the box and advertisements. New boxes were printed with the Channel F brand but the consoles that came inside those boxes were the same ones that were sold in the boxes labeled “Video Entertainment System”. The only places where the name of the console appears on the console is in the center of the plastic dust cover and on the underside of the console along with the serial number. In both places, even on systems that were sold in Channel F boxes, the name appears as “Video Entertainment System”.

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Leonard Herman Leonard Herman (26 Posts)

Leonard Herman, The Game Scholar, is regarded as one of the earliest and most respected videogame historians. The first edition of his book Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames, which was published in 1994, is considered to be the first serious and comprehensive book about the history of videogames. He has written articles for Videogaming & Computer Illustrated, Games Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Pocket Games, Classic Gamer Magazine, Edge, Game Informer, Classic Gamer Magazine, Manci Games, and Video Game Trader, which he also edited. He has also contributed articles to several videogame-related books, including Supercade, The Video Game Explosion and The Encyclopedia of Video Games. Mr. Herman has also written the book ABC To the VCS (A Directory of Software for the Atari 2600), a compendium of game summaries. He has also written and designed user's manuals for the following Atari VCS games: Cracked, Save the Whales, Pick-Up, Rush Hour, Looping, The Entity and Lasercade, as well as the user's guide to Ralph Baer's Pinball! for the Odyssey2. In 1994, he founded Rolenta Press, a publisher of videogame books, whose catalogue included Videogames: In the Beginning, by Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the videogame console, and Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel, the world's first videogame journalist. Two Rolenta Press books were included in a list of the top ten videogame books of all time by Game Informer magazine in 2008. Mr. Herman has served as an advisor for Videotopia, Classic Gaming Expo and the National Videogame Museum. He has appeared in several episodes of G4's Icons and in the documentary, The King of Arcades. In 2003, Mr. Herman received a Classic Gaming Expo Achievement Award in recognition for his accomplishments in documenting game history