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I have what appears to be an early games console (supported games are variations on the theme of "pong", or ball and paddle games) manufactured in South Africa. Does anyone have more information or more examples of this console?

Here's a view of the front face of the console:

Front view of "Hammersmith TV Games" console, showing two pots/paddles to control games, a green reset switch, 3 binary switches to select "bat size", "ball speed" and "angles select" and finally, a large rotary switch to turn off the console and select the games: "off", "pelota", "squash", "football 1", "football 2", "tennis", "skeet" and "target"

Next, what I suppose is most relevant, a pic of the circuit board inside showing the chip that powered this thing - the AY 3-8500

Close up of circuit board inside "Hammersmith TV Games" console, showing controlling chip, the AY 3-8500, with additional marking "GIMT 7720"

Reading up on that chip on the linked Wikipedia page tells me that the AY 3-8500 was an IC from General Instruments committed to displaying six ball and paddle games through an RF modulator to a standard TV (it appears that the chip in my console is the PAL version.) From the Wikipedia page, it seems this chip was incorporated into around 200 different video consoles.

The chip was powered by a 9V power supply, which corresponds to what can be seen of the underside of my console with the battery cover removed, showing a common brand of South African 9V battery:

Underside of "Hammersmith TV Games" console with battery cover removed, showing that it is powered by a 9V battery.

In contrast to what is shown on the faceplate, the manufacturer's plate on the back refers to the console as "Teleplay". The model number is 702, and the manufacturer's details are given as "Metlionics [Pty] Ltd, P.O. Box 39690, Bramley 2010, Republic of South Africa".

enter image description here

Googling "Metlionics" reveals that they also made a catridge console system, but of my model all I could find were examples being sold on auction site, such as this one.

It's been years since I've used the console, so I don't know if it still works, but if I have time I'll try fire it up to take some pictures or videos of the games in operation.

I learned from the Wikipedia page that there are hundreds of similar consoles, all offering largely the same games (such as the Coleco Telstar Alpha) - but I've not found much this South African version, other than what I've mostly summarised and linked to here.

Can anyone add more information?

  • I wanted to add tags 'ay-3-8500', 'teleplay', 'metlionics', 'pong', and 'hammerstein', but to do so requires more reputation than I currently possess! – SondarTreen Jun 19 at 12:33
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    Putting in too many tags isn't helpful either.Still, added pong as that would be the most important - and got a chance to match other questions as well. Incredible find BTW - that is unless you're based in ZA, which would make it a nice one :)) – Raffzahn Jun 19 at 13:10
  • You've got 'Hammersmith' in the title not 'Hammerstein'. – Alan B Jun 19 at 14:00
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    I think the left knob should go in the middle. – snips-n-snails Jun 19 at 21:14
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    @wizzwizz4 Well, it's about a very specific device which in addition might be rather rare (outside ZA), so asking for any information / hint to search feels justified. – Raffzahn Jun 20 at 21:41
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Here is a completed auction for the same model console but with a silver faceplate and black enclosure, and a Teleplay TV Games electronic ray gun, Model No. 710, both with their original boxes:

Teleplay Model No. 702 TV Games console and Teleplay Model No. 710 Electronic Ray Gun.

Also notice the DIN connector on the black of the red model you linked to:

Red Teleplay Model 702

It looks like the ray gun plugs into that connector. If your 702 doesn't have that connector, then you may have an earlier model, or a cheaper model as the AY-3-8500 chip has built-in support for the gun and omitting the connector would save some cost in parts and labor.

Here is a LinkedIn profile for an employee of Metlionics from 1971 to 1988, so we know the company existed during that time and possibly before and after. The General Instrument AY-3-8500 chip was introduced in 1976 so that further narrows the time frame of your unit's date of manufacture. More photographs of the unit inside and out might provide more clues.

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    Well spotted, @snips-n-snails. I took several pics of my console, but only uploaded the most relevant. Looking through some of those extra pics, I can confirm that my version doesn't have the DIN connector BUT it does have a hole drilled in the internal frame in the same approximate position and size, which suggests that only one type of frame was manufactured - but only some models had the DIN connected wired in.As you suggest, I'll take some more detailed pictures next time I dig the console out from the cellar. – SondarTreen Jun 20 at 20:27

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