VC 4000 (Platform)

Logo for Interton VC 4000

The rather obscure VC 4000 Video Computer, manufactured by Interton company, is regarded as the only console entirely developed in (West-)Germany. Whether or not that is true will probably remain a secret as the system's (still existing) former distributor has scrapped any documentation of the product that nearly got the company into bankruptcy. Information on the internet about the console's development history, however, is often contradictionary, inaccurate and often blatantly false.
For instance, the most common and aggravating misconception is that the VC 4000 is "based on" the 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System, which supposedly was released as early as 1976! That would mean, that the technology used in the VC 4000 predates Atari's VCS by about a year and competes with Fairchild's Channel F for the title "first 2nd generation video game system". However, it is actually enough to compare the graphic capabilites of the two systems to realise that such information must be rubbish. So, here are some clarifying facts:
Both, the VC 4000 and the 1292 APVS, are built around the Signetics 2650 microprocessor, which was released in late 1975. That was around the same time when Philips had bought the Signetics company and shipped the technology over to Europe. At that time Philips' subsidary Magnavox was developing a system based on the arguably more powerful Intel 8048 microprocessor - that system would later become known as the G7000 (or Odyssey² in the USA). Having one hardware product already in development, Philips decided to treat the Signetics 2650 as commercial product, targeting small-sized electronic-manufacturers, who were already swarming the market with PONG-clones.
Considering that the VC 4000 is software-compatible (but not slot-compatible!) with the 1292 APVS, and considering that the two systems share the early half of their game library with identical game-titles implies the hypothesis that Philips sold both, the Signetics 2650 hardware and a certain number of developed ROM-software to two or three dozen companies, who developed, admittedly different, but ultimately compatible gaming systems, namely the VC 4000 and the 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System. The misconception that the 1292 APVS was released already in 1976 is probably owed to the - by now viral - misinformation that Radofin (the most prominent 1292 APVS manufacturer) released its first cosoles in 1976. These, however, were no microprocessored early wonder-machines, but plain PONG-clones.
More evidence to support this hypothesis is provided by a Swedish TV broadcast from April 1979, when a team from SVT (Swedish broadcast company) visited the Philips-reasearch-centre in Eindhoven, Netherlands to talk about the future of video games. Throught the video the developers are seen with VC 4000 controllers, testing game prototypes which graphicly correspond with games on the VC 4000/1292 APVS and not Philips' own home console, the Videopac G7000,
Available evidence, primarly in the form of leaflets, suggests that German manufacturer Interton was indeed the first one to hit the market with a Signetics 2650 microprocessor-based gaming system in autumn 1978: the VC 4000. Leaflets for 1292 APVS consoles by Radofin, Acetronic and other companies would only appear in 1979.

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Games released on VC 4000