04 May 1999

Today's finds [Telstar Colormatic, Simon, battery guarantee]

[Originally posted to rec.games.video.classic.]

I tend to be long-winded, so here's the topics of interest in this post: Coleco, dedicated (pong-style) systems, Ralph Baer, Simon, Microvision.

At my first stop, I found a Coleco Telstar Colormatic. At first I thought it someone had broken off the paddle knobs. But then I realized the external two paddles sitting next to it were meant to plug into it. They weren't taped to it or anything, so I felt lucky they were still sitting beside it. The really unusual thing about this system is it's from Coleco *Canada*. (I live in Alabama, USA.) It also has legs that it sits on so the console is angled for reaching it easier.

I haven't seen a Telstar exactly like this one before. They wanted $5 for it, which seemd like a bit much, but since I hadn't seen one before, I picked it up. Does anyone know if it has a U.S. equivalent? Or was it released here in the U.S. too? As I said, it has two remote paddles. It also has a rest button, and on/off, tennis/hocky/handball/squash, & beginner/intermediate/pro slide switches.

The next find was at my second stop (of two): a complete, looks-like-new Simon. I've kind of been wanting a vintage Simon since I learned Ralph Baer (inventor of the original Odyssey) created it. I saw the box and thought it looked in good shape at a glance. A closer look showed the box was in great shape with only light wear on some corners and edges. Opening it revealed a pristine Simon, complete with instructions, blank warranty sheet, and even the styrofoam bit on top to keep the box from getting squished. The D battery compartment was empty, but the 9V compartment still had a battery in it. Luckily, it hadn't leaked (see note). Do modern Simons still require this many batteries of these sizes?

I put it back in the box and inspect it to see how "original" it is. It has the Milton Bradley Electronics logo on it, like a Microvision. There's a 1978 copyright on it, but that just means they hadn't changed the box markings since then. Then I look at the bottom. There's ads for the Super Simon (Never seen one of those before.) and Mircovision on it! That cinches it. This is worth $3. Once I got back to work and looked at it more closely, I found 1984 copyright dates on the instructions and inside top of the box. I guess they printed up a *bunch* of stickers to cover the boxes back around '78 and were still using them in '84. Oh, well, I won't quibble with one in this great a shape. (Hope it actually works.)

Note: As I was throwing the 9V battery (a Ray-O-Vac Heavy Duty) away, I noticed a note on the side.
Consumer's Guarantee: If any device using this battery is damaged by leakage, send the battery and the device prepaid to Ray-O-Vac corporation, Madison, WI 53703. We will either repair or replace the device and batteries at no additional cost. Guarantee void if either user or device recharges battery.
Now *that's* a guarantee! I wish modern batteries had that kind of guarantee on them. I'll have to look more closely at the electronics I find with corroded batteries in them from now on. I wonder how they'd repair or replace a vintage handheld or pong?

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