The Telstar is a series of video game consoles produced by Coleco from 1976 to 1978. Starting with Telstar Pong clone based on General Instrument’s AY-3-8500 chip in 1976, there were 14 consoles released in the Telstar branded series. One million Telstar units were sold.
Telstar (model 6040, 1976): Three Pong variants (hockey, handball, tennis), two paddle controllers fixed on console. This was the very first game to use the AY-3-8500 chip.
Telstar Classic (model 6045, 1976): Same as the Telstar, with deluxe wood case.
Telstar Deluxe (1977): aka “Video World Of Sports”, same as the Telstar but brown pedestal case with wood panel, made for Canadian market with French and English text.
Telstar Ranger (model 6046, 1977): Four Pong variants (hockey, handball, tennis, jai alai) and two gun games (target, skeet), black and white plastic case, includes revolver-style light gun and separate paddle controllers. Uses the AY-3-8500 chip.
Telstar Alpha (model 6030, 1977): Four Pong variants, black and white plastic case, fixed paddles. Uses the AY-3-8500 chip.
Telstar Colormatic (model 6130, 1977): Same as the Telstar Alpha but with detached wired paddles as well as color graphics. Uses the AY-3-8500 game chip and the Texas Instruments SN76499N chip for color.
Telstar Regent (model 6036, 1977): Same as the Telstar Colormatic but no color and black and white case.
Telstar Sportsman (1978): Similar to Telstar Regent, but with an additional light gun and different setting switches.
Telstar Combat! (model 6065, 1977): Four variations on Kee Games’ Tank, four fixed joysticks (two per player), uses a General Instruments AY-3-8700 Tank chip.
Telstar Colortron (model 6135, 1978): Four Pong variants, in color, built in sound, fixed paddles, uses AY-3-8510 chip.
Telstar Marksman (model 6136, 1978): Four Pong variants and two gun games in color, larger light gun with removable stock, fixed paddles, uses AY-3-8512 chip.
Telstar Galaxy: Separate joysticks and fixed paddles, uses AY-3-8600 game chip and AY-3-8615 color encoder.
Telstar Gemini (1978): Four pinball games and two light-gun games in color, light gun, two flipper buttons on left and right sides of case, pinball launch button and field adjustment sliders on top, light gun, uses a MOS Technology MPS 7600-004 chip.
Telstar Arcade (1977): Cartridge-based, triangular case includes light gun, steering wheel with gear shift, and paddles, one on each side. Each cartridge includes a customized MOS Technology MPS-7600 chip (one of these chips was the 004 used by the Gemini). The chip contained custom logic circuits driven by a basic processor which ran a very small program stored in ROM.
The large product lineup and the impending fading out of the Pong machines led Coleco to face near-bankruptcy in 1980