VideoBrain Family Computers - Good, Bad, Ugly?

1 reply [Last post]
Madman357
Offline
Joined: 10/16/2013

Hello,

I was just wondering if any of you have heard of the VideoBrain Family Computer and yes I read the Wiki page :). There is one on EBay and I was just wondering if this was a good piece to start my collection with, most of my collection was mine and REALLY shows its age. Can the VideoBrain be repaired, added onto, played with easily?
Madman357

http://www.ebay.com/itm/331045370909?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p...

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
I recommend you do a search

I recommend you do a search on our site for "VideoBrain." I've written about it extensively.

Anyway, your link is wrong, it's linking to the Atari and Commodore systems the seller is selling, not the VideoBrain (here's the correct link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-VideoBrain-Family-Computer-Bundle-In-ori...). It's a great bundle, but the issue with it is that it's not tested and these systems often don't work. I've had to frankenstein a working system together from two VideoBrains. While someone quite talented is attempting to bring a broken VideoBrain back to life on one of the mailing lists, he still has a long way to go. Most have failed.

This is a system that I refer to as for "hardcore" collector's only. There's not much you can do with it. It has no resident BASIC programming language (or any programming language at all), and the one language written for it on cartridge, APL/S, is just about impossible to find. We've only been able to confirm roughly three cartridges in the hands of collectors, and they refuse to have the contents dumped so more cartridges can be created. So basically you have a computer that can't be programmed and can only play a handful of mediocre games. With that said, it was one of the first computers with color and sound, plus it had four dedicated joystick ports, and used cartridges, almost certainly a first for a computer (beating out the Exidy Sorcerer to market). It's a novelty, but has little utility.

I would expect that bundle to sell for $300 - $500 because of the Expander 1, which is quite rare. It took me many years to track one down. Still, the fact that it's untested, unless you already have a VideoBrain, I'd say definitely avoid it unless you have a specific reason for getting it.

EDIT: Here's a link to just a few of the times I've written about the platform - http://armchairarcade.com/neo/taxonomy/term/1135

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.