The Amstrad GX4000 was an 8-bit games console which was released by British computer company Amstrad in 1990. The console was released in the UK for £99 however it’s price started dropping within a few months due to such poor sales. Amstrad had already stopped producing the machine by this point, surely lamenting the money lost in their only games console venture. Due to this, many people claim that the Amstrad GX4000 is the least successful video games console ever made.
The GX4000 was simply Amstrads CPC 464+ computer without the keyboard and several other computer related features which weren’t needed for a games console. The console came with 2 controllers, which looked very similar to the iconic NES controller. The controllers used the 9 pin standard connection, which meant that Atari, Sega and Commodore controllers could be used with the system.
The console came bundled with the game Burnin’ Rubber. Most of the games released for the system (30+) were developed by UK software companies Ocean and US Gold.
Interestingly, a company called Trojan released a light gun for the system called The Phazer. It came with two games: The Enforcer and Skeet Shoot. Check out this GX4000 fan site for more info.
There were a lot of reasons why the console failed so badly. Firstly, this 8-bit console was released in Europe at the same time as the 16-bit Sega Megadrive. There were hardly any games released at launch. The system was being covered in some UK gaming magazines, particularly dedicated Amstrad publications, however most games were either delayed or cancelled completely. When many games were released gamers found that they were simply repackaged Amstrad CPC games, with Amstrad hoping users would pay around £25 for a game which they could buy for 2 or 3 pounds on cassette.
Some believe that the console would have done well if Amstrad had an advertising budget to match that of Sega and Nintendo but I don’t think anything would have changed. Put simply, the GX4000 was a fairly powerful 8-bit games console which was released at the start of the 16-bit era. It’s main setback however was games. Amstrad didn’t secure enough game developers for the machine, they didn’t design any original ‘must have’ games for the system and the games at launch were poor. Repackaging older CPC games to boost it’s limited library was no doubt the final nail in the coffin of this commercial disaster.
The GX4000 used the aging 8-bit Zilog Z80A CPU, which was clocked at 4 MHz. 32 colours from a palette of 4096 could be displayed on screen at the one time (which was actually higher than the Sega MegaDrives palette) with a resolution of 640×200 pixels.
The system used 64 kB of RAM, 16 kB of VRam and 32 kB of ROM. The largely outdated General Instruments AY-3-8912 chip helped produce 3 channel stereo.
All games were developed by UK software companies Ocean and US Gold. The cartridges could be played on the 464 plus and 6128 plus computers as well as the GX4000.
Below is a list of some of the games which were released for the system.
Batman The Movie
Chase HQ 2
Crazy Cars 2
Fire and Forget 2
Panza Kick Boxing
Pro Tennis Tour
Skeet Shoot (Phazer)
Super Pinball Magic
Tennis Cup 2
Tintin on the Moon
World Of Sports
Vintage Views Episode Seven Amstrad GX4000 Console Review Part 1
Vintage views Gx4000 Review Part 2
Burnin’ Rubber Gameplay