Released in 1975, the Phillips Tele-Spiel, or to give it’s full name the Phillips Tele-Spiel ES-2201, was one of the first consoles to be released in Europe.
The system was cartridge based and did not have any built in games. Though the system did come with a Tennis game. In total 5 games were released for the system. In addition to Tennis there was Ghostchaser, Racing, Pelota and Skeet shooting.
All games were in black and white and there was no sound either. Game scores were kept on the system itself with a slider moving between 0 and 15. The Tele Spiel did boast two detachable slider controllers which oddly enough, were connected to the cartridge instead of the system itself. The sliders had a fire button on it too.
The Tele Spiel was powered by a 9 volt battery. It wasn’t powered by a dedicated CPU, instead it was built with integrated circuit boards with each game cartridge changing what was displayed (as was the norm at the time).
One of the unique features of this system was the ability to tune the games console into any frequency on your television. Nearly all other systems at the time had a fixed setting so you had to tune your TV to find your system.
Over the next two years Phillips would release 4 more variations of the Tele-Spiel, which were all strangely called the Las Vegas. All of these systems were powered by the General Instruments AY-3-8550, the same chip which was used in the Coleco Telstar and Magnavox Odyssey 300. Unlike the original Tele-Speil, the system was not cartridge based and had all games built in.
Both the ES-2203 and ES-2204 kept the slider style controllers from the 2201 and came with 6 games each. However the fire button was removed, probably because there was no need for it with the games which were included:Football, Squash, Squash Practice and Tennis. The ES-2204 games were in color whilst the ES-2203 remained in black and white.
The picture below from Pong Story shows the Las Vegas Tele-Spiel ES-2204:
The female DIN port at the bottom corner of the machine allowed a gun to be attached, which added two games to bring the systems total to 6.
Cosmetically, the device had changed a lot. To me it went from one extreme to another; from something which looked like a kids toy to a machine which looked like it should be kept in a Physics lab. It really has to be one of the ugliest machines ever made! All those dials and knobs did have a purpose though, they allowed you to change a range of settings from ball speed to paddle size and even whether serve was done manually or automatically.
Phillips also released the Las Vegas Tele-Spiel ES-2208 (below) and Las Vegas Tele-Spiel ES-2218 in 1977. Both these systems were in color and had new 4 way controllers instead of sliders, which allowed the user to move vertically and horizontally.
The ES-2208 had the same 6 games as the ES-2203 and ES-2204 thought the 2218 had an additional 2.
All in all, the Las Vegas range was a huge improvement over the Phillips Tele-Spiel ES-2201. Not only was color brought to the screens, but the system had a built in speaker for sound and the manual scoring slider had been replaced by on screen scoring.