The Game: Activated by leaving a cartridge out of the slot, powering the system up and pressing one of the selector keys, Tennis and Hockey are built into the system. Timed games can be selected, and the traditional rules of each sport apply. (Fairchild, 1976)
Memories: An interesting indicator of how new the idea of interchangeable cartridges were, Channel F featured two built-in games as well. If a Channel F owner bought the machine but never bothered with any of the game cartridges, he could still enjoy the console. It’s really no surprise, then, that Fairchild fell back on some standard-issue video game ideas – nothing obscure for Channel F’s built-in games.
A fairly standard Pong-style game, Tennis is very much as advertised – nothing more and nothing less. There are no unusual frills to the game, no unusual touches to make one think “Hey, only the Channel F did that!”
Hockey, on the other hand, while it’s equally frill-free, is a great workout for the unique Channel F controllers. The joystick-plus-paddle configuration makes for some great offensive and defensive maneuvers, and while I’m not even a big fan of video hockey, I really like how the Channel F plays hockey. Give it a try at least once – it’s the best video hockey game that this particular era produced.
And to think, all this before you ever even put a cartridge in the slot.