Monday, April 25, 2011

Nintendo Color TV Game 15

So this is one of those things where everything doesn't quite go to plan.

Omocha Souko has had this Color TV Game 15 for the longest time. Made in the late 1970s by Nintendo, it is one of the oldest of the old-school video game systems. It says it has 15 games built into it, but their method of ENRON-style accounting would never fly in today's gaming world as all the games are variants of Tennis, Hockey or Ping Pong.

If you want to know more about the history of these things I highly recommend Erik's excellent Before Mario blog, which has some really great photos and write-ups about old Nintendo toys, including this one.

Anyway, despite the fact that I've wanted this thing for a long time, I've held off on buying it because they wanted 10,000 yen for it. That is a bit on the high side, which is unusual for Omocha Souko.

They suckered me out this week though. A combination of their various discounts brought the price of the thing down to 6,500 yen. That is boxed and it came with the AC adapter (most don't as the thing didn't originally, it can also run on batteries) so it was a pretty reasonable price.

My wife was looking to get me a present so I said "come on, lets go to Omocha Souko." I'm a lucky guy. She is so sweet.

I brought my camera and intended to photograph the whole purchasing process from its removal from the glass case to the cashier, etc. Like an idiot I forgot. You can see a picture of what it looked like in their glass showcase in a photo I put on this post here last November. It was only when I got home that I remembered to start taking photos. Here it is, fresh out of the bag:
The box is really cool:
My fun came to a bit of a screeching halt though when it came time to actually hook it up to the TV. I had a deja vu experience, remembering hooking up my first Famicom with RF switch to a TV. Long story short: none of the connections match up and you have to use a lot of adapters and things. I had to go through boxes of old cables and crap looking for the right stuff. It turned our living room into a mess:
As you can see from the above photo though, I did eventually get it hooked up.

The story does not quite end happily there though. If you look closely at the pong style game displayed on the TV screen in the above photo, you'll notice that there is only one paddle on the right side of the screen. None on the left. Strange, isn't it?

This puzzled me greatly. For about an hour after getting the thing hooked up, no matter what I did I could not get the paddle on the left (1player) to show up.

I made my way onto the internet and after much surfing to no avail eventually stumbled onto this Youtube video. The guy is just showing the insides of his Color TV Game 15 and while doing so he notes that if you unplug one of the controllers (you have to physically open the casing up to do that) the corresponding paddle disappears.

"Great" I thought. Probably the controller is just unplugged inside the thing and all I have to do is plug it back in and we'll be ready to go.

Nope. I took everything apart. Both controllers were plugged in. I noticed that when I switched them though, the number 1 controller did not work at all. The ingrates at Omocha Souko had sold me a Color TV Game 15 with a broken controller! D-oh!

The normal course of action on making such a discovery would be to return the thing for a refund. BUT I can't do that. As we were making the purchase the staff reminded us (as they always do) that they do not accept refunds for any retro game items. And I explicitly said "yes, that is fine" as I always do.

If I'm buying a 300 yen junk item, I'm willing to take the chance and usually stuff works. Even if it doesn't, I never get upset as its small money. But this thing was expensive. And they had a sign saying "Dousa Kakunin" on it, which means that it had been checked. I think when they checked it they probably just plugged it in to see if it worked for a second (which it does) and didn't notice the missing paddle.

So, you know, caveat emptor and all that. The plus side is that all I need is a working controller. As they come hardwired into the console these things are impossible to find on their own. But if I can find a broken console going for cheap I can cannibalize it for parts to make mine work.
So I can't be too disappointed. I love the thing despite its not working. Just look at it. It looks really really cool, even though it is completely useless.

Related Posts:

- Mega Bargain of the Day: Kousenjuu SP Electro Safari

- The Unveiling (Drumroll): Donkey Kong Hockey!
- Fukuoka Famicom Shops II: The Decline and Fall of the Famicom Empire


  1. It always sucks to get something you really wanted only to find it doesn't work or has a broken part... good luck finding another controller, Sean! :D

  2. Oh, that's too bad :( Hopefully you can find another controller soon. It's definitely a cool-looking system, though -- very nice find :)

  3. Thanks, Skyrunner14 and Bryan! It does indeed suck! At least it gives me a challenging mission though: Find a controller!

    I'm reminded of your post last month, Bryan, of the game you ordered whose box arrived at your doorstep empty! I now understand frustration of that magnitude!

  4. Bad luck! A single paddle pong machine is no fun.

    But here's your chance to correct this situation:

    And thanks for the posting the link to my blog.

  5. Many thanks, Erik! That does look promising - a 1 yen starting bid, who knows I might get a bargain!! :)

  6. Just out of curiosity, did you win the auction and/or get this thing working? I saw the last comments were in April, but I'm curious. ;-P

  7. No, not yet! I don't have a Yahoo account and I have been spending too much money on other stuff recently to do so! I will sometime soon though, as carts for my new Epoch Cassette Vision can also only really be obtained via Yahoo auctions.

  8. Great write-up! It's a pity about that controller, but as it's in such nice condition cosmetically, cannibalising another one just for a controller is a good idea.

    I'm not sure if you are interested, but I have just written up a comparison between the CTG15s and the CTG15v (the two models of the TV Game 15) on my blog:

    Hollo. :)

  9. Hi Hollo,

    Thanks, actually the controller does work as I later found out so this thing is working perfectly.

    Nice blog, BTW. I will put a link up here!


  10. Hi Sean. I know this is an old blog, but I recently bought a CTG15 from ebay (not actually sure if it even works yet). Can you tell me what cables/adaptors you used to get this thing hooked up to the TV? It doesn't come with the antenna adaptor, just what looks like the one RF cable running from the back of the unit. Thanks in advance!

  11. Hi,

    Yeah, unfortunately the CTG15 did not originally come with an AC adaptor, which for some reason was sold seperately. For the RF switch, there is a pictue of one here on Before Mario:

    1. Hi Sean. Thanks for your reply. I've actually got the AC adaptor, just not the RF switch. Is the RF switch a must, or is there another way I can get this unit playing on a (fairly) modern TV? Thanks :)

  12. Hey,

    Not too sure about that. You would need an RF switch of some sort to use it, I dont know if some other RF switch would work (unfortunately my unit is in storage now so I can`t test it out)>

    1. No worries. I'll try to chase one up. Thanks Sean.